Lexington, Ky.—May 20, 2020—The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the USHJA Gochman Grant for USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm. Lulu Carney, Jocelyn Flannery and Eleanor Pieters will be receiving the grant this year to help make their Pony Finals dreams come true.
Lulu Carney, 10, of North Sutton, New Hampshire, enjoys catch riding and loves learning from different ponies as well as different coaches. Recently, she spent time riding a green pony, who she said taught her about perseverance. Carney hopes to learn as much as she can from Pony Finals and be able to share that knowledge with everyone when she gets home.
Carney is described as a “doer not a viewer,” who thinks on her feet, sees opportunity and steps up to challenges.
“I am truly thrilled about receiving the Gochman Grant,” Carney said. “This has been a dream of mine. I cannot thank the Gochman family and the USHJA enough for making my dream come true.”
Jocelyn Flannery, 12, of Barboursville, Virginia, has been riding as far back as she can remember, starting out with leadline classes where she rode sidesaddle and moving up through the levels. She also enjoys fox hunting, dressage, going on trail rides and rounding up cattle on horseback.
Flannery is described as a hard worker who is encouraging to her peers. When she’s not riding, she’s helping take care of her other animals including three dogs, seven cats a potbelly pig and many chickens, all of which are foster or rescue animals.
Flannery said that Pony Finals is a goal for her not only to participate in such an exciting event, but also so she can learn from all the riders, trainers and grooms who attend by watching and listening ringside and behind the scenes.
“I am so excited and thrilled to be going to Pony Finals,” Flannery said. “I can’t wait for the new adventures and friends that I will make there. Thank you so much to the Gochman family for this grant and opportunity.”
Eleanor Pieters, 11, of Chepachet, Rhode Island, has been riding since before she could walk. She’s responsible for helping with barn chores at her family's barn, and she loves taking care of her pony and others. Dedicated, helpful, hands-on and always smiling is how Pieters is described. She has developed a great bond with the ponies she rides by focusing on their care.
Pieters said she is excited to participate in the educational clinics at Pony Finals, learn about the different scoring, visit museums at The Kentucky Horse Park, and take part in all the fun activities that go along with Pony Finals, including the Golf Cart Parade.
“I am so honored to receive the Gochman Grant,” said Pieters. “My pony, Ollie, and I are so excited to compete at Pony Finals. My dream is coming true!”
The Grant is made possible by the generosity of Becky and David Gochman and their family. Each year, the USHJA offers three young pony riders the opportunity to attend and compete at USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm.
The Gochman Grant is open to current USHJA members under the age of 18 (per USEF rules), who have not previously participated in Pony Finals and who would not be able to attend Pony Finals without the assistance the grant provides. Individuals may only be awarded the grant once.
This grant is not strictly monetary in nature, but rather experience-based. In addition to the opportunity to compete at USEF Pony Finals, each grant recipient is provided access to professionals for training, entered into available clinics and exposed to other educational experiences throughout the week. In addition to financial need, each rider selected exemplifies the qualities most important in our sport: horsemanship, tenacity and good sportsmanship.
This marks the sixth year the USHJA Foundation has provided grants to help riders attend USEF Pony Finals, thanks to the generous support of the Gochman Family. Other grant recipients have included Sofia McCoy (2019), Eddyn Molden (2019), Alexandra van der Woude (2019), Olivia Elmore (2018), Sydney Spevak (2018), Ryder Richardson (2018), Logan Blake Crouser (2017), Ella Doerr (2017), Olivia deStanley (2017), Judy Dettore (2016), Riley Hogan (2016), Cecillia Machado (2016) and Matthew Bravo (2015).
Applications for next year's grant will open in January 2021. For more information about the grant, visit ushja.org/foundation/gochman.
Pony Finals is slated for August 3-9, 2020 at The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Up-to-date information about pony finals can be found here.