The Jon Conyers Memorial Scholarship Committee, made up of IHSA coaches and Board of Directors who knew Jon well on a personal and professional level received many excellent nominees from IHSA coaches across the country. The committee is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2009 Jon Conyers Memorial Scholarship and one thousand dollars from the Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation is Sarah Long from Sewanee: The University of the South. Sarah is a freshman, Classics major, from Bedford, Virginia. She was raised on her family’s farm and has been around horses all of her life. As a member of the Bedford County Hunt Club, Sarah has been hunting with her family since she was seven years old. Through the Bedford County Hunt, Sarah first met Jon Conyers and says, “He was one of the few coaches brave enough to hunt with Bedford more than once, and for that alone he deserves enormous respect.”
Sarah is diligent, hard working and compassionate with the horses. On the morning she learned that she won this award she was hand walking the horse that she was supposed to be riding in a lesson that had a mild colic.
Sarah came to the Sewanee Equestrian Program with mileage in the tack but was rough around the edges. Over the past months she has determinedly established that she wants to be a better rider. This year Sarah’s riding instructors have thrown everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at her horse-wise and exercise-wise and she has met each challenge with the same unwavering resolution. Sarah says that, “Although I have learned more in six months from Megan Taylor than in her entire life, her favorite coach and trainer will always be her mom. And whatever show, discipline, or competitor I face, my greatest competition will always be my sister, Katy.”
Coach Megan Taylor says of Sarah, “She may not win every class she competes in; she may not turn heads with her riding ability, but she will quietly go about being one of the best student riders I have ever had the pleasure to work with.”
Sarah would like to thank the IHSA; Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation and the Jon Conyers Memorial Scholarship Committee for this honor and award and would like to give special thanks to her dad; who retired from whipping-in to take her and her sister hunting on the lead-line; taught her how to drive a stick shift and always drove the ponies home at the end of the day, even if he made her learn to ride a bike before she was allowed to jump.