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 2010 Jon Conyers Memorial Scholarship Award trophy and $2,000.00 from the Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation is Tom Schoen from Miami University of Ohio. Tom is a freshman who came to Miami without any previous riding experience. He joined the team in the fall of 2009 as a Walk-Trot rider and has demonstrated “an unsurpassed desire to lean all he can about horses and riding, “says Heather Pinnick, Miami’s IHSA coach. Tom is responsible for paying his riding expenses at college and spent his first year on the student staff at the Miami Equestrian Center feeding, turning out and mucking stalls. He is often picking up extra shifts at the barn to help care for the horses.
Here is an excerpt from Coach Pinnick’s Nomination: “Tom is often found in the center of a laughing group of team members. He often jokes that he competes in the “Walk-Trot, no canter” division. This long running joke began when Tom’s enthusiasm for riding encouraged his horse to canter at the first horse show. Tom since has been able to curb his excitement and perform with poise at the walk and trot only.
When Tom is not making his teammates laugh he is rallying the MUET spirit with a preshow pep talk. The following is an excerpt from one of Tom’s infamous speeches, “[…] So…rally together riders, let us show them who we are once again! Ride now! Ride for the blue…ride for the pink, ride for the champion spot…ride to show them we are…MU….ET!” His speeches not only provide comic relief they energize his teammates and make them believe that they can accomplish anything as a squad.
Tom is truly a shining member of the Miami Equestrian Team. He has brought much joy to not only his fellow teammates, but the coaching staff as well. His enthusiasm and love of horses is contagious. He shows focus and dedication in every element of his riding whether it is spending extra time with the horses, coming early to watch a practice or participating in a horse show. Although he is new to riding, he has shown our team a passion for riding and is an outstanding member of our IHSA team.”