May 2015 - Winner's Circle
Written by CRM
Saturday, 02 May 2015 02:02

West Palms Scholarships

Hunter/jumper show management company West Palms Events congratulates recipients of its first annual Michael Nyuis Scholarship: Ariel Black, Payton Smith and Ian McFarlane. Each rider will receive a $6,500 scholarship for West Palms Events’ shows this year.

Michael Nyuis was a caring, fun man who will be greatly missed by all who met him.

The Michael Nyuis Scholarship program was created to assist younger riders who have a passion for pursuing a career in show jumping, but lack the necessary financial support to compete at California’s premiere shows. The scholarship has been named in remembrance of the late Michael Nyuis, nephew to West Palms Events’ Dale Harvey. In Michael’s honor the 2016 Michael Nyuis Scholarship will include a new fourth scholarship for a Canadian rider!

Ariel Black and Zamira. Photo provided by Ariel Black

Michael was always happy to help and support others whenever he could. His love of his family, friends and life resonated with all of those he met, leaving a lasting impression on everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. He brightened the lives of others with his smile, sense of humor, and dare-devilish personality. Whether he was snowmobiling, bungee jumping, climbing construction cranes, or “no boarding,” you could find him enjoying life and living every moment to the fullest. Michael will be missed dearly, but the memory of a caring, supportive, entertaining man will live on. Enjoy memories and photos of Michael on his Remember Michael Nyuis Facebook page.

The scholarship winners all have different backgrounds and experiences, but share a common goal to become professional equestrians and better themselves and others in the sport.

Ariel Black is a senior at Arizona State University, studying business management and also works for Betty Beran at Smoke Tree Ranch. Previously, Black had the opportunity to be a part of an IHSA Team in college at Virginia Intermont.

“I want to do everything I possibly can to add to my riding skills, but especially excel in horsemanship and the welfare of the horse. You can never have enough knowledge about horse care, team aspects, teaching, hauling, equipment, schooling exercises as well as veterinary care and experience,” explains Black of her goals for herself in her application. “Teaching and mentoring young students is something that is very rewarding me as well. To see improvement and success as well as be there when things get rough and be able to fix them is very fun for me.”

Payton Smith and Cancun. Photo: Totem Photographics

Horses have always been a part of Payton Smith’s life. She is now a working student at her family’s farm and attends school online to provide flexibility with her schedule so she may dedicate a great deal of time to her riding. Smith has an entrepreneurial spirit and focuses her efforts on how to grow as a rider and also have the ability to attend shows.

“I created a budget, started a body clipping service and clipped 12 horses in two months to pay the expenses (for Thermal),” explains Smith in her short essay. “While competing at shows I do all the care, grooming and braiding of my horse, this allows me to know exactly what is going on with my horse at all times.”

Ian McFarlane and Cruise. Phot: Alden Corrigan

Ian McFarlane was raised in the equestrian world and is no stranger to the hard work and dedication it takes to be successful as a professional. He is a junior in high school and balances riding and schoolwork, maintaining an impressive GPA while riding six days a week.

“I dream to put on a red coat and represent the USA both overseas and domestically. I understand that this dream is one that is very difficult to achieve,” Ian discusses of his goals in his short essay. “Never the less, I aim to do whatever is necessary, and I am willing to work as hard as I need to in order to accomplish this dream”

West Palms Events’ team was moved by all the applications received and would like to thank everyone who put in the necessary time and energy to apply.

“We received a great deal of impressive applications and would like to thank everyone who took the time to put together the whole application, including a video,” says Harvey. “It is important to invest in the riders who will become the professionals in the future, and West Palms is very happy to be able to do our part. We look forward to this becoming a great yearly scholarship to help riders become better competitors and overall horsemen and women. We cannot wait to see Ariel, Payton and Ian utilize their scholarships this season!”

For more information on West Palms Events, visit

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