If you have a desire to further your equestrian career — no matter what part of the industry you work in — a Princeton Realtor and lifelong horsewoman wants to help make that dream come true. The Stacey Butewicz Aspiring Equestrian Fund will give out its initial $1,000 scholarship next year. If additional donors contribute, more scholarships may be awarded.
Namesake and founder, Stacey Butewicz said that she has seen so many talented people in the industry who had to set aside their dreams because of a struggle to get established financially. "Some of those individuals would have made a tremendous difference had they been given more of an opportunity," Butewicz says. Those people were the impetus for her creation of the scholarship. Her mission is: "To inspire those from humble beginnings with an unbridled passion for horses by creating a movement where no one is denied their dream of becoming a professional in the equine industry based on a lack of funding."
Her whole family is involved in the New Jersey equestrian industry. Her dad and sister run the mobile tack shop AB Tack and Saddle. Butewicz herself started out in 4-H and subsequently became the 2009 New Jersey State Equestrian of the Year.
"Aside from seeing how much I had to invest to have a successful real estate business, I also saw the struggle that our tack business went through in order to start up,” she says. “I want to inspire those in the horse industry not just financially but also through motivation and telling my story of sacrifice in order to be where I am today."
The initial $1,000 scholarship will come from Butewicz’s personal funds, but she hopes others will contribute. She also hopes to get trainers and other equine professionals involved, relying on them to also see her passion for a fund like this.
"This scholarship is about preserving the next generation of professionals to stay in New Jersey and I think anyone that truly has a dedication to this will see the importance of it,” Butewicz says. “I hope for their support whether it be monetary or to raise awareness."
Butewicz decided to leave the scholarship qualifications very general.
"My reason for this is that I have a career in the equine industry as a real estate agent,” she says. “I believe that is a more unconventional way to have a career in the community, but it is still so crucial.
"I think sometimes we tend be narrow minded and view equestrian professionals as riders, trainers or instructors but there is a whole gamut of opportunities such as farrier, veterinarians, equestrian real estate agents, breeders, tack shop owners, journalists, photographers, etc."
She says the scholarship money would be based on the specific career choice of the applicant. That means a rider would allocate the money toward lessons with a professional, while an aspiring farrier could use the money toward schooling while an aspiring photographer may need to use it for a high quality camera, for example.
Application packets are available as of May 1. The scholarship application process is open to the first 50 applicants. The date and location of the scholarship is to be decided, but will be in May 2016.
For more information, email AspiringEquestrianFund@gmail.com.