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Press Release


The inaugural NARG riders’ grant was awarded to Sarah Johnstone by Beezie Madden.

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Written by: Fire and Earth Photography
Client: North American Riders Group
Release Date: 2012-02-01

Wellington, FL - February 1, 2012 – New in 2011, the NARG Riders’ Grant is designed to afford an emerging rider, dedicated to the sport of show jumping, an opportunity to achieve levels of performance they would otherwise not be able to attain. The grant provides the winner with $15,000 USD for expenses within North America approved by the NARG Board, a new Beval Artisan saddle, products from Ariat, PR from Phelps Media and a custom web site by Spotted Toad Design.

After extensive discussion and multiple meetings, the NARG Board awarded The 2011 NARG Riders’ Grant to twenty-year-old Canadian Sarah Johnstone. A devoted young professional, Johnstone was a self-proclaimed barn rat who began working at the stable by age ten. As she continued to compete, Johnstone always worked to pay her way. Proving that hard work and a strong sense of commitment bring success, Sarah achieved an impressive list of accomplishments in the last decade. These include winning the Canadian Jump Canada Medal Finals and Canadian Equestrian Team Finals (CET) in 2006, taking 4th in her first CSI4* Grand Prix in 2010, topping the field in the FEI CSI3* Open Welcome at International Bromont last July and earning a short list position on the Canadian Show Jumping Team in 2011.

Not only a solid rider with aspirations to represent her country and become internationally recognized, Johnstone is also a solid citizen. In 2008 she was nominated by fellow peers, trainers and riders for the Jane Hunter Sportsmanship Award and ‘felt lucky enough’ to be presented with the honor at the Royal Agricultural Fair. It’s not without adversity that this talented rider has risen through the ranks, but her struggles have only solidified the steadfast commitment to achieve her goals.

“When I applied I never thought I would win!” exclaimed Johnstone. “The grant gives me such a great sense of encouragement. It feels like a huge step forward on a path where I am continuing to grow as a professional.”

Due to the unexpected number of applicants to this inaugural year’s grant, the NARG Board decided to also award a runner up. This additional $5,000 grant with the same stipulations as above went to Kaitlin Campbell from Pennsylvania. Also quite accomplished at a young age, Campbell is a junior in college. This past year she won her first as well as her second grand prix, earned a tri-color at The Devon Horse Show, competed in her first 1.6m World Cup Qualifier and finished with the Leading Amateur Rider award from the Alltech National Horse Show. Devoted to the sport, Campbell also worked as an intern for the Washington International Horse Show.
The North American Riders Group congratulates Sarah Johnstone, Kaitlin Campbell and each of the other 38 applicants from this inaugural year. We are most grateful for the generosity of the Southern-Heathcott family who make this grant possible.

About the North American Riders Group – NARG
The North American Riders Group, NARG, remains steadfast in achieving an essential goal—improving our sport so that once again show jumping in North America will rank among the greatest in the world. It takes teamwork to achieve a goal of this magnitude. Representing the riders and owners in North America, NARG takes the necessary steps to work openly with show managements, governing bodies and associations, as collectively we all make up the team that must evolve with the times to see this come to fruition.

With your participation, NARG’s voice becomes incrementally stronger and clearer. To bring change we must be able to speak with a singular voice. Join us. Visit  

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