Scholarship program


The Mounted Patrol Foundation Scholarship program funds scholarships for deserving students who are involved in equestrian activities. Since 2011, ten  scholarships have been awarded to deserving competitors in the 4th of July Junior Rodeo. In 2020 we added a significant new scholarship, now in it's third year.

WHOA! - Woodside-area Horse Owners Association

and the Mounted Patrol Foundation

Announce the third Equestrian Merit Scholarship - 2022



The Mounted Patrol Foundation has once again teamed up with the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!) to offer the third $10,000 scholarship to a local high school student with a demonstrated involvement in equestrian activities as well as academic achievement and community service. The "Woodside Area Equestrian Merit Scholarship" will be awarded to a deserving, local high school senior who is planning to attend college or pursue other advanced education. Criteria for applicants will include equestrian activity, academic achievement, community involvement, and financial need.

The deadline for submission is April 30, 2022 by 3:00 PM  Decisions will be made by Mid May, 2022.

Applicant must meet the following criteria to apply: 

  • Experience in equestrian activities
  • Demonstrated academic achievement and community involvement
  • Attend high school in San Mateo, Santa Clara or San Francisco Counties
  • Financial need will be taken into consideration in the selection of the scholarship recipient. 
  • Agree to be identified as the winner in local press and share details of the application.

Click here for online application form on WHOA website



====== Historical information 2021  Scholarship ======

The second $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship

Awarded to Olivia Bodner

(Woodside, CA) August 1, 2021 - The Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!) and the Mounted Patrol Foundation (MPF), joint sponsors of the $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship Award, congratulate Olivia Bodner, recent graduate of Carlmont High School and student at Canada Middle College, on being awarded this scholarship.

Now in its second year of assisting a deserving local high school senior, the $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship Award supports students with a demonstrated involvement in equestrian activities as well as academic achievement, community service, and financial need. It reflects a continuing commitment shared by WHOA! and MPF, of helping the next generation of equestrians.


"All of this year's applicants impressed the selection committee with the depth of their involvement in the equestrian community, as well as the quality of their academic achievement and range of community service activities," remarked Anne Van Camp, Chair of the WHOA! Steering Committee. "The economic difficulties that are challenging many families during the pandemic made awarding this scholarship especially meaningful."


All applicants were seniors who attended high schools in San Mateo, Santa Clara, or San Francisco Counties, and who had been accepted to and plan to attend a college, university, or other continuing education program this fall.


"The academic, community, and equestrian achievements of the students who applied for the $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship Award clearly show that the future is bright, both for these students and for the equestrian community," stated Kip Witter, Mounted Patrol Foundation.


Meet Olivia Bodner


"I am extremely appreciative," Olivia remarked after learning the $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship Award would give her a boost into the years of higher education that await her. "It's exciting to be able to move forward with the help of this scholarship, and I am so grateful to Woodside-area Horse Owners Association and to the Mounted Patrol Foundation! I appreciate what these organizations are doing in the community, not only with this scholarship, but with all their activities."


Equestrian Activities


Olivia began working at a local horse camp at the age of 11, progressing through increasingly responsible roles as she gained age and experience, culminating in her responsibilities as head instructor.


Eventually, Olivia became a working student at another barn where she is currently responsible for the feeding, care, and management of 15-20+ horses, tacking and untacking horses in training, preparing and packing for shows, holding horses for veterinarians, and more.


"This has been a learning experience in the best possible way, allowing me to learn hands-on from trainers as well as veterinarians," Olivia explained.


Olivia's own horses have been inspiration for her life goals. The early retirement of her 13-year-old Thoroughbred was a crash course in the science and the expense of his diagnosis and ultimately his retirement lifestyle. That inspired her to pursue a veterinary medicine education, with the goal of pursuing research to develop new approaches in equine orthopedic surgery. Currently, her other horse, a five-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred in its first year of non-track training, provides continuing motivation for Olivia to pursue her goals.


Academic Achievement


Olivia recently graduated Carlmont High School and the Canada Middle College program, in which she spent her junior and senior high school years at Canada Middle College in a program that allows students to finish their high school graduation requirements, along with college courses, as dual enrollment students.


Olivia's academic studies included every AP or honors course available to her, which increased the level of rigor and accelerated the course pace. Her academic awards include a Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Achievement (Precalculus Honors), and she was named a National Merit Commended Scholar.


Music has provided Olivia with another avenue of study. She has played the tenor sax since 4th grade, participating in audition-level band classes through middle and high school, and the College of San Mateo Concert Band until the pandemic halted their performances.


Olivia will be attending the University of California, Davis, this fall as an animal science major, with the long-term goal of becoming an equine veterinarian. An audition for the band at UC Davis is also in her plans.


Community Service


Through her high school's music mentor program, Olivia has tutored music students in local elementary schools. This voluntary mentoring program provides students the opportunity to receive small group and individual tutoring that they would not otherwise get in their large group band classes. For Olivia, it provided a way to help foster her love of music with others.


Not surprisingly, Olivia has been deeply involved in animal rescue and care. She participated in a two-week animal rescue project in Costa Rica, working in low-income area spay/neuter clinics and at an animal shelter. At the clinic, Olivia provided hands-on help where it was most needed, from handling intake and prepping animals for surgery, to monitoring vital signs through surgery and into recovery. At the shelter, she helped care for the dogs and provided them with daily exercise.


Before Covid closed it down, Olivia began training to work in the SPCA kitten nursery at her local shelter, and also assisted with rehoming kittens that were surrendered while she worked at a large pet food store.


Financial Need


With escalating costs of higher education routinely in the news, its no surprise that the costs of a college education are on the minds of most students and their families. Olivia's three-part plan included the tuition and living expenses component shared by most students, as well as one unique to equestrians: how to afford her horses, as well.


Recognizing the challenges of affording her horses during her college years, Olivia knows she needs to balance her studies, potential internships, working, and riding. She plans to continue working part-time, as she has through high school, envisioning a transfer to the Davis branch of the pet food store where she currently works. Although her family diligently saved for her education "from the day I was born" she says she feels a responsibility to thank them for all their support through the years by working as well.


"This scholarship will make a significant difference in my ability to continue working, learning, studying, and riding whilst studying Animal Sciences on the pre-vet track at my top choice university," Olivia states. "It inspires and allows me to pursue the best learning opportunities possible in both my education and my riding."


====== Historical information 2020  Scholarship ======

The New $10,000 Scholarship for 2020 awarded to Rebecca Refaee

PRESS RELEASE (Woodside, CA) June 12, 2020 - Woodside, CA)

The Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!) and the Mounted Patrol Foundation (MPF), joint sponsors of the $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship Award, congratulate Homestead High School senior Rebecca Refaee on being awarded this new scholarship.

Both the Mounted Patrol Foundation and WHOA! share a deep interest in the next generation of equestrians, as well as a commitment to helping them achieve worthwhile goals, through each organizations" ongoing activities and through their joint sponsorship of this scholarship.

This scholarship award is especially relevant at a time when financial assistance with education expenses is even more important to the next generation of equestrians.

Meet Award Recipient Rebecca Refaee

Rebecca, a Los Altos resident, is currently a novice rider for Stanford Red Barn's Interscholastic Equestrian Team, a lettered United States Dressage Federation rider, and has been a counselor at Camp Cardinal, Stanford University's youth horse riding camp, and a volunteer at Stanford horse shows and team tryouts.

A straight-A student, including advanced placement as well as college courses, Rebecca's academic involvement includes serving her high school as Vice President of the Animal Welfare Club and President of the Spanish Club, and achieving her black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Rebecca's community service experience includes serving as Assistant Animal Socializer and Youth Volunteer at Jasper Ridge Farm, and volunteering at Sunday Friends, where she helped low-income families learn English. In addition, she created Anatomy Whiz, an Apple app that teaches girls about science.

Her awards include being named a National Merit Scholar and AP Scholar with Honor, and she has been inducted into the Science Research Honor Society, which published her research paper. She also received the Youth Mentorship Award at Jasper Ridge Farm.

Rebecca will attend Stanford University in the fall, where she plans to join both the dressage and hunt seat teams with the goal of competing all four years. She will study physics at Stanford, and conduct research, to prepare for a physics PhD program and ultimately, her dream career: scientific researcher.

Outstanding Applicants

Eligible applicants included high school seniors who attended schools in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Francisco Counties, and who had been accepted to and planned to attend a college, university or other continuing education program this fall.

A number of high school seniors applied for the $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship Award. The five-member selection committee, with two members representing each sponsoring organization and a committee chair representing both organizations, were captivated by each applicant's strong commitment go equestrian involvement, academic excellence, and contribution to the community, as well as their impressive essays that displayed superb writing skills.

Applicants were involved with many local organizations: vaulting, dressage, and eventing clubs, Pony Club, Woodside Junior Riders, 4th of July Rodeo, 4H, USEA, USEF, APHA, and Dream Power. Many of the applicants have or still are supporting CASA, Square Peg Foundation, Animal Assisted Happiness, local food banks, Abilities United, NCEFT, SPCA, Jasper Ridge Farm, and BOK.

From the stellar group of applicants, the selection committee selected six semi-finalists: Kelley Hill, Isabella Gaddini, Rebecca Refaee, Clara Oberg, Rebecca Rodriguez-Soto, and Antonin Cornillon. To address their need for financial aid, they were further asked to summarize how this scholarship could aid them in their future and assist with their education. From that group, two finalists, Rebecca Refaee and Antonin Cornillon, both presented outstanding applications and wrote compelling and persuasive essays, and ultimately Rebecca Refaee was selected as the recipient.


December 2019 - The Mounted Patrol Foundation and the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!) are pleased to announce a new scholarship, the $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship Award, jointly sponsored by the two organizations for a deserving local high school senior with a demonstrated involvement in equestrian activities as well as academic achievement and community service..


Both the Mounted Patrol Foundation and WHOA! share a deep interest in the next generation of equestrians, as well as a commitment to helping them achieve worthwhile goals, through each organizations ongoing activities and now through their joint sponsorship of the this scholarship award.

Recipient must meet the following criteria:


The application link is below.  Please complete all sections of the application by typing in the form fields. Once complete, print and sign, then scan and submit by email to   Incomplete applications will not be considered.


The $10,000 scholarship will be paid directly to the recipient's college or university in support of the recipient's tuition, fees, room and/or board.






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