altThanks to everyone that submitted a 2013 entry, it was not an easy decision to choose from the talented riders.  Liz and Bill appreciate everyone's participation in keeping Emily's love for the sport alive.

I would like to thank all of the applicants for the 2013 Emily Parker St. John scholarship. It is never an easy task to pick a recipient from such talented young riders. Everyone took such great care with their applications and they were a lot of fun to watch and read.

The support that ABRT receives for the scholarship is overwhelming and it means a lot to us and the St. Johns.

We are excited to have Caitlin as our 2013 scholarship winner and we will continue to follow her development throughout the year.

Michelle

 

Caitlin Pennington

8th February 2013alt
Emily Parker St. John Memorial Scholarship


    The scorching sun chased the sweat down my neck as I glanced at my blistered and bloody fingers. I felt my muscles ache in the exhausting heat. What I wanted most was to rip off my sweltering jacket and helmet. It was just past blistering noon at a summer horse show when I asked myself, “why do I do this”?  Then I entered the ring. I guided my horse over the course of jumps trying to remember one hundred different things all while staying poised to look like I’m not doing anything at all. Even if I put in a perfect fluid round I could still be given last place. You learn to take criticism in this sport of opinion.


    There is something addictive about showing equitation horses. I can get last place over and over again but I still come back for more because once my hard work does pay off and I win, it’s a great feeling of satisfaction. It’s knowing that my responsibility, dedication, and passion have all come together and I have made it happen. It’s stepping foot into the Alltech arena at National Maclay Finals and knowing that I was the only person out of many in Alabama to even qualify for Maclay Finals is an indescribable feeling. There were times when I wanted to give up and never look back, but the spark inside of me never went out. My head could not keep my heart away. I started the year with a dream and let it take me over. Then a few short months later there I was in Kentucky at the National Horse Show, the host to top international horses and riders, and I was the only rider representing Alabama. I was star struck to say the least.


Aside from the adrenaline rush of competing, this sport is about so much more than just a win. I don’t do all of this just for a ribbon. It’s something about the bond with your horse, the early mornings, and late nights. It’s travelling to new places, and meeting new people. Saint Augustine said it best, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. I have learned and grown so much as a person just from my travels across the southeast. It made me everything I am today. I vividly remember when I went to the World Equestrian Games held in Kentucky October 2010. Being there in the midst of so many different cultures and countries united together all for the love and dedication of being equestrians was inspiring.


The experience and memories I gained from competing last year are absolutely priceless. However, this year I have taken alta step back from showing and have turned my attention to bringing along my young, green horses. I gained so much knowledge and technique that I have put to work on my young horses, and I am loving every minute bringing them along.  


    Riding horses has had a huge influence on my life. Everything I have worked for, everywhere I have been, everything I have seen, is all a part of who I am today. It’s like having a massive album filled with stamps and each of those stamps represents something I have experienced. I am humbled by this and appreciative to everyone, and every horse, who has helped shape me into who I have become today.

I also knew Emily while she was a working student at Windwood, and had a great deal of respect and admiration for her. All the horses loved Emily, and she had such a radiant personality, always helping with anything she could. Emily always had a positive attitude about everything and I really looked up to her. It would be an honor to carry on her gift and love for horses.
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