The U.S Equestrian Team Foundation announced on Aug. 21 that Ariel Grald is the 2019 recipient of the Jacqueline B. Mars International Grant and Ellie MacPhail O’Neal is the recipient of the Jacqueline B. Mars National Grant.
Grald, of Vass, North Carolina, has had a standout year with Anne Eldridge’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Leamore Master Plan, completing their first five-star event at the Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*-L, earning 12th out of a competitive field.
Grald plans to compete in the Millstreet CCI4*-S (Ireland) in August as part of the goal of preparing for the prestigious Burghley CCI5* set to take place at Burghley House in England in September.
“It is an immense honor to receive the Jacqueline B. Mars International Grant,” said Grald. “I’ve dreamed of competing in Europe, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity from the USET Foundation and Jacqueline Mars to make this goal a reality. It means a lot to have their support and faith in me and my horse. This trip will help us gain valuable international experience as we build towards representing the USA in the future. Grants such as this are crucial for Americans to compete abroad and I’m very thankful for this exciting and educational opportunity.”
O’Neal plans to compete at the Fair Hill International CCI4*-L (Maryland) with Zeta, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Sally Cox. Last month they made the trip to Canada for the 2019 Bromont Mars Equestrian CCI4*.
“Receiving the Jacqueline B. Mars National Grant is such an honor,” O’Neal said. “I am really excited to have the opportunity. It makes me so excited and appreciative that the USET Foundation provides funding for riders. I would also like to thank Sally Cox, who owns Zeta, and my mother for their support.”