First Round of Youth Scholarship Recipients Announced
Published Date: Jul 27, 2022
ASHBA Announces First Round of Youth Scholarship Recipients
Each year the American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association (ASHBA) recognizes its youth members, age 21 and under, on the basis of academic success, financial need, involvement with the American Saddlebred and ASHBA youth programs, as well as extracurricular activities including community service. The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage, support and recognize participation in all aspects of the American Saddlebred industry, as well as to strengthen the American Saddlebred industry and breed through education. For 2022, ASHBA is pleased to present two scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each.
ASHBA is pleased to announce the following scholarship recipients this year:
Jessica Ridgway- Shelbyville, KY
Jessica Ridgway, of Shelbyville, Ky., practically was born and raised in the office of Betsy Webb Stables. Her mother worked for Betsy for nearly 20 years and it was not long before she followed her mom’s example helping at the barn, serving as a senior camp counselor. Ridgway knew by the age of ten she wanted to make her living in the Saddlebred industry as a trainer and instructor. In her senior counselor position at Betsy’s, and in her work with HOOF KY helping at-risk youth, Ridgway’s passion for mentoring young people has been continually harnessed. One of her favorite parts is seeing the bond a child and horse form with each other. She has taught more than 200 children as a senior counselor and hopes she can introduce hundreds more to the American Saddlebred. While she hasn’t owned her own Saddlebred, she has been successful across multiple disciplines aboard catch rides. Additionally, Ridgway most recently completed her Advanced Placement capstone diploma on the positive outcome of equine psychotherapy. Her mentors say that Ridgway has an incredibly positive attitude and leads a well-balanced life, and say the day never gets too long for Jessica. One mentor says she has rarely met a more balanced scholar than Jessica, who has a remarkable aptitude for excelling academically as well as socially. Ridgway is looking forward to pursuing her college education, sharing the wonders of the American Saddlebred with others, and helping people grown, learn and heal with the help of horses.
Kennedy Wilson- Tampa, Florida
Kennedy Wilson, from Tampa, Fl., does not know a life without horses. At the ripe age of two months, her mom had already sat her atop a horse and the rest was history. It comes as no surprise that horses and kids are a few of her favorite things. As she heads into her junior year at the University of South Florida, Wilson is a full time student and full time riding instructor at Paragon Stables. Jessica Saft, owner and trainer of Paragon, stated, “As one of our instructors, [Wilson] has flourished in her position working with children and adults and sharing her love and passion for the industry she works in.” Wilson also handles the barn’s sales and marketing, with tasks ranging from creating brochures and flyers, to looking for avenues to promote the business and the American Saddlebred. In addition to her integral role at Paragon, Wilson loans her time out to many other programs. She was an ASHBA Youth Club member, and currently serves on the ASHBA Youth Committee and ASHBA Marketing Committee. Additionally, she is the Co-Director of the Florida State High Point Program. With so much on her plate, Wilson keeps a positive attitude while balancing work and her full course load. “It’s easy when you love it,” said Wilson. Even on days she feels she can’t give any more, Wilson takes on the next day with an optimistic outlook; each day is an opportunity to teach another child the pleasure of the Saddlebred sport and build their confidence. Wilson is looking forward to a lifetime full of working with kids and Saddlebreds and puts it best when she said, “This industry has my heart, and my goal is to get more and more kids and families hooked on the thrill of our show horses.”