The North American Riders Group announced 21-year-old Anita Mont, of Mukwonago, Wisc., as the recipient of the 2014 NARG Riders' Grant. Now in its third year, the NARG Riders’ Grant is designed to afford an emerging rider, dedicated to the sport of show jumping, an opportunity to achieve levels they would otherwise not be able to attain without a boost. The grant provides the winner with $15,000 for expenses within North America approved by the NARG Board.
"Even though no one in my family rode, I have always had a love for horses,” said Mont. “As a child, I didn't play with dolls. I preferred horses. I constantly begged my parents for riding lessons. When I was 5, my mother found a coupon in the newspaper for lessons at a local stable. I was hooked at the first lesson, and I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to jump."
When she was younger, Mont took a 3-year-old pony with 30 days under saddle all the way to the USEF Pony Finals, as well as tenaciously working with a difficult mare and qualifying her for Junior Hunter Finals. Now as a professional, Mont is training and campaigning a young jumper and bringing along two homebred yearlings.
Developing horses, catch riding and working with a variety of experts to hone her skills, Mont is ceaseless in her desire to learn. Branching out from her Wisconsin roots, she has worked with and for trainers in Minnesota, Kentucky, New Jersey and Illinois, including six months as a working student for Chris Kappler Inc. from October 2011 to April 2012.
After years of devotion to every aspect of being an equestrian, Mont's parents were well aware that their daughter had an enduring passion and was willing to put in the work to achieve her goals. With this in mind, they purchased a 20-stall barn in Mukwonago, Wisc., to help her establish a breeding and training business. Mont took on a lion's share of the responsibilities of farm management, while continuing to further her education in the saddle. When Mont decided to turn professional, her parents offered her full ownership of the training business, aptly named Dare To Dream Farm LLC.
"While showing is important, I feel training is the key to success," said Mont. "The grant money will allow me to obtain much more valuable training than I could otherwise afford. Since coming to Florida this winter, I have already reached out to some trainers and recently started working with Anne Kursinski. I will also be able to compete at [the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival] more than my original tight budget would've allowed. There is no doubt that I will work hard to make the most of the NARG Riders' Grant."