The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is pleased to announce it has awarded the 2017 Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant to up-and-coming eventing rider Mackenna Shea of Temecula, California.
The Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant is awarded through the USET Foundation's Amanda Pirie Warrington Fund. This year's winner, Shea, has demonstrated her talent at many of the nation's top CIC3* and CCI4* events. At just 23 years old, Shea and her own Landioso, a 15-year-old Bavarian Warmblood gelding, who she has owned for 10 years, completed their first CCI4* during the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2016, and later went on to win the Event at Rebecca Farm CIC3*.
Earlier in 2017, Shea, now 25, was named a recipient of the Karen Stives Eventing Endowment Fund Grant, which allowed her the opportunity to compete in Europe for the first time and participate in the Karen E. Stives European Emerging Athlete Tour.
Under the mentorship of British Olympic gold medalist, Leslie Law, Shea spent the month of May in Great Britain furthering her education and gaining valuable competition experience representing the United States on the international stage. As a result, Shea and Landioso successfully completed the 2017 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials CCI4* in September.
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 an emerging athlete with great talent and ability to represent the United States in the future. The recipient of the grant is a person who 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 and I was totally surprised," expressed Shea. "I had a really good year, but I had a lot of support and I have a really great horse. It's very rewarding to be considered for something like this and I hope next year is even better!"
As the recipient of the grant, Shea, who trains with Tamra Smith of Next Level Eventing, will receive up to $5,000 to help offset expenses associated with her training over the next year.
"I am planning to going out Florida in late February and I hope to use the grant to help me get out there and pay for lessons," explained Shea. "That's going to be a huge benefit for me, not having to worry about how I am going to make it work. I am going to use that as preparation for Kentucky, hopefully."
Thanks to the Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant, Shea can focus on her training and preparing for future events as she aims towards continuing to represent the United States in international competitions.
The USET Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America's elite and developing international and high performance horses and athletes in partnership with US Equestrian.
For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.