The WIHS Junior Committee & Youth Ambassador Program sponsored by Signature Academics was started in 2009 to offer Washington, DC–area teens interested in horses and event production the opportunity to be a part of the inner workings of the Washington International Horse Show.
Through an application process, approximately 35 teens from public, charter and private schools in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, are selected to join this innovative program.
During the summer and fall, working with WIHS staff, they develop ideas from the youth perspective for the show, learn new skills, and are involved in equine-related volunteer activities and helping at therapeutic riding centers such as Great & Small and Sprout.
During show week, committee members have assisted with autograph signings, social media takeovers, WIHS Barn Night, community events and other operational activities.
The WIHS Youth Ambassador holds a leadership role as chair of the Junior Committee and represents the show’s youth perspective to the media. Those wishing to be considered for the 2022 WIHS Youth Ambassador will complete an additional application to showcase strengths in leadership and management.
Meet the 2021 WIHS Junior Committee!
With 39 members, the class of 2021 is one of the largest Junior Committees since the program began in 2009.
Charlotte Bassow, 17, of Washington, D.C. is a rising senior at School Without Walls High School. Charlotte started riding as a member of a “non-horsey” family and didn’t get her start in riding until she was 12 years old. She competes in the jumpers and admires both Beezie Madden and Brian Moggre because she loves to watch them ride. Her short-term goal as an equestrian is to get her young horse into the High Children’s Jumpers consistently before she goes off to college. Long-term, she would love to run her own farm someday if the opportunity came along. She owns a 7-year-old, 15.2hh, bay Oldenburg mare named Dona Bela HB “Bela.” “She’s quite the spicy little jumper mare, don’t let her size deceive you! She’s such a goofball, is terrified of small puddles, but will happily gallop through a water complex or even go full on swimming. I bought Bela as a 5-year-old just over a year and a half ago. Being a green bean, she has taught me more than I could ever put to words. We have certainly had more than our fair share of tough times, but it is so incredible to see her progress up the levels, not just in the show ring, but also on the ground.“
Outside of the barn, Charlotte is a huge baseball fan, and her favorite team is the Washington Nationals. She loves film and photography as well and plans on studying environmental engineering in college! Her dressage trainer, Redha Gharsa, is her mentor in the equine world. “He can watch you ride for 2 minutes and fix all of your problems. His attention to detail, both with the care of his horses and with riding is so admirable. He is also full of endless positivity. Overall, he is just an amazing horseman and teacher.” Her mentors in general are her parents. “They are so incredibly supportive of everything I do, even when they don’t understand it. I wish I had a video of my parents trying to help me study for AP Calculus, they were very confused by all of the lingo, but tried so, so hard. Their emphasis on being a kind, empathetic person, before anything else, is inspiring.”
Isabella Bertozzi, 15, of Leesburg, Virginia is a rising junior at Independence High School. She started riding when she was 7 years old and shows in the hunters and equitation. Her biggest equine influence is her Vet, Dr. Nancy Voytosh and her goal as an equestrian is to compete at Maclay Finals. She owns 2 horses, one named Cousteau “Fin” and another named North Shore “Sully.” “Fin has a huge forelock and lays down to take naps at least twice a day and Sully is 18.1hh and farts over almost every jump.” Her family imported Fin as Isabella’s 14th birthday present. “He has made such an amazing impact on my life. Sully is such a kind horse who moved me up from the 3’0 to the 3’6 and even though he is still so young, he was such a great partner for the Big Eq.”
She also really enjoys any type of art but prefers painting and got back into reading and audio books as well. Isabella’s goal is to ride on an NCEA team, specifically at Fresno State University in California, and wants to study to become a Real Estate Agent. Her whole family rides, so she has a bunch of mentors in the equine world and her mentor in general is Beezie Madden. A fun fact about Isabella is that her favorite color is light blue!
Virginia Bonnie, 17, of Upperville, Virginia is a rising senior at the Foxcroft School. Virginia started riding when she was 2 years old and grew up both foxhunting and showing in the hunters, although she is now just primarily competing in the jumpers. She has always looked up to her grandmother, although her trainer Kim Prince, is also a huge role model for her. Her goal as an equestrian is to compete on senior teams and she owns 2 jumpers, who she is currently showing, named Efodea and Flinck. “They both have huge personalities, and I love them so much. A funny thing about Efodea is that she loves watermelon, and it’s hilarious to watch her eat it. Flinck isn’t a huge fan of watermelon, but he definitely loves the camera. Whenever he sees it, whether it’s pointed at him or not, he likes to be the star of the show. Efodea has given me so many opportunities to show at higher levels, which I appreciate so much.”
Outside of riding, her favorite thing to do is art. She loves drawing and painting because it can be so relaxing between stressful school and show schedules. At the moment, she is keeping her options open for college and would really like to study computer science or art! Virginia would love to continue on to become a professional rider someday. Kim Prince, her trainer, is a big mentor for her. “The horse’s wellbeing is always at the forefront of her mind, and I love all the thought and care that she puts into every aspect of her program. My mother has also been a really huge mentor for me throughout my life because she approaches the world with a kind and compassionate heart, and a lot of who I am is because of her.”
Samantha Bourque, 14, of Glenwood, Maryland is a rising freshman at Glenelg High School. Samantha started riding when she was 3 ½ years old and shows in the hunters and equitation. Her favorite riders are Beezie Madden, Victoria Colvin, and McLain Ward and her dream as an equestrian is to ride professionally as a hunter rider. She currently leases a horse named From Russia With Love “Bora” and Bora was born in a castle in Russia! There are only about 500 horses of her breed left in the world. “Bora is my favorite horse because she challenges me. We have a special bond and I love her personality. She is the first horse that I have had the opportunity to lease and has helped me bring all my riding skills together to make us a confident and successful team.”
Outside of the barn, Samantha loves puzzles, painting, and watching movies. She would love to attend a college with an equestrian team that will challenge her and is interested in studying architecture to become an architect. Her mentors in the equine world are her trainers and barn family because “they support my riding goals and help me to be the best rider I can be.” Her mentors in general are her parents and teachers because “they help guide and support me through life’s challenges.” A fun fact about Samantha is that she participated in the Horse World Expo in Rescue to Stardom!
Emilia Cayelli, 17, of Herndon, Virginia is a rising senior at South Lakes High School. She started riding when she was 4, where she was “queen on the leadline ring.” After 14 years she is now showing in the Junior Hunters and the 3’3”-3’6” medals. Her favorite equine influences are her friends. “We all grew up riding together and I have been able to learn so much over the years with them.” While she is currently in her last Junior year, her goal is to qualify for any medal finals she can. Her horse’s name is King Midas “Kelso” and she named him after Michael Kelso from “That 70s Show.” He is an 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood who they imported in mid 2020. “He has already helped me reach my goals of competing at WEC Ocala, VHSA Children’s Medal Finals and Gittings Horsemanship Finals. A fun fact about Kelso is that he is 18 hands and used to do the 1.30 jumpers in Europe!”
Outside of the barn, she loves sailing and scuba diving. She is a certified rescue diver, and her favorite diving memory is following around a Turtle in Belize with her friend, who is also on the Junior Committee, Isabella Bertozzi. Emilia hopes to go on and study marine biology in college as well as ride on an NCEA or IHSA team! Her mentor both inside and outside of the equine world is her mom. “She has been driving me to and from the barn/shows for all these years and always makes sure that both my friends and I are drinking lots of water at shows.” A fun fact about Emilia is that she loves California Tortilla kid’s burritos and Olive Garden pasta!
Abby Cole, 15, of Ashburn, Virginia is a rising junior at Riverside High School. Abby started riding when she was 8 years old and currently shows in the hunters. Her favorite rider is Augusta Iwasaki. “She has very good form and position that I look up to. She seems to care for her horses and works hard.” An equine goal for her is to qualify for indoor finals, lay down some good rounds, and maybe place or get called back! She owns a horse named On your Mark “Marcus.” “He likes to give you massages when you rub on him. Marcus has taken me around my first 3’3” courses and around international rings. He also is so sweet and always will try to take care of me. He has taken me around my first junior hunter courses, around the Winter Equestrian Festival, and has helped me qualify for my first junior hunter finals in 2021!”
Outside of the barn, Abby likes to go on hikes with her friends and go to Solidcore to get exercise. Abby also enjoys being creative while doing scrapbooks, journaling, and other arts and crafts. She is looking forward to applying to colleges in sunny states to study cyber security. In the equine world, Jenny Graham is Abby’s mentor. “She has helped me through my whole riding career and teaches me everything I need to know.” In general, Kelsey Campbell is one of her mentors. “She is very knowledgeable and has always believed in me. I have also known her for a very long time and is also a really good friend.” A fun fact about Abby is that she likes to bake for family events!
Barbara Closter, 14, of Fairfax, Virginia is currently a student at Franklin Middle School. Barbara started riding when she was 10 years old and currently shows in the hunters. Her biggest equine influences are the girls at her barn. “They’re so talented and I learn so much just by watching them. It’s so great to be surrounded by so many people who make you want to do better and encourage you! Everyone helps me learn different things that make me a better equestrian. Each show I go to I learn something new!” Her goal as an equestrian is to compete in the Junior Hunters, Jumpers, and Equitation as well as show at WEF, Indoors, and Junior Hunter Finals. She currently leases a horse named Prescott, but her favorite horse is her old lease, Triton. “Triton always acted like a grumpy old man but had a secret sweet side and loved to cuddle when no one was watching. Triton is my favorite because he not only helped me find my passion for riding but helped me be a better rider on and off the horse. He took me to my first ever rated show and helped me win my first A show class! He was definitely my heart horse and I owe everything to him.”
Barbara enjoys running her small elastic belt business, called “Barbara’s Belts” and she hopes to go to college on the East Coast in the future! Her mentor in general is her mom. “She’s the kindest, smartest, and bravest person I know and I want to be just like her one day! She supports my equestrian dreams no matter what and has learned to love horses almost as much as I do. She has become a pro polo wrapper.” A fun fact about Barbara is that she loves watching Brooklyn 99 as well as bathing her horse!
Abby Dix, 15, of McLean, Virginia is a rising sophomore at Langley High School. Abby started riding when she was 6 years old and competes in the hunters. One of her favorite riders is Beezie Madden and her goal as an equestrian is to compete at Pony Finals or at WIHS. Her horse’s name is Luna, who used to be a jumper, but now shows in the hunters! “Luna has helped boost my confidence in the show ring.” Abby is a big fan of the Washington Capitals and enjoys marketing and management. At the moment, she would like to go to the College of Charleston to pursue a job in marketing or sports marketing. Her trainer, Kat Chetti, is one of her biggest mentors in the equine world. “She has helped me get to where I am today and is always positive and helpful.” Her biggest mentors outside of the equine world are her parents. “They are there for me very step of my life and are supportive and always want what’s best for me.” A fun fact about Abby is that she loves to ski!
Olivia Dougherty, 15, of Arlington, Virginia is a rising sophomore at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School. Olivia started riding when she was 9 years old and shows in the hunters. Her biggest equine influences are Pam Baker and Sarah Tyndall and her goal as an equestrian is to ride in the 3’6” junior hunter division. She owns a horse named Etta who is named after a song written by Etta James. “She is very sweet and reliable and has impacted my equine journey because she helped me move up to the 3’3” junior hunters.”
Outside of the barn, Olivia enjoys hanging out with her friends and baking. She would like to attend either USC or UNC in to study to become a lawyer. Her mentor in the equine world is Pam Baker. “She has helped me grow as a rider and is very supportive and encouraging. She has also taught me the meaning of commitment to horseback riding.” Her parents are her mentors in general. “They are extremely hardworking and are always there for me.” Some fun facts about Olivia are that she has a black lab named Banx, two bunnies named Ginger and Trea, and her favorite vacation spot is the Outer Banks!
Chloe Fagan, 16, of Bethesda, Maryland is a rising junior at Walter Johnson High School. Chloe started riding at the age of 7 and shows in the hunters and equitation. Her favorite riders are Lillie Keenan, Karen Polle, Eve Jobs, Brian Moggre, and Georgina Bloomberg. She hopes to take on a project horse in the future, either from off-the-track or rescuing an unwanted/neglected horse. “Being able to give them a loving home and observe any progress over time has been a life goal of mine and I look forward to pursuing it!” She leases an Oldenburg named Breakout “Yoda” and he got his name due to the fact that he was born on May fourth, national Star Wars Day. “He has taught and keeps teaching me how making progress takes both patience and hard work. This is my second year leasing him and we have become a strong team.”
Outside of the barn, Chloe enjoys reading in her free time and also volunteering at the “Great and Small Therapeutic Riding Facility,” helping children with intellectual or development disabilities get the chance to ride and experience handling horses. She hopes to study comparative psychology in college and also hopes to combine her love for animals and interest in their cognition by working towards becoming a behavior veterinarian or a similar career relating to the psychology of domestic animals. Her mentor in the equine world is her trainer, Patty Foster. “She has helped introduce me to many aspects of riding, such as higher levels of competition, my horse, and being able to move up in the hunters.” Her mentors in general are her parents. “They are very successful, hardworking individuals who have always supported my main passion: riding.” A fun fact about Chloe is that she has a 2-year-old “Blue Lacy” dog named Millie!
Nora Fotuhi, 15, of McLean, Virginia is a rising junior at Langley High School. Nora started riding when she was 8 years old but decided to take a break a few months after because it was hard for her to find a barn near her house. “I enjoyed it for the little time I had, but still love volunteering at horse events and spending time with horses.” She enjoys riding for fun and her favorite rider is Matt Harnacke. Her goal as an equestrian is to continue being on WIHS and do whatever she can do to help out! She enjoys playing soccer and basketball, as well as bake in her free time. Nora also likes working out and hanging out with friends. She wants to stay on the East Coast for college and is interested in studying medicine and going to medical school someday. Her mentor in the equine world is Bill Better. “He was not only a rider but also donated almost $1 billion to charitable causes.” In general, her dad is her mentor. “He aspires me to work harder and do my best no matter what.”
A fun fact about Nora is that she participates in WIHS every year, even though she isn’t currently riding. She enjoys the the equestrian environment and is excited for the following show!
Sophia Fox, 17, of Great Falls, Virginia is a rising senior at The Madeira School. Sophia started riding at the age of 7 and shows in the hunters. Her favorite rider is Victoria Colvin, and her goal is to compete at all of the indoor events this year with her horse! She owns a horse named Northface “Chilly.” “His favorite treat is Golden Oreos, and his favorite pastime is jumping cross-country jumps. He is always super willing to try his hardest and he is super sweet! He is really talented and confident so as a result, he has really improved my confidence and riding ability.”
Her hobbies are photography, robotics, orchestra, and volunteering/community work. Sophia is planning on attending a liberal arts college, but is not sure where yet. “I do not have a specific dream profession and love every and all subjects, so I hope to major in a bunch of subjects, be in a job that is constantly changing, or hold many different jobs during my life that cover different areas. I can’t see myself in just one subject area yet since I truly love them all!” Her mentors in the equine world are her trainers Ian McCartney and Ben and Keri Guanciale. “They are some of the most knowledgeable people I know, and I’m always interested in finding out more about every aspect of our sport from them.” Her mentors in general are her parents. “They have supported my riding and academic goals and are always willing to help! Their dedication to giving back to the community spurred my own passion for volunteering.” A fun fact about Sophia is that she loves to take photos at horseshows with her friends and even has a small photography business!
Caroline Green, 17, of Gaithersburg, Maryland is a rising senior at Quince Orchard High School. Caroline was 9 years old when she started riding and shows in the hunters and equitation. Her favorite rider is Mimi Gochman and her goal as an equestrian is to work with a young horse to be her adult amateur or professional mount. She leases a horse named Big Black “Henry” who is 25 years old and loves jellybeans! Henry is her favorite because he has been her horse for most of her junior career. Caroline used to event, and he is the first horse she showed in a hunter division. “He is such a sweet guy, and he’s very affectionate- always wanting his head rubbed! I would be in such a different place in my riding career without a solid horse like Henry to help me along the way.”
Outside of the barn, she loves to paint, draw, and play the guitar. She plans on getting her degree in graphic design with a minor in marketing or communications. Her current favorite schools are Salisbury University, Radford University, and Bridgewater College. Caroline also wants to eventually become a creative director and sell her artwork on the side as well as continue riding and showing. In the equine world, her mentors are her trainers, Michael and Emily Friedman. “They are so helpful, caring, and knowledgeable. They’re a big reason why I’m so invested in this sport, and I contribute my success to their teaching. I’ve had many instructors over the years, but Michael and Emily truly care for the horses- and all of their other animals- like no other.” Her mentors in general are her parents. “They are so supportive of me and all of the things I do. They’ve never limited me and would do anything to help me reach success.” A fun fact about Caroline is that she has leased 5 different horses throughout her equestrian career.
Abby Griffith, 14, of Vienna, Virginia is a rising sophomore at the Dominion Christian School. Abby started riding when she was 9 and shows in the hunters. Her mom has been and is her biggest influence on the ground and in the saddle. “She had a huge role in the start of my riding journey, and still does. She is my biggest and most loving supporter, and I am so thankful for her impact on my equestrian pursuits!” One of her current goals as an equestrian is to be successful in the younger children’s division and has a goal to move into equitation in the future. “As I am only a freshman in high school, I do have some time and would love to get a lot of experience under my belt before college. I would love to go places, not only to show, but to learn about horsemanship on the ground and better understand how to run a profitable and successful barn/business.” She is currently leasing a 17.2hh dark bay warmblood gelding named Coolidge “Calvin.” “He has 4 socks and a big, adorable snip on his nose. He loves to pull on my hoodie strings and zippers and has a big personality – he will do anything for attention! I love him for being so easygoing and tolerant. He is always so happy to see me and is a great teacher. He has given me so much more confidence, strength, and skill on the flat, and has helped move me up to the 3ft children’s division. He always takes great care of me!”
Outside of the barn, Abby enjoys singing and listening to music. “Music takes a big part in my life, as I find it is a great way to release emotion and relieve stress. I am also a HUGE Star Wars and Marvel fan, too! Most times, when my family can’t find me, I am somewhere reading, binging, or fangirling over my favorite characters and movies!” Abby is still deciding if she wants to continue in the horse world or get into intelligence work in the future, specifically the FBI or CIA. Her mom is her mentor in general. “She has always been my greatest influence and supporter and is always willing to go through and talk about my rounds and hardships with me, but the best part is seeing her proud of me and sharing a celebration after big accomplishments!”
Caty Hogan, 16, of Washington, D.C. is a rising junior at the Maret School. Caty started riding when she was 7 years old and shows in the hunters and jumpers. Her favorite rider is Chloe Reid and her goal as an equestrian is to show in the high child/adult jumpers or higher and to ride in Europe. She owns 2 horses named Sail on By “Oliver” and Bismarck “Otto.” Oliver just came to the United States from Europe in the fall. “Otto likes healthy snacks like apples and carrots, but his favorite snack is cinnamon & brown sugar Pop Tarts. Otto was my first junior horse and is only 6 years old, so riding him has given me the opportunity to work with a young horse and get an idea of what it takes to train a horse.”
Outside of the barn, Caty enjoys photography and baking and is starting the college search! She eventually wants to become a lawyer like her parents, do public interest work, or become a public defender.
Claire Jones, 16, of Herndon, Virginia is a rising senior at Herndon high School. Claire started riding when she was 9 years old and shows in the hunters. Her favorite riders are Sam Walker and Waldo and her goal as an equestrian is to ride/compete in college. Her favorite horse is named Ready. “He has taught me several new skills when it comes to jumping at a higher level and additionally has an amazing personality and is so loving!”
She is part of 2 varsity sports for her school (cheer and gymnastics) and is also very involved in volunteering within her community. In college, she plans on joining the equestrian team while studying mathematics. Once she graduates, Claire plans on continuing riding with the goal of owning a horse while working. Her mentors in the equine world are her trainers, Colleen Shea-Hackett and Terri Young, and her mentors in general are her parents for always encouraging her!
Julianne Karol, 16, of Alexandria, Virginia is a rising junior at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School. Julianne started riding when she was 5 years old and shows in the hunters and jumpers. Her favorite rider is Laura Kraut and her goal as an equestrian is to compete in the high junior jumpers. She owns one hunter, named Fedora, and leases two jumpers, named Zwelgie “Z” and Unsomnie de la Roque “Mimi.” “Surprisingly, all three of my horses have a lot of personality and are very gentle and sweet on the ground.”
Outside of the barn, Julianne loves to play lacrosse and travel. She would love to study business at a school in Southern California and hopes to have a large role in a non-profit or social entrepreneurship organization in the future! Her equine mentor is her trainer Sloane Coles. “She never fails to put the comfortability of the horse first and has given me so much confidence inside and out of the ring.” Her mentor in general is her mother. “I aspire to be as hardworking and caring as her as I become an adult. She has provided so much opportunity for me and has also been a driving reminder for me to exert my confidence.”
Ali O’Brien, 15, of McLean, Virginia is a rising junior at The Potomac School. Ali started riding at the age of 3 and shows in the hunters and equitation. Her favorite riders are Karen Polle, Beezie Madden, and Kent Farrington and her goal as an equestrian is to compete at USEF Talent Search Finals. She owns a horse named Aspire “Chipmunk” who loves Uncle Jimmy treat balls and bananas! “Chipmunk is my favorite horse because she has taken me from the Medium Pony Hunters to the 3’3” Juniors, and has taught me so much, both in and out of the ring. Her impact on my equine journey has been enormous, as she has challenged me to improve how I ride and has helped me to develop stronger aids, a skill I can use with other horses as well. It has been incredible to bring her along from a fresh import to a capable Junior Hunter. The most meaningful aspect of our journey has been that we have grown together and worked really hard to get to where we are today.”
Ali is interested in journalism and enjoys working as an editor on her school newspaper, the Potomac Current. She’s also interested in global studies and the political field! She would love to attend a university with strong International Relations, Journalism, and Criminology programs. She hopes that her future career will allow her to serve both her community and vulnerable communities near her. Ali would also love to work for a company/organization that is focused on remedying women’s issues both in the United States and abroad. In the equine world, her mentor is her trainer, Kristin Mangum. “She is unmatched in her horse knowledge and ability to teach me in a way that is effective for my riding, as well as her ability to train my horses. Also, she offers great life advice and is always a shoulder to lean on when I need some support.” In general, one of her mentors is her advisor at her school. “She challenges me to be the best I can be and supports me in all of my goals. She is also the first person to check in after a long day or challenging time.”
Abbie Olmstead, 16, of Potomac, Maryland is a rising senior at Winston Churchill High School. Abbie started riding when she was 8 years old and shows in the hunters. Her favorite rider is Victoria Colvin and her goal as an equestrian is to move up to the Children’s Hunters this summer, have fun, and be successful for the next year and a half before she leaves for college! She leases a horse named Coachella “Ella” who has huge ears and is super sweet! “Ella is my favorite horse because she is very smart and super fun to ride. She has taught me so many new things, helped me build my confidence, and also allowed me to move up divisions.”
Outside of the barn, Abbie loves to travel, play golf, and hike and plans on going to college in the Fall of 2022. She wants to go into the education field and possibly be a teacher or school psychologist. Her mentors in the equine world are her trainers, Kara and Allie Listrani. “They are excellent coaches and want to see me succeed.” Her mentor in general is her mom who has also ridden since she was a kid. “She is always very supportive and helps me reach my goals. A fun fact about Abbie is that all of the horses and ponies that she’s leased or owned have been grey!
Natalie Paley, 14, of Germantown, Maryland is a rising freshman at Northwest High School. Natalie started riding when she was 6 years old and shows in the hunters as well Potomac Hunt pace events for fun! Her favorite rider is McLain Ward because she loves watching and rewatching his rounds as well as his clinics that he does. “A cool thing I love about him is that his farm has peacocks wandering around. I find it interesting that when he rides at his farm he rides surrounded by peacocks.” Her equine goal is to compete at WIHS with her horse “Veela” in the hunters and move up to the 3’6 hunters. She owns a horse named Vendetta “Veela” who she started leasing in the summer of 2020 and recently bought in December. “Veela did the 1.20 Jumpers, but a year ago decided to become a lazy hunter. She has the cutest face and is extremely friendly to anyone that passes her. She loves to get rubbed on her face and under her ears. She is also very cuddly and will let you hang-out with her for hours. She is my favorite horse because I have noticed a huge change and improvement in my riding ever since I started leasing her.” “Prior to riding Veela, I rode a 14.1 hand pony that would carry me around 2’6, so getting Veela was a bit of a challenge at first, but now she has taught me so much and I love riding her in the Children’s 3’0”.”
When she is not at the barn she enjoys drawing and playing videogames with friends. Her dream college is the University of Wisconsin. “I adore the campus and they have a good vet program. However, I would also love to go to a college that has a riding team.” In the future, she would love to have a career working with horses, such as being a horse vet or training OTTBs and rescues. Her equine mentor is her trainer, Adrian Ford. “I’ve been riding with Adrian for most of my time in the saddle and he’s been helping me improve my riding ever since I learned how to jump.”
Katie Pugliese, 15, of Malvern, Pennsylvania is a rising junior at Conastoga High School. Katie started riding when she was 6 years old and shows in the jumpers. Her favorite riders are Michael Matz, McLain Ward, Scott Brash, and Kent Farrington. Her goal as an equestrian is to represent the United States in the Olympics. She has 2 horses and one pony named Easy Jumper “EJ,” Heineken, and Chaco. Chaco loves vanilla birthday cake and blue Gatorade. “Both horses are so kind and such great teachers while still being incredible athletes.”
Outside of the barn, Katie loves to fish and weightlift. Her dream college is UNC Chapel Hill, and her goal is to become a professional rider and represent the United States on Nations cup teams. Kimberly Prince is her mentor in the equine world. “Kim has taught me everything I know about the sport. She is a phenomenal rider, horsewomen, and person. She has dedicated her life to excellence, and it is a pleasure to learn from her.” Her mentor in general is her dad. “He never rode horses growing up, but he has grown to love the sport and horses. “We spent a lot of time together on the road for horse shows and he is so hardworking and lets nothing be in front of family.”
Catie Ries, 16, of Reston, Virginia is a rising junior at South Lakes High School. Catie started riding when she was 8 and shows in the hunters and equitation. Her favorite equine influence/hero is Pam Baker and her goal as an equestrian is to “be the best rider I can be, learn as much as possible, and always keep riding.” Catie owns a horse named Big Anthony “Tony” and he used to race. “Tony is my favorite because he is the first horse I owned, and he came to me when I was having a at a hard time. He’s been with me through a lot. Since Tony was the first horse I owned, we have a very strong bond and he really helped me to develop my confidence. Tony brought me from a lesson barn rider to rated shows.”
Outside of the barn, Catie likes reptiles, being outdoors, and is interested in either majoring in herpetology or becoming a vert of some kind! Her mentor in the equine world is Pam Baker. “Pam is the most knowledgeable person I’ve ever met when it comes to horses, and I am so lucky to be training with her. She really cares about the horse and riders, works hard to help us do our best, and is willing to do anything to help us achieve our goals – she is supportive no matter what.” In general, she looks up to her parents. “They have done everything possible to support my equestrian goals, and they always have the bigger picture in mind when it comes to my well-being.” A fun fact about Catie is that she is adopted! “My Mom and Dad agreed to an open adoption my birth families have been a part of my life since the beginning. Without that connection my great-grandfather, Bacca, would never have put me on a horse when I was three and I never would have known that my great-great grandfather was a jockey and my grandmother, Moutie, qualified for the Junior Olympics in Eventing!”
Carly Roberts, 16, of South riding, Virginia is a rising junior at Freedom High School. Carly has been riding for 7 years and shows in the hunters. Her favorite rider is Victoria Colvin because of her style of riding and attention to detail when caring for her horses. Her goal is to compete in Junior Hunter Finals this summer! She owns 2 horses, but one of them is leased out. “Bellario “Otto” has the sweetest, yet goofiest personality. During school, I always got pictures of him lying on the floor of his stall asleep, so I would say his favorite thing is probably naps. Oh, and he loves Nature Valley granola bars! This horse and I have really grown up together. Although I have only had him for a year, he has really come further than I could have ever imagined, while teaching me so much at the same time. He really went from barely showing in the 2’6” to qualifying for Junior Hunter Finals in a little over a year. I am just so proud of how far we have come, and how he has made me the rider, and the horseman I am today.”
When she is not at the barn, Carly plays Varsity Lacrosse for her high school. She does not have a dream college, but she wants to go somewhere warm and possibly ride. She definitely sees horses in her future! Her equine mentor is her trainer, Kristin Mangum. “Kristin is the kind of person I want to be, forever and always. She is so supportive of any young equestrian that has ever crossed her path, and I would be nowhere close to the person I am today without her. She has not only helped me become a better rider, but a better person.” In general, her biggest mentor is her dad. “My dad is truly my biggest fan. He is #1 boot polisher, #1 trailer mechanic, #1 water bucket filler, and really the best horse show dad. Although my dad didn’t grow up around horses, and doesn’t really know too much about them, he supports me, and stands with me every single step of the way. Although he still doesn’t really understand what a handy trip is, or what is going on in the under saddle, he really does try his best. When I grow up, my dad is the kind of parent I will always hope to be.”
Lauren Satola, 16, of Fulton, Maryland is a rising senior at Reservoir high School. Lauren started riding when she was 6 or 7 years old and shows in the hunters, jumpers, and equitation. She enjoys watching other riders and being able to pick up little bits of knowledge that she would not have known otherwise. Her goal as an equestrian is to continue her riding career throughout college as well as when she is an adult. She owns one horse and leases another, named Santinos “Levi” and Ferrari. “Whenever you pull up Levi’s lip, he will cover up his teeth with his lower one so you can’t see them. Ferrari acts like she hates attention and being fussed over, but absolutely loves it. Levi and I have practically grown up together as I got him when I was twelve. Together we have been able to go from the pre-children’s hunters to the 3’3 juniors and were able to create a really strong bond together. On the other hand, we just started leasing Ferrari in November and she has been able to teach me a lot about the more technical side of the jumper ring.”
Outside of the barn, Lauren enjoys hanging out with her dog, playing guitar, and reading. She wants to go into the environmental studies field. Her equine mentor is her trainer, Allie Panetta. “I moved to her barn when I was around 9 or 10 and since then, she has been able to teach me so much and not just in the saddle, but my horsemanship skills as well.” In general, she looks up to her mom. “She has been able to work really hard to give me the opportunities that I’ve had in the horse world as well as out of the saddle.”
Kendall Schuler, 17, of Great Falls, Virginia is a rising senior at The Connolly School of The Holy Child. Kendall started riding when she was 8 years old and competed in the hunters all the way from short stirrup to the 3’6 Junior Hunters until her sophomore year of high school when she switched to the jumpers. Her biggest equine influence is her sister, Kirsten. “She is the reason I started riding and helped push me to be where I am today.” Her goal as an equestrian is to compete at indoors as a jumper this year. She currently rides 2 horses, Bean “Bold Missy” and Quincy “Quincy 162” and also owns her retired Junior Hunter, Sandro Sky “Sky” who is her favorite horse. “A fun fact about him was that he was over 18 HH! An impact he had on me was that he took me from the children’s hunters all the way to the 3’6, he thought me more about riding than I could’ve ever expected out of any horse.”
Outside of the barn, Kendall enjoys working out, cooking, and swimming. “I will hopefully be going to college next year and as of right now do not know what the future holds for me regarding horses.” Her equine mentor is her trainer, Sloane Coles. “She is a very dedicated and hardworking equestrian, and is an excellent example to follow.” Her mentor in general is her father. “He has taught to really dedicate yourself to something if you really love it.”
Lola Schumpert, 15, of Washington, D.C. is a rising junior at Woodrow Wilson Senior high School. Lola started riding when she was 6 years old and shows in the jumpers. Her favorite rider is Taylor St. Jacques and her goal as an equestrian is to win at indoors! She leases a horse named Laddy Boy. “He is afraid of everything in the schooling ring.” He has taught me how to become a better rider and he was the horse that gained my confidence.”
Outside of the barn, Lola likes to work out and would love to attend USC in the future to become an interior designer. Her mentors in the equine world are her trainers, Mary Lisa Leffeler, Patty Foster, and Ashley Foster and her mentors in general are her parents.
Lauren Seib, 17, of Germantown, Maryland is a rising senior at Seneca Valley High School. Lauren started riding when she was 7 years old and shows in the hunters and jumpers. Her biggest equine influence is Selena O’Hanlon. “She has been a family friend my entire life and has witnessed my hard work and dedication to the sport.” A goal of hers is to qualify and show at WIHS one day. She owns Handwritten “Toque” and leases Bruce. “Even though Toque is blind in one eye, he has made a tremendous impact on my riding journey. After riding for 6 years, my family bought Toque when he was only 5 years old. We grew together, and he has taught me so much.”
Outside of the barn, swimming is a big hobby of hers. “Between lifeguarding all summer, swimming on my high school team and my neighborhood swim team, if I am not at the barn, you will find me at the pool!” She also enjoys watching hockey and loves cheering on the Washington Capitals at Capital One. Her plan is to study business at her dream school, Notre Dame, and hopes to be in a profession that will be able to support her riding once she moves out. Her equine mentor is her trainer, Justine Powers Jarvis. “She has been my trainer since I started riding and I have looked up to her from the beginning.” In general, her mom is her mentor. “She has done so much for me, and I would not be where I am without her. I aspire to be as good of a mom as her someday.” A fun fact about Lauren is that she is 5’10. “Whenever people ask me if I play basketball and I respond with “no I actually ride horses,” they are always disappointed.”
Evie Stettin, 16, of Washington, D.C. is a rising senior at School Without Walls High School. Evie started riding when she was 10 years old, started showing in the equitation, and now currently shows in the jumpers. Her equine hero is Harry Delayer and her goal as an equestrian is to produce her OTTB to a high level! She owns Ladybird “Birdy”, who she got straight off the racetrack. “The only intermediary was a kill pen and then a rescue, where she spent a month before she came to me. I produced her myself! This horse has taught me everything I know about riding and has changed my life for the better.”
Her interests outside of the barn are French, reading, drawing and spending time with her friends. She would like to attend McGill University in Montreal and would like to work for the UNor State Department. Her equine mentor is her trainer, Redha Gharsa, and her mentor in general is her mom. “She is the loveliest person I’ve ever met.” A fun fact about Evie is that she is the 2021 WIHS Junior Committee Youth Ambassador, has been on the junior committee for 3 years, and a WIHS events and operations intern!
Katie Triantos, 16, of McLean, Virginia is a rising senior at the Flint Hill School. Katie started riding when she was 9 years old and shows in the hunters, jumpers, and equitation. Her goal as an equestrian is to become consistent in all divisions on any horse. She owns 2 hunters named Gossip Girl “Gabby” and Candidate “Cody” as well as a jumper named Stardust “Fluffy” and an equitation horse named Corrado “George.” “I got Gabby when she was 5 and just imported, she was my first horse we moved up together. I’ve shown Cody in the High performance and actually won the handy at Washington on him. George’s favorite activity is galloping around the track in HITS Ocala. Fluffy is named Fluffy because when I got him his whole forelock was chopped off.”
Outside of the barn, Katie enjoys reading and working out. She is committed to Texas A&M University and hopes to become a professional rider when she grows up! Her mentors in general are her parents.
Bea VanSant, 15, of Middleburg, Virginia is a rising sophomore at the Highland School. Bea started riding when she was 3 years old and shows in the hunters. Her favorite rider is Joe Fargis and her goal as an equestrian is to compete on the A circuit in the children’s hunters. She has the opportunity to catch ride two very special large ponies named Ladybug and Andy. “They have both taught me about what it means to show on a circuit larger than the local.”
Outside of the barn, Bea enjoys baking and exploring other sports such as field hockey. Next year, she will play for her school’s team! Her goal is to study medicine and work in the medical field one day. Her mentor in the equine world is her trainer. “She teaches me to work with what I have.”
Natalie Wasson, 16, of Oakton, Virginia is a rising senior at the Flint Hill School. Natalie started riding when she was 8 years old and shows in the hunters. Her favorite riders are Beezie Madden, and Lillie Keenan and her goal is to compete at all the national 3’6” equitation finals. She leases a horse named Cresus. “He loves to jump with his tongue out. Cresus has taught me so much about how to be a softer rider, and he is my first jumper – he’s always been there for me.”
Outside of the barn, she loves to exercise and cook and would love to ride in college or study abroad in Scotland or Ireland! Her life goal is to one day compete on the Family Feud game show. Her equine mentors are her trainer, Dave Rivkin, and her good friend Alexia Rule. “He has great advice and always knows what I am going to do before I do it! My good friend Alexia Rule taught me a lot about how to show and take care of my horse myself while competing at WEF and other big shows, and she really taught me a lot about the equestrian world as well.” Her mentors in general are her parents. “They have also always been great mentors to me despite them not riding themselves and I am so lucky to have such supportive parents like them!” A fun fact about Natalie is that her friend got her a “bedazzler” for Christmas and “now I have bedazzled my horses’ halter, saddle pad, and practically anything else I can!”
Hannah Weingast, 14, of Vienna, Virginia is a rising freshman at Langley High School. Hannah began riding when she was 6 years old and started showing in the hunters locally at age 7. Her dream is to one day show at WIHS! She is currently half-leasing a horse named Oscar. “His favorite thing in the world is when I ride bareback. Oscar is a challenging horse because he suffers from anxiety and like every horse before him, he is teaching me something new.” She owns a show bow business named “Top Ribbons,” where she hand-makes bows and sells them locally.
Outside of the horse world, Hannah loves playing basketball and hanging out with friends. She wants to become a sportswriter and would love to attend Boston College to pursue that goal. “My mentors in the equine world have never been one person, rather everyone who knows more than me, anyone who could teach me something. In general, my mom is the nicest and most considerate person I know, and I strive to be like that.” A fun fact about Hannah is that she really likes to travel and see new places! “There’s nothing like seeing a new place for the first time.”
Lauren Wiermanski, 17, of Fairfax Station, Virginia is a rising senior at South County High School. Lauren started riding when she was 8 years old and shows in the hunters and jumpers. Her favorite rider is Abby Grabowski. She started leasing her favorite horse, Doc, a few years ago and they even have the same birthday! “He helped me grow into the rider I am today and taught me more than any other horse. I’m so lucky that I had the opportunity to ride him, he means so much to me.”
Outside of the barn, Lauren is on her high school’s varsity track team and hopes to attend the College of William and Mary in the fall. Her goal is to study mathematics and science in college. Her mentor in general is her mom. “She has taught me so much and has and always will be there for me.”
Ava Wolfe, 15, of Burke, Virginia is a rising sophomore at Bishop Ireton High School. Ava started riding when she was 6 years old and is currently showing in the hunters and equitation. “My sister was the person who got me interested in riding horses and has been my biggest influence. Her determination to achieve her goals has continued to inspire me.” Her main goal at the moment is to compete in the WIHS children’s hunter division. Her horse is named Cyrano and they bought him in 2017. “He has helped me navigate through my riding journey, especially when I was trying to move up to children’s hunters.”
Outside of riding, her three other main hobbies include dancing, baking, and school clubs. “While I am still not positive on where I would like to go to college, something that I think would be interesting is attending Savannah College of Art & Design to pursue interior design and ride on their IHSA team.” Her main mentor in the equine world is her trainer, Kristin Mangum. “She has helped me gain confidence in riding as well as helping me become a stronger rider.”