November 14, 2016–The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce Alexandra “Lexie” Ferris as the winner of the 2016 USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award. The USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award is designed to identify potential future leaders in the equine industry and provides an opportunity for the USEF to recognize outstanding youth members for their achievements. A fourth generation horsewoman from Ipswich, Mass., Ferris was nominated by the American Morgan Horse Association.
The 18-year-old high school senior began her riding career by showing in leadline classes as a young child. Over the years, Ferris has competed Morgans in hunter and saddle seat divisions, and worked for carriage pleasure driving, Hackney, Friesian, hunter/jumper, Morgan, and American Saddlebred facilities in attempt to expand her knowledge in any way possible. She has competed on an Interscholastic Equestrian Association team for six years and has been to the Zone Finals once and the Regional Finals five times. Ferris has been a member of the Massachusetts Youth Council for four years and USEF Equestrian Athlete Lettering Program for three years. She has won accolades such as the 2014 North Shore Horsemen’s Association New Hunter Reserve Champion title, 2014 Massachusetts Morgan Horse Association Outstanding Youth Award, and 2015 North Shore Horsemen’s Association Children’s Equitation Champion title.
A student at Ipswich High School, Ferris is involved in the Interact Club, I AM Mentoring Program, National Honor Society, and plays varsity soccer. She takes honors and Advanced Placement classes, maintaining a 3.92 GPA. Ferris plans to major in equine sciences in college, and to ride on an IHSA or NCAA team, with the hopes of working in equine rehabilitation therapy in the future.
Ferris is also active in her community. She has helped with Relay for Life, Red Cross blood drives, and senior citizens events. Ferris volunteers at two different horse camps at local barns, helping children learn about horses and how to properly care for them.
Ferris will receive a commemorative trophy and a $1,000 grant to the educational program of her choice.
The reserve overall winner of the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award is Brianna Relucio (San Ramon, Calif.), nominated by the United States Dressage Federation. She began riding at the age of eight and now competes at the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire – I level in dressage. Relucio is a 17-year-old senior at San Ramon Valley High School where she is the Associated Student Body president and a STEM Club officer. She volunteers her time as a Vacation Bible School counselor at her local church and a middle school tutor. As the reserve overall winner, she will receive a $500 grant.
The other national nominees were:
Cassidy Ball (Scottsdale, Ariz.) – American Saddlebred Horse Association
Ali Bedell (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) – Paso Fino Horse Association
Chloe Bellerive (Keedysville, Md.) – United States Hunter Jumper Association
Kathleen “Katie” Berger (Naperville, Ill.) – International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association
Grace Fulton (Finksburg, Md.) – United States Eventing Association
Janae Griffin (Gretna, Va.) – International Friesian Show Horse Association
Tessa Kimbler (Aberdeen, S.D.) – Arabian Horse Association
Makenzie Moore (Gastonia, N.C.) – American Road Horse and Pony Association
Coralee Richardson (Parker, Colo.) – American Connemara Pony Society
Emma Santellan (Modesto, Calif.) – Western Dressage Association of America
Audrey Schulze (Ridgewood, N.J.) – Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America
Haley Smith (Parker, Colo.) – American Vaulting Association
For more information on the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award, please contact Natalie Norwood, Director, National Breed/Discipline Affiliates, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 225-6951.