Gladstone, NJ - The United States Equestrian Team Foundation is pleased to announce that Ali Wolff of New Albany, OH, has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Maxine Beard Show Jumping Rider Award. Wolff received the Maxine Beard Award trophy at the American Invitational on April 9, 2011, at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. The selection was based on Wolff's competitive record and future potential to represent the United States in international competition.
The award provides Wolff the opportunity to be credentialed and travel with the U.S. delegation to the 2011 FEI World Cup Finals in Leipzig, Germany, from April 27 - May 1. She will observe the operations of an international championship, including the stabling area, veterinary inspections and schooling, and will walk the courses with the U.S. Show Jumping Coach, George H. Morris.
At the young age of 21, Ali Wolff has already accomplished a great deal as an up-and-coming equestrian. Her biggest win came in 2010 when she won the Individual Gold medal at the North American Junior Young Rider Championships. After holding the 23rd position she quickly climbed the ranks throughout the competition, eventually capturing the top prize.
"I didn't expect much going into the second round, only to support my team and try to get a team medal," said Wolff. "Things started shaping up from there and it's just such a great award to win, it is still sinking in. I am still excited about it even though it was almost a year ago!"
At the age of four, Wolff's passion for horses began, and, after she started taking lessons, she could not give up the sport. Now she is a junior at Florida Atlantic University and is training with Michele Grubb.
Wolff has participated in a number of grand prix events and, based on her record, she was selected in 2009 to be part of the International Young Rider Tour that competed in Europe. That same year she won the $30,000 Spy Coast Farm of Traverse City with H & M Necoll at Horse Shows by the Bay. For a number of years she has consistently placed in the most challenging classes at the Winter Equestrian Festival. In 2011, she was selected to participate in the George Morris Horsemastership Training Clinic.
"This award came as a big surprise," expressed Wolff. "Both of my top horses were hurt so I had not been in the grand prix ring that much. My horses are now going great and I am really happy with them. The Maxine Beard award means a lot to me; it means that my hard work has a paid off. I am one step closer to my big dream to become an international rider."
Wolff is thrilled to be traveling to Germany with the U.S. Show Jumping delegation and added, "I am just so excited to see and be part of an international championship. I am hoping to get a feel for that and the pressure that everyone experiences and how they deal with that. I am also excited to spend time with George [Morris] while he is coaching the riders."
Although she is still an amateur rider, Wolff expects to eventually turn professional. "I have plans to become a professional but I think I should finish school first," she commented. "I want to try and get all the experience I can and not turn professional until I'm ready."
Wolff is a very talented rider whose hard work and ambition will hopefully find her on a U.S. team in the years ahead.
Previous Recipients of the Maxine Beard Award:
2010 - Nick Dello Joio
2009 - Ashlee Bond and Michelle Spadone
2008 - Hillary Dobbs
2007 - Brianne Goutal
2006 - Charlie Jayne
2005 - Cayce Harrison
2004 - Georgina Bloomberg
2003 - Michael Morrissey and Paige Johnson
2002 - Molly Warmington
2001 - Kent Farrington and Richard Rinehart
2000 - Kate Levy and Marilyn Little
1999 - Kate Levy and Emily Williams
1998 - Jamie Schmidt and Heather Caristo
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.
For more information on the USET Foundation, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.
Photo Credit: Ronnie Beard, Ali Wolff, Jane Clark and George H. Morris for the Maxine Beard Award Presentation at the 2011 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational. Photo By: Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com.