Lily Turaski, originally from Friendsville, Tenn., has been involved with endurance riding since she was eight years old. She has received the Stamps President's Scholarship to attend Georgia Tech. The Stamps President's Scholarship is a nationwide, full-ride scholarship program. It is awarded to students showcasing strong scholarship, leadership, progress, and service, and the program gives students an opportunity to build and grow in these four pillars.
She was introduced to endurance riding at eight years old by her nana, who also races, and has been riding her purebred Arabian gelding, Chance of Freedom-sired by Belesemo Chance-for eight years. She has competed in the national championship, completed over 3,000 competition miles, and placed in the top three nationally four times. Lily and Freedom make a great team, and they have completed 7 out of the 10 years needed for the Decade Team award. Her horse, Freedom, is one of the top 20 equines in the U.S. for lifetime mileage.
Turaski mentions the life lessons she's learned from endurance riding and taking care of her Arabian horse.
"It's important to be able to set goals; some are long term...some short term," she said. "That's something that you learn in endurance, and it has a correlation to academics and being in college. For example, the goal to complete the Decade Team award represents a lot of commitment to the sport. Being 7 years into it, I want to finish it. I'm in college now, but I would like to be able to finish that award."
She says that the dedication it takes to care for her horse has taught her responsibility, something she can carry with her throughout her college career and beyond.
"I have learned to be dependable for my horse, my schoolwork, my commitments, and myself."
Turaski says that endurance riding is part of her life, and, although she won't be racing as frequently during college, she hopes to stay involved, perhaps by volunteering at races.
"After college I definitely plan to stay involved in the sport. It's a big part of my life, and I want to continue," Turaski said.