by Judy Thacher (first published in the July 2015 Equiery print edition)
In January 2015, Trail Riders of Today (TROT) announced at the Horse World Expo in Timonium that it would be offering two $500 scholarships to young equestrians, ages 12-18, to help them pursue their equine activities. Applicants for the new Young Equestrian Scholarship Program were limited to Maryland residents who were current members of 4-H, Pony Club, FFA, licensed Maryland riding stables or another equine organization affiliated with the Maryland Horse Council. The Equiery and TROT’s newsletter simultaneously published an article detailing the eligibility requirements and the application process for the new program. Completed applications were due by April 15 and included a 300-word essay entitled “How horses have affected my life and how I plan to keep them in my future.” In addition, a letter of recommendation from the organization the applicant represented was required. All applicants received a complimentary one-year family membership in TROT.
Once received, all identifying information (except age) was removed from the applications which were then forwarded to a six-member Scholarship Committee drawn from TROT’s Board of Directors. Each application was independently scored using standardized criteria to evaluate the applicant’s history, dedication to horses and commitment to further developing his or her equestrian skills. The applicant’s plan for using the scholarship money was also carefully considered. A total of 25 applications were received from riders located in 12 counties in Maryland.
The Scholarship Committee is now pleased to announce that Abby Krohn from Chesapeake Beach and Shelby Hurley from Mardela Springs have each been selected to receive TROT’s 2015 Young Equestrian Scholarship Award. Both Abby and Shelby are 16 years old.
Abby Krohn has been riding since she was six years old and has been involved with 4-H in Calvert County for 10 years. She has been competing for three years and is a member of the Giddy-Up 4-H club. Individually she placed in the top three in Novice Senior Horse Judging and also placed in the top 10 for Hippology, thus qualifying to compete for the Maryland State team. In order to help pay for additional riding lessons, Abby has worked at Lucky Cricket Farm for four years. She mucks stalls, feeds and turns out the horses, and assists with lessons to support her “horse habit.” Abby has set a goal to earn her U.S. Dressage Federation Bronze Medal by the time she graduates from high school in 2017. She plans to use her scholarship to compete at the Colonel Bengt Ljungquist Memorial Championships (CBLM) in New Jersey as well as to compete in another show to gain her Bronze Medal. Abby will be a junior at Huntington High School in the fall.
Shelby Hurley is a member of the D.C. Chesapeake Pony Club which is affiliated with the United States Pony Club (USPC). She began riding at the age of 12 and now trains at Angus Acres Farm in Wicomico County where she also works caring for 14-18 horses. Shelby pays her own farrier bills, vet bills, entry fees, trailering charges, and lessons. She has attained her C1 rating through USPC and hopes to earn her next rating level this summer. Shelby’s goal is to qualify for the USPC Eventing Championships in Lexington, VA this year and eventually to compete on an Intercollegiate Equestrian team. Shelby is schooling her horse, Joker, for eventing, dressage and jumping. Since her region’s Pony Club has eliminated the eventing qualifying rally, Shelby must now attend two recognized eventing horse trials to qualify. She plans to use her scholarship to pay the entry fees and the USPC championship entry fee. Shelby plans to go to college and major in Veterinary medicine. She will begin her senior year at Mardela High School in the fall.
The TROT Board of Directors has long recognized that it is the young riders of today who will become the “trail riders of tomorrow” and be responsible for preserving the environment and Maryland’s beautiful trails for equestrian use. The TROT Scholarship Committee and the entire TROT membership would like to commend all 25 scholarship applicants for the outstanding job they did in completing their scholarship applications. They speak volumes about the dedication and commitment of our young equestrians.