Denise VanPatten and Nora Hanlon Receive Inaugural Naomi Blumenthal Memorial Training Grant

Edited Press Release

Lexington, Ky.—Dec. 7, 2021—The recipients of the inaugural USHJA Naomi Blumenthal Memorial Training Grant were announced during the State of the Association on Sunday, December 5 during the 2021 USHJA Annual Meeting, presented by Equicore. Denise VanPatten and Nora Hanlon are the recipients of the grant this year, which was created in honor of Naomi Blumenthal to support the furtherance of equestrian education.

Blumenthal was an avid horsewoman who exemplified true servant leadership through her time and commitment as a volunteer, committee member, board member and officer with numerous equestrian sport and benevolent organizations. Blumenthal was an educator and was passionate about teaching, mentoring and sharing her knowledge about equestrian sports with others.

VanPatten, of Baldwinsville, New York, knew Blumenthal and was touched by how supportive the horsewoman was of her ideas and goals, serving as a mentor and encouraging her to make her goal of coordinating a clinic a reality. With the grant, VanPatten hopes to bring a clinician to Syracuse and would love for the clinic to become an annual event.

Denise VanPatten of Baldwinsville, New York

“Receiving this grant is very humbling based on the fact that it is dedicated to Naomi Blumenthal and therefore giving me the chance to honor her memory and keep her legacy alive,” VanPatten said. “In doing so, I hope to find a way to bring equestrians together with professional horsemen that have been praised for both their standards of humanity and classical teaching methods.”

Hanlon, of Schenectady, New York, has had an interest in judging for many years. From watching at the in gate to attending Ask the Judges sessions, her interest has continued to grow and inspired her to get more involved in the framework of the industry. Hanlon plans to use the grant to complete the small “r” judge requirements.

Nora Hanlon of Schenectady, New York.

“I’m honored to be one of the first recipients of the training grant in Naomi Blumenthal’s name,” Hanlon said. “Naomi was so generous to both the USHJA and the IHSA. In using these funds to obtain my judge’s license, I plan to also give back to the industry that has given me so much reward.”

The grant, which was created in partnership with the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association and The Professional Horsemen’s Association of America, awards $1,500 to at least one member per year. For more information about the Naomi Blumenthal Memorial Training Grant, visit