The Ontario Equestrian Federation is excited to announce that it will be taking the reins of Ontario Has Talent, a grassroots program that has distributed close to $50,000 to support youth Dressage riders.
“With the structure and processes of the OEF, the Ontario Has Talent program will be able to move from a single discipline, being Dressage, which it currently supports, to expand its programs to other disciplines,” says Marc Nicols, vice-president of the OEF and one of the founding directors of Ontario Has Talent. “The next group we are looking to expand this model to is going to be the Eventers. In the future, the program will be rolled out to all partnering disciplines that the OEF supports.”
Ontario Has Talent was started two years ago by two mothers, Gabriele Sutton and Nathalie Lawson, who saw a need to support the up-and-coming young riders who are the future of equestrian sport.
“The Ontario Has Talent program fills a few deep gaps – a gap in education funding and in youth talent identification and development. It helps those youth and young riders who want to continue their educational career and riding career in opening those pathways to achieve their goals,” says Nicols, who identified the need for Ontario Has Talent to expand its program. He saw the Ontario Equestrian Federation as the natural solution and it was overwhelmingly supported by the board of directors of the OEF.
In 2014, Ontario Has Talent will be providing more than $27,000 in support of North American Junior and Young riders who have qualified and met selection criteria. In addition, funding will also be provided to contributing coaches: Belinda Trussell, David Marcus, Tom Dvorak and Diane Creech.
Cheque presentations will be made in Kentucky during the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships in July at a special event to celebrate the amazing successes of these Ontario athletes.