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Announcing the 2023 Ellen DiBella Western Dressage Scholarship Recipient

January 5, 2023


The American Morgan Horse Educational Charitable Trust proudly announces that Julianne Smith of Oneida, Tennessee is the recipient of the 2023 Ellen DiBella Western Dressage Scholarship. Congratulations, Julianne!

Julianne’s love of Morgan horses began as a young child when her parents purchased a grade Morgan gelding named Cricket, who was with her 20 of his 23 years on Earth. This cute little bright chestnut Morgan taught her many important lessons that she uses even to this day. Her FFA Advisor had a Morgan breeding program which was her first exposure to registered Morgans. He gifted her a copy of “The Complete Morgan Horse,” which she has read cover to cover many times. In the years following, Julianne participated in 4H shows, fairs, gymkhanas, breed demonstrations at Equine Affaire, clinics with Chris Cox, Cliff Swanson, and Barbara Irvine.

Through all of this, Julianne had never taken a riding lesson. Then, she was gifted some lessons with Judy Nason. “The Western Pleasure lessons with Judy Nason were a precursor to my competing in the Western Dressage division,” said Julianne. “Part of her teaching was to envision yourself and the horse moving as one like you are dancing.” One thing led to another, and Westenfeld Musicmaster (Fritz) entered Julianne’s life. Together they dabbled in Western Pleasure, Classic Pleasure, and then found Western Dressage. When Julianne’s health didn’t allow her to train or even ride, Fritz retired for a few years. Then in 2021, Julianne began working with Barbara Irvine and with the help of Page and Amy Champion, the team of Julianne and Fritz was back! Fritz has achieved his CH then GCH titles in the AMHA Champion Title Program while competing in the Western Dressage Division.

In just this scholarship’s second year, several fantastic applicants were considered. AMHECT thanks you, Julianne, and all of our applicants for their dedication to learning the discipline of Western Dressage and striving to perfect their skills. You are wonderful promotors of the Morgan horse.

Learn about this scholarship by clicking here