Youth Archive: USHJA Youth Leadership Award 2011-2012 and
USHJA Nominee for the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award 2006-2012

2012 USHJA Youth Leadership Award - Hannah Bentz

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.

2012 USHJA Nominee for the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award - Henley Adkins

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

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.



2011 - Harding and Pope Awarded for their Sportsmanship


USHJA is proud to congratulate Taylor Harding as the 2011 recipient of the inaugural USHJA Young Horseman’s Award and Jacob Pope as the USHJA nominee for the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award. Harding and Pope will be recognized at the USHJA Annual Meeting during the Evening of Equestrians awards dinner. Harding will receive a complimentary three-year active USHJA membership and Pope will receive a $500 grant for training and education. Pope will also be considered for the overall USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award. All applicants displayed a high caliber of sportsmanship and involvement in the hunter/jumper industry.


2010 - Kara Dunegan

During her riding career, Kara Dunegan has enjoyed many successes, including being selected as a member of the Zone 3 Prix de States Team for the Junior Jumper Championship. She also applied for EAP and went on to be chosen to participate in the Level II Training Session in Nashville. With all her accomplishments, Dunegan still showed maturity when dealing with disappointments. She was close to qualifying for all of her equitation finals when her horse became injured. The disappointment was obvious, but her concern for her horse was her priority. Lucky to have her parent's full support with her riding, Kara has been careful not to take it for granted.

Although Dunegan rides approximately four days per week during the school year and more during the summer, Kara works hard to lead a balanced life. She has taken leadership roles in after school activities. She is on the swim team, mentors younger children, and volunteers in her community. In the middle of the summer show circuit she took a week off to build and repair houses with her church group.


2009 - Amanda Horn

Amanda Horn, an active volunteer at HorseAbility, a therapeutic riding program for children and adults with special needs since she was 8-years-old, is recognized by those around her as a model for her peers and true leader. Prior to her nomination, Horn suffered the tragedy of losing her longtime riding partner and companion, Troutline. She overcame the grief to begin competing again, showing in equitation and the annual Junior Olympics competition at her barn.

On her application, Horn wrote: "I plan on becoming a registered therapeutic riding instructor through North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. I will start out by becoming an instructor at HorseAbility and will bring clients to the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities. I want my clients to feel the thrill of competing in horse shows. The smile on the rider's faces makes all the hard work worth it."


2008 - Maddie Genereux

Maddie Genereux has been an active member of the Minnesota Hunter Jumper Association since she was 7 years old and grew up on her family’s farm in Stillwater, MN. Those around her recognize her as an up and coming rider who is dedicated to the sport and well-being of the horse. Her enthusiasm for the sport and her commitment to help others is infectious.

On her application, Genereux wrote: "In the area of riding and raising horses, I have learned a great deal and grown tremendously. I have had the good fortune of growing up on a horse farm and learning to feed, train and care for my family’s horses. I have learned that participation means to serve others as well as yourself through my membership in the Minnesota Hunter Jumper Association and other member organizations."


2007 - Kels Bonham, Missouri Valley, IA

When describing Kels Bonham as the USHJA’s 2007 nominee for the Youth Sportsmanship Award, Sue Halpern said, “Kels personifies what all of us seek in our young riders today. She works hard, plays fair and understands the importance of being a successful student. She often rides from early morning to late evening, exercising young or green horses and ponies, as well as showing her own horses and catch riding for many trainers around the country.” In the show ring, Kels placed in many Junior Jumper and grand prix classes and was third at the National Maclay Regionals. Not only is Bonham highly regarded as an equestrian, but she is also very well spoken of in her academic life.

2006 - Henry Pfeiffer, Temperance, MI

For Henry Pfeifer, 2006 was a year of accomplishments. With numerous top ten placings in grand prix ranging from $25,000 to $40,000 and qualifying for the Medal, the Maclay and the Talent Search, Pfeifer was a star of the competition ring. With his third year on the Zone 5 team at the USEF’s Prix des States, he and his teammates came home with the bronze medal. He also accrued enough points to receive his Silver Medal for the USEF Talent Search. By year’s end, he had qualified in both hunters and jumpers for the Washington International Horse Show and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.