WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Serinah Palafox, of Staten Island, N.Y. was able to attend the ninth Annual College Preparatory Invitational (CPI) Florida Horse Show thanks to a grant.

The show was held Jan.17-20 at Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach.

At the premier college equestrian recruiting and educational event, young riders met coaches and admissions representatives from 35 colleges offering equestrian competition and equine science programs. Colleges and universities scouted talent during the CPI Horse Show, a collegiate format competition with levels that range from Walk-Trot through Advanced. Riders competed on loaned horses, sight-unseen, in a catch-ride format that provides an added challenge. Just as in the collegiate format, riders competed both individually and in the CPI Team Challenge.

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Palafox rides at the Jamaica Bay Riding Academy in Brooklyn, N.Y. and is a member of the Metropolitan Equestrian Team. Palafox earned a grant from the CPI Scholarship and Education Fund to attend the event. She has been riding for about a year and competes in the Walk-Trot and Walk-Trot-Canter divisions.

"I was super blessed," Palafox said. "Never in a million years did I think I'd be here in Florida showing in front of colleges. It was like a dream. The organization is wonderful. Without them, I wouldn't be able to be here."

Palafox is in the ROTC program at Richmond High School and is a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. She serves as the battalion commander, the highest-ranking officer and leads around 100 cadets every day.

"My goal is to become an officer in the United States Army," she said. Palafox is interested in attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. While at CPI, she met with West Point coaches Sherry and Peter Cashman, and also explored her options at other schools.

Her coach, Jane DaCosta, won the CPI Top Trainer Award.

Another New Yorker came home from the event with a scholarship. The CPI Horsemanship Test Scholarship Award went to senior, Emily Forshee, of Erieville.

A New Jersey rider came home with the high score award.

Plans are underway for CPI Florida Horse Show March 16-17 and CPI New Jersey Sept. 21-22.

For more information, go to collegeprepinvitational.com

See more Equestrian news at www.TAPintoHorses.net

Contact TAPinto Horses at lshupe@tapinto.net

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