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Schotthofer Wins UPHA Scholarship

Katie E. Schotthofer has been awarded the Maria Knight Scholarship from the UPHA. Katie currently ranks first in her class of 150 students with a g.p.a. of 4.461 on a 4.0 scale due to the rigorous academic course load during her high school career. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the German National Honor Society , senior class representative on Student Council, plays on the girls soccer team and marches in the color guard of the award-wining band. Along with her academic prowess, she somehow finds time for civic minded duties. She volunteers at St. Jude Hospital , Habitat for Humanity and participates in the fund raiser Relay for Life and with the Easter Seals camp. Additionally, she is a member of several community clubs and youth horse programs. The UPHA is proud to recognize such an outstanding student and wanted you to see her essay from her scholarship application.

Unlike most kids in the horse industry who entered the business after extensive pleading with their parents, I was one of the few, but blessed individuals that was born into it. With a father as a horse trainer and a mother who owns a tack shop, I’ve basically breathed, eaten, and slept horses since I was born. This is no exaggeration. My afternoon naps as a child took place in the aisle way of the stable. Although being a trainer’s daughter allowed me to show and ride horses to my heart’s desire, it was not all fun and games. As the instructor’s daughter I was unable to jump off a horse and simply hand it to a groom or a stable hand. Instead, I was the groom. Growing up, I experienced not only the fun of horses but also the hard work involved. This labor included helping with stalls, feeding, going early to horse shows, grooming the horses before events, etc. Although this manual labor at times became stringent and difficult, I would not have traded this part. The work involved in showing and taking care of the horses only made it more fulfilling in the end.

As the trainer’s daughter, not only was I allowed to ride these magnificent creatures every day, but I was also given the opportunity to show. Starting at the young age of 3, I progressed upward from lead line to the division that I currently show in today. Through all these divisions I was able to experience horses of different temperaments and personalities. Although this was a tremendous challenge and often frustrating at times, it helped me not only to become a more focused rider, but also taught me the lessons of hard work and endurance. My father instilled in me at a young age to always appreciate the fun of riding, rather than focusing merely on the color of the ribbon. Along with the all-important lesson of winning and losing, I learned how to deal with loss. Time and time again I witnessed the death of my beloved friends through sickness and old age. After the death of my show pleasure horse, Rhythm’s Fascination, I was faced without a horse for the remainder of the show season. This is when I got the opportunity to catch ride for customers in our barn. showing others’ horses was not only an adventure, but a whole new experience. It allowed me not only to show in the show pleasure division, but also country pleasure, driving, western, and hunt seat as well. All the lessons and challenges that I have faced in as well as out of the show ring has helped me to become who I am today.

As I become older, showing horses becomes only a fraction of my involvement with American Saddlebreds. along with the shows, I became involved in other horse activities such as Little Saddlers, President of Vizcaya Horse Masters Youth Program, Junior Judging, part of the 2004 Planning Committee for the ASHA Youth convention, etc. Out of the many fond memories that I experienced growing up, one very special moment in my life was in the year 1999. I was 13 years old and one of the 160 youth from 10 states that attended the first ASHA Youth Convention held in Lexington, Kentucky. I can’t tell you how exciting it was going to the convention. There were round table discussions where no adults, except for the speakers, were allowed in the room. We were able to talk about our own issues as we sat informally on the floor around the speakers. We learned how to harness and drive a horse at Sunrise Stables. There was even a swimming and pizza party and the formal awards dinner where we were all dressed to the hilt. It was just the beginning of many more youth conventions that I was lucky enough to attend and eventually play a part in through the youth planning committee. In addition to the youth conventions, I have been an active participant in the Junior Judging program starting with the very first contest held at the IASPHA Summer Series. This has been such an invaluable learning tool for me, giving me a whole new perspective on how different a horse looks from the center of the ring, along with learning what varying judges look for. I was so proud to be the year end point award winner 3 years in a row. Through these activities not only did my knowledge and love for horses grow, but I was able to make friends from other stables who share the same interests.

The hard work and challenges that I have faced through horses have prepared me for every aspect of my life, including school. the drive that I have acquired while working with American Saddlebred Horses has allowed me to excel in my classes and become valedictorian. Just like horses, this has not come easy. Anyone who has seen me at a horse show can verify that every second that I am not on, or helping with a horse, my nose is stuck in a book studying. Along with studying and riding, I am involved in many activities including National Honors Society, and, sports, volunteering at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, etc. to better acquaint myself with the kids that I was working with at St.Jude’s, I produced a coloring book about one of the horses that I rode, Bud Lite, including the different aspects of the American Saddlebred Horse. By doing this, the kids were not only able to have fun, but also share in my interests and passion.

Upon graduating this year from high school, I plan to attend nursing school on hopes of working in pediatric oncology. Throughout college, I intend on being an active member in the American Saddlebred industry by continuing to show horses and helping my parents in their business. I hope to continue to motivate the youth of the future through our Vizcaya Horse Masters Youth Club, instilling my passion to everyone I meet. American Saddlebred horses have made an impact on my life that would be impossible to remove.

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