Two members of Central Ontario Pony Club Branches have won $1,000 Ontario Equestrian Federation bursaries to pursue further equine training and/or education.  They are Stacy Bootsma of the Rising Star Pony Club and Tracy Ryan of the Whitchurch Pony Club, both 16 years old.

Ms Bootsma has been a Pony Club member since the age of eight and has participated in all Pony Club disciplines with her pony Reese, her favourites being Prince Philip Games (“PPG”) and show jumping. She was a member of the 2007 National Pre-Training Drill Team Champions and competed in PPG A Zones and Nationals. She was also the 2008 Reserve Regional Champion in Entry Division show jumping.  Ms Bootsma was also a recipient of the OEF’s “Send a Kid to Conference” program. This enabled her to take the two day National Coaching Certification Program course. She plans to finish her mentoring with her coach Marsha Bloom and obtain her instructors certificate.  Ms Bootsma plans to study Marine biology when she completes high school. 

Ms Ryan has been riding since the age of seven at the Whitchurch Riding Academy in Mount Albert.  She is an active member of the Whitchurch Pony Club and has competed at various shows including Pony Club dressage, show jumping and rallies, as well as eventing, combined and short courses.  She is Whitchurch Pony Club’s Youth Representative on the Branch Executive.  For the past two years Ms Ryan has worked with her coach to train a green horse (Sammy) that had not been ridden for several years. Last year Ms Ryan showed Sammy and successfully took her to the Central Ontario Regional Pony Club show jumping finals, placing sixth overall in the year-end standings for the Entry Division. This year she plans to compete in the Central Ontario Regional quiz, in show jumping (in a higher Division than Entry), and possibly as Whitchurch’s Captain at D-Rally.  In the future Ms Ryan hopes to pursue a career working with animals.

Both young ladies work for their coaches as stable hands, and as councillors/instructors at their barns’ summer camps.

Every year the Ontario Equestrian Federation awards bursaries to deserving young riders.  For 2009, four of the 11 awards went to current members of Pony Club Branches in the Central Ontario and St. Lawrence-Ottawa Valley Regions, with another two going to Pony Club alumnae from these Regions.  The Ontario Equestrian Federation is a not-for-profit sport governing office that provides education, leadership and support to individuals, associations and companies in Ontario’s horse community. It provides its members with a variety of services, programs, and benefits, and represents their interests to the general public, affiliated organizations and government.