2024 Youth Bursary Recipients

Ontario Equestrian is committed to the development of youth in equestrian sport. Annually we award five – $1,000 bursaries to members between the ages of 14-17. The selection process is based on the individuals’ involvement with horses, their future goals, and letters of recommendation from their coaches. Family resources and academic achievements are also considered. The bursaries are used for riding lessons, clinics, competition fees, continuing education, and other learning opportunities to help them develop their skills and continue their passion for the sport.

The Youth Bursary applications are reviewed thoroughly and recipients are chosen by the incredible Youth Bursary committee. Although the committee members wish to remain unnamed, we thank each of them for their time, commitment, and passion for this program.

It is with great pleasure that we congratulate and announce the following 2024 Youth Bursary Recipients!

Kara Adams

City: Port Perry, ON
Discipline: Eventing/Dressage
Coach: Meagan Maloney

Description: “Life is like a jump split into four stages; approach, take-off, landing and get away.” This is Kara’s philosophy and is what propels her over life’s large hurdles. Her coach, Meagan, describes Kara as “dedicated, driven and an empathetic rider with a commitment to hard work, her horse’s well-being and most importantly, the needs of her family. In 2024 Kara’s focus and determination will be set on soaring over that next jump on her pathway to the NAYC as a full team member.”

Laura Da Silva-Findlay

City: Guelph, ON
Discipline: Hunter/Jumper
Coach: Laura Galbraith

Description: “Being the first rider in her family, Laura soon came to realize that riding “is not always sunshine and rainbows.” In love with the Connemara ponies at her riding school, Laura works at area boarding barns to support her lessons and volunteers at Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre. Working on her EC Learn to Ride 5, Laura’s coach (Laura Galbraith) comments that Laura understands that nothing in life worth doing is ever easy. With this attitude, we are confident Laura will succeed with her Level 5 and beyond!”

Amber Hillis

City: St. Mary’s, ON
Discipline: Hunter/Jumper
Coach: Kim Crawford

Description: “Riding since she was eight, Amber relishes every opportunity to ride a variety of horses. She enjoys the challenges and rewards of working with greener horses under the supervision of her coach Kim Crawford. As an active school athlete and volunteer on her leadership team, Amber also finds time to support those less fortunate through work in her community. In 2024 Amber is looking forward to her first show season with her new mount Boston.”

Robyn Freiheit

City: Vaughan, ON
Discipline: Hunter/Jumper
Coach: Dawn O’Neill

Description: “Keeping a journal of every lesson and taking careful notes of the judge’s comments will no doubt give Robyn an edge in her future competitions. Learning to braid manes and working at camps to pay her show fees is a testament to Robyn’s commitment to succeed.  These self-taught skills combined with her ability to work well independently and in a group as stated by her coach Dawn, are setting the stage for a successful 2024 season on the Ontario Equestrian Skills Development (OESD) series.”

Maika Steinberg

City: Sault St. Marie, ON
Discipline: Western
Coach: Jo-Anne Chevalier

Description: “Having completed her EC Learn to Ride Level 1 (Western), Maika now has her sights set on her Level 2 Western and challenging her English rider levels! Maika keeps herself busy as an avid volunteer at camps, lesson barns, and a therapeutic riding centre along with part-time jobs to help pay her way. Her coach Jo-Anne sees instructor level qualities in Maika describing her as “demonstrating exceptional determination with a desire to learn and a work ethic to obtain her goals.”

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