The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce Kelly Finn, Adison Stark and Janie Wilder as this year’s recipients of the USHJA Gochman Grant for USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farms.
Finn, 16, of Port Jervis, New York, has been riding more than half of her life, catch riding many ponies and horses and showing whenever she gets the opportunity. She is always up for a challenge so that she continues to learn and improve her riding. Finn is described as having a wonderful attitude and being an excellent example to her peers.
“I am beyond grateful to be chosen for the Gochman Grant,” Finn said. “Thank you so much to the Gochman Family and the USHJA for making this possible. I cannot wait to meet the other girls in Kentucky and make so many memories!”
Stark, 12, of Bend, Oregon, has been riding since she was a toddler. She loves riding ponies and has always dreamed of being a pony kid and competing in Pony Finals. She is eager to learn and enjoys participating in riding clinics when she has the opportunity. Stark is described as driven, engaged and curious, working hard to achieve anything she puts her mind to.
“When I got the call it didn’t even seem real; it was like I was in a dream,” Stark said about receiving the news about the grant. “I am so grateful to the Gochman family for making my dream a possibility, and I am so excited to meet the many other incredible kids at Pony Finals!”
Wilder, 16, of Clinton, Mississippi, has been riding for around eight years. She is a working student and assists with all aspects of horse care in addition to riding almost every day. She is the team captain of her farm’s IEA team and strives to be a good example to the other riders on the team. According to those who know her, Wilder demonstrates outstanding teamwork and drive, and she promotes good horsemanship and sportsmanship.
“It is like a dream come true to be a Gochman Grant recipient!” Wilder said. “I’m so grateful to the Gochman family and to USHJA for providing me with this opportunity of a lifetime. I have worked very hard to get to where I am now, and I am very grateful to all the people who have helped me get to where I am today. I’m happy to finally be able to say that hard work does indeed pay off.”
The Grant is made possible by the generosity of Becky and David Gochman and their family. Each year, the USHJA offers three young pony riders the opportunity to attend and compete at USEF Pony Finals.
The Gochman Grant is open to current USHJA members under the age of 18 (per USEF rules), who have not previously participated in Pony Finals and who would not be able to attend Pony Finals without the assistance the grant provides. Individuals may only be awarded the grant once.
This grant is not strictly monetary in nature, but rather experience-based. In addition to the opportunity to compete at USEF Pony Finals, each grant recipient is provided access to professionals for training, entered into available clinics and exposed to other educational experiences throughout the week. In addition to financial need, each rider selected exemplifies the qualities most important in our sport: horsemanship, tenacity and good sportsmanship.
This marks the seventh year the USHJA Foundation has provided grants to help riders attend USEF Pony Finals, thanks to the generous support of the Gochman Family. Due to the cancellation of the 2020 USEF Pony Finals, last year’s recipients, Lulu Carney, Jocelyn Flannery and Eleanor Pieters, will also use their grants during this year’s event. Read more about the 2020 recipients here.
Other grant recipients have included Sofia McCoy (2019), Eddyn Molden (2019), Alexandra van der Woude (2019), Olivia Elmore (2018), Sydney Spevak (2018), Ryder Richardson (2018), Logan Blake Crouser (2017), Ella Doerr (2017), Olivia deStanley (2017), Judy Dettore (2016), Riley Hogan (2016), Cecillia Machado (2016) and Matthew Bravo (2015).
Applications for next year’s grant will open in January 2022. For more information about the grant, visit ushja.org/gochman.
Pony Finals is slated for August 9-15 at The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Up-to-date information about pony finals can be found here.
Photos provided by Finn, Stark and Wilder.