Jul 14, 2023

Strides for Equality Equestrians Announces Scholarship Recipients

Sabrina and King at Kansas Hunter Jumper Association's Longview Horse Show in April 2023. Haley Johnson | HLJ Images photo

Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) is proud to announce the winners of several scholarships awarded this spring and summer.

Sabrina Sharpe of Missouri has been selected to receive the Summer 2023 Ever So Sweet scholarship to study with Sara Kozumplik at Overlook Farm in Virginia. Sharpe is the youngest ever recipient of this competitive, one-of-a-kind scholarship opportunity for equestrians of diverse backgrounds to train, learn, and build their professional networks under the guidance of an upper-level professional eventer.

Sharpe, 17, is a rising senior at Park Hill South high school in Kansas City, Missouri. She is a nationally rated Pony Clubber, certified in HB level horse management and working toward her C3 certification, and she has successfully evented through Novice. She currently competes with her 7-year-old off-track Thoroughbred gelding King (TJC: Barbie’s King), who she restarted herself in 2021. Sharpe and King are working to make a transition to hunter/jumpers after King showed a lack of enthusiasm for cross-country.

One of Sharpe’s hopes for her ESS Scholarship is to learn from professionals how to reckon with changes in training goals that come from listening closely to what the horse wants and needs, and how to balance her horse’s needs against her own eventing aspirations.

In her application, she wrote candidly about the impact of this experience and its relation to broader experiences as an equestrian of color. “Because of facing many obstacles, such as financial access, being a first generation equestrian in my family, and being a person of color in general, I was proud and excited to buy and start my own OTTB, which has been a great joy and an extreme heartbreak. In one regard, he is amazing at dressage, show jumping, and hunters, and is delightful on the ground, but on the other, I love cross-country and he does not.”

Sharpe will began her scholarship with Kozumplik in early July at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida, where she me Kozumplik and ESS alum Sierra Lesny and hit the ground running in her educational experience, witnessing, and participating in Kozumplik Equestrian’s Florida season. Through the generous sponsorship of Kozumplik and Edy Rameika, Sharpe and King will then spend the remainder of the summer months training with Sara at Overlook Farm Equestrian Center in Berryville, Virginia. The scholarship covers expenses for full board and training costs for King, several lessons per week, housing for Sabrina, a stipend to cover living expenses, competition fees, and coaching at competitions.

Sabrina will also improve her horse care skills by learning to manage and care for upper-level horses and working with the Overlook team in the running of a large, competitive barn. She is especially excited to gain experience with the upper-level eventing world as she contemplates what her future professional and personal equestrian goals will be.

She is also excited to have more opportunities and a larger platform to share her experiences as an equestrian of color and to educate others on the importance of inclusion and representation across the horse industry. In her application, she shared that she has experienced prejudice as a rider of color, “but in light of those experiences, I have found more good than bad in people, I’ve developed everlasting friendships, met people that have helped me grow in my riding experiences, and recently have been discussing the importance of allyship in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ultimately, I want a career that allows me the opportunity to help others with a similar background as mine.”

Sharpe is the fifth recipient of an ESS Scholarship, the first participant to train at Overlook Farm while still in high school, and the first recipient representing the Midwest and USEA Area IV. In addition to the opportunities she will have this summer, Sharpe will serve as an ambassador for the ESS Scholarship in coming years and will join a growing community of Ever So Sweet and Leg Up Scholarship recipients who are working to make diversity more visible in equestrian sport.

Maryland Competition Series Leg Up Scholarship Recipients from left to right, Hannah Jaeger, Josephine Long, Gabrielle McDaniel, and Raegan Nalls.

Strides for Equality Equestrians, in partnership with the Maryland International Equestrian Foundation (MIEF), is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Maryland Competition Series Leg Up Scholarships: eventers Hannah Jaeger, Josephine Long, Gabrielle McDaniel, and Raegan Nalls. Each awardee has received a $500 scholarship to compete this season in the Maryland Horse Trials series at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland.

This Leg Up Scholarship series establishes a new partnership between SEE and the Maryland International Equestrian Foundation (MIEF). Our partnership focuses on offsetting the costs of competing for young riders with past experiences volunteering with MIEF who have passions for increasing BIPOC visibility in equestrian sport and who work to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in their riding lives and beyond. The Maryland Leg Up recipients will begin their competition years with a wide variety of riding backgrounds and eventing aspirations.

Follow Sabrina’s journey firsthand on the @see.eversosweet Instagram, and check in with her and the other alums at @stridesforequality on Instagram and on the Strides for Equality Equestrians Facebook page. Learn more about Strides for Equality across our website, and consider donating to support riders like Sabrina today!

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