We all can remember an instance when someone offered us a helping hand in case the situation was tense circumstance. Sometimes, some help made all the difference between just being able to survive and making a significant leap toward our goals, even though we believed the odds might hinder us from achieving these dreams from happening. Long-term support for the OYES Equestrian Scholarship
In the realm of scholarship opportunities in the world of horses, OYES Equestrian is the best example of that hand-holding that did not just hand us the opportunity to hand out a check but rather the opportunity to give a hand.
The goal of OYES has been to “provide youth with the opportunity to 17-27 who are from communities that are marginalized to participate or remain engaged in horse sport through financial rewards and mentorship that focuses on more than just horsemanship and riding as well as the planning of careers and education.
In providing financial assistance and mentoring, OYES focuses on closing the gap between people who have experienced economic hardship and discrimination due to sexual orientation, race, and gender identities in the world of horses.
Although one person in any scholarship period will receive $600 toward their horse-related pursuits, all applicants will be mentored by a respected leader in the world of horses. OYES events aim to assist all applicants with their career and equestrian pursuits.
We had the privilege of chatting with Mandy Collier, founder of Optimum Equine LLC and the OYES Scholarship, and Krissy Rohr, a mentor at OYES. Krissy Rohr is a mentor in the OYES program who’s enthusiastic about seeing change on the part of OYES applicants. Come along as we discover more about the story and the heartbeat of the OYES program!
One morning, I went for a run, and the light bulb started to blink.
I was determined to assist horses in healing and becoming as athletic and efficient as they could be using the same healing methods that helped me restore my athletic capabilities. I began researching training programs and then launched Optimum Equine shortly after I received my certification. Massage therapy was always beneficial to my beloved horse, Charlie Brown, and I believe in the benefits of massage therapy to maintain soundness and maximum performance in our clients.
Optimum Equine Scholarship and OYES
The OYES Scholarship was initially funded entirely by my business’s profits which is why the word “Optimum” Equine became the Scholarship’s name. I was unsure who else would be a believer in the concept and support the cause we were pursuing; however, I was so convinced that I believed there had to be a revolution within our field that I decided that OYES would be implemented in some way or another.
Since then, the Scholarship has received donations from people and companies across the nation who are committed to our cause and wish to see it expand. Additionally, every organization needs an acronym that is fun, and what’s better than the OYES acronym?
Read about-Create Stunning Black and White Animal Art.
The award was announced after I participated in an online forum organized by Heels Down Magazine in which four female equestrians discussed their experiences with horses. I listened time and time to the stories of these women not being given opportunities or having no chances to participate and not being accepted within the equestrian world.
While listening, I was convinced I had to devise a method to create changes.
Another bright lightbulb moment was when I drove back to my barn the next day! A scholarship could boost those in need of it and provide education, mentorship, opportunities, and solidarity with BIPOC and LGBTQ riding partners. They are typically excluded from the equestrian community. Find out more about how the Scholarship was born in the blog we wrote on the launch day.
Mentorship piece of the Scholarship
Mentorship is essential. A rider’s Scholarship of $600 is fantastic, and we’re happy to offer these. However, we see mentorship as the most important element in our curriculum. The horse-based lifestyle does not happen easily, especially when you’re faced with obstacles resulting from low financial accessibility, access problems to opportunities, discrimination, and a lack of opportunities.
The mentors of our program are waiting to help:
- assist these young riders in their equestrian pursuits, including
- coach you on choosing an appropriate career and pursuing higher education
- Offer support and understanding of the many obstacles that these riders are facing
Because of technological advancements, Our mentees can now communicate with mentors nationwide via video-based meetings. Many of them arrange regular meetings or keep in contact via phone, text messages, or calls.
One applicant wrote, “A lack of knowledge and information from my side keeps me from progressing. Who can I talk to? Who do I call? Where can I go, and who can I take lessons by ?”
The sentiment hit home. The challenges of finances in this game are often thought of as preventing people from achieving their goals which is a significant portion of it. If you don’t have the skills to get to where you want to be, how can you be able to get there? We’re dedicated to connecting young riders with professionals from the fields they’re interested in working in or with people who have traveled the same path and faced similar challenges.
Your heart is in OYES Scholarship.
I do this because I am passionate about the sport, and I am a lover of horses. We want everyone who wants to feel that joy to experience it and experience it within their lives. It is time to be able to critically examine equestrian sports and ask what are the barriers and how we can ensure that more riders are comfortable? How do we assist more people to feel that they can participate in the world and feel a part of it to this community? This is a major part that I’m trying to achieve through OYES.
Scholarship with an equine focus
Most people don’t realize the potential and power of horses; however, we shouldn’t. The equestrian scholarships aren’t intended to be awarded to those who will become the next Olympian and the next top trainer but to every equestrian who has a better life because horses are an integral component. This is why this scholarship opportunity is truly unique and attractive to the majority of riders who are grassroots.
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