Strides for Equality Equestrians and the U.S. Eventing Association Foundation have announced the formation of the Ever So Sweet Scholarship. The scholarship, which is the first of its kind, provides a fully-funded opportunity for riders from diverse backgrounds to train with upper-level professionals.
Edy Rameika, Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Brian Murphy will provide bi-annual sponsored internships for riders to train with Sara and Brian. Beginning this summer, scholarship recipients will receive funding to immerse themselves in a high-performance training program with Brian and Sara at Overlook Farm Equestrian Center in Berryville, Virginia, for three months. During the winter, the scholarship will provide two months of training with Sara and Brian in Florida. The scholarship will cover expenses for full board and training costs for the horse, several lessons per week, housing for the rider, a stipend to cover living expenses, competition fees and coaching at competitions. Participants will learn to manage, care for, and compete horses in an immersive program and will have the opportunity to work as part of the team in all aspects of running a large, competitive barn.
Riders will make professional connections that would otherwise be unattainable and play an active role in fostering a more inclusive environment within the sport.
“I’ve had to overcome many challenges in my life as an upper-level event rider, but I never had the challenge of feeling like the sport wasn’t easily available to me. This scholarship allows access for those that currently don’t have a clear pathway to fight for their dreams,” Sara said when explaining why they decided to offer the opportunity. The Ever So Sweet scholarship is an important first step toward increasing diversity and inclusion in equestrian sports.
Rameika shares the passion for providing opportunities for deserving riders.
“Our family loves horses and the sport of eventing,” Rameika said. “My daughters, Roxanne and Nadine, began riding when they were quite young. They rode and competed through high school, and Roxanne continued into her college career. We are very fortunate. But there are students in underserved communities who have the passion and talent for the sport but perhaps not the means.
“Roxanne passed away in 2017 but her passion lives on through her family. Nadine, Sara, and I want to honor Roxanne and Nadine’s Native American heritage and their love of eventing through this scholarship in the hopes of helping to keep others’ dreams alive. Ever So Sweet is a song that was beloved to Roxanne and Nadine, especially during those memorable years of riding.”
Riders 17 and older, have access to an appropriate horse, and are committed to promoting access and inclusion in horse sports are invited to apply. Strides for Equality Equestrians also welcomes inquiries for more information about the scholarship and/or application process.