The mission of the Optimum Youth Equestrian Scholarship is to provide opportunities for youth aged 17-27 from marginalized communities to become involved or stay involved in horse sports through financial awards and mentorship focusing on not only horsemanship and equestrian pursuits, but also career planning and education.
We believe that opportunities for riding, training, and showing are not easily attainable to individuals facing socioeconomic and accessibility hurdles as well as overt and passive discrimination based upon their race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Together we seek to bridge this gap through the sharing of knowledge, opportunities, and solidarity.
I am the author of theblackequestrian.com , a blog created to chronicle my journey as a black adult beginner rider chasing my dream of becoming a showjumper. I began riding in the summer of 2018. In the past two years I have been a working student and a consistent lesson student. I bought my dream horse, a 5-year-old off the track Thoroughbred named Bear in February of 2020 and we are growing together to make our debut in the hunter and jumper ring. As a rider of colour in a predominantly white sport, I use my blog and social media platforms to highlight and uplift other riders of colour as well as to touch on ways to encourage more diversity and inclusion in the equestrian community.
I am a mental health researcher by day and an equine massage therapist by night. Horses have been an all-consuming passion for as long as I can remember but riding lessons and horse shows were hard to come by until I joined the University of Pittsburgh’s equestrian team in college. This opportunity was a wonderful springboard into the equestrian life and through my connections on the team, I found the barn where I would meet my heart horse, Charlie Brown. I hope to act as a conduit for other passionate young equestrians to find opportunities that enable a joyful, passionate life full of aspirations and, of course, horses.
I began competing with horses at a young age in 4-H and then with the intercollegiate equestrian team at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics and Nutrition. I continue to start young horses under saddle and re-train problem horses through my business, Ely Equine LLC. I develop all of my own competition horses from the ground up, often raising or buying youngsters to bring along. I enjoy riding all disciplines and any breed of horse. My main passion however is Dressage and Working Equitation. I feel we never know enough and can always gain more tools for our toolbox when working with horses.