The U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation has announced this year’s recipients of the Jacqueline B. Mars National Competition and Training Grants: Tamra Smith, Jordan Linstedt and Alexis Helffrich.
The grant is awarded to eventing athletes who have been identified as having an impressive record and potential to represent the United States in future international competitions. These three riders will be traveling from the West Coast to attend The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI** and CCI*** Oct. 12-15 in Fair Hill, Md.
Smith of Murrieta, Calif., is an ICP Level IV certified instructor with over 25 years of experience and an extensive resume of accomplishments. She has been named to the U.S. Eventing Developing Rider List, is consistently ranked among the top 10 on the U.S. Eventing Association’s Lady Rider of the Year leaderboard and earned the Area VI Rider of the Year for two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015.
Smith previously received grants to compete on the Nations Cup teams at the Boekelo CCI*** in the Netherlands and the Bromont CCI*** as well as the USEA Foundation’s Rebecca Broussard National Developing Rider Grant in 2012 and the Rebecca Broussard International Developing Rider Grant in 2015.
“It’s a huge honor to be able to receive a grant like this,” said Smith. “It’s really beneficial because we’re away from our businesses while traveling, and to be away for a month to go to the East Coast across the country is not only financially taxing but also hard on our businesses as well. You feel like you’re picking the right horses and doing the right things when you get validation by receiving a grant like this, so it’s really exciting. I’m very honored and very excited. Thank you to Jacqueline Mars for the investment she’s put into the sport. It really means a lot to have been a recipient of something like this.”
Smith competed at Stable View in Aiken, S.C., over the weekend as a prep-run with her 8-year-old Holsteiner mare Fleeceworks Royal before heading up to Pennsylvania to stay through Fair Hill.
Linstedt, 25 of Duvall, Wash., is a CCI**** three-day event rider. She was selected for the USEF’s Developing Riders/Eventing 25 Program in 2013 and has successfully competed at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event multiple times with a variety of horses. Linstedt maintained her lead from start to finish to win the Bromont CCI*** in June with her and Barbara Linstedt’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding Revitavet Capato.
“Capato is phenomenal,” said Linstedt. “I am so lucky to be able to have him. I produced him from a young horse. I did his first novice event with him, and I’ve had him for around eight years. It’s truly rewarding to have him going at this level and be so competitive. I feel like our partnership just continues to develop each year. Our big goals after Fair Hill would be looking at going to Europe next spring. He’s one of those horses of a lifetime, and I think he’s at a great place, and I’m really looking forward to being competitive at Fair Hill. All three stages he’s equally good at, but it all has to come together.
“This is the first big grant I’ve received so it’s a big deal for me,” continued Linstedt. “It feels fantastic! It makes everything so much more possible. It’s unbelievable to get the opportunity to do what I love to do and travel. Hopefully I can utilize those funds to get the best coaching and training that I might not have been able to get before. Now I feel like I can be as best prepared as possible to have the best result at Fair Hill. A huge thank you to the USET Foundation and Jacqueline Mars for making these opportunities available to us. This sort of grant makes everything so much easier and makes me able to do my job so much better.”
Originally from France, Helffrich, who now resides in Pleasanton, Calif., began his riding career holding multi-disciplinary working student positions including those of hunters, jumpers and racing. He arrived in the United States in 2005 and was quickly named to the United States Eventing Developing Rider List. Helffrich has proven to be a consistent competitor at events on the West Coast and is currently working to establish himself at the three-star level. He is licensed to teach through advanced level in eventing and fourth level dressage and is currently partnered with Pamela Williams’ 10-year-old Thoroughbred-warmblood gelding London Town.