2020 RHF Scholarship Recipients

Get to know the eight deserving students who were selected to receive Reining Horse Foundation scholarships this year.

All Photos Courtesy of Recipients

Each year, the Reining Horse Foundation (RHF) awards academic and need-based scholarships to deserving NRHyA members and past members. Applications are reviewed by an independent committee, which scores each student based on financial need, academic achievement, an essay, involvement in NRHyA and community, and references. Students may apply as high school seniors, and if selected, are eligible to reapply.

In 2020, eight students will receive a combined $13,000 in RHF scholarships. Applicants penned essays based on a prompt asking them to define their own success—inside and outside the reining arena—because NRHyA members consistently achieve success across many levels of competition. The review committee found their thoughtful responses both creative and inspiring.

“I remember the first time I loped, my first blue ribbon, and my first reining pattern,” wrote 2020 RHF scholarship recipient David Gringeri. “At those moments, spirits were high, but I recognized that it was hours in the saddle and late nights at the barn that I was celebrating.”

Kelly Harper, a first-time RHF scholarship recipient, shared, “I have received an unwarranted amount of support from those around me, and soon it will be my turn to do the same for the next generation of young reiners.”

Morgan Knerr, Plain City, Ohio, was the 2017 NRHyA President and is the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship. She attends the University of Findlay and plans to pursue a career as a pediatric pharmacist.
David Gringeri, West Haven, Vermont, will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship. He attends the University of Vermont, where he’s majoring in business/finance and preparing for a career in agribusiness.
Megan D’Andrea, Fowler, Ohio, will be given a $2,500 scholarship. She’s pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing at Kent State University and plans to be an emergency room nurse.
Kelly Harper, Inverness, Florida, will be awarded a $750 scholarship. She plans to attend Oklahoma State University, where she’ll major in agribusiness/pre-law.
2020 NRHyA President Morgan Ritz, Comstock, Nebraska, will receive a $1,500 scholarship. She plans to major in nutrition/dietetics at South Dakota State University.
Cassandra Townsend, Andover, South Dakota, will receive a $2,500 scholarship. As a human biology major in the pre-medicine pathway at South Dakota State University, Townsend’s longterm goal is to become a physician’s assistant.
Liz Blaser, Duncan, Nebraska, who served as the 2019 NRHyA President, will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Blaser is attending Wayne State College majoring in pre-professional/medicine with the goal of becoming an emergency medicine physician.
Natalie Gydesen, North Loup, Nebraska, will receive a $750 scholarship, which is designated as the John McQuay Memorial Scholarship. She’s majoring in animal science at South Dakota State University with the goal of becoming a veterinarian.

For more information about the RHF Scholarship program, visit reiningfoundation.com or nrhya.com. Watch for updated application information in early 2021. The RHF scholarship program is made possible by donations—primarily from individuals. To make a difference as a donor, contact RHF executive director Leslie Baker at (405) 946-7400, ext. 106 or rhf@nrha.com.