Eventer Maggie Sheehan Awarded USEF Higher Education Equestrian Scholarship

Maggie Sheehan and Absoroka in 2020. Photo courtesy of Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.

One of the five USEF Higher Education Equestrian Scholarships awarded for 2121 went to a eventer, Maggie Sheehan. Earmarked for graduating high school seniors, the scholarships were created to support students who are committed to continuing their involvement in equestrian sport while in college through an equestrian-related degree, volunteerism, or internship; riding on an intercollege equestrian team; or other equestrian-related activity. The scholarship awards a $1,000 grant to each recipient to be used towards education expenses at their college or university.

Maggie, of Perkinsville, Vermont, plans to attend the University of Vermont, pursuing a major in Animal Science with a pre-equine veterinarian track. She has loved everything about horses and riding from the very beginning, and said pursuing a career to give back to the animals who gave her so much was a no-brainer.

“I went from a shy, unconfident little rider to a well-rounded person who’s able to speak for myself, solve problems, think ahead, and keep pushing no matter the circumstances. Now, I navigate new life challenges with a steady demeanor, patience, and grit,” says Maggie.

“Every day I’m reminded of everything my trainer and each horse that comes in and out of my life has taught me. So I wasn’t really surprised when at the end of one day, sweeping the aisle while the late afternoon summer light danced through the barn, the thought crossed my mind: I could do this for the rest of my life. I want to help each horse as much as they’ve helped me. So, I’m pursuing a career in equine veterinary medicine.”

Maggie has been riding for about 11 years and eventing for the past five or six. As a working student at Greylock Farm/Sue Berrill Eventing, she was able to learn the sport of eventing on several horses, a couple of which she competed for a notable amount of time.

Maggie Sheehan and Practically Perfect in 2019. Photo by Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.com.

The first was Practically Perfect (“Hobbes,”) whom is owned and was competed through Intermediate with Ariel Grald. “He taught me the ropes and helped me gain a lot of confidence back that I’d lost from previous experiences, and took me from Beginner Novice up through my first Training.”

Hobbes came up unsound a couple years ago, and while Maggie rehabbed him for a year she rode Sue Berrill’s homebred Absoroka (“Phoebe.”)

“She was so much fun, one of the smartest and funniest horses personality wise I’ll probably ever meet!,” Maggie says. “I think she really helped me evolve as a cross country rider, and I rode her for a season at Novice.”

When Hobbes went back to Ariel last fall because he’d developed arthritis in his stifles, Maggie began leasing her current ride Chequers Superstar (“Chequers”), who belongs to a long-time boarder of Sue’s, Nicole Diana.

“He’s pretty much the quintessential perfect horse, super sweet, well behaved, looks to please, no drama kind of guy,” Maggie says. “Denney Emerson actually said everybody deserves to have a Chequers at some point in their life!, so I’m super lucky to have the opportunity to lease him! We’re currently competing at Training level, and headed to GMHA for the Area 1 Training Level Championships this weekend.”

Looking ahead to her first year of college, she says, “I’m aiming to take him to school with me second semester, and I’m hoping as long everything goes accordingly to take him Prelim maybe next season or the one after! I would like to continue working with horses through school. I’ll just keep an eye out for opportunities, whether it be riding, school programs, internships, or just working around a barn. I think there’s always more to learn with horses!”

Best of luck to you, Maggie! Additional scholarships were awarded to hunter/jumpers Samantha Adamczyk of Loxahatchee, Fla. and Caroline Johnston of Upper Saddle River, N.J. and dressage riders Gracie Lynch of Berea, Ky. and Emma Teff of Renfrew, Pa. Learn more about the scholarship here.