Sofia Seto Awarded Equestrian Merit Scholarship 2023

By Nan Meek, Nan Meek Equestrian Marketing

(Woodside, CA) June 28, 2023 – The Mounted Patrol Foundation (MPF) and the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!), joint sponsors of the $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship Award, congratulate Sofia Seto, recent graduate of Woodside High School, on being awarded this significant scholarship.

Community Commitment to the Future

This is the fourth year of commitment shared by WHOA! and MPF to help the next generation of equestrians. The $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship Award assists a deserving local high school senior who has demonstrated involvement in equestrian activities as well as academic achievement, community service, and financial need.

Anne Van Camp, Chair of the WHOA! Steering Committee, explained, “The scholarship committee focused on evaluating equestrian involvement and academic achievement and was impressed with the candidates’ statements. Also important were the applicants’ essays and their justification and illustration of financial need for their continued education. Ms. Seto excelled in every category.

Anne Van Camp, Adeline Forrest, Sofia Seto, Phillip Whalen, Kip Witter

Sofia, who plans to major in biology at Tufts University this fall, put this into practical perspective. “I am so, so grateful to receive this scholarship award. The $10,000 award is equivalent to 500 hours of work, or 500 hours that I can focus on learning and achieving my goal of becoming a veterinarian to help animals and their people.

Phillip Whalen, Mounted Patrol Foundation, added, “The young equestrians who applied for the $10,000 Woodside-area Equestrian Merit Scholarship Award guarantee a bright future for the equestrian community. Each and every one of these students demonstrated strong commitment to their continued involvement in the horse world, and focus on their higher education. The applicants were all wonderful, well qualified candidates, and Ms. Seto especially stood out in all respects.”

Introducing Sofia Seto

“Exceptional and motivated,” is how Sofia is described by the manager of the riding lesson program where Sofia began as a volunteer and later worked as the lesson office manager and a riding and horsemanship instructor.

“She can take lessons she learned from her horseback riding and apply them to learning difficult concepts in biology,” remarked her biology instructor.

“Sofia takes initiative and makes time management look effortless when balancing her rigorous coursework, school life and horseback riding,” said her school counselor.

Sofia describes herself as a “summer camp kid” who graduated to half-leasing, then full-leasing a horse. With sheer determination and hard work, and without owning a horse of her own, Sofia gained expertise and experience in eventing competition, eventually earning the US Eventing Association Novice Gold Medal.

Excelling scholastically, with a 4.312 weighted GPA, Sofia earned awards as a National Merit Commended Scholar, an AP Scholar with Honor, and achieved the World Language Award for Latin. She is a reader, musician, artist, and volunteer in addition to a dedicated equestrian, and credits her parents for being supportive of her goals and dreams.

Looking Ahead

Sofia describes a clear parallel between her developing confidence in eventing competitions and how she works to achieve goals in all aspects of life.

“Though I occasionally pull rails down in my stadium rounds, I always approach the course with a clear plan, keeping any panicked thoughts at bay. Rather than becoming paralyzed by fear in the show ring, I react quickly to any issue that needs to be remedied. And I eagerly await the intoxicating thrill of cross-country, bursting with newfound courage and confidence in my ability.”

“Though I occasionally pull rails down in my stadium rounds, I always approach the course with a clear plan, keeping any panicked thoughts at bay. Rather than becoming paralyzed by fear in the show ring, I react quickly to any issue that needs to be remedied. And I eagerly await the intoxicating thrill of cross-country, bursting with newfound courage and confidence in my ability.”


“I readily apply this confidence in every aspect of my life. Through arguing my point in Socratic seminars in English class, projecting my voice while teaching young equestrians, and even asking employees questions while shopping, I prove to myself, again and again, that nothing is stopping me from doing what I want to do.

“Whenever I feel unqualified, embarrassed, or discouraged, I emulate the eventing version of myself; the self-assured, composed, unflappable athlete that stands calmly in the cross-country start box.


“The strengths I gained from my career as an eventer allow me to take risks and react to any hindrance without freezing. With this approach, I will propel myself toward my dream of becoming a scientific researcher, with a specific focus on horses and equine disease, to give back to the animals that revealed my courage.

“Beyond that, I dream of taking opportunities to grow without wondering if my qualifications are enough. My success in eventing has proven to me that my skill can surprise me and that achieving my goals is worth the risk.”

Sponsoring Organizations

The Mounted Patrol Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), charitable organization that believes horses and equestrian activities have helped create a wonderful, healthy community, and honors this legacy by continuing to support, maintain, develop and encourage equestrian facilities, activities and heritage in the Town of Woodside, the County of San Mateo and the State of California. Learn more at www.mountedpatrolfoundation.org

The Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!) operates under the fiscal umbrella of the Woodside Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, to ensure that the presence of the horse in Woodside and the surrounding San Mateo County communities is recognized, protected, and promoted. Find out more at www.whoa94062.org