Jan 12, 2019

The Unique Meaning Behind the Rebecca Broussard Developing Rider Grants

Tamra Smith and Wembley on course at the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Redbaystock.com Photo.

After sitting at the USEA Awards luncheon last month, seeing the many awards and grants being handed out, I was compelled to write about the Rebecca Broussard grants, the meaning of being selected and what it truly means as a recipient.

I couldn’t help but start to tear up when the famous Jimmy Wofford’s signature voice announced, “And now we will announce the recipients of the Rebecca Broussard Grants”. Not only did it remind me about being a past recipient, but knowing that someone would be receiving the same leg up in their career as I did made a stream of emotions run through me.

I don’t believe that the meaning behind these grants is common knowledge within all of the members of the United States Eventing Association. I believe that if you were to ask most members who have not been directly involved with the process of the criteria to become a recipient of the Rebecca Broussard Grants, for the most part, most would think or say it is to help the riders take their riding to the next level and to be able to help them broaden their skills nationally and internationally. Although this is a key purpose, there are many more pieces involved.

Tamra Smith (center) with Jerome Broussard (left) and Sarah Broussard (right) receiving the 2015 $30,000 Rebecca Broussard International Developing Rider Grant. Redbaystock.com Photo.

The Land Rover and the Jacqueline B. Mars grants are issued to riders to help broaden their expertise as well as their horse's expertise in competitions, both nationally and internationally. These grants have been imperative in my own career and have enabled me to gain experience that I would not have otherwise been able to have. Experience that I feel has been absolutely critical in getting me to where I am now.

But what the Rebecca Broussard Grant gave me was something much more detailed from the core of my being. The grant served as inspiration to get better as an athlete, rider, and competitor, and additionally, the grant sparked internal pondering of how it is that I could help the sport. What can I do to inspire people? What can I do to give back to the sport? What can I do to make Becky Broussard, the Broussard family, and the US Foundation committee proud that they invested in me? There was a sense of personal accountability for giving back to a sport that has done so much for me. I think sometimes, when you are younger, you focus on you and when you are older, you can focus on giving back.

Tamra Smith and Mai Baum, winners of the 2015 Fair Hill International CCI3*. Redbaystock.com Photo.

I think Mrs. Becky Broussard exhibited the true meaning of what our sport was founded on, and that was giving. I think it is easy to buy great horses, and give money to great riders to further their careers, but what will those riders do to give back? What will they feel responsible for in keeping our sport a giving-back-or-pay-it-forward type of sport? How can we keep that a mainstay in the sport that was founded on those core values?

There is a thorough interview process with a committee comprised of legends in our sport. Most of the main committee is comprised of people who are examples of what giving back truly means. Past USEA Presidents, USEA Foundation members, and committee members, doctors, lawyers, CEOs, and people who have been huge staples in our sport for longer than I have been a rider. The committee also contains past Rebecca Broussard Grant recipient riders. The detail and scrutiny that is involved when picking the next recipient is far more intricate than you can ever imagine. I love that we have such a due process because it means that the recipients who receive these grants are people willing and able to make their own contribution to a sport that gives so much.

Tamra Smith and Fleeceworks Royal at The Event at Rebecca Farm in 2017. Redbaystock.com Photo.

It wasn’t until after I received the "Big Becky" Grant in 2015 that I even realized the amount of thought that went into these grants; it made me even more appreciative and honored, not just for receiving the "Little Becky" Grant, but the "Big Becky" Grant as well. It instilled a belief in me that I needed at the time. I was told I could and would never make it in this sport because I was a wife and mother with not enough personal financial backing. People told me I had no business even trying to have a horse and ride at the upper levels, and that I would never be able to afford a horse that was good enough to be a player at the top of the sport.

Receiving the "Little Becky" Grant in 2012 ignited a fire in me that had slowly been smoldering. It infused something in me that made me want to fight to become what I always wanted to be: a rider who represented the United States as a wife, mother, and West Coast rider and someone who could defy the odds of not having the right horses or the finances to even belong. Someone who had struggled through many trials and tribulations personally and never gave up. Someone who didn’t get to have my career in my 20s because I was a single mother who had to work a full-time job with health benefits, someone who could mentor and inspire other riders to become educated, confident, and hard-working individuals, and still strive to become top-class riders working hard to achieve their dreams and goals.

Tamra Smith and Mai Baum at the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

You see, to become a Rebecca Broussard Grant recipient, you must not only have an ability to ride and show potential to represent the United States someday, but you must also have a thoughtful spirit— a giving spirit — one who wants to give back what has been given to you. You must have a plan of how to help our sport and the people coming up in the sport. This individual is one who gives without needing recognition, someone who volunteers at events without anyone really knowing. Becky would do that. She would help throughout Area VII eventing with jump judging and you never knew she was doing it.

I think the diversity of the Big and Little Becky Grant recipients is very unique and proof that the USEA Foundation is getting it right. Riders are becoming more aware of how to give back if they didn’t quite understand what that meant before. They are able to hold themselves in high regard and can think of the big picture.

It’s been an honor to not only be a recipient of these grants, but also to be someone who can have a very small part in helping Becky’s legacy live on.

Tamra Smith and Sunsprite Syrius, winners of the 2018 Galway Downs International Event CIC3*. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

That is what the Rebecca Broussard Grants did for me and I hope everyone who aspires to be a recipient understands the big picture of this tremendous lady and family and their dedication to giving back to a sport that has given so much to all of us.

I feel all too often today, especially as time goes on and years pass, awards and grant recipients can lose sight a bit about who or what was behind a given award, and I hope people can take a step back to not only appreciate the process, but also the bigger meaning behind it all, because that in itself is what not only makes the Rebecca Broussard Grants so special, it is what makes so many of the wonderful awards in our sport important.

To learn more about the Rebecca Broussard Developing Rider Grants, visit the USEA Foundation website.

May 13, 2021 Sponsor

FITS Returns to Sponsor AEC, ATC, Intercollegiate, and Classic Series

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is thrilled to welcome back longtime sponsor, FITS Riding, Ltd. for 2021. They are returning as a Bronze Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds, a Contributing Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA Adult Team Championships, a Contributing Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA Classic Series, and a Contributing Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships. As a sponsor of these USEA programs, FITS Riding will generously provide gift certificates as prizes for the Intercollegiate championship competitors, AEC and ATC competitors, and Classic Series winners.

May 13, 2021 Classic Series

Memories from the Vet Box with Kerry Millikin

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything, it was an amazing experience.” Twenty-five years ago, Kerry Millikin and her off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding, Out and About (who was only 8 years old at the time) won the individual Olympic bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, making her one of five females to have earned an individual Olympic medal for the U.S.

May 12, 2021 Competitions

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Announces $300,000 Prize Money for Inaugural Event

The Fair Hill Organizing Committee (FHOC), an affiliate of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.), today announced athletes and horses in the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill (CCI5*-L) will be competing for $300,000 in prize money. Additionally, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Eventing National Championship (CCI3*-L), running in conjunction with the 5 Star, will award $25,000 in prize money. Both events, as well as the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Young Event Horse East Coast Championships, will take place this October 14-17 at the new Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland.

May 12, 2021 Education

Pre-Purchase Examination 101: With Dr. Shauna Spurlock

You’ve seen a horse you like. You’ve ridden it; you love it. The money’s right; you’ve agreed to buy it. What happens next?

Pre-purchase veterinary examinations are one of those topics that a roomful of horsey people could discuss - and argue amongst themselves about - for hours. For the amateur rider, that can be confusing and slightly alarming.

So, let’s simplify it. What is a pre-purchase examination, why are they done, and what should you expect?

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