The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) annually awards a student rider the National Sportsmanship Award. This year’s award is presented to John Price, a Junior from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.
The national award winner is selected from a group of riders who earned a Sportsmanship Award at a local, regional or zone IEA show during the 2020-2021 season. These winners were then invited to submit an application for the National Sportsmanship Award. As part of the application process, student riders submitted a photo, resume, school transcripts, composed a 250-word essay explaining how horses and/or equestrian competition have influenced his/her life and three letters of recommendation.
“My involvement with horses and other equine activities has made a positive impact on my life,” says Price. “The summer before middle school, I decided to ‘take the reins’ and begin riding lessons. I was not a confident person, and in school, I had trouble finding friends. After a long day at school, I’d go to the barn to de-stress. Becoming more involved with horses, I quickly learned that horses were my way of coping. I grew close to one horse in particular. Sam was a horse nobody ever rode. Finally, I saved up enough money cleaning stalls to buy Sam. Working with him every day helped me cope with my anxiety.”
Price is a three-year member of Turtleback Farm IEA Team, coached by Kelly Smith-Wells out of Danville, Pennsylvania (Western Region 11). In addition to his IEA experience, John has the unique distinction of being a Feather Fund recipient, a non-profit that provides financial assistance to kids for a chance to bid on a Chincoteague Pony foal. “The most incredible feeling was winning the bid on my Chincoteague Pony, Bandit, and my life was forever changed!”
“John’s application stood out among the many we received in 2018”, stated Feather Fund Director, Lois Szymanski. “He was 14-years-old then. His essay spoke of his love of horses and how they’d helped him overcome a hard time in his own life. He shared his dedication in saving for a foal, then spoke of his hope to help build a run-in shed for his local animal shelter as a future Eagle Scout project. When we met John at the auction that year, we immediately knew we’d picked exactly the sort of child we strive to find, a candidate with a clear head, a love of horses, and one who sets an example for others in his or her everyday actions.”
In addition to Price’s IEA National Sportsmanship application that was full of glowing recommendation letters touting his leadership skills, he has also served as the President of his Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter, winning numerous leadership awards and recognitions. He is a member of Pinto Horse Association of America, The Foundation for Western Professionals, Boy Scouts of America, National Junior Honor Society, and participates as a volunteer junior firefighter and other numerous community outreach programs and volunteer services including as a spokesperson for the Feather Fund and Chincoteague Ponies at the World Horse Expo with Bandit.
Price will receive a five hundred-dollar scholarship from the IEA, a lifetime membership to the IEA and a nomination by the IEA to affiliates’ sportsmanship award programs.
“Good sportsmanship is a tenant in the IEA and this award is held to high regard. Choosing the National Sportsman from the pool of amazing candidates is always a difficult decision every year,” commented Roxane Durant, IEA Executive Director. “John is clearly dedicated to making a difference in his community and in the equine industry and we are thrilled to present him with this recognition.”
In addition to the National Sportsmanship Award, a second National Sportsmanship Award is awarded to the highest placing senior sportsman. This year the award went to Eva Mabboux. A four-year member of IEA and graduate of Minuteman High School in Arlington, Massachusetts, Mabboux will attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a member of Upper Creek Equestrian Team in Concord, Massachusetts (Zone 1) coached by Jennifer Phelan and Rachel Miller.
Nearly 700 IEA riders were eligible for the 2021 National Sportsmanship Award. Among the 129 finalist applicants, the top 10 winners are:
- 1st Place: ($500) – JOHN PRICE – (11th Grade) Turtleback Farm (Western Region 11)
- 2nd Place: CAROLINE DEASY – (10th Grade) Red Barn (Zone 10)
- 3rd Place: ($500) EVA MABBOUX – (12th Grade) Upper Creek Equestrian (Zone 1)
- 4th Place: SAMANTHA PARKER – (11th Grade) – Pleasant Hill Farm (Zone 3)
- 5th Place: TAYLOR MANNING – (10th Grade) – Long Creek Equestrian (Zone 4)
- 6th Place: LUCY FERGUSON – (10th Grade) – United Equine (Zone 9)
- 7th Place: ANNA DeNICHOLAS – (8th Grade) – Fall River Farm (Zone 8)
- 8th Place: JILLIAN HUNGERFORD – (12th Grade) – ABC Dream Team (Western Region 2)
- 9th Place: LILY CORBETT – (12th Grade) – Palermo Show Stable (Zone 11)
- 10th Place: ALLIE KAVALAUSKAS – (11th Grade) – Windy Fox Farm (Zone 7)
About the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA):
Now entering its 20th year, the IEA has nearly 14,000 members across the United States riding and coaching Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage disciplines. The non-profit 501(c)3 IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students (grades 4-12) and is open to public and private schools and barn teams. There is no need for a rider to own a horse because the IEA supplies a mount and tack to each equestrian for competitions. Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, and to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction. For more information, visit www.rideiea.org.
Images available on request