Lexington, Ky. - US Equestrian (USEF) is pleased to announce that Clea Cloutier is the recipient of the 2018 USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award. This award recognizes outstanding youth members for their achievements and identifies potential future leaders in the equine industry. The American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) nominated Cloutier, who is actively involved in the AMHA Youth (AMHAY).
Cloutier (Derry, N.H.) grew up with horses, attending her first horse show with her mother when she was just a few weeks old. She started riding a Morgan mare called Outrageous Fortune when she was two-years-old. At four-years-old, Cloutier was allowed to compete in the youth contest. “Due to my early start, I received many pink, green, purple, and brown ribbons,” said Cloutier, the youngest competitor in the competition for a number of years. “I learned sportsmanship from not winning. I learned patience and knew it would take me a while to compete with the older kids.”
Today, Cloutier competes Morgan horses in an array of divisions, including saddle seat, hunter, Western, carriage pleasure driving, and dressage. Her list of accolades in the sport is extensive, including seven championship titles in the ‘Youth of the Year’ contest at the New England Regional Morgan Horse Show and being selected to represent the New England region at the 2017 Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show® in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Cloutier is actively involved with the AMHAY Horsemastership Program and aims to earn her final badge by the end of 2019. She serves as Vice President of Disciplines on the AMHAY Council and is a passionate advocate for the Morgan horse and promotion of the breed. An up-and-coming influencer on social media, Cloutier’s educational videos about the natural ability of trotting breeds have garnered over 98,000 views on Facebook and 1,600 shares in one month. She is also an accomplished student, philosophy buff, and Senior Girl Scout.
The reserve overall winner of the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award is Tillie Jones (Lincoln, Neb.), nominated by the United States Dressage Federation (USDF).
Jones is an avid dressage rider, falling in love with the sport at a young age. She quickly took to dressage upon feeling an extended trot for the first time. She earned a bronze medal at age 12 with M.G.R.M. Darby O’Gill, her Connemara pony. A seasoned competitor, she has competed at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions and the North American Youth Championships (NAYC), winning the individual competition in 2017 and helping the combined Region 4 and 7 team to a second-place finish in 2018. Jones volunteers at a non-profit summer camp, teaching children about horse care and how to ride. She is an inductee to the National Honor Society, a singer, cheerleader, representative on her school’s student council, and frequently gives back to her community and the environment by volunteering with FoodNet, Inc. in Lincoln, Neb.
The other national nominees were:
Aubrey Albers (Coulterville, Ill.), nominated by the Western Dressage Association of America – In addition to competing, Albers is a frequent volunteer at horse shows and her home stable. She believes that this has been instrumental to her confidence and knowledge of Western dressage.
David Botana (Portland, Maine), nominated by the United States Para-Equestrian Association – Botana has a bright future ahead and was already awarded the Christian Kennedy scholarship for one month of training with Robert Dover.
Calle Davis (Spanish Fork, Utah), nominated by the American Vaulting Association – Davis is committed to advancing the skills of younger vaulters, working as a coach and mentor to more junior students.
Willa Laski (Bellevue, Idaho), nominated by the United States Eventing Association – In addition to eventing, Laski is a competitive athlete in volleyball, Nordic skiing, downhill skiing, and mountain biking.
Julia Latham (Sanbornton, N.H.), nominated by the American Connemara Pony Society – Latham loves promoting the breed and recently participated in the Connemara breed demonstration at Equine Affaire.
Amy Sager (Santa Clarita, Calif.), nominated by the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association – Sager competed at the Andalusian World Cup in Las Vegas, Nev., earning the title of reserve champion in the hunt seat equitation and pleasure section.
Lauren Sanderson (Kensignton, N.H.), nominated by the United States Hunter Jumper Association – Sanderson competed in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) and qualified for her regional championships three times.
Brianna Tolkacz (Parker, Colo.), nominated by the American Saddlebred Horse Association – Tolkacz’s goal is to try out for the 2019 U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team.
Katie Treadwell (Maple Lake, Minn.), nominated by the Arabian Horse Association – Treadwell is currently serving her second term as Youth Director for the Arabian Horse Youth Association.
Photo provided by Clea Cloutier