USHJA Youth Leadership Award and USHJA Nominee for USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award Announced

October 25, 2012




Lexington, KY- Each year, USHJA recognizes a junior member between the ages of 12 and 15 who demonstrates the potential of being a future leader in the equine industry. The ideal candidate exhibits a commitment and dedication to the USHJA through their promotion of equestrian sport by exemplary sportsmanship and serving as a role model to their peers. USHJA is proud to announce Hannah Bentz of Boca Raton, FL as the 2012 USHJA Youth Leadership Award recipient.

A model student at Spanish River High School, 15 year-old Hannah exemplifies the spirit of the Youth Leadership Award in and out of the horse show community. She is Captain of the school’s IEA Team, has been on the Honor Roll since middle school and in 2010 was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. Proud father, Steve Bentz, shared an insight to his daughter – that despite being of age for a driver’s permit and the offer of a car, his horse crazed teenager elected to forgo the dream of independence most kids want for the camaraderie of her horse and barnmates. Hannah enjoys spending time at the stable and is known to offer aid to other riders and/or horses whenever an opportunity arises, a trait that didn't go unnoticed by her trainers and led to Hannah’s summer position of barn manager. More than 20 horses validate Hannah’s commitment to proper care and complete horsemanship.

Hannah’s goals for the future sound simple enough for one who demonstrates maturity beyond her tender years; “Coaching an IEA team, providing riding lessons at reduced rates so people who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity can learn how to ride and care for horses, and continue my volunteer work with organizations such as the Equus Foundation to better the lives of horses and equestrians.”

Hannah will be presented the 2012 USHJA Youth Leadership Award commemorative trophy, a complimentary three-year USHJA Active Membership and a RevitaVet Infrared Therapy System with Back Pad, generously donated by RevitaVet, during the USHJA Annual Meeting’s Evening of Equestrians awards dinner on Tuesday, December 4 at 6:30PM.

Hannah Bentz - USHJA Youth Leadership Award Winner. Photo courtesy of Steve Bentz. Photos may be used in relation to this press release only

“The USHJA is a great organization that provides so many opportunities for so many people. I am honored to be recognized by such a prestigious organization and look forward to continuing my equestrian activities and involvement with USHJA” Hannah said.

An equally prestigious honor for young riders from every discipline is the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award. Hundreds of junior members under the age of 18 apply through his or her affiliate organizations to be considered for the award, which is presented at the USEF Annual Meeting. USHJA takes great pride in the selection process; USHJA member applications are reviewed by the USHJA Youth Committee, whose members select a nominee and an alternate to represent the USHJA in consideration for the USEF Youth Sportsman's Award.

The 2012 USHJA Nominee for the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award is Henley Adkins of Moorpark, CA.


Henley Adkins - USHJA Nominee for USEF Youth Sportsmanship Award. Photo courtesy of Henley Adkins. Photos may be used in relation to this press release only
Henley’s recommendation letters shared a common theme, her dedication to and love of equestrian sport, as well as being a natural role model of sportsmanship. A trainer from the stable where Henley rides shared how a young import with great equitation potential arrived to the barn in need of special attention, and that it was an equally young Henley who put in years of patience and kindness to develop him into a top ranked equitation horse, on which several other riders achieved numerous accolades. Henley’s instructor of College Prep Chemistry stated the 17 year-old possesses an innate ability to master abstract concepts, exceptional leadership skills in the lab groups and ranks among the top three percent of the class. A longtime family friend, Linda Shaffer, summed up Henley’s character by saying she doesn’t take anything for granted and loves teaching others the importance of hard work in academics and horsemanship – she is an example of what that hard work can bring.


Following graduation, Henley sees the future as very bright – “I plan to attend a four-year university and ride for an NCCA equestrian team, study Equine Science with a consideration of continuing into vet school. After college, I plan to become a professional with the ultimate goal of owning my own facility to teach young people on the tradition of classical horsemanship. I dream of a place where the well-being of the horse is put first along with the safety of the riders and where the amount of money you have doesn’t equal how successful you can be in the sport.”

USHJA is pleased to nominate Henley Adkins for the 2012 USEF Youth’s Sportsman’s Award and to recognize her many talents.

“You don't even know how excited and honored I am to have been chosen. I am so thankful
that I have found my passion in life and even more thankful that I've gotten the support to pursue it.” Henley said.

USHJA commends Hannah and Henley on their achievements and wishes them continued success in reaching all their goals.

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