Equuvation Inc.

2019 Spark* Scholarships


Application deadline is January 1, 2019. Awarded recipients will be announced February 7, 2019.

Scholarship Details

Spark* Scholarships are available for riders, age 21 and under, to support their equestrian or continuing education endeavors.

We are looking for individuals who: 

  • Are known as kind, dedicated and passionate “role models” by their peers, family and teachers/trainers

  • Adopted, own or lease an OTTB or rescued/rehabilitated equine and present a desire to pursue learning and/or competition with this partner {competition goals do not need to be at a rated level - we love supporting local and schooling shows!}

  • Exhibit quality horsemanship and sportsmanship in the equestrian field

  • Represent a financial need in order to pursue his/her goals

  • Will allow his/her representation in photos and words to be shared via social media, web sites and print media as a way to *spark* awareness for Equuvation and its programs in any field leveraging the horse-human connection

Those awarded a Spark* Scholarship may receive:

  • A financial scholarship to participate in up to 3 clinics or competitions within the assigned calendar year

    • Based on the donations we receive over the year prior to support the Spark* program, we aim to award 1 full scholarship and at least 1 partial scholarship. The full scholarship awards the recipient the funds to attend up to 3 shows/clinics of their choice (value of $750) and the partial awards recipients the funds for 1 show/clinic of their choice (value of $250).

  • Embroidered saddle pad and other cool swag

  • Opportunity to participate in other sponsored Equuvation events at no cost

Milestones to note:

  • All references must respond to the request for a referral within 7 days. If a provided reference does not respond, the applicant will be notified and they can submit another reference at that time. A rider must have 3 references to have a complete application. Applicants will only be notified once if their reference does not respond to the request for a letter. *Equuvation reaches out to all references directly with a "form letter" that has specific questions for them to answer. A valid email address is REQUIRED for all references you include on your application. We will NOT do references over the phone.

  • All applicants will be required to submit at least one short video of them riding their horse within 2 weeks of submitting their application. The video should have been taken within the last 90 days before the application was submitted, or it may be a new creation for the sake of the application.

  • Final deadline for application submission is January 1, 2019! Awarded recipients are notified on or before February 1, 2019!

Recipients of Spark* Scholarships are chosen by an independent committee who are passionate about giving a “leg up” to today’s youth. All scholarships are to be applied towards clinics, continuing education or competitions in the 2019 calendar year, unless special arrangements have been made in advance. Questions? equuvationinc@gmail.com

Follow along on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sparkscholarships

Spark* courage. potential. confidence. progress. connection.  |  © 2016-2018 Spark Scholarship Program

Spark* Scholarship Recipients


Kyndalyn P. + "Halo" ••• Greenville NC

2018 Full Scholarship Recipient • Rescue


Neve M. + "Cloudy" ••• Waxhaw NC

2018 Partial Scholarship Recipient • OTTB

Ellie B. + "Larry" ••• Concord NC

2017 Full Scholarship Recipient • OTTB

Jordan A. + "Saucy" ••• Rustburg VA

2017 Partial Scholarship Recipient • Rescue


Alex M. + "Nala" ••• Pamplico SC

2018 Partial Scholarship Recipient • OTTB


Casey D. + "Grady" ••• Mooresville NC

2018 Partial Scholarship Recipient • OTTB

Madison L. + "Joey" ••• Coto de Caza CA

2017 Partial Scholarship Recipient • OTTB

Savannah H. + "Willie Wonka" ••• Vinton VA

2017 Partial Scholarship Recipient • Rescue

Sparking Opportunity for Junior Riders – A History of The Scholarship Program

In late 2012, a local NC nonprofit organization who specialized in the rescue, rehabilitation and retraining of OTTBs, wanted to increase their impact, and try a creative approach on pursuing second careers for their horses. As a result, the Love.Lease.Ride.Show [L.L.R.S.] program was launched.

Through this program, the organization offered a sponsored lease of an OTTB to a junior rider (age 21 and under) who exemplifies kindness, a desire to learn, hard work and stewardship in our local equestrian community. Via an application process and mounted auditions, two rescued OTTB mares were placed with junior riders in that first year.

Maranda Schill and Rocket Zone, an OTTB gelding originally rehabbed from the track by Race2Ring. "Rocky" was placed with Maranda in 2014 through Race2Ring's Love.Lease.Ride.Show program and now has a successful jumper career and lifetime home.

Over the course of the next three years, a total of six rescued or rehabilitated equines were placed with young riders to fuel the equine's second career, and the rider's desire to connect with a horse. And in 2016, L.L.R.S. introduced a new level of the program, offering scholarships to young riders who were already partnered with an OTTB or rehabilitated rescue mount of their own.

Through these varied levels of sponsorship, L.L.R.S. riders were supported in any discipline they choose, for a total of TEN junior equestrians since Spring of 2013.

Having the opportunity to meet, and be motivated by, these young riders was one of the most rewarding aspects of the L.L.R.S. program. Many stories emerged along the way, including: the placement of a shy, chestnut OTTB mare with a talented and compassionate Wake Forest student; a young lady from Hendersonville who was awarded a sweet OTTB gelding, and later convinced her mom to adopt a rehabilitated performance horse from the same organization; an aspiring eventer taking her sensitive OTTB mare through the levels with grace. And, a dedicated young lady from Marion who took a gangly and spicy OTTB gelding from rehab to ribbons in the jumper ring, setting an example of true sportsmanship and horsemanship every time she sets foot in the arena. This same pair finished their 2016 competition season as Tryon International Equestrian Fall 1.10M Children's Jumper Circuit Champions.

Sadly, at the end of 2016, the founding nonprofit organization was forced to close their doors due to the instability of the equine rescue nonprofit landscape, and their desire to remain responsible to their donors and animals. In the wake of the dissolution, another local North Carolina 501c3 nonprofit organization – Equuvation Incorporated – stepped up and launched the Spark* Scholarships program to continue L.L.R.S.'s passion and legacy of fueling the horse-human connection in the minds and hearts of our young equestrian generation.

Now, Equuvation has some big shoes to fill. Staying true to the history of the L.L.R.S. program, Spark* Scholarships will award a junior rider, who is partnered with an OTTB or rescue horse, financial support to pursue their equestrian endeavors in 2017.

In this first year of the program's transition to Spark*, thirty two applications were received, as of the closing date of January 8th, and two dozen of them moved on to the judging phase. The majority of the candidates are based in North Carolina, but this year the reach was felt as far as California and Canada.

As we got to know the candidates better, we learned the stories behind them, including: a local NC teen who never gives up despite the health challengers of her OTTB gelding; a 14yr old from Tennessee who looks out for the safety of others in every situation, and has the patience to bring her OTTB through tough times; a young lady who took the initiative to create and install a memorial for a special pony owned by her trainer; and two riders who were accepted as Junior Trainers in the Retired Racehorse Project 2017. Countless other inspiring stories continue to emerge as the 2017 applications are reviewed, reminding us that the support of our young equestrians is vital to the reputation and continuation of this rewarding sport.

Recipients of Spark* Scholarships are chosen by an independent Selection Committee of judges who are passionate about giving a “leg up” to today’s youth. As they review each application, which includes a series of short answer essay questions, photographs, video and at least 3 reference letters, judges are looking for candidates who:

  • Stand out as kind, dedicated and passionate “role models” by their peers, family and trainers

  • Exhibit quality horsemanship and sportsmanship in the equestrian field and beyond

  • May represent a financial need in order to pursue his/her goals

  • Adopted, own or lease an OTTB or rescued/rehabilitated equine partner

After completing the challenge of reviewing and selecting the final recipient for the Spark* Scholarships program, the public announcement is made by February 1 of each calendar year.

For more information on Spark* Scholarships, visit:

Equuvation Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Donations made to Equuvation may be earmarked for the Spark* Scholarships.
Please contact equuvationinc@gmail.com with questions.