"I was very excited because I've been trying to figure out how I was going to make everything work," McGivern said about her road to qualifying for the Hamel Foundation NHS 3'3" Equitation Championship. "I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants."
This is McGivern's last year as a junior, and her horse, Talent, who she has been riding for several years, is also getting older. McGivern has worked hard to qualify for the Hamel Foundation NHS 3'3" Equitation Championship all year knowing this year is her last chance to attend.
"I have never had the opportunity to compete in a national final," McGivern said. "I've never really been able to do it because financially I've been held back."
|McGivern participated in the 2018 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program as part of her journey to qualifying for an equitation championship and growing as a horse woman. Credit: Diana DeRosa/USHJA
McGivern heard about the J.T. Tallon Memorial Equitation Grant, a $1,000 grant to be used toward competing in an Equitation Final, while she was on the USHJA website and did not hesitate to apply.
"I am really honored I was chosen. It's so special," McGivern said. "Learning that I was receiving the grant just put me so much closer to going to the National Horse Show. It's really exciting. This grant is giving me opportunities I wouldn't otherwise have."
McGivern has participated in other USHJA programs including the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program, and will be attending the EAP National Training Session as a stable manager this year. McGivern said she enjoyed the program because she has been able to learn so much about horsemanship and all aspects of riding along with her peers who have the same values.
"What's so cool about horses is it's not just riding," McGivern said. "There are so many things that go into it. Just getting a horse to a show ring there are so many hours with so many people trying to figure out all of the things. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to be able to walk into the show ring, how lucky we are that everything has fallen into place."
The J.T. Tallon Memorial Equitation Grant was developed by friends and family of J.T. Tallon, a horseman and USHJA member who dedicated his career to the sport and helping riders excel in the equitation arena. The grant provides $1,000 to a junior rider to attend a national equitation championship at a fence height of 3' or higher.
"Organizing the J.T. Tallon Memorial Equitation Grant was my privilege and a way of establishing a lasting reminder of J.T.'s legacy to the horse world," Barbara Bays, longtime friend of the family, said. "Good all-around horsemanship was J.T.'s passion. He had a saying, 'somedays you win and somedays you learn.' He considered it a good day if his students did either one. I think he would be pleased to know that deserving young horsemen/horsewomen will get the opportunity to experience a national equitation final and, maybe, do both."
Learn more about the USHJA Foundation and the USHJA Foundation J.T. Tallon Memorial Equitation Grant at