Congratulations are in order for Caroline Martin and Mackenna Shea, who have been selected by the USET Foundation as the recipients of the 2017 Karen Stives Eventing Endowment Fund Grants.
Caroline and Pebbly Maximus, her 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, and Mackenna and Landioso, her 15-year-old Bavarian Warmblood gelding, will spend a month in England on the Karen E. Stives European Emerging Athlete Tour, training with USEF Emerging Athletes Coach Leslie Law and competing at the Houghton Hall CICO3* and Bramham CCI3*-U25.
Competing on the tour will allow Mackenna to make her overseas debut, and she said the opportunity would not be possible without the generosity of the late Karen Stives, who donated $1 million to the USET Foundation to create a fund that would give up-and-coming U.S. riders valuable international experience.
“Being a part of the Emerging Athletes program has been a huge asset to my development, and now with the help of this generous grant, I will be able to take what I have learned abroad,” Mackenna said. “Spending several weeks in Europe at two different venues will be unlike anything I have ever experienced before, and I hope this trip can bring me closer to my goal of one day riding on a team.”
Caroline also competed on the tour last year and said she is thrilled to have the opportunity once again. “It’s really great that we have the backing for under-25 riders. To be able to go overseas and compete with the world’s best under 25 event riders — we’re really lucky that our country does this for us. It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to represent this grant and Karen Stives,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to being able to make the jump from junior to professional and being able to go over and compete and be on my top form. It’s definitely the next step into becoming a professional and, thanks to this grant, I think it’s a great start to my professional career.”
In addition to training with Leslie Law and competing at Houghton Hall and Bramham, Mackenna and Carolina will also visit British Olympian Carl Hester’s yard, as well as a steeplechase yard. The EN team wishes Mackenna and Caroline the best of luck as they set off on their trip in May. Go Eventing.