Opportunity of a Lifetime: 12 Riders Explore Career Paths During MET’s Grant Week at Stonewall Farm

Photo © Brianna Engelkemeir.

By Tatum Mitchell

This week, 12 Metropolitan Equestrian Team students received grants for a week-long equestrian training session at Emily Elek’s Stonewall Farm in Ixonia, Wisconsin. The group of young riders had two to three lessons per day and learned hands-on from various industry professionals, including licensed massage therapist Mary Kate Henry and veterinarian Victoria Gnat.

Throughout the week, students have been immersed in interactive learning about horse care, various equestrian job options and riding lessons. MET student Simone Taylor says she learned a lot working with Elek. 

“I rode six different horses. I learned during each lesson that no matter what horse you’re on, your seat and leg should come first before you use your reins,” says Taylor. “In the lessons, Emily was super clear about our objectives. She told us what we were doing wrong, and how to fix it, which was super helpful.”

MET student Janie Wilder. Photo © Brianna Engelkemeir.

MET is a nonprofit organization for young riders who are passionate about horses and learning, providing students nationwide with grants to attend programs and prepare for college. Stonewall Farm has been an immersive equestrian education learning site for MET students since 2019. 

“I had a lot of fun, I hope to do this again. I really liked riding all the different horses, and learning how to ride multiple types of horses and ponies was a lot of fun,” says MET student Aiva Gamelin. “Seeing how everyone rides differently and helping out around the barn was a good learning experience. Having a roommate at the hotel was really fun too.” 

Gnadt gave a clinic to students while treating a horse, she is a veterinarian, veterinary spinal manipulation therapist and veterinary acupuncturist. Gnadt evaluates Stonewall ponies weekly, she tailors therapy to horses needs with complementary medicine or regular medicine. 

“It’s amazing that young and up and coming equestrians are exposed to these therapies. Some people have never had these therapies done to themselves, and they’re not aware that these therapies are available to horses and how beneficial they can be,” says Gnadt. “I hope that the next generation of horse people will continue to use these modalities, and in the end have happier, healthier and better performing horses.”

Licensed massage therapist Mary Kate Henry teaches the MET students. Photo © Brianna Engelkemeir.

Henry is a licensed massage therapist for humans, but her practice is primarily equine bodywork. She demonstrated her practices on multiple horses, and taught students a few techniques to do themselves.

“I’m honored to have been asked to address these aspiring horse industry professionals,” says Henry. “Hopefully they will use the introduced techniques to develop a sense of what the horse’s response to touch may indicate, a valuable tool for any person involved in equine management.”

 Helen Gurley Brown Genius Grant recipients and the Becky Family Grant recipient are participating in Stonewall’s training session as well as equestrian courses at Clarkson University with Dr. Piper Klemm.

“Having these students here has been an amazing experience. They have been fully immersed in our daily training, rehab, and sales program,” says Elek. “With multiple riding lessons a day and studying with various equine professionals, they are learning really valuable lessons.”  

MET student Anna Kovacs. Photo © Brianna Engelkemeir.

Metropolitan Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization aimed towards supporting young equestrians’ athletic and academic achievement through scholarships, grants, college preparations and a wide variety of educational programs. MET promotes inclusion and equity; the organization provides young riders with access to the learning opportunities and life lessons that come with being a member of the equestrian community. To learn more and donate visit: https://www.metropolitanequestrianteam.org/ 

MZ Farms is a family-run equestrian facility dedicated to the development of young riders and horses. Cathy, Steve, and Lily Muzzy are committed to taking care of their horses and providing support for young riders in various ways. MZ Farms believes horses can change the world for the better. Learn more by visiting their website: https://mzfarmsllc.com 

Helen Gurley Brown Foundation, established in 2010, awards grants to individuals and helps fund programs from their starting point. Helen Gurley Brown and her husband, David Brown, helped create the Foundation from their trust and Helen’s lived experiences, making a difference one person at a time. To learn about about Helen Gurley Brown and the Foundation, click here: ​​https://www.thehgbfoundation.org 

Helen Gurley Brown Genius Grant Recipients:

Savannah Bryant

Avia Gamelin

Olivia Korzep

Anna Kovacs

Darrah Reilly

Jillian Santangeli

Janie Wilder

Rachael Wright

The Becky Family Grant Recipients:

Simone Taylor

Important Links

Piper Klemm, The Plaid Horse, The Plaidcast, Blog, Press Releases, Magazine, Subscribe, Contact Us, Meet Team TPH, Show Strides, American Equestrian School, Clarkson Courses, Metropolitan Equestrian Team, The HGB Foundation, MZ Farms, Stonewall Farm


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