Jonathan Kiser Memorial Scholarship Recipients 2022 and 2023

Every year, the MSA Board considers the pool of young riders on the junior racing circuit and selects recipients for multiple scholarship opportunities.

Jaidyn Shore and James Wyatt riding out for Dr. Stowe Burke at Burke Equine Therapy in Saratoga Springs.

The Jonathan Kiser Memorial Scholarship is traditionally presented to a junior rider who is in their last year of pony racing before aging out. In the Condition Book, it is described as follows: “Presented in recognition of a Young Rider’s race participation, horsemanship, sportsmanship, talent, and dedication to the sport of steeplechasing.” The recipient earns a position as a working student for a week with an NSA trainer, and receives tuition to the Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation’s summer steeplechase trip. This trip allows a group of young riders to ride for jump trainers in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and ends with a couple days at the races in Saratoga Springs, New York. Over the past few years, there have not been enough young riders within the suitable age group for the trip to run. Although it is the hope that it will run in the summer of 2024, the past two recipients of the Jonathan Kiser Memorial Scholarship took their own trip last summer.

James and Jaidyn with Hall of Fame flat trainer Todd Pletcher.

James Wyatt, winner in 2022, and Jaidyn Shore, winner in 2023, traveled to Saratoga Springs with Maryland trainer Todd Wyatt for a week. They spent time working and riding for Dr. Stowe Burke, DVM of Burke Equine Therapy. In the morning, they visited the Oklahoma training track and main track, meeting with notable trainers like Todd Pletcher, exercise riders, and others based at Saratoga for the summer. They also attended the races, spoke with trainers and riders in the paddock, and were able to present the trophy to the winning connections of the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes.

James Wyatt has been riding in junior races since 2019. Starting on medium pony Thumper, he progressed to large ponies before partnering with Peter Jay’s Prime Prospector in the horse division of the junior field masters chases. Previously a seasoned timber horse in training with Todd Wyatt, Prime Prospector and James became a dominant pair, only missing the winners circle once. James was the Leading Junior Horse Rider in 2022 and tied for the same title with Jaidyn in 2023. Speaking on the trip to Saratoga, James said they learned a lot from Dr. Burke. His favorite part: “We went over to the Oklahoma and the backside with Mr. Sean Clancy. We got to meet lots of important trainers, riders, and horses as well as watch them train which was really exciting.” James rides out for his parents on weekends and days off school and plans to move out of the junior division this year.

Jaidyn and James in the paddock at the races. They were accompanied on the trip by young riders Paige Wyatt and Minnie Burke.

Jaidyn Shore rode in her first pony race in 2019 on the legendary Emmy-Lou. In 2021 she rode a couple of large ponies and Ann Merryman’s Grandiflora in the junior horse division of the field masters chases. She and Grandiflora were undefeated that season and she earned the Leading Junior Horse Rider Award. In 2023, Jaidyn was the Leading Junior Large Pony Rider and tied for the Leading Junior Horse Rider. When asked about the trip to Saratoga Jaidyn said, “Going to Saratoga was fun and a good learning experience. One thing I learned was seeing how different horses recover from different injuries. I think that my favorite part was riding out in the afternoons and taking the horses to the state park.” Jaidyn has one more year of eligibility in the junior races, but she plans to ride in some Young Rider Flat races as well.

This was a great opportunity for the young riders and we look forward to seeing them at the races this spring! Thanks to Todd Wyatt for taking James and Jaidyn, Stowe Burke and family for hosting, and all of the horsemen in Saratoga who took time to talk to them. We posted more photos from their trip on our Facebook page on February 15th.

Additional scholarship recipients in 2023 were Tessa Gharadaghian (Foxchasing Scholarship) and Skye and Raines Gammon (Cubbing Scholarship). These scholarships aim to foster the relationship and tradition between foxchasing and steeplechasing. Recipients are given capping fees for multiple hunts in Maryland and/or tuition to foxchasing camps and clinics.

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