The Gochman family, U.S. Hunter Jumper Association members and philanthropists, have donated $250,000 to the USHJA Foundation to support a long-term USHJAF Gochman Family U.S. Pony Finals Grant Program. Each year, the Foundation will award grants to deserving juniors, giving them an opportunity to experience U.S. Pony Finals on a qualified pony.
“Sportsmanship, horsemanship and hard work are the backbone of every great equestrian, and this grant celebrates these qualities in a unique and inspiring way for our youngest equestrians,” said USHJA Foundation President Jennifer Burger. “We could not be more excited or thankful for the Gochmans’ generosity to ensure this grant can benefit more young riders for years to come, and without their initial support we wouldn’t have been able to establish the grant last year.”
The USHJA Foundation is currently accepting applications for the USHJAF Gochman Family U.S. Pony Finals Grant. This grant is awarded each year to no more than three riders who exemplify the qualities most important in our sport—sportsmanship, tenacity and horsemanship—and would otherwise be unable to go to Pony Finals, the opportunity to go on a qualified pony. Applications close April 30.
The grant recipients each receive an all-expense paid opportunity to compete. Expenses covered include, housing, transportation, food and other items necessary for a child to compete. The grant will also provide the rider with an appropriate pony and offer the opportunity for the rider to practice on the pony prior to the competition.
“Giving back to this sport that has given us so much is extremely important to our entire family,” said Becky Gochman. “Ponies hold a special place in our hearts, and we look forward to this grant inspiring young equestrians to follow their dreams.”
In addition to providing the future funding for this program, the Gochmans’ initial contribution established the grant in 2015, enabling Matthew Bravo, 12, to become the inaugural grant recipient. The grant allowed Matthew to compete on two ponies and participate in two clinics. He showed Island Grace, leased by Brick Church Farm, in the medium pony hunter section, and Plumbago, owned by Charlie Moorcroft and Geoff Teall, in the small pony hunter section with trainer Karen Kelley of Charleston, S.C., by his side. Bravo placed 71st (of 120) on Plumbago and 18th (of 156) on Island Grace. He also received a number of items from USHJA sponsors, as well as stabling from Kentucky Horse Shows LLC.
For more information about the grant or to apply, visit the USHJA website.