In 2017, Kathryn Lily Spokesmodel Ella Doerr was one of the three annual USHJA Foundation Gochman Family Grant recipients to attend the USEF Pony Finals - embodying the spokesmodel characteristics of leadership, horsemanship, and sportsmanship, all whilst having some serious fun! As the time to apply for the grant is upon us, Ella has a few things to tell eligible riders about the program:
Every year the USHJA Foundation awards three junior riders the USHJA Foundation Gochman Family Grant to go to USEF Pony Finals. Applications open in January each year and all current USHJA junior members are welcome to apply. In 2015 I talked myself out of applying because I thought I wasn’t what the USHJA Foundation was looking for. A year later, I decided that I would apply and take my chances. I started writing my essays months before the applications opened.
I have wanted to go to the USEF Pony Finals for years. I’ve watched YouTube videos of riders and ponies going around that big, beautiful ring, and I wanted to get to do the same. I wanted the chance to spend a week at the mecca of ponies - the center of all the best pony hunters, jumpers, and equitation. I’ve seen pictures of riders participating in the clinics and wished that those of us back home could learn too. The opportunities to learn at Pony Finals sounded endless so I knew that I just needed to get there. When I heard I was one of the three chosen by the USHJA Foundation, I was blown away. Even though Pony Finals was still two months away, I was anxious to get to know the other 2017 recipients and the riders from previous years. I figured they would have great advice on how to get the most out of our experience and that they too shared a hunger to learn. So I started an online chat group to get ot know each other. Here are our profiles that we shared to start the conversation that has led to our friendships.
If you, or someone you know, are interested in applying for the USHJA Foundation Gochman Family Grant, please visit the Foundation’s website at ushjafoundation.org for all of the details, or consider donating to support the USHJA Foundation’s many great causes. My advice is: APPLY! Don’t let doubt get in your way.
(This expert was originally written for an published in the August 2017 Paisley Magazine)
Before going to USEF Pony Finals Last year, Ella hoped to not only get to experience showing, but first and foremost learn through listening, watching, and participating in everything that Pony Finals has to offer.
To hear more about what Ella learned from her time at Pony Finals, check our her blog entitled, “Pony Finals Notebook: Top Tips for Model Success.”