Twenty three children of full-time horse farm workers are pursuing higher education this year with the assistance of the Horse Farm Workers' Educational Assistance Fund. To date, 707 annual scholarships totaling $1,554,150 have been awarded since the Fund's inception.
Scholarships are awarded for education or skill training after high school and are based upon financial need, merit, biographical essays and personal interviews. Scholarships are also available for full-time horse farm workers in central Kentucky who wish to take equine related training or courses to help them be more knowledgeable and effective while working with Thoroughbred horses.
Three recipients also distinguish themselves as Pollard Scholars at the University of Kentucky: Sarah Farrell, Lupe Macias and Miguel Macias.
SCHOLARS AND SCHOOLS:
Riley Alexander – Eastern KY U
Marissa Bowman – BCTC*
Olivia Bryant – U of Kentucky
Caleb Carr – Transylvania U
Jacob Compton – U of Kentucky
Karime Dominguez – Eastern KY U.
Ciara Farrell – Georgetown College
Sarah Farrell – U of Kentucky
Dylan Gilbert – Murray State U
Trenton Gilbert – U of Kentucky
Jayden Hamilton – Campbellsville U
Ruth Hughes – U of Notre Dame
Enrique Macias – BCTC*
Lupe Macias – U of Kentucky
Miguel Macias – U of Kentucky
Saorise McEntee – U of Kentucky
Claire Nickell – Asbury U
Richard Osborn – Bellarmine U
Alondra Perez-Islas – JCTC**
Caleb Reams – Asbury U
Morgan Snellings – Western KY U
Reagan Toothaker – Thomas More U.
Kenzie Trent – Asbury U
*Bluegrass Community and Technical College **Jefferson Community and Technical College
Qualifying parents of this year's scholars are employed full-time by one of the following central Kentucky Thoroughbred farms: Airdrie Stud, Ashview Farm, Betz Thoroughbreds (2), Denali Stud, Endeavor Farm, Far Cry Farm, Glennview Farm, Godolphin USA (3), Hermitage, Indian Creek Farm, Miacomet Farm, Rosemont Farm (2), Shadwell Farm, Silver Fern Farm, Solstice Farm, Spendthrift Farm (2), Walmac Farm, Watercress Farm (2), and Westbrook Farm.
The Fund was founded in 1996 by Rob Whiteley of Liberation Farm, Tom Evans of Trackside Farm, and Fred Seitz of Brookdale Farm. Said Evans, “In pursuit of their dreams, many of our scholars work 20 or more hours per week at one or two jobs while carrying a full course load. Our main goal is to award enough money so that they can focus on their studies and make school their number one priority without incurring a huge burden of long-term student loan debt.”
“Investing in these young people is also an investment in the industry,” Evans continued. “Many of our scholars after successfully completing their studies have returned to pursue careers in the Thoroughbred industry. Several have already distinguished themselves (including a Director of Racing at a major North American track). Many who have chosen careers outside the industry have made their mark as professionals in nursing, education, social work, theology, and business.”
Evans said that the organization was grateful for all of the contributors who had so generously supported and valued this remarkable group of young scholars. “Over the years, we have received significant contributions from the Carl Pollard Foundation, Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club, Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, KTA, Fasig-Tipton, Keeneland, Darley and Godolphin, Hill 'n' Dale Farm, Thoroughbred Charities of America, William Marquard, W.T. Young, Race for Education, the Crafty Prospector syndicate, and many other individual donors.”
Said Whiteley, “These scholars and parents are an industry treasure. Farm workers are the backbone of the breeding industry and therefore the foundation of the entire Thoroughbred industry. The parents of these scholars have instilled an incredible work ethic in their children. Year after year, these outstanding young people impress the Board with their ability, motivation, energy, enthusiasm, and accomplishments. In many instances, our scholars are the first in their families to pursue secondary education; and some could not pursue education without our financial assistance.”
Board members include: President Tom Evans of Trackside Farm; Vice-President Dan Pride of Godolphin; Secretary Judge Wilson of Berea College; Treasurer Mary Ryan, educator and horsewoman; Rob Whiteley of Liberation Farm; Stu Pollard, educator and filmmaker; and Chet Blackey, DVM. Carl Pollard is an active advisor to the Board, and Muffy Stuart serves as coordinator of the Fund and provides personal communication, guidance, and support to the scholars throughout the year.
The fund welcomes tax deductible contributions, which may be sent to HFWEAF, 2938 Four Pines Drive, Lexington, KY 40502. The Fund is run on a volunteer basis and 90+% of donor monies flow through to scholarship recipients. Applications are available in March with a July 1 deadline, followed by personal interviews with the Board. Inquiries may be made to 859-269-1719 or for more information, please refer to the website www.horsefarmworkerseducationfund.com.