Zara Buren Memorial Award Winners for 2022 Announced


Olivia MacLeod courtesy of Teresa Mae Finnerty Photography

The Ontario Eventing Association, in partnership with the Zara Buren Memorial Foundation, has announced the recipient of the 2nd annual Zara Buren Memorial Award: Olivia MacLeod. Olivia will receive a $6,000 grant as well as a horse cooler and bonnet in burgundy, Zara’s show color.

Olivia competes at Training Level with her mare, Watch Me Skip Away (“Skip.”)

“I am so incredibly grateful to be selected as the 2022 recipient of the Zara Buren Memorial Award,” Olivia shared. “I would like to thank the Ontario Eventing Association, the Zara Buren Memorial Foundation, and the Buren family for this wonderful opportunity. I am really excited for this upcoming eventing season with Skip! This award is very special to me. I was lucky enough to see firsthand Zara’s talent, dedication, and strong work ethic. I will work hard and do my absolute best to honour Zara’s legacy.”

Fourteen-year-old Zara tragically lost her life on September 21st of 2020, while saving her beloved horse, Monkey, who had become trapped in a marshy bog. Zara is remembered for her kindness, drive for excellence, passionate love of animals and dedication to her horse and the sport of eventing.

The Zara Buren Memorial Foundation was established with the focus on helping youth with the desire, talent, and work ethic to pursue their passion. The Memorial Foundation supports the Zara Buren Memorial Award, given annually through the Ontario Eventing Association to a junior rider who exhibits a passion for eventing, sportsmanship and a commitment to their horse. Zara was a talented rider with an intense dedication to training and learning, always putting her horse first.

Zara Buren and Make My Day. Photo by Christina D Equine Photos.


This year, a total of 17 junior riders applied for this award. The selection committee was comprised of members of the Ontario Eventing Association Board of Directors as well as Zara’s family.

Said Zara’s father, Robert, “Sabrina, Chloe and I were touched by the number of applicants and impressed by the strength of each submission. It is heartening that Zara’s legacy continues to inspire riders of all ages across the province, setting the bar for excellence, sportsmanship and horsemanship.”

“Once again, in addition to the primary award and in response to the number of strong candidates, the Zara Buren Memorial Foundation is proud to support four additional athletes with Grants of Distinction.”

Those recipients, who will each receive a grant of $1,000, include:

  • Georgia Leah Bunting
  • Addison Howarth
  • Alexa Maclaren
  • Trinity Sachau-Sherman

“We hope that the traits that this award recognizes will continue to grow amongst all riders, and the memories of Zara will carry on for everyone who was lucky enough to know her, and those who continue to #rideforzara,” Robert said.

Congratulations to all the 2022 grant recipients!