LEXINGTON, Ky.--Emma Teff of Renfrew, Pa., and Caroline Johnston of Upper Saddle River, N.J., are two of the five recipients of the USEF Higher Education Equestrian Scholarships for graduating high school seniors
Created to support students who are committed to continuing their involvement in equestrian sport while in college through an equestrian-related degree, volunteerism, or internship; riding on an intercollege equestrian team; or other equestrian-related activity, the scholarship awards a $1,000 grant to each recipient to be used towards education expenses at their college or university.
Teff will be attending the Purdue University this fall to pursue a degree in Engineering.
Teff is a committed dressage rider and has spent weeks away from home for athlete development programs caring for her horse, maintaining her own physical fitness, and preparing to pursue a rigorous undergraduate academic program.
“The determination, perseverance, and positive attitude I learned growing up with horses will serve me well as I take on college and my future career," said Teff. "My ultimate professional goal is to be an engineer and an entrepreneur with at least a master’s degree. I have chosen this path because I see it as the best way to utilize my strengths and interests to help other people. At its core, engineering is the practice of doing good for the world by putting problem-solving skills and an innovative mindset into practice.”
Johnston will be attending University of New Hampshire, pursuing her degree in Equine Studies.
Johnston has been riding for 12 years and credits her experiences working with horses as a key component for her love of learning and growth in key skills like patience, empathy, and self-awareness.
“I plan to major in equine studies, as well as ride on the IHSA team at the University of New Hampshire," said Johnston. "After college, I want to work as a hunt seat show trainer. My ultimate goal will be to open my own barn. I am eager to guide equestrians through their journeys in horse showing, proudly watching them excel as my students. Introducing first-time riders is also an exciting prospect. Eventually, I would like to also offer equine therapy in my barn. My goal is to spread the wellness that horses can offer. Bringing awareness to horses’ therapeutic abilities is incredibly important to me, as many people are unaware of how life-changing riding horses can be,” said Johnston. “I believe everyone deserves a chance to work with horses. With this scholarship, I can become a successful show trainer and barn owner, cultivating a new generation and community of riders.”
THE THREE other recipients include Samantha Adamczyk of Loxahatchee, Fla., who will be attending the Auburn University in the fall, beginning her studies in the university’s Animal Sciences - Equine program.
Adamczyk started riding at 12 years old and through hard work and a willingness to try, fail, and learn, she eventually achieved her goal of competing at an A-rated hunter/jumper show.
Adamczyk also rode for her high school’s Interscholastic Equestrian Association team, qualifying for IEA Hunt Seat Regional Finals in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“While I was abundantly prepared, it was a learning experience that I will never forget. Going to Regionals has taught me that there will always be a way to improve and learn more. Being a working student and competing in IEA have been fantastic opportunities for me to participate in a sport that I am passionate about and gather a wealth of equestrian knowledge. I want to continue this journey and further my experience by riding at the IHSA level in college,” said Adamczyk. “I also applied for the equine student manager position at Auburn University, my first choice of all the colleges I applied to. I hope to get this student position and expand more on my experience and skill set at the college level.”
Gracie Lynch of Berea, Ky,) is a dressage rider and will be pursuing degrees in Equine Rehabilitation and Pre-Veterinary Medicine at Midway University.
Lynch started riding at 7 years old and has spent that time developing her horsemanship skills both in and out of the saddle.
Even if Lynch was not able to ride during any given week, she was still at the barn watching and learning, particularly the young horses in training.
“Though the common term is industry, I liken the equine industry to more of a community. It is a community that may seem to be made up with people that have nothing in common on the outside, but the love of the horse connects us all,” said Lynch. “This love of horses has taken me on a journey unlike anything outside of the equine industry. I have learned important lessons, had unique experiences, and met some amazing people. This has not only impacted who I am today, but also what I want my future to look like.”
Maggie Sheehan of Perkinsville, Vt., is an eventer and plans to attend the University of Vermont, pursing a major in Animal Science with a pre-equine veterinarian track.
Sheehan loved everything about horses and riding from the very beginning, and said pursuing a career to give back to the animals who gave her so much was a no-brainer.
“I went from a shy, unconfident little rider to a well-rounded person who’s able to speak for myself, solve problems, think ahead, and keep pushing no matter the circumstances. Now, I navigate new life challenges with a steady demeanor, patience, and grit,” said Sheehan. “Every day I’m reminded of everything my trainer and each horse that comes in and out of my life has taught me. So I wasn’t really surprised when at the end of one day, sweeping the aisle while the late afternoon summer light danced through the barn, the thought crossed my mind: I could do this for the rest of my life. I want to help each horse as much as they’ve helped me. So, I’m pursuing a career in equine veterinary medicine.”