As seniors ponder what will become of them in their future, John Bapst senior Tessa Lilley is following her dreams with a leap of faith – on the back of a horse, no less.
Instead of heading off college, she will spend a year in White Post, Virginia at the Southern Edition Farm as a working student training with Olympic event rider Stephen Bradley, who represented the US at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, was once named “Equestrian Athlete of the Year” by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The position is coveted by up-and-coming equestrians as it presents greater opportunities within the industry. Working students are immersed in the sport of eventing and can expect to travel to shows, assist in riding at the farm, and will be expected to help complete the day-to-day duties of an active training facility. Housing, lessons and board for one horse are included in exchange for her hard work.
“I originally planned on attending the University of Vermont while majoring in medical laboratory sciences,” says Lilley. However, a couple days before the acceptance fee was due, she received a phone call from Bradley, a well established Olympic eventer, offering her a yearlong working student position with her horse. “At first I could not imagine taking a year off delaying my education, but the more I thought about it, I knew I would regret not taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So I called Mr. Bradley back and accepted the position!”
Lilley hopes begin her education in the field of medicine in 2015 at the University of Virginia after her dream year of equestrian training with an Olympian.