January 6, 2016--The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded the 2016 Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant to eventing rider Jenny Caras of Cartersville, Georgia.
The Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant is awarded through the USET Foundation Amanda Pirie Warrington Fund. In 2015, 19-year-old Caras, with her talented mount Fernhill Fortitude, took the eventing world by storm as one of youngest riders in the country successfully competing at the CCI*** and CIC*** level.
The Amanda Pirie Warrington Fund was established by Pirie's family in her memory with the purpose of helping to provide financial assistance to an eventing rider who has been identified as a rider with great talent and ability to represent the United States in the future. On January 15, 2015 Robert S. Pirie, Amanda's father passed away. It was Mr. Pirie that made the Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant possible. Amanda meant the world to Mr. Pirie, and this was his way of keeping her memory and spirit alive in the eventing community. They will always be remembered through this grant.
The recipient of the grant is a person that will benefit from the opportunity of continuing their training with top coaches and competing against the world's best horse and rider combinations in Eventing, one of three Olympic equestrian disciplines.
"It's a huge honor. I was not expecting it at all," expressed Caras. "It's really exciting, and an honor that people recognize the horses that I have and they want to give me a shot."
As the recipient of the grant, Caras will receive up to $5,000 to help offset expenses associated with her training over the next year. Her main target will be to travel with "Forty," an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, to the Bramham Horse Trials in England over the summer.
"That's my big goal for the summer," explained Caras. "I'd really like to use this grant to open up opportunities for me to get more training that I wouldn't have necessarily gotten without it, especially in the show jumping because that's my weakness. I'd like to use the money to go to jumper shows and get jumper lessons to supplement everything else that I'm doing."
After earning the Team Gold and Individual Bronze medals in 2013 at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, Caras and Forty began consistently competing at the CIC*** and CCI*** level in 2015. Competing against riders with much more experience, they placed sixth at Jersey Fresh and fourth at Bromont. She also won the Markham Trophy as the highest placed young rider in the United States that had not competed at the CCI4* level during Fair Hill International.
"I started working for Phillip Dutton last December, and we moved Forty up to advanced. He handled it like a pro," Caras said. "Cross-country goes easily for him. He jumps it if at all possible, sometimes probably when it's not! I had a really, really good year, and I couldn't have done it without the help of Phillip Dutton and David O'Connor. Leslie Law, the under 25 coach, helped me tremendously with Forty on the flat. I'm really excited for this year and hopefully we can keep things going in the right direction."
Beyond continuing her education with Forty, Caras hopes to be a part of the U.S. team internationally during her career. "That's what I've wanted to do since before I even knew really what the sport was about," she laughed. "I knew that I wanted to go to the Olympic Games for Eventing. It's just something that I've always been working toward, and hopefully someday it will happen. It's opportunities like this that will make it more possible for me. I'm really honored to have received this grant, and I'm really honored that people believe in me."
Thanks to the Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant, Caras can focus on Forty's training and preparing him for the right competitions to further his career as Caras aims toward one day representing the United States on the international stage.
The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (www.uset.org) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America's elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.