Strides for Equality Equestrians and the United States Eventing Association Foundation are proud to announce the first recipient of the Ever So Sweet Scholarship. The scholarship, which is the first of its kind, provides a fully-funded opportunity for riders from diverse backgrounds to train with upper-level professionals. Helen Casteel of Maryland is the first recipient of the bi-annual scholarship.
Edy Rameika, Sara Kozumplik Murphy, and Brian Murphy are providing the sponsored internship for Helen and her horse, Unapproachable (barn name: Abel), to train with Sara and Brian at Overlook Farm Equestrian Center in Berryville, VA, for three months. The scholarship covers expenses for full board and training costs for Abel, several lessons per week, housing for Helen, a stipend to cover living expenses, competition fees, and coaching at competitions. Helen has been partnered with Abel, a 13-year-old OTTB, for seven years. He was a “young six” when she got him, and they have worked hard together to successfully event at the Novice level. Helen and Abel competed at the American Eventing Championships in 2019. Helen’s immediate goals include moving up to Training level, which she is hopeful will be attainable because of the ESS scholarship.
Helen will also have the unique opportunity to learn to manage and care for upper-level horses and will be participating as part of the team in all aspects of running a large, competitive barn. She said the horse care and management part of being in a high-performance program is one of the parts she is looking forward to the most. She is eager to learn about the therapies and maintenance the horses receive to keep them healthy and sound. Helen also wants to learn the art and science that goes into choosing a good horse - for example, what do top riders look for when they are shopping, and how does one choose the best equine partner for their level and circumstances?
Helen’s goals also include playing an active role in fostering a more inclusive environment within the sport. The scholarship will provide Helen with the opportunity to make professional connections, which will not only help her as an individual but will contribute to improving access and opportunities for other BIPOC riders. Helen is eager to promote inclusion and access and stated, “Though I personally have been fortunate in my circumstance, I still feel that as a Black woman, I can contribute to the conversation and the solution. The opportunities to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the equine world and sport can fall into two buckets -- exposure and opportunity.”
Helen will be an ambassador for the ESS scholarship, which is part of the Professional Pathways programs SEE is developing. “If we continue to actively prioritize inclusion and highlight participation of people of color and LGBTQ+ peoples, we will see the profile of not just Eventing, but all equestrian sports rise,” Helen wrote in her application essay. You can follow along for updates on our website at https://www.stridesforequality.org/ and our Facebook and Instagram pages.
For more information, please contact:
Erin Tomson, Ph.D.
Strides for Equality Equestrians
509.332.9486 / [email protected]
Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE), founded in 2020 as an allyship program for the equestrian community, seeks to address the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in equestrian sports. SEE promotes a more inclusive culture by listening to and addressing the concerns of Black, Indigenous, and people of color within the community while educating equestrians about effective allyship. For more information, please visit www.stridesforequality.org.
The last three years have been a time of great change throughout the country for homes, businesses and industries. Rising costs of living, shrinking of assistance and changes in demographics have affected so much of our world, and that includes the equine industry. However, not all of the changes are easy to identify. This is why the American Horse Council (AHC), together with the U.S. Equestrian Federation, has kicked off what could be one of the biggest studies in more than 50 years with the 2023 National Economic Impact Study (EIS) for the equine industry.
Twenty-three teams from 13 colleges and universities have traveled far and wide for the seventh annual USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
If you have been involved at a higher level with the USEA, you probably recognize the names of the two ladies that spearhead all of the efforts of the USEA’s Programs, Partnerships, and Marketing department: Kate Lokey, Director of Programs and Marketing, and Kaleigh Collett, Marketing Coordinator, but a new member of this team has also joined the USEA staff in Heather Johnson, Programs and Inventory Assistant. If you have considered advertising with the USEA or are involved in the USEA’s Young Event Horse, Emerging Athletes U21, New Event Horse, Adult Riders, Young Riders, Classic Series, or Grooms programs, you probably have or most likely will interact with one of these staff members.
The countdown to competition is on as 13 colleges and universities converge on the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, North Carolina, for the 2023 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship! This Friday, May 26, through Sunday, May 28, a total of 89 entries and 24 teams will go head-to-head to compete for the Intercollegiate Eventing Championship title and the coveted Spirit Award.