USDF’s Youth Volunteer of the Year

I think I was more surprised than anyone else at being nominated by NEDA for the USDF Youth Volunteer of the Year award…
also read at the bottom of this page:

Thank you so much Krisy Nordgren and the rest of the NEDA board for writing such an incredible nomination letter— it could not possibly have been composed better.

Of course, an enormous thank you to my dad— who brings me to NEDA Spring (at 2:00 in the morning) every year without a horse in tow, to nearly every clinic within two-hundred miles, and to nearly every local, regional, and national show that I can get my hands on. With me in my lucky red hat and he with a boiling-hot mug of coffee, we have endured the Massachusetts Turnpike more times than any human should have to in one summer!

By our side was one of my very best friends and official supergroom Ali, who experienced her first “real” sunburn volunteering with me this summer =) . Here’s to great memories.

While the privilege of leasing DeJure amazing was beyond words, there were periods of downtime; it was during these periods that I dedicated my work to others (clearly it paid off!).

(Also, Jane Hannigan… YES, I finally got a horse!)
One week ago (nine days, to be exact), we found my next dancing partner. His name is Spotlight; he is 17 hands of dark bay gorgeousness with a little white spot on his belly. He loves getting his ears scratched, is completely infatuated with his girlfriend Poppy, and is a blast under saddle.

I cannot wait to see what our future holds… Look out, fellow young riders!

Here’s the Press Release:

“Lexington, KY (October 31, 2016) – The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) is pleased to announce that Sophia Chavonelle of Windham, ME, has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 USDF Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. This prestigious award honors one outstanding youth volunteer who has contributed, both nationally and locally, to USDF and dressage. As the winner, Sophia will be presented with a perpetual trophy, donated by the Akin family of Warwick, NY, in honor of Lendon Gray, which is on permanent display in the Roemer/USDF Hall of Fame. She will also receive a “keeper” trophy and be featured in the yearbook issue of USDF Connection. 

At age 16, Sophia is already a standout in the USDF Region 8 dressage community as a rider, but her impact extends beyond her time in the saddle, and that’s what makes her a treasure in her region. Sophia consistently looks for ways to lend a hand, and her willingness to help, positive presence, and charisma are greatly appreciated by show management and competitors, as well as her mentors and peers. In addition to her equine-related volunteerism, Sophia is a volunteer “Teen Trendsetter” at Windham High School, reading to young grade school children.

The USDF Youth Programs Committee selected Sophia based on her passion for both horses and dressage. The committee wholeheartedly commends Sophia for her dedication to dressage and the ability to be a positive role model for other youth, through exceptional volunteerism.”

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