It’s time to vote for board and JEF members. Active OHJA members should have received their ballot by email on 12/11/19. Contact us if you did not.
Nominee Bios 2020
Leah Lively: My name is Leah Lively and I have been a member of the OHJA Board for the past 3 years. I have predominantly been involved in fundraising, managing the OHJA’s social media accounts, and in ordering ribbons and medal finals prizes during that time. I am an adult amateur rider, and have competed in hunters, jumpers and equitation. My daughter Isabelle is also an OHJA member and active competitor. We have three horses, Hope, Bowen, and Georgia. We also have a barn at home where we board retired horses. My career is as an attorney, which I have been for over 20 years. I specialize in employment law. I think the OHJA has a lot of great programs to offer its members and I have enjoyed promoting the sport and the organization over the past three years and hope to continue to do so in the future!
Robin Rothe: My name is Robin Rothe and I am seeking re-election to the OHJA board. I am currently a trainer working at Quiet Rein in Oregon City, a team I have been a part of for the past 8 years now. Our program brings riders to both local and rated competitions, as well as hosting 4 USHJA Outreach OHJA Pointed shows a year. I believe that having opportunities in Oregon for safe affordable local shows is instrumental for the continued growth of our sport. As a board member I have enjoyed serving on several different committees and for the past three years have been chair of both the Scholarship and Horse Show Approval committee. The OHJA academic scholarship allows us to recognize the hard work of our members and support them as they continue their education. As chair of the Horse Show Approval committee I help bring safe schooling shows to the OHJA community. Helping our members through both these committees is very important to me and I would love the opportunity to continue to do so.
Kristin McGettigan: My love of horses and riding journey began at the age of 5 at the Lake Oswego Hunt Club in their school horse program. From that point forward I never looked back. I began riding ponies competitively in 3-day eventing while also taking part in Pony Club. Eventually I switched over to the hunter and equitation ring and showed competitively, still riding at the Lake Oswego Hunt Club, until I left for college. Once I had a job and could afford a horse I began riding again and eventually purchased my first horse. I ended up in the Jumper ring, which I loved, and competed for about 10 years until I became pregnant with my twin boys. Since having kids, I have had horses in every type of barn environment from self-care (cleaning my own stalls and pastures) to A-level show barns. I have ridden on both sides of the river living in Clark County as well as commuting to Oregon. I hope my experience with horses – that includes balancing family, work, and horses will resonate with many other members who are on a similar journey.
Tressa Blankenship: My name is Tressa Blankenship, I have been riding for 13 years, and have been a member with OHJA for the last 10. Through the years, I have competed in all three rings, and am currently showing in the Adult Amateur Hunters, Adult Medals, and National Hunter Derbies. I am finishing up my Freshman year at St. Andrews University were I am working towards a Business Administration Degree with a focus on Equine Management. In addition to this, I have been in the customer service industry for 5 years. My style of thinking is more out of the box, and I do not believe that one size fits all. I would like to bring this to the board, along with an amateur perspective to how OHJA operates because diversity is a key component in creating a greater whole. My goal is to give back to the community of horses and people that I grew up with.
Laura Force: My name is Laura Force; I am an adult that came into the sport late in life. I have been riding for 4 years now and in that time I have gone from being an unbalanced scaredy cat who couldn’t dream of even cantering to an owner of a green OTTB and active competitor. I have completely immersed myself into the hunter jumper world and have spent the last 3 years as a working student under Meg Dunne. I have been a member of OHJA for 3 years and have taken that time to understand how the organization works from a member’s outside perspective. I would like to do what I can to strengthen the organization and bring (hopefully) a fresh perspective as a newer member and adult re-rider. Two of the purposes of the OHJA organization that I would like to focus on are: • Bolster public support of the hunter/jumper and hunt seat equitation industry • Expand and enhance the image of equestrian competition. I personally have quite a few ideas related to social media usage and exposure to our local communities that I would love to be able to participate in. I would personally like to see OHJA in my media feeds more frequently because it keeps me connected to the thing I am most passionate about. I would love to be able to help tell more personal stories and increase engagement with our fellow riders at all levels of the sport. I strongly believe that a focus on social media will eventually encourage an increase in donations.
Kelly Marriner-Smith: 20 + years professional experience in the hunter/jumper industry. Previous board member including officer position. I have a unique perspective to bring to the board as the parent of a young rider, owner, trainer and judge. Kathy Hall and I wrote the original written test for the OHJA finals and that is something I would like to be involved in keeping that test current, accurate and challenging. I am also very interested in governance from the local to national level and feel that serving our OHJA board is a great step in understanding and experiencing that process.
Kaylyn McGrady: My time on the OHJA Board serving as a board member this year has been very enlightening. My fellow JEF members and I have come up with numerous educational ideas that we would like to follow through with this next year to help bring more knowledge to the community. This past year I was able to help bring in funds to support the younger riders that are a part of the OHJA and that has been very rewarding. I work alongside many of these local kids and have seen them grow. Being able to give back to them and support their dreams as they develop as junior riders has been an amazing experience. This next year I would love to continue down the path to raise money, and also come up with fun educational ideas that JEF could host to help the community continue to learn and grow.
Hatte Hamilton: My name is Hatte Hamilton and I am a senior in high school this year. I have had the amazing opportunity to ride horses for the past three and a half years. During this time I have ridden many horses in a variety of English disciplines which has allowed me to develop a true appreciation for the sport. This past show season I was able to serve as a junior representative for the OHJA in which I worked with my fellow representative to raise money to fund riders to attend events such as medal finals. Being a representative has allowed me to connect with many OHJA members and learn how to be a leader in the equestrian community. As for my own personal riding experience, I got to show my young horse this summer which both him and I gained a lot of experience from. I also got to groom for Stonewall Farms for three weeks this summer at the Kentucky Horse Park. During my time in Kentucky I learned all about the importance of attention to detail, communication and openness. I hope to continue working with the board and the members of the OHJA this upcoming season for I have gained so much from my time as a representative this past year. Thank you for your consideration.
Siena Schreiner: My name is Siena Schreiner and my trainer is Zoe Conlee with Winning Time Training at Heirloom Equestrian Center. I am 13 years old and started riding six years ago, beginning at the pony hunters with my pony, Sid Vicious. In the past two years, I have been training mostly in the jumper ring with my current horse, Haulin’ Oats. Through different trainers, peers, and myself, I have learned the importance of responsibility and empathy. This sport has shown me the importance of trust, initiative, and a hardworking way of doing things. I enjoy volunteering and believe I can make an impact to help JEF meet its goals and make the best of opportunities given. I hope that I will be able to help others achieve their goals and give them the opportunity to do so. Through a different perspective, I hope to help JEF and all those that are part of it in any way that I can. This opportunity is important because I hope to meet new people with similar interests. I hope to be able to help others around me and help them be able to get to where they want to go and be in the sport. Zoey Buchanan: I am interested in becoming a member of the Junior Equestrian Fund and think this would be a wonderful opportunity to branch out within the equestrian community. I am interested in having the opportunity to provide other equestrians with the chance to experience some of the incredible aspects of the sport. Along with assisting in fundraising events, I am interested in learning more about the program in order to provide as many opportunities as possible for competitive riders within the equestrian community. I think being a member of the Junior Equestrian Fund would be a great way to become more involved with the OHJA while also providing a way to get to know some of the other junior riders I compete against! Although I have only recently had the opportunity to compete both regionally and nationally, these experiences have had a huge impact on my connection to the sport. Being able to compete against some of the top riders helped me deeper understand the positive impact horses have had on my life; I think this is an incredible opportunity every equestrian should be able to experience. As a member of the Junior Equestrian Fund, I would instill my constantly optimist attitude into whatever task I was performing along with always trying to attain a better understanding of others needs in order to fully address what is needed within the community around me.
Regan Szambelan: My name is Regan Szambelan and I am applying to be on the Junior Equestrian Fund committee. I’ve been surrounded by horses my whole life, as my parents have always kept horses at our personal barn. I began riding at the age of 4, taking lessons at a local english schooling barn. When I turned 7, a pony was gifted to my family, which I proceed to ride at home. I became interested in 4H in the summer of 3rd grade, and proceed to find a 4H club. At this point I wanted to pursue western riding, and began taking regular western lessons. Over the course of 4 years of competing in 4H, I leased 2 different western horses who created a great foundation in my riding. At this point my family and I decided I was ready for my own western horse. I then took the next 2 years to develop my western horse at home. At this point I became interested in jumping. My family already having connections to the Bourgeois, contacted them with questions. After approximately a year of lessons at Imagination lane, I started my search for an english horse of my own. My trainers, family, and I traveled to Florida and found the perfect horse for me to start competing in the AA circuit. I just finished my second season, competing in the childrens hunters and equitation. I am currently preparing for my 3rd year competing with my high school equestrian team (OHSET). I am looking forward to my 2020 show season. I think I would be the perfect candidate for JEF due to my extensive background surrounding horses as well as being involved in team and competitive environments. I believe I would be able to provide support, and commitment to JEF. I would be excited to help and bring good ideas to the committee. Thank you for your consideration.
Lola Sullivan: Hello! My name is Lola Sullivan, I ride at Imagination Lane LLC with Nicole and Kendall Bourgeois. There are so many reasons that I’m applying for JEF, but I’ll start with my experience with horses! I began formal riding lessons when I was three years old. I rode at an Eventing/Hunter/Jumper barn for eight years. I mostly competed with ponies during at-home shows. I rode horses and ponies of all ages and sizes and it was an amazing experience to get a feel for so many different types of horses at such a young age, and it’s really helped me throughout my riding career. After my first barn, I moved to Cornerstone Equestrian LLC. There I also rode horses and ponies and did the small Jumpers with a greener pony named Trigger. After I grew too tall for Trigger, I started leasing a horse named Daisy, she was an OTTB who competed in the 1.00/1.10 Jumpers with her owner. After her owner lost interest in riding, her family decided to sell her. That December, my parents purchased Daisy for me, which was definetley the best day of my life, she was my very first horse and my best friend. Daisy taught me an endless amount of things and she gave me so much. I have almost always ridden horses that aren’t ‘school-masters’ or ‘push-button’ horses, and I feel extremley lucky to be able to ride horses like these and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Daisy was one of these horses and there is no other horse in the world that I would’ve wanted to be my first horse. I love her more than anything on the planet and I learned so much and was able to built up my confidence from all of my varied experiences with her. Two years after I moved to Cornerstone I left to ride at Imagination Lane with Daisy. At the time Daisy and I rode in the .75-.85 Jumpers. A few months after joining our new barn my trainers and I decided to retire Daisy at the age of 16 because we believed that she needed a change of job and a quieter, more relaxed life. This was definetley one of the hardest decisions of my life, while sad for me I knew it was the right choice for the well being of my horse. The dream for my Junior carreer is to continue to work hard and compete well so I may go to Maclay Finals and Hunter Seat Medal Finals. Currently I am leasing a beautiful hunter named Christmas List aka Laddie. It is important for me to get used to the Hunter/Equitation ride after transitioning from a very quick Jumper like Daisy. Laddie and I recently went to Las Vegas for AON/USHJA National Championships. Laddie has taught me so much and he has given me so many opportunites and opened so many doors for me. My horses and my riding have always been my passion and I love the horses more than anything. My dream as an adult is to go proffesional and to compete in the Grand Prixs and International Derbies. There is no other place I’d rather be than the barn all day, everyday. I would bring my hardworking attitude and passion for my riding to the JEF board. The horse community, my horses, my parents, my barn and my trainers have given me everything and so many incredible opportunites which means the world to me, and they continue to do that everyday. I want to be able to reach out to other Juniors and open doors for them like the people in my life have for me. I feel like a lot of Juniors don’t get involved in organizations like the OHJA today and I would like to show them that getting involved can create big changes and it can boost so many of our fellow equestrians up. I want to have the chance to be involved with others in this amazing community and it would be another part of my dream to have this opportunity to join the JEF board. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my application!
Ava Duke: I have grown up on a horse’s back, and I have learned all of the most important life lessons in the saddle. The barn has become my happy place, my sanctuary, and there is no other place where I would rather spend my time. I began riding, fearful and unaware of what was to come. After my first fall off of a lazy lesson horse, I did not run away. Instinctively, covered in mud and determination, I climbed back into the saddle and finished my lesson. I was hooked. This love and passion has stuck with me for 10 years now, and I look forward to horses being in my life for many years to come. Horses bring joy, challenge, and sometimes disappointment and frustration, but through all the emotions, I have always felt at home. After years and years of begging, my parents decided that it was time to get my own horse, but they were not willing to just give me what I had been pleading for. They wanted me to work so that I would truly appreciate the animal that I would be responsible for. My parents decided to draw up a two-year contract to ensure that my love for the sport would not suddenly disappear and that I would work as hard as possible to take advantage of every opportunity I was given to learn. These two years were full of tears and impatience, but now I am grateful for the work I had to put in to get my first horse. The hard work allowed me to appreciate and love the sport even more than I had ever thought possible. Since then, I have faced more challenges within the sport; however, I now carry gratitude even in the moments when I feel utterly defeated. Throughout my time as an equestrian, my love for the sport has only grown, and I find myself constantly hoping to share this passion with the people around me. That is why I want to be a part of the Junior Equestrian Fund again. This sport is full of competition, and I think that it is important to take a pause and remember to be grateful for the community we are so lucky to be a part of. JEF provides me with the opportunity to bring our community together, in spite of the deeply rooted competition, and give back to the community that has supported me for the ten years that I have pursued my passion. Above all, my love for horses prevails, and this is something that we all share. I believe that we need to use our shared passion as a means for connecting the community and creating the support system that JEF is in search of.
Natalia Pantuso: I started riding when I was eight years old. Before I had played various sports, but as soon as I started riding, I connected with the horses and sport, and I knew that riding would become more than a hobby for me. Over the years, I have had the privilege of riding different horses and learning something from each of them. When I started riding, I was so shy that I still had to be reminded to say hello to people. I found that there is something about horses that can bring people together. Riding showed me that everyone had something to teach me. I had to learn to not only say hello to people, but if I wanted to learn, I had to talk to people of all ages, and that helped me grow as a person. Although people might associate the horse world with entitlement, this sport has taught me how to remain grounded. Last year I had to retire my eight year old horse and that was one of the hardest most painful experiences of my life. However, I learned that life isn’t fair, how to deal with grief, and that you cannot take anything for granted. I loved the experience that I had showing my horse, and have learned so much with all the opportunities I have had. I would like to be a part of JEF because I want to be able to help and fundraise for a community that is important to me and given so much to me throughout my years of showing. I want to be part of something to help young people achieve their dreams and have access to opportunities that will make them grow as both individuals and riders.
Cameron Brown: My name is Cameron Brown and I am applying to be on the Junior Equestrian Fund committee. I began riding at the age of 6, at the Lake Oswego Hunt Club. I started riding in the riding academy when my father surprised me by taking me there to visit, it was gameover from there. I began my riding career at the Hunt Club and quickly fell in love with the sport and most of all the horses. I continued to ride at the Hunt Club until I was 11. At that point, I had reached my full potential with the riding academy, and I was ready to move on to a show program. I began training with a show trainer that was located at the Hunt Club at that time. I got my first pony that year and began showing in the smaller local shows and then progressed to showing in the AA circuit. A few years later my family purchased my first horse and I continued to progress. My family and I made the move to Imagination Lane in 2015 and began to expand to other disciplines such as jumpers and equitation. Since then I have continued to compete and develop as a rider. I have had the opportunity to be able to compete in all 3 rings on multiple different horses. Being able to ride multiple horses has helped me grow as a rider and competitor immensely. I am currently preparing for my first season on my High School equestrian team, I am very excited to be involved with this team and continue to obtain knowledge. Being around horses and the people surrounding them has helped me grow into the person that I am today. I have learned extensive amounts as a rider but also as a person, and I attribute that to the people that have been around me throughout my riding career. I believe that I would be a perfect addition to the JEF committee because of my work ethic, social connections, and ability to be a leader. I believe that my experiences on teams and my long relationship with the horse world would be very beneficial to the JEF committee. Thank you for your consideration.