Edited Press Release
Lexington, Ky.—Nov. 6, 2023—The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce the 2023 recipient of the J.T. Tallon Memorial Equitation Grant as Clare Friedlander, 15, of Victor, New York. Each year, the USHJA Foundation awards $1,000 to one Junior rider who has qualified for a national Equitation championship at a fence height of 3′ or higher to assist in attending the event.
“It is an honor to have been chosen as the 2023 J.T. Tallon Memorial Equitation Grant recipient,” said Friedlander. “I have had to work extremely hard for everything in this sport and by receiving this grant, it gives me great reassurance that my hard work is paying off.”
Friedlander has been riding for 10 years and recently started competing in the 3′ to 3’6” Equitation and Jumper rings. In the winter, she competes at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida, and in the summer, she competes for several weeks between HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York, and at Saratoga Horse Shows in Stillwater, New York.
One of her biggest accomplishments was training a pony to compete in the Large Pony Hunters at the 2021 USEF Pony Finals in Lexington, Kentucky. Thanks to her perseverance and consistency, Friedlander says it was more rewarding to have her pony march around the Rolex Arena as if he had been there a million times than all of the ribbons they won together.
While Friedlander has a great passion for showing, she is most appreciative of her relationship with and doing right by her horses. This includes stall cuddling, grooming for herself, and being the first and last one at the barn.
“The bond I have with my horses has always been more important than any ribbon or jump height for me,” Friedlander said. “I have to work for everything in this sport as I do not have grooms or receive full training. I enjoy the process from scrubbing my horse the day before a show to make sure they are sparkling clean, to late-night checks.”
Outside of caring for her own horses, Friedlander welcomes any working student opportunity to expand her horsemanship knowledge with aspirations to run her own barn in the future. She credits these experiences with helping her understand how and why different barns are run a certain way.
“I have had let down after let down for the past two years,” she continued. “After finding out my horse was injured and then a week later I found out my pony had rare cancer in both eyes, to say I have been through thick and thin would be an understatement. The love I have for this sport is way too strong to ever knock me down.”
Friedlander would like to move up in the Jumper ring after attending a 3’6” Equitation National Final, as she believes it will help set her up both physically and mentally for the next step in her riding career. This year, Friedlander qualified for the Hamel Foundation National Horse Show 3’3″ Equitation Championship, the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal Finals, the EMO Insurance/USHJA 3’3″ Jumping Seat Medal Finals, and the USHJA 3’3″ Hunter Seat Medal Finals.
“I cannot begin to express my gratitude towards my family for supporting me every step of the way,” she continued. “I am beyond excited to use this grant to help further my education not only as a rider but also as an individual both inside and outside of the barn.”
The J.T. Tallon Memorial Equitation Grant was created to honor the late J.T. Tallon’s commitment to encouraging excellence in the equitation arena by inspiring junior riders with a passion for equitation to pursue their goals. The grant was developed by friends and family of the Lexington, Virginia, horseman and USHJA member who was dedicated to helping riders excel in the equitation arena.
Learn more about the J.T. Tallon Memorial Equitation Grant at ushja.org/jttallon.
About the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association
The United States Hunter Jumper Association, as the official Hunter/Jumper affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation, is a competition-based sport organization that serves our members through educational programs, awards and recognition, communication, and rules. We provide a wide array of programs for all Hunter/Jumper levels, and we are mindful of the well-being of our equine partners. Additionally, we are committed to preserving the history of our sport, and through our Foundation, we support charitable and benevolent services. Learn more at ushja.org.