The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) and the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund have awarded the 2018 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Grant to two recipients, Ava Stearns, 17, of Chilmark, MA, and Juliette Joseph, 16, of San Diego, CA. The Washington International Horse Show runs October 23-28, 2018, at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
“We are thrilled to recognize both Ava and Juliette as recipients of the 2018 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Grant,” said WIHS President and Selection Committee Member Victoria Lowell. “Both of these young women are exceptionally deserving of this honor and through the generous support of Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, we are honored to recognize both of these extraordinarily deserving young women. WIHS is proud to help emerging equestrian athletes achieve their dream of competing at our sport’s highest level.”
The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund is the title sponsor of the WIHS Equitation Finals and developed the WIHS Equitation Grant as a special component to its partnership with WIHS. The WIHS Equitation Grant will provide Stearns and Joseph, as the grant’s recipients, with the opportunity to participate in the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals without the significant financial commitment that typically accompanies the event.
“The incredible quality of the applicants for the 2018 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Grant speaks volumes about the future of our sport,” said Bill Rube, Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund executive director and Selection Committee member. “I can truly say that each of the applicants was impressive in their own regard, and, ultimately, the selection committee decided to award both Ava and Juliette with the unique opportunity to represent themselves, their families, and their community at the WIHS Equitation Finals.”
Expenses covered by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Grant include travel and lodging for the rider and parent, the equitation entry and application fees, equine transportation and stall fees, two tickets to the VIP platform and more. Now in its 27th year, the WIHS Equitation Finals is a rigorous three-phase competition held over two days. A panel of three judges test and evaluate the riders in hunter, jumper and work-off rounds to determine the best of the best.
“I was so excited to receive such an amazing grant for such a special horse show,” said Stearns, who trains with Missy Clark and John Brennan at North Run in Warren, VT. “Last year was the first time I attended to compete in the equitation and it is one of my favorite horse shows. I feel so lucky to have gotten this incredibly generous opportunity.
“I really appreciate that they make this grant so accessible to everybody,” continued Stearns who topped both the hunter and jumper phases at 2017’s Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals. “Every rider wants to go to WIHS and this grant is such an amazing way to make that happen for riders like me who may have not been able to attend otherwise.”
Representing a strong contingent of West Coast riders who flock to WIHS each year, Joseph will attend the event for the first time since competing in the Pony Equitation ranks thanks to the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Grant.
“WIHS is one of the coolest horse shows I have ever been to,” said Joseph, who trains with Robyn Stiegler. “From the horses being on the streets to all the spectators who come to watch, it makes it so special and has an exclusive feeling.
“When I last competed at WIHS, I looked up to the riders doing the equitation and wanted to be there one day,” continued Joseph. “We didn’t know if I would be able to attend after I qualified, so I am excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity. I am also so happy that I get to go with my dad [Michael] because he doesn’t get to go to a lot of my horse shows.”
Former Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals champions include former world No. 1 ranked rider Kent Farrington and two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward.
Invitations to compete in the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals will be sent to the top 40 junior riders based on points earned during the qualifying period in the East Coast and West Coast Leagues with 30 riders invited from the East Coast League and 10 riders from the West Coast League.