The Reining Horse Foundation recently awarded scholarships to 12 young horsewomen. • Photo by Waltenberry.

12 Awarded Reining Horse Foundation Scholarships

A dozen deserving young women recently received scholarships from the Reining Horse Foundation.

Though it normally only gives out eight scholarships, the Foundation expanded its offerings in 2021 to celebrate its 20thanniversary. That meant four more scholarships were rewarded.

Scholarships were awarded to National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA) members based on financial need, academic achievement, career plans, NRHA/NRHyA involvement, extracurricular activities, and references.

“We are excited that we can provide scholarships for all our 2021 applicants,” said RHF Scholarship Committee Chairman Mike Hancock. “It is a great way to help them as well as the Reining Horse Foundation as we celebrate our 20th year. This was a great bunch of youth; our world and our sport are in good hands!”

These RHF Scholarships are awarded in addition to NRHyA Affiliate Regional Scholarships, Varsity Reining Club, and special program scholarships such as the CINCH® Speaking Contest. In total, more than $40,000 in academic funds is offered annually by the RHF, financed mostly by private donors and NRHyA fundraisers.

Olivia Klug

Olivia Klug is the 18-year-old daughter of Andrew and Lynette Klug of Columbus, Neb. She received a $2,500 scholarship with which she plans to pursue an animal science degree from Oklahoma State University.

For the past seven years, Klug has been an active member of both the North Central Reining Horse Association and the Central Plains Reining Horse Association. She has held several NRHyA officer positions since 2017 including vice president, treasurer, delegate, and is currently president. She is active in her state 4-H chapter, the American Quarter Horse Association and was also a Nebraska Agriculture Youth Institution delegate.

Morgan Ritz

Nineteen-year-old Morgan Ritz is studying secondary English education at Colorado Christian University and plans to be a middle school English teacher. She lives in Comstock, Neb. with her parents, Sterling and Deborah Ritz.

With this $2,500 scholarship, Ritz is now a two-time RHF Scholarship recipient, having claimed her first in 2020.  

During high school, she was involved in FFA, 4-H, AQHYA, and NRHyA. She was also in the National Honor Society, student council, and Science Olympiad. In addition to academic activities, she competed in cross country and track and field events. In her spare time, Ritz volunteered at the church nursery, youth group, FFA trash pickup, and the 4-H Community Garden, among others.

Penelope Jae (P.J.) Tubaugh

Seventeen-year-old Penelope Jae (P.J.) Tubaugh earned a $2,500 scholarship that she plans to use at the University of Montana Western. In April, she completed a spring semester internship at Tamarack Ranch in Joseph, Oregon, for college credit.

Tubaugh resides in Livingston, Mont. with her mother, Jordan Aller. She plans to major in Business Administration and minor in equine management with the hope of managing the breeding at an equine facility. 

She is an active member of the Yellowstone Reining Horse Association and the Montana Reining Horse Association and was a 4-H Club president having won multiple grand and reserve championships with various projects.

Olivia Badgley

After sustaining an injury after a stirrup broke while jumping, 17-year-old Olivia Badgley spent a lot of time with an orthopedic surgeon who inspired her to become an orthopedic physician’s assistant. She also had a biology teacher whom she credits with instilling a love for biochemistry and biology.

Badgley lives in Hillard, Ohio, with her mother, Rene Badgley, and plans to use her $1,500 scholarship to major in biology. She is the Western Representative for the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Western National Youth Board where she has twice won the IEA Sportsmanship award. She is also a member of the Young Riders 4-H Club, and the Dare Equestrian IEA Team. In school, she was a member of the National Honor Society and Hillard Darby Key Club. Having played the violin since the 5th grade, she was also a musician in the Symphonic and Concert Orchestra.

In her free time, Badgley volunteers her time to food preparation for the Manna Café Homeless shelter, the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, 4-H Horse Partnership, Franklin County Fair Cleanup, and Santa’s Visit Pictures.

Allison Schweller

The youngest of four children, Allison Schweller has her heart set on becoming a cardiovascular surgeon. The 18-year-old daughter of Randall and Nancy Schweller is involved in the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) where she placed in the top 10 at regionals twice in Medical Innovations and once in Medical Photography.

Schweller was Ambassador Leader for a medical summit at Johns Hopkins University, and also is a member of the Midwest Reining Horse Association, the Indiana Reining Horse Association, and the Illinois Reining Horse Association as well as her local 4-H Horse and Pony Club, a drill team and Key Club.

She will make good use of the $1,500 RHF Scholarship as she is currently enrolled at Valparaiso University. 

Naomi Allyssa Ornelles

For as long as she can remember, Naomi Allyssa Ornelles has loved horses. The 17-year-old resident of Granbury, Texas, is president of her FFA chapter and its former secretary. She has enjoyed membership in the Appaloosa Horse Club, American Paint Horse Association, and the American Quarter Horse Association. In her younger years, she competed in 4-H with the Young Riders Club and judging team.

Ornelles intends to make her love of horses a career by using her $1,000 RHF Scholarship to pursue an animal science degree on her way to becoming an equine veterinarian.

Riding with her aunt, Leslie Temple’s +1 Performance Horses Show Team, she earned ApHC world championships in Ranch Reining and Boxing and two Reserve World Championships in Reining on the first horse she was able to buy with her own money. Recently, her FFA Horse Judging team won the Houston Livestock Show Horse Judging Contest. She keeps her knowledge honed by volunteering as a scribe at local horse shows. Recently, her FFA Horse Judging team won the Houston Livestock Show Horse Judging Contest. She keeps her knowledge honed by volunteering as a scribe at local horse shows.

Kate Lilley

Hailing from Weatherford, Texas, Kate Lilley has been a member of the South Texas Reining Horse Association since she was about 10 and comes from a reining family. Her father, Greg Lilley, is a successful non-pro. Her mother, Kristen Lilley, is an NRHA and AQHA judge. Lilley competed at the state level in 4-H, in the North Texas High School Rodeo Association, and qualified for the National High School Rodeo Association Finals in reined cow horse.

The 17-year-old senior completed dual classes at Weatherford High School, so she graduated with a year of college credits already under her belt. She participated on the student council, the sports medicine staff, and Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA). She was active on the archery and high school rodeo teams. She also volunteers for Meals on Wheels, and Rafter J Exceptional Rodeos for Children with Disabilities.

Lilley’s $750 award is designated as the RHF John McQuay Memorial Scholarship. Her plan to major in biomedical science was inspired by her veterinarian. 

Maddisen Schulz

Growing up, Maddisen Schulz would often go on emergencies with her mother, Tracy Schulz, a veterinarian. The 18-year-old from Shelby, Nebraska, is an Honor Roll student at Columbus High School and takes concurrent college courses. She has been captain of her swim team for two years. She is an active member of the Central Plains Reining Horse Association and the North Central Affiliate. She has also been showing horses in 4-H for the last 11 years.

The other applicants to receive $500 RHF Scholarships are:

Kelsey Cremia
Eighteen-year-old Kelsey Cremia lives in Auburn, Pa., with her parents Bernard and Terri Cremia. She graduated from Blue Mountain High where she participated in the International Club. Kelsey is a member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Reining Horse Association. She also volunteers every summer at the local SPCA walking dogs. She plans to major in business at college.

Emma Dillon
Emma Dillon, from Ventura, Calif., is the 17-year-old daughter of Thomas and Dawn Dillon. She was an honor student at Foothill Technology High School where she played soccer and was a member of the Bioscience Academy. She plans to major in Animal Science to become an equine veterinarian.

Brogan Hill
Brogan Hill lives in Saint Anthony, Idaho, with her parents Randy and Melinda Rumsey. The 18-year-old graduated from Sugar City High where she was the president of the Karaoke Club and a member of the Spirit and Rodeo Clubs. She is also active in the Idaho Reining Horse Association, AQHYA and the AjPHA. She plans to major in communication and business to pursue a career as a motivational speaker.

Allyson Nicklous
Eighteen-year-old Allyson Nicklous lives in St. Paul, Ore, with her parents David and Laurie Nicklous. Allyson attended St. Paul and Blanchet Catholic where she was active in basketball, volleyball, band, speech, debate, Reading Club, and the National Honor Society. She is a member of Oregon Reining Horse Association and plans to major in pre-med and biology to become an orthopedic surgeon.