March 4, 2019 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – For the third consecutive year, Blenheim EquiSports is proud to present the recipients of the Emerging Professional Grant. Once again an impressive group of young riders applied, making the committee’s decision a difficult one.
After review and deliberation, Blenheim EquiSports decided to award five grants this year. The overall winner by unanimous vote is the young professional, Gabriela Pattinson, pictured aboard Quadrigus. She will receive $5,000 of Blenheim EquiSports horse show credit to help achieve her goals.
Having her first riding lesson on a grand prix horse at age six may have steered Pattinson on the path she continues on today. That first ride and her foundation came from working with Jenny Meyer, George Meyer, and Gail Ross. Her hard work at the barn earned her rides on numerous sale horses, giving her experience from pony hunters to medal finals.
When she aged out of the juniors, the young talent considered taking a break from the horseworld. Then she got a job offer from one of her idols, Devon Gibson, that changed her mind.
“I am coming on my third year of working for her and it was been an incredible journey. From the start, Devon made it very clear that she believed in me, my riding, and my work ethic, and if I was willing to put in the work on my end, she would help me accomplish any and all of my goals,” Pattinson explains.
“Within a year of working for her, I had competed and placed in the USET Finals, jumped my first 1.40m, jumped my first Grand Prix, won my first U25, and competed in countless National and International Hunter Derbies. I could not have asked for a better jump start on my goals at such a young age.”
Blenheim EquiSports offers the steps along the athlete pathway that will help Pattinson achieve her goal to represent her country internationally, including the U25 Classics and Championship, the Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series and Finals, plus FEI Tours. She also loves the “elegance and precision of the hunters,” and hopes to compete in the Blenheim EquiSports Young Hunter Final and the CPHA West Coast Green Hunter Incentive Championships, plus the USHJA International Derby Finals in Lexington, KY, and the Emerging Pro Challenge at Capital Challenge.
Although hard at work in the horse world, Pattinson did not walk away from getting a higher education. She is enrolled in a full-time online program and plans to graduate with a business degree by the end of this year.
Runner-up and recipient of $3,000 of Blenheim EquiSports horse show credit is Hallie Buttenweiser, who works for Mandy Porter and ACP Enterprises. After an East Coast upbringing, Buttenweiser had the opportunity to come West.
Buttenweiser is relishing her opportunity. “I truly believe this is the best place for me to be at this stage in my career. Mandy has every characteristic of a true horse woman. Her reputation speaks for itself, but I can attest that she is the most hard working, professional, caring, and dedicated person that I have ever worked for. She has immense integrity, which I believe is hard to find in this business, and her riding skills are something I strive to emulate. I am grateful to have landed this job, and I do not take a day of it for granted.”
She continues, “Some of my most valuable lessons thus far have been the help to bring along my own young horse. I would have to say that winning the six-year-old finals this past fall at Blenheim is definitely my most recent highlight. It was the culmination of a great season and really helped me see that I am on the the right path to achieve my goals of competing at the highest level of the sport.”
With such a strong group of Emerging Professional applicants, the committee decided to award three honorable mentions with grants of $500 of horse show credit to: Sophie Simpson, who has Blue Ridge Farms with partner Sean Leckie, Jessica Frend-Meyers, who owns JFM Showjumping & Training in Mesa, Arizona, and Kimberly Budnik, assistant trainer at Ridgewood Farm.
We thank and congratulate all of the Emerging Professionals for their commitment on and off the horses, and for making the effort to apply for this grant. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in the show ring and wish you all the best!
Photo credit: McCool Photography