Virginia Millie Stearns riding THS Pia-Lena (Cathrin Cammett Photo)
The grant is awarded annually to the applicant who constructs the best essay detailing how his/her competitive experience has affected him/her and what it would mean to be awarded the grant. The winner is chosen by a selection committee, who were impressed with pieces of Stearns’ essay.
“The aspect I love most about horse showing is that showing works on my character. In the ring, I am judged on my outward performance, but it’s really what’s happening inside me that’s important,” Stearns wrote. “For example, horse showing teaches me I need to work really hard for what I want. It teaches me to continue pushing myself to be the best that I can. It shows me that hard work and determination pay off. All the hours of lessoning and riding every chance I can get is evident when I enter the show ring. Although not each trip goes exactly as I wish, I continually learn not only from my victories, but often more from my mistakes.”