RHF Announces 2020 Scholarship Recipients

The Reining Horse Foundation (RHF) is awarding $13,000 in academic and need-based scholarships to eight students in 2020. The recipients are: Cassandra Townsend of Andover, South Dakota; David Gringeri of West Haven, Vermont; Megan D’Andrea of Fowler, Ohio; Liz Blaser of Duncan, Nebraska; Morgan Ritz of Comstock, Nebraska; Morgan Knerr of Plain City, Ohio; Kelly Harper of Inverness, Florida, and Natalie Gydesen of North Loup, Nebraska.

Applications are reviewed by an independent committee with scoring based upon financial need, academic achievement, an essay, involvement in the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA)  and community, and personal references. NRHyA members first apply as high school seniors, and if selected, are eligible to reapply.

Applicants in 2020 penned their essay about this topic: NRHyA members are having visible success in the show arena across many levels of competition. What does success look like for you—inside and outside of the reining arena? Their responses were creative and inspiring.

“I remember the first time I loped, my first blue ribbon, and my first reining pattern,” wrote Gringeri. “At those moments spirits were high, but I recognized that it was hours in the saddle and late nights at the barn that I was celebrating.”

Harper, a first-time scholarship recipient, wrote, “I have received an unwarranted amount of support from those around me, and soon it will be my turn to do the same for the next generation of young reiners.”

Townsend, Gringeri and D’Andrea will each receive $2,500 scholarships. Townsend is majoring in human biology in the pre-medicine pathway at South Dakota State University with the goal of becoming a physician’s assistant. Gringeri attends the University of Vermont majoring in business/finance preparing for a career in agribusiness. D’Andrea is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Kent State University with plans to become an emergency room nurse.

Blaser and Ritz each are being awarded $1,500 scholarships. Blaser, the 2019 NRHyA President, is attending Wayne State College majoring in pre-professional/medicine with the goal of becoming an emergency medicine physician. Ritz is the 2020 NRHyA President and will attend South Dakota State University majoring in nutrition/dietetics. Both Blaser and Ritz held multiple NRHyA national officer positions.

Knerr is the recipient of a $1,000 RHF scholarship. She attends the University of Findlay with plans to become a pediatric pharmacist. She held multiple positions as an NRHyA officer, including president in 2017.

Earning $750 scholarships are Harper and Gydesen. Harper will attend Oklahoma State University to major in agribusiness/pre-law. Gydesen is majoring in animal science at South Dakota State University with the goal of becoming a veterinarian. Her scholarship is designated as the John McQuay Memorial Scholarship.

For more information about the RHF Scholarship program, or for application information, go to reiningfoundation.com or nrhya.com.  Scholarship information will be updated and open for applicants in early 2021. The RHF scholarship program is made possible by donations—primarily from individuals. To make a difference as a donor, contact RHF executive director Leslie Baker at (405) 946-7400, ext. 106 or rhf@nrha.com.