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CRA Scholarship Winners 2011

2011 CRA Scholarship Winners

Dedication Award

Kelsey Haney
A scholarship that rewards dedication is a very special gift. It looks at the integrity of a person, the commitment that person has made to the opportunity in question, and the confidence with which they are pursuing their goals. At Cedar Ridge, we are blessed with many wonderful riders who work very hard top perfect their skills and their knowledge of horses. Sometimes life presents individuals with challenges outside of the barn; challenges that might deter us from pursuing our goals, our dreams. There is a family at Cedar Ridge who has faced a lot of challenges in the past year or so, and a young woman in that family who has had to push past conflicts in her personal life and keep her eyes on her equine goals. She has allowed her time with horses to be her therapy, her lifeline to who she is as an individual. In the past year this young rider has worked to improve her hands, her legs, and her seat. She has begun showing in outside competition, she has achieved one of her personal goals this year by successfully competing in Saddle Seat riding. At times I am sure it would have been easier to quit, but she has been able to leave the outside world at the barn door, and keep her mind focused on her riding goals, We are very proud of how her riding has improved, and everything that she has achieved this year. For these reasons, Kelsey Haney is the recipient of the 2011 Cedar Ridge Dedication Award and a $1500 College Scholarship.

Best Attitude Award

Grace Rodemann
It is always hard to decide the winner of the the Best Attitude Scholarship each year. We are always impressed with the dedication and drive that each of our riders brings to their practices and their shows throughout the year. We see our riders struggle and overcome many different challenges as they grow and experience different horses, different exercises, and different shows. They say if adversity doesn’t kill you it will only make you stronger. The student receiving the Best Attitude Scholarship for 2011 probably has been frustrated many days from being told “no” when she doesn’t want to hear it. This rider has had to prove that her desires to ride, show, and compete are greater than the challenges that stand in her way. Over the past year this rider has been focused on becoming strong enough to compete in walk-trot-canter at the fun show. Over the past 12 months, I have never heard her pity herself; she is always focusing on what she needs to work on to achieve her goal. I am proud to report that last week this rider finally achieved her goal and successfully competed in the Fall Fun Show in walk-trot- canter. Your size on the outside should not determine your ability to persevere. As she is affectionately known around the barn, “Little Grace” Rodemann is our 2011 Best Attitude Award winner, and at the age of 10, has earned herself a $1500 College Scholarship.

Sportsmanship Award

Dakota Ryan
When I searched for a definition of Sportsmanship, I found the synonyms much more compelling –fairness, goodness, honor, sincerity and virtue were a few of the words people used to describe this word. Another resource described Sportsmanship as “treating other players the way you would like to be treated regardless of winning or losing.” We have a wonderful group of riders who faithfully practice sportsmanship in competition, but I believe sportsmanship can go beyond just the show ring. There is one rider who represents the many different definitions of Sportsmanship. She comes to every lesson with a big smile on her face, she is up for the challenge of any horse, she evaluates each ride acknowledging improvements and shortcomings. She is encouraging to her fellow riders, helping every person she encounters feel special and appreciated. She volunteers to help at Cedar Ridge events, and horse shows every way she can. She attended every schooling show, not as an exhibitor, but as a volunteer –and doled out confidence to every rider, with a word of encouragement before and after every ride. At the fun show just last week, she graciously gave up her horse, so that another rider could have the chance to show, and she did it without hesitation. The horse she gave up won, and she did not, she never even gave it another thought, and probably hasn’t until I just pointed this fact out. I know many of you would agree that in many ways, Dakota Ryan has proven herself the worthy recipient of the 2011 Sportsmanship Award, and a $1500 College Scholarship.

Most Improved Rider Awards

Alyssa Smuda-John, Alayna Lotto
For the first time in Cedar Ridge History we have a “tie” if you will, for the Most Improved Rider Award.So this year we have two Most Improved Rider Awards. Improvement is defined in the dictionary as development through education and experience. I thought this definition was fine, but I felt like we can do better, so I made a Cedar Ridge definition for “Improvement”. “As successful educators developing riders as the future of the horse industry, Cedar Ridge strives to improve its riders and clients by educating them with new challenges and different horses; thereby encouraging them to prove what they know by demonstration of their skills through the competent execution of various exercises on a number of different mounts, in a variety of settings, under varying levels of stress through practice, competition and events– I thought that was a pretty thorough definition. When we consider riders for the Improved Rider Award we look at the way riders faced adversity in their riding education and how they are overcoming these challenges throughout the year.The first rider chosen for the Most Improved Rider Award has been working on her horse knowledge and riding competency since 2007. She has grown into a strong young rider, eager to climb on any horse, hunt seat, saddle seat, lazy or hyper. It wasn’t very long ago that this wasn’t the case. This rider used to yearn for the “kiddie pool” of horses, wishing to only practice the things she already knew – posting on the correct diagonal, walking with a head set. It has only been in the last 12 months that I have finally seen her starting to become the young equestrian I know she can be. We worked very hard this year, and spent many lessons learning to control our speed at the trot and the canter. She dedicated herself to working on her show ring presence, ring management and feeling confident on many different horses. She was introduced to the show bridle and began her Class A career. It only took 9 fun shows, but as her 10 and Under days are drawing to an end, our rider finally pulled it all together and took home the “Roses” from the Cedar Ridge Fun Show, I might add it was not on her Fun Show horse, but the one she had to “catch-ride” in the championship. Alyssa Smuda-John has worked her way into a confident riding seat, a $1500 college scholarship and is one of our winners tonight for the 2011 Most Improved Rider Award.

Our final Scholarship recipient has, like many students this year, dedicated herself to conquering the canter. There were many lessons where I wasn’t sure we were going to stay secure in the saddle. There were many moments were I thought she would surely get discouraged, or scared, or want to give up, but the more she cantered, the better she got, and as her canter seat has developed, I have had the joy of witnessing her proficiency grow on many different horses. Not only has her confidence grown in the canter, but her trots have gotten prettier, giving her the freedom and the ability to ride more advanced horses at a higher degree of difficulty. Over the past year this rider has moved into the show bridle,and competed in many horse shows outside of Cedar Ridge, including the beginning of her Class A show career. As I think back to the beginning of 2011, and consider how far this rider has grown in her competency for handling herself in the saddle, I know that she is the perfect candidate for this special scholarship. Now that she can canter entire lessons without giving Miss Heather white hair, Alayna Lotto has earned herself a $1500 College Scholarship and the other Most Improved Rider Award.

High Point Winner is Laura Morton.
What an exciting year it has been in the Cedar Ridge show program; many new faces, new teams, and amazing accomplishments. Every year we like to honor and recognize the young rider who garnishes the highest number of awards throughout the show season. One young rider excelled tremendously this year with not one, but two new horses to learn to show and ride – a fact she should be proud of, to say the least! Laura Morton endured sadness and disappointment when her horse Slammy could not compete this year, but she worked really hard, and went to “Plan B”. Laura was already preparing to show her new young horse, CRF Intoxicating, but she was also willing to try out another new mount Good Vibrationss. Her choices and her dedication proved rewarding, and Laura rode and drove her way into the top spot at Cedar Ridge. Laura took home 3 national top tens, numerous Regional awards and many Class A ribbons at a number of shows in the Half-Arabian Country divisipn on her two horses. We are very proud of her commitment to her horses and riding, and are excited to see what 2012 brings to this passionate young woman. Cedar Ridge is pleased to award Laura Morton the 2011 High Point Winner Award and a $2000 College Scholarship!