Ensuring a Promising Future for the Equine Industry

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The EQUUS Foundation announced the award of $13,000 in scholarships to ten undergraduate and graduate level students enrolled in equine studies and veterinary programs at institutions of higher learning listed on the EQUUS Foundation’s Equine Education Network.

The EQUUS Foundation wishes to thank Hilltop Bio for signing on to sponsor a scholarship specifically for equine veterinary students and to the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) for helping to promote the program as an Educational Partner. Five of the ten recipients are IHSA members.

“We look forward to building the program and hope that individuals and organizations in the equestrian community will reach out to us if they wish to sponsor a named scholarship,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.

“The shortage of skilled labor is affecting all industry – including the equine industry,” continued Coakley. “Whether they are athletes, companions, teachers, laborers, or healers, they are vulnerable and dependent on us for their care.”

The scholarship program was established in 2023 to support the next generation of equine professionals – a natural next step following the development of the EQUUS Foundation Equine Welfare Network — a unique online network of educational institutions offering equine studies and equine athletic programs which provides direct links to the equine programs that are offered.


The EQUUS Foundation is honored to pay tribute to the life of Samantha Calzone and her everlasting passion for horses through the establishment of the $2,500 Samantha “Sam” Calzone Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship is reserved for an undergraduate or graduate level student enrolled in equine studies programs at institutions of higher learning listed on the EQUUS Foundation’s Equine Education Network who is a current member of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA).

Kamryn Barth

University of Kentucky

Kamryn Barth is a junior majoring in Equine Science and Management and is a member of the University of Kentucky IHSA Equestrian Team. She had a unique opportunity to study in Scotland as part of the University’s Equine Study Abroad program.

Barth said, “My first introduction to equine science started when I made my county’s 4-H Horse Bowl team at age 10. I couldn’t wait learn as much information as I could. Buzzing in and answering questions correctly gave me confidence.”

Her knowledge grew throughout middle and high school as a member of an Interscholastic Equestrian Association Team, twice finishing in the top four of the IEA National Finals Horsemanship Contest which consists of a written exam followed by a hands-on practicum.

“Kami is extremely worthy of receiving this scholarship as she is hardworking and always looking for ways to continue her education and grow as an individual,” said Kristen Wilson, Barth’s Academic Coordinator.


The $2,500 Hilltop Bio Veterinary Scholarship is reserved for a student enrolled in a veterinary college or university listed on the EQUUS Foundation’s Equine Education Network.

Ella MacMaster

University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine

For Ella MacMaster, taking a gap year between undergrad and vet school made the most sense financially and would give her the opportunity to develop her first horse, Scottie, a four-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred, as an eventer. She worked as a freelance groom and rider in Ocala, gaining experience in multiple disciplines — Thoroughbred Racing, Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing.

Now in her first year as a veterinary student, she is still able to compete at various events and maintain her freelancing business while simultaneously completing her doctorate. “My long-term career goal is to practice sport horse medicine enhancing the longevity, health, and relationships of top-class equine athletes and their caregivers”, said MacMaster.

Amanda M. House, DVM, DACVIM, Associate Dean of Academic and Students Affairs, said “Equine vets are in short supply across the country. Ella has the dedication and desire to pursue a successful career in equine medicine.”

“Educational debt is frequently a barrier that students experience who are interested in equine medicine. A lifelong horsewoman and rider, Ella is an exceptional student and future leader. She has my highest recommendation for this scholarship.”


 Madison Blythe

Sam Houston State University

Blythe is pursuing her Master’s degree at the School of Agricultural Sciences having graduated with a Bachelors in Animal Science with a minor in Equine Science. She gained an understanding of the Western discipline by competing at rodeo events and decided that a career in the equine industry “was the life I wanted to create for myself”.

“Ms. Blythe is actively involved in furthering our understanding of equine physiology related to nutrition, reproduction, and lameness,” said Dr. Rafael Martinez, Associate Professor. “I am confident that she will make significant contributions to the field of equine science throughout her graduate studies and beyond.”

Julia Bonner

Mississippi State University

“I have been riding horses since I could walk,” said Bonner, a senior majoring in Animal and Dairy Science and is a member of the IHSA Equestrian Team.

“I have mentored Julia for several years,” said Ashley Glenn, Equestrian Team Head Coach, Equine Facilities Supervisor, and Instructor of Advanced Horsemanship course. “There is not another student during my years of employment with the university that I would trust more than Julia to manage the care of our 85 horses. Julia is extremely knowledgeable, organized, and self-disciplined. Julia is a true leader and supporter and has the most natural feel when working with a horse.”

 Adrianna Dunbar

West Virginia University

Adrianna Dunbar received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal and Nutritional Sciences with a minor in Equine Studies in May 2023 and is now pursuing a Master’s degree. She has been involved with horses since she was nine years old.

“As a 4-H camp counselor, I have had the opportunity to share with the kids all my knowledge and studies from the Equine Studies minor and encourage them to seek out the same kind of education and opportunities to help further their careers in the Equine Industry as they get older,” said Dunbar. “The future of the industry is bright, and I cannot wait to see where it takes me.”

“Adrianna serves as a graduate teaching assistant for ‘Intro to Horse Production’ and a ‘Bring Your Horse to College’ camp for 15-18 year-olds,” said Crystal Smith, Professor, Animal and Nutritional Sciences. “One of her career goals is to bring more equine knowledge and resources to the youth in her state.”

Giana Gonzales

Texas A & M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

“Horses are the reason why I am in vet school today,” said Giana Gonzales. “Together, my one and only pony, Degen, and I went from a nine-year-old, four-foot-tall girl and a dressage pony to a team that could soar over 4-foot-tall verticals. Our partnership defined my childhood, and it was through this bond that I realized I would be happily indebted to horses for the rest of my life.”

“Having a student of Giana’s caliber committed to equine practice bodes well for the future of our discipline,” said Dr. Noah Cohen, Professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine. “She is a person of highest personal and professional integrity. Mature, considerate, respectful, self-aware, and self-confident, she radiates enthusiasm and optimism and creates a welcoming and pleasant work-environment for others.”

Katelin Kaser

University of Findlay

Katelin Kaser is seeking a Bachelor’s degree in Equestrian Studies-Emphasis Western Riding/Training and Business Management. She recognized early on that she had a natural ability to connect with horses.

“Each time I helped a horse get over their fears, or work through their own challenges, I found myself gaining more confidence in training and enjoying working with increasingly difficult horses.” As she got closer to graduating high school, her path became clear. “I want to do my part in helping the equine industry progress and in putting the health and happiness of horses first.”

“Katelin has demonstrated a fantastic work ethic inside and outside of the classroom,” said Brandon Morin, Instructor, Western Riding Program and Equine Business Management. “She is well on her way to coming an equine professional.”

Charlotte Kozlowski

Long Island University – C.W. Post

Charlotte Kozlowski is a Junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology and member of the IHSA team at LIU Post. “Growing up, these amazing animals captured my heart, and it was my dream to bridge the gap between my love for animals and a fulfilling career,” said Kozlowski. “My vision is to provide affordable yet high-quality veterinary services and ensure that every horse receives the care they deserve.”

“Charlotte has always been one of our standout students,” said Jean Oberg, who directs the veterinary technology program. Through a combination of academic excellence, practical experience, and a deep-rooted passion for equine medicine, she is poised to make a lasting impact on the world of veterinary care.

Lauren Maas

University of California Davis

Lauren Maas took a few years off after completing her Bachelor of Animal Science with an Equine Emphasis in 2018 to gain hands-on industry experience – working as a riding instructor and becoming a Certified Equine Massage Therapist. Having leased a Thoroughbred gelding named Sunny early on, Maas was drawn to CANTER California, a non-profit dedicated to the rehabilitation, retraining, and rehoming of horses coming off the racetrack, where she now serves as Executive Director.

In the fall of 2022, her life circled back to UC Davis to pursue a Master of Science in Animal Biology which she will complete in the spring of 2024. She is planning to attend veterinary school in the fall. “I hope someday I can feel that I have given back all that horses have given to me,” said Maas.

“Lauren is an exceptional individual and promising researcher currently working on her thesis on arrhythmias and exercise associated sudden death in the horse in my laboratory,” said Jessica Morgan, DVM PhD DACVSMR. “Her attention to detail and her ability to communicate in the laboratory has converted a small band of students into a team of researchers interested in understanding the physiology and protecting the welfare of the horse.”

Isabella Williams

University of New Hampshire

A senior seeking a Bachelor’s degree in Equine Studies – Industry & Management Track, Isabella Williams said, “Since I took my first pony ride as a little girl on Pinto the pony, I have always loved horses. Pony rides turned into summer camp, which led to weekly lessons, leasing horses, working at different facilities, and finally owning my own horse.”

It was being able to form relationships full of trust with 1,300-pound animals that do not speak that really impacted her decision to pursue a career in the equine industry. For Williams, the required classes to secure her degree have prepared her for whatever career path she chooses.

“Bella is an outstanding student who is exceptional in every way,” said Sarah Rigg, Principal Lecturer. “An accomplished rider and a leader on our IHSA team, she is also a TA tutoring other equine students in multiple classes, including equine business management, anatomy physiology, and economics.”

Learn more: equusfoundation.org/scholarships

ABOUT EQUUS FOUNDATION: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, is the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America’s horses from peril and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: equusfoundation.org.

View release and photos online here

Contact: Lynn Coakley