Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) is pleased to announce that Tabitha Bell is the recipient of the 2017 USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award. This award recognizes outstanding youth members for their achievements and identifies potential future leaders in the equine industry. The Arabian Horse Association (AHA) nominated Bell who is actively involved in the Arabian Horse Youth Association (AHYA).
Bell (Sandy, Utah) has been riding since she was a mere five years old, and she has deep roots in the Arabian horse world. She owned her first horse by the time she was eight, competing QR Irish Kouream in walk/trot hunter pleasure and hunter equitation classes.
In 2010, Bell was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. However, she did not let the diagnosis prevent her from riding and competing. She would go on to win numerous hunter pleasure regional titles and multiple top ten honors. Later transitioning to Western pleasure, Bell earned national championships as a junior rider with her beloved Half-Arabian mare IMA Rockin Popstar and her purebred Arabian gelding WR AMazing Tradition.
Outside of her involvement with horses, Bell has a passion for community service. Inspired by her ability to be more mobile with the help of her specially trained service dog, Sunny, Bell wanted to help her community. She established a non-profit foundation, Pawsitive Pawsibilities, to bring the gift of canine companionship to children and young adults with disabilities. Over the past four years, Bell has raised over $70,000 and placed five service dogs with human partners.
Bell has held leadership positions as the Vice President of Troubadours, the specialty choir at her school, and currently serves as Treasurer on the AHYA Board of Directors. She is active in fundraising and recently started volunteering at her local chapter of Make A Wish®. Bell plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in chemistry and then complete her PhD in pharmacology.
The reserve overall winner of the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award is Tessa Kimbler (Aberdeen, S.D.), nominated by the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC). Kimbler is an avid endurance rider, traveling around the world to compete in high-profile races, such as the Tevis Cup. She is also a talented horsewoman, training and conditioning most of the Arabian endurance horses that she competes. Kimbler is also active in the sport of gymnastics and her local 4-H chapter, as well as spending her time volunteering in her community and at a local therapeutic riding center. Kimbler desires to attend the Air Force Academy to pursue a career as a pilot.
The other national nominees were:
Caitlyn Mendik (Castle Rock, Colo.) – American Vaulting Association
Camryn Mallery (Goodrich, Mich.) – American Saddlebred Horse Association
Georgia Ranson (Charlotte, N.C.) – American Connemara Pony Society
Jackson LaTorre (San Antonio, Texas) – United States Dressage Federation
Kaitlin Hofer (Saddle River, N.J.) – Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America
Katherine Christopher (Bahama, N.C.) – United States Eventing Association
Katie Berger (Naperville, Ill.) – International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association
Madelyne Brymesser (Boiling Springs, Pa.) – United States Hunter Jumper Association
Randie Jo Evans (Brighton, Mich.) – American Morgan Horse Association
Riley Wiltison (Oakland, Md.) – American Driving Society
Taylor Rogers (Castle Rock, Colo.) – Western Dressage Association of America