Hillary Smith, a William Woods University freshman from Naperville, Ill., recently received a $10,000 scholarship from The United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA). Smith is double majoring in biology and equestrian science at WWU.
USHJA recently began offering scholarships to young riders wishing to further their education. The country is divided into “zones,” and Smith won the scholarship for Zone 5 (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky).
Smith was recognized at the Kentucky National Show at the Kentucky Horse Park Sept. 18. In addition to the scholarship money, she received the honor of having a jump at the Kentucky Horse Park feature her name. The jump, in the shape of a bookshelf containing books, will be used for hunter/jumper competitions.
Applicants had to fill out extensive forms, including information about their riding experience, academic requirements, demonstrated leadership abilities and financial need. They also were required to write an essay on how their experience with horses has prepared them for college.
Smith was a mentor for Operation Snowball, a substance abuse prevention program at her school, and she was also a volunteer for Ready-Set-Ride, a therapeutic recreation riding facility. Her career goal is to be an orthopedic surgeon, physician’s assistant or veterinarian.
“This will really help me pay for school, as well as help with networking,” said Smith. “It is amazing how many people I have met through this, and how many world-renowned trainers. It has been a great experience and I’m just so thrilled I won.”