Alexandra van der Woude (Wakefield School Class of 2024) of Warrenton, Virginia is one of three recipients to have been
awarded 2019 Gochman Family Grant by The USHJA Foundation. The grant will provide Alexandra (also known as Lexi) and the other young equestrians with the experience of a lifetime at the 2019 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, which will be held August 6-11, 2019.
The USHJA Foundation Gochman Family Grant offers each recipient the opportunity to compete at USEF Pony Finals when they may not have otherwise been able to do so. “We are thrilled that the Gochman Grant continues to draw a highly respectable applicant pool. It means so much to see the dedication that so many of the young people have in our sport,” said Becky, a member of USHJA Foundation. “To be able to come to Pony Finals is often a dream come true for these kids and we are so pleased to be a part of that experience.”
"I can’t believe that I get to go to Pony Finals! I am so excited for this journey, including all the events, the new friends and ponies I will meet and the whole entire adventure,” said Van der Woude. “After the phone call saying I received the Grant, I truly screamed! I am still in shock. Thank you so much to the Gochman Family for making this opportunity possible for me. I can’t wait!”
Lexi began showing in leadline classes at the age of three and is currently showing a large pony, former Gochman Grant recipient Riley Hogan’s My Shooting Star, at USEF-recognized shows in the Children's Pony Hunter division and local Large Pony Hunter classes. She also foxhunts with the Warrenton Hunt during the off-season, participating in various hunter paces, hunter trials, and hunt night exhibitions associated with the hunts in Virginia.
The USHJA Foundation will work with Lexi and the two other riders to ensure they have a suitable pony for the event, as well as partner with top trainers Robin Greenwood and Rob Jacobs and others in the sport to provide a variety of educational and inspiring experiences for the grant recipients.
“After multiple rounds, the selection committee and I could not be more excited about these three riders. Their talent, horsemanship, creativity, and writing skills stood out,” said Jacobs, a member of USHJA Foundation. “As I read through these three applications I was able to get a good sense of the strong character these young ladies had. Also, for their ages, these ladies ride beautifully and have great talent. I’m excited for another year of smiles, gratitude and pony love.”
“The Gochman Grant brought out a huge amount of talent this year with almost 50 applicants. We had a hard time picking the top three,” said Greenwood, a member of the USHJA Foundation. “I love everything about this Grant and the opportunity it offers these kids. Helping them at Pony Finals reminds me of where we all started. The kids soak up everything we tell them and I get to see Pony Finals through ‘first time’ eyes. It reminds me that we do these because we love horses, kids and teaching and has made the experience the high point of my year.”
In addition to the competitive opportunities offered at the event, the three recipients will participate in various educational activities throughout the fun-filled week and are invited to attend the numerous educational clinics offered by the USHJA during Pony Finals.