The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association announced Peyton Parks, Tegan Price and Elizabeth Serafini as the 2022 recipients of the USHJA Gochman Grant for USEF Pony Finals. Through the grant, these three young riders will get the opportunity to attend and compete at USEF Pony Finals, held at the Kentucky Horse Park, Aug. 9-14. This unique grant is made possible by the generosity of Becky and David Gochman and their family.
Parks, 15, of Hampstead, North Carolina, has been riding for over seven years and is looking forward to attending Pony Finals. She currently competes in the children’s hunters and equitation divisions offered by her local hunter/jumper associations. In the future, she hopes to become a trainer, working specifically with ponies and developing them for the show ring.
“I don’t have the words to express how beyond thankful I am for this opportunity. Pony Finals has been a huge goal and dream of mine since I started working with ponies. I am overwhelmed with excitement,” Parks said. “I am looking forward to learning new techniques and skills to take with me and implement into my training. I am also looking forward to meeting new people and potential lifelong friends.”
Out of the saddle, Parks is a sophomore in high school and is a member of Future Farmers of America. She also volunteers with Share the Table, helping to pack meals for students at local North Carolina schools.
The son of a trainer, Price, 12, of Aiken, South Carolina, has been around ponies his whole life. He catch rides any pony he can and shows in the local pony hunter and equitation divisions, furthering his skill in the saddle while helping to put miles on the ponies in his mother’s program. He enjoys catch riding an array of horses and the learning opportunities each brings, along with helping take care of each pony on his family’s farm.
“I’m very excited, surprised and honored; it’s hard to put into words,” Price said. “I’m looking forward to all the knowledge I’m going to gain from attending the clinics and working with the trainers the grant is providing and improving my riding.”
At school, Price is a straight-A student and a member of the Fishing Club, Running Club and Battle of the Books. He also loves baseball, riding dirt bikes and volunteering at the Aiken County Animal Shelter with his family.
Serafini, 14, of Brooksville, Florida, has been riding competitively for over four years, and in 2021, she won the Children’s Pony Medal Final at Southeast Medal Finals. She currently competes in the large green pony hunter divisions with her pony that she qualified for this year’s Pony Finals.
A self-described extrovert, Serafini was chosen to present a TedX Talk, where she discussed taking a stand against horse abuse. When not riding or attending school, she loves to read and watch movies.
“Receiving this grant is just amazing, and I am so excited to be a part of it. Going to Pony Finals is a dream come true, and I am so excited for the entire experience, as well as meeting the other recipients,” said Serafini.
This marks the eighth year the USHJA Foundation has provided grants to help riders attend USEF Pony Finals, thanks to the generous support of the Gochman Family. Not strictly monetary in nature, the USHJA Gochman Grant for USEF Pony Finals is experienced-based, and each recipient gets the opportunity to compete at USEF Pony Finals, access to professionals for training, entered into available clinics and exposed to other educational experiences throughout the week. In addition to financial need, selected riders exemplify the qualities most important in our sport: horsemanship, tenacity and good sportsmanship.
The Gochman Grant is open to current USHJA members under the age of 18 who have not previously participated in Pony Finals and who would not be able to attend without the assistance the grant provides. Individuals may only be awarded the grant once.