December 31, 2010 -- The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce Kelsey Kimbler as the 2010 Junior Equestrian of the Year. This highest of honor offered to a junior equestrian comes on the heels of another big honor Kelsey earned earlier this month--the 2010 USEF Youth Sportsman's Award, sponsored by Breyer Animal Creations. This puts Kelsey in elite company, as one of only a handful of junior equestrians to accomplish both feats in the same year.
"My sister Kirsten won this award in 2007 and I've always looked up to her. When she won, I decided 'That's my next goal!'" Kimbler related. "It has been a whirlwind experience."
The 17-year-old high school senior has shown an unwavering commitment to her sport. As a young child, she started in the show ring with walk-trot. Soon after, she continued her riding with endurance and has never looked back. Kimbler has won the AERC Junior National Hundred Mile Award twice in its four years of existence. This award is given to the junior rider who completes the most 100-mile rides in one year. Kimbler holds the record for being the only junior to complete five such endurance rides in one year. She also has represented the AHA Youth Association as her region's delegate and through involvement in 4-H events with her Arabians. She was nominated by both the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) and the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC).
Her commitment does not stop with her horses, and as Kimbler can attest, she's used to balancing quite a hectic schedule. She tested for the first professional level in ballet in the fall, and hopes to teach younger children, to fund her college education. In addition, she is a member of the Keystone National Honor Society which requires her to complete 30 hours of community service along with maintaining at least a 4.0 grade point average. She is also an active member of her school's cross-country team and Students Against Destructive Decisions club (SADD).
Kimbler plans to attend university near home next year, pursuing a degree in biology. While other future plans aren't yet set in stone, she's already sure of one thing: horses.
The Ruth O'Keefe Meredith Trophy was established in 1985 to honor a junior equestrian who has made outstanding contributions to equestrian competition while exemplifying exceptional talent, sportsmanship and dedication. After reviewing the many candidates nominated for one of the USEF's highest honors, the Awards Committee selected the young equestrian who exceeded the demanding qualification criteria.
To qualify, a young equestrian must have competed at USEF-recognized shows over the past year while displaying good sportsmanship and integrity. The winner is also someone who has excelled and has willingly given back to their sport.
Kimbler will be honored during the 2010 Pegasus Awards on January 22 in Lexington, Ky. as part of the 2011 USEF Annual Meeting. She was nominated by both the Arabian Horse Associaton (AHA) and the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC).