First of all, I must say that it has been incredibly difficult choosing the scholarship horse and quite heartbreaking to have to email the applicants who weren't successful - apologies to all of you, whose horses are no less deserving than the winner.
Every application which arrived was detailed, an incredibly committed owner telling the story of the horse they love. Each horse had a unique appeal and each one tugged at our heartstrings and could have been a worthy winner.
The applications had been carefully written and were supported in most cases by superb references - in one instance it was the vet who had suggested that the owner apply, which was really encouraging.
At the end of the day, though, we had the unenviable job of picking a single winner. It took a lot of discussion but our choice was eventually unanimous. The winner is...
ETA: I've had a really kind email from one of the applicants who wasn't successful, sending M and his owner good wishes:
"Like everything with horses its way to easy to take things personally and everyone applying probably wanted it as much or even more than me. So logically we all need to support each other and our horses (we're all horse lovers after all lol)".
There are some lovely people out there...