BY IRENE ELISE POWLICK
Returning for the second year, the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund has sponsored the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Finals, and has also sponsored the WIHS Equitation Grant, which allows for a deserving young rider to compete in the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals without the financial burden of doing so.
A believer in the equitation pipeline and a major supporter, Lindsay Maxwell began sponsoring the WIHS Equitation Final with her Charitable Fund in 2017, as well as the Grant that accompanied it. Abigail Brayman was the first recipient of the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Grant, and is followed by two outstanding candidates, Ava Stearns and Juliette Joseph.
“This year when we got the applications, there were two really qualified candidates who stood out,” explained Bill Rube, Executive Director of the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund and Selection Committee member. “Lindsay is actively involved, and she decided she couldn’t award [the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Grant] to just one of the riders.” Thus, both Joseph and Stearns received the grant this year.
Juliette Joseph, 16, from San Diego, CA, came to WIHS for the second time, thanks to finding an email about the Grant in her spam folder. “I checked [the folder] just a few days before the deadline, and immediately applied. I didn’t really think I would get it, but I thought I might have a chance,” Joseph said. Sending in the application worked out, and she was given the opportunity to compete at WIHS.
This year, Joseph was without her normal trainer, Robyn Stiegler. Instead, Joseph trained with Ken and Emily Smith at their Ashland Farm and rode their Carlo E in the final. “I didn’t know if I would be able to show here, even though I had qualified, but when I found out the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Grant was given to me, I knew it would be possible,” explained Joseph. “It’s amazing to be able to ride here thanks to the Grant.”
Ava Stearns was the second recipient of the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Equitation Grant, which made competing at WIHS easier financially. Stearns found out about the Grant through a family friend, and with the guidance of trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan, who have trained other past recipients, she was able to apply and receive it. She returned to Washington after finishing sixth in the 2017 Finals, and ended up 9th overall in the Equitation Finals on Eclipse, while Stearns also picked up wins in the Junior Hunters on Cartello Z and Cristiano. Stearns said, “It’s so amazing to receive [the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Equitation Grant]; it’s so generous of [Lindsay] to have a grant like this, and I’m so lucky that I got chosen.”