Shine Bright: A USDF Shining Star


By Mary Chapman Martin

My name is Mary Chapman Martin, and I am honored to be a recipient of the USDF Shining Star Award. Receiving this award means a lot to me, as it recognizes and highlights the value of hard work and dedication. As a passionate United States Pony Club (USPC) member, I had been training to qualify for the USPC Championships, aiming to compete at First Level and in First Level Freestyle division. Unfortunately, I fell ill and couldn’t participate in the USPC dressage rally, which would have been my qualifier for the USPC Championships.

Although I was unable to ride in the USPC rally, I happily stepped into the role of stable manager for my team; setting up the tack and feed rooms, cleaning stalls, tacking up my teammates’ horses, and overseeing some of our younger competitors. Even though I was unable to compete, it was a wonderful experience to be included as stable manager. And it was this that earned me the recognition from USDF, the national organization dedicated to dressage, as a USDF Shining Star Award recipient. 

One thing I learned from receiving the USDF Shining Star Award is to appreciate all opportunities and always do your best, even when faced with adversity or facing challenges beyond your control.

For those interested in being nominated for this award, I recommend being kind and thankful to everyone you meet because you never know who will remember it. Thank you USDF for recognizing and honoring those who exemplify great character and strong sportsmanship, as these are characteristics that benefit us not only in our sport, but in all aspects of our lives. 

Recognizing outstanding sportsmanship by youth, specifically one outstanding act, USDF Shining Stars are awarded by nomination only. If interested in nominating a deserving USDF youth member, complete the USDF Shining Star Award Nomination form. Recipients of a USDF Shining Star Award are also eligible for the USDF Ravel Grant (partnered with Akiko Yamazaki), which affords recipients of the award the opportunity to have expenses, up to 500 dollars, covered to attend an educational event. 

For more information or to explore other youth opportunities available through USDF, visit the USDF website or contact

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