Horse Sport Young Rider Scholarship Essay
Winner: Martine Grenon
My dream has come true! And I know that means I’m fortunate. I also know my dream couldn’t have come true without the support of my friends, coach and parents.
I made it to the Royal! Since I can remember loving horses, I have always wanted to show at the Royal. It all started at a summer camp when I was seven. My mother thought it was daycare, so she could go to work, but I had a plan. In some ways I’m lucky that my parents are not riders, that they know nothing about the industry. If they knew what summer camp was leading to, I’d have been sent off to a local drama camp.
A full summer of camp led to lessons, that to part-boarding, then showing Trillium and ultimately to this year. My mother is a teacher and my father is in retail at Home Depot. They made it clear that a horse lease and the ‘A’s were not in their budget. But they agreed that I could lease a horse if I paid the lease fee, vet and farrier, and that I could show the A Circuit if I paid the show costs myself. I used my savings from three years of mucking stalls, working at a local grocery store and two years of summer camp to lease Skye, one of my best friends. (He is taking me to the Royal). Then all my best laid plans began to go astray. I had enough remaining money for four shows. But I lost my part time job in June and the summer jobs seemed to be taken. With difficulty, I told my coach that I was finished showing this season, that I couldn’t afford to go on. At that point I was in 21st place in Children’s, and 2nd in the Rider’s Habit Children’s Medal. My very persuasive coach told my parents that this might be ‘my’ year; that I was doing well, and should continue showing. My parents and I had one of those ‘big’ talks. They agreed to borrow money to pay for my show season.
I began riding at summer camp on various school horses. I took lessons through grade 3 and 4, attending summer camp and ultimately working there. At ten years old I managed to part-board a horse at a friend’s farm where she supplied lessons. After two years I found a three year old pony via the web, which was a free lease. The owner said I only had to pay for lessons, shows and half of the board. I rode Missy for four years, with help from my coach I taught her everything she knows. We trained and learned together. A year ago was my last year with her, and we were 7th in Large Pony at the Trillium level. With continued good luck, I found Skye, a six year old warmblood cross, and met Randy and Ryan Roy. Ryan has been an amazing trainer and has helped me through the ups and downs of the A circuit. I also had wonderful barn support, from friends lending a saddle to a complete cheering section at the shows. This year I was reserve champion at Summer Festival in Palgrave and champion in Ottawa at the National Tournament. My final standing in the Children’s Division is 10th, and 2nd in the Rider’s Habit Children’s Medal.
Recently, for my final year of high school, I changed schools from a local York Region school, to a Toronto district school which supports dedicated outside activities. To attend this school, an interview with the school director and letter of recommendation from my coach was required. This program supports riding by allowing time off for shows, which I make up in my own time. I plan to go to Florida for the winter, in a working role. This school will allow me to continue my courses from Florida and make up time when I return. I am focusing on English, math and sciences at school. I am not yet sure where this will take me in university, but I do hope my future career will involve horses. I have maintained an honors average each year.
I feel I deserve the Horse Sport Young Rider Scholarship since I have dedicated myself to riding for the past ten years, from the time when I first discovered the sport at seven years of age. My parents have supported me an incredible amount this past year and I cannot ask them for more financially. I will not be able to lease a horse or show one this coming year without outside support. If I did continue to compete I would like to move up into the Junior Hunter Division and aim for the Royal again.
My dream has come true; I simply don’t want it to end, just yet.