The Colorado Hunter Jumper Foundation has awarded its annual scholarships to four very deserving members including Olivia Barden, Claire Aden, Rachel Benson and Lexie Karet.
Olivia will be attending Colorado State University this coming fall with the intention of majoring in Business or History with a minor in Chinese. She earned the $500 Spirit of Excellence Scholarship in honor of Grace McReynolds, the $500 Spirit of Excellence Scholarship in honor of Gianna Lantieri and a $1,000 Category A Scholarship from the Colorado Hunter Jumper Foundation.
Olivia, who graduated from Legend High School in Parker, noted that one of her life’s defining moments came during middle school when she participated in the annual Catch-A-Calf contest at the National Western Stock Show.
“The Catch-A-Calf program was an amazing experience that surprised me but the opportunities it provided and lessons it taught. These included making connections with people, networking with adults and mentors, looking for resources when I needed help, learning about a specific market sector, running a business, managing money, being organized and keeping records, and dealing with loss when the calf grew into a market animal and was sold.”
Her determination to learn and be successful was apparent. The sponsor of the Catch-A-Calf program, H. Benjamin Duke, noted that Olivia was a dedicated, impressive and active participant in a program which she’d never done.
“The program is multi-faceted, with many elements making up the full competition. Olivia excelled in some areas and struggled in others but throughout the program, she was gracious, exceedingly helpful and as a result, very popular with other contestants. Olivia has clearly demonstrated her positive sportsmanship and appreciation for the help people have given her along the way,” he said.
Claire Aden will receive a $1,000 Category B Scholarship from the Colorado Hunter Jumper Foundation. She attends the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where she is studying elementary and special education.
While horses have been a big part of Claire’s life, she recalls that it was her own educational struggles that lead her to want to be an elementary school special education teacher.
“I was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia in second grade. I spent the majority of my elementary years in the special education classroom learning coping skills, coding and decoding skills and honestly, building my self-confidence so that I could keep up and retain information like my peers. I want to be a special education teacher because it is my way to give back to students who are struggling in the same way I struggled.”
Rachel Benson has been pursuing a degree in law enforcement through Metropolitan State University. As she approaches her final year of school, she is applying to work with police departments including Lakewood, Arvada, Westminster or the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department with her sights set on becoming a K9 officer.
While Rachel hasn’t been in the show arena much during the last few years, she still is a fixture at Flatirons Farm where she manages the barn, works young horses and generally keeps things running smoothly. One of those barn mates, Diana Schatz, has been impressed by Rachel’s hard work and dedication in her stewardship of the farm.
“I have observed how Rachel balances a demanding job as barn manager … with college course work in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree. In her ‘spare time,’ she works with the farm’s colts, fillies and other horses, both from the ground and under saddle. Although Rachel has not done much showing lately, she is an essential member of our Flatirons Farm team,” Diana added.
Lexie Karet was awarded the inaugural $1,000 Jim Calareso Scholarship. She is pursuing a degree in English with a minor in Merchandising.
“After much exploration of college majors, I have landed the perfect combination of writing and merchandising. I do not know where it will lead me but I do know that there will be a connection with the equine world. This combines my passion for horses, competition and the business world.”
We think Jim would be proud! Congratulations to all our 2018 scholarship winners!