The Dressage Foundation's Gifted Fund Helps Dressage Training Dreams Come True

Imagine ... total immersion in horses, riding and most of all, dressage. Isn't that the dream of many adult amateurs? Job, family, shopping, cooking and all the assorted pressures of modern life put temporarily on hold while real progress gets made in the saddle! If you are an adult amateur and you have entertained such a fantasy, read on! Thanks to The Dressage Foundation's Gifted Fund Scholarship, nine dedicated amateurs (one from each USDF Region) may receive that bit of financial assistance to make dressage dreams come true.

The Gifted Fund was established through The Dressage Foundation "To provide funding support for adult amateur dressage riders who are working to sharpen their skills." The objective of the Gifted Fund is to enable the adult amateur to set aside time to take some concentrated work with their horses and dressage trainers, away from the pressures of job and family. The Gifted Fund was seeded with donations from Olympian Carol Lavell which were received in special remembrance of her great partner, Gifted.

2003 Gifted Fund Scholarship recipients are: Region 1 Jennifer Moran (VA); Region 2 Janice Lawrenz (OH); Region 3 Beverly Zimmer (FL); Region 4 Sandie Winrich (SD); Region 5 Elizabeth Glass (AZ); Region 7 Katrina Christy (CA); and Region 8 Sue McKeown (MA). No applications were received from Regions 6 and 9.

For the 2004 scholarships, The Dressage Foundation is looking for thinking riders, with strong volunteer backgrounds, who want to work on their riding in a situation that is normally unavailable to them because of their other obligations. Grants of $500 will be awarded in December, one for each USDF region.

Sandi Piazza, Region 3 recipient in 2003, understood the possibilities when she first read about the scholarship in 2002. "I have always longed to have the means to spend some concentrated time being around horses and working intensively on my sport," she said. "When I heard about The Dressage Foundation’s Gifted Fund grants, I couldn’t wait to apply. I hoped that I would for once have the time and money to totally immerse myself in the wonderful world of horses and dressage. Boy did I ever get what I asked for … and then some … and I had the time of my life doing it!"

Region 7 recipient Sheila Hatch concurred, saying, "When I read the description of The Dressage Foundation's Gifted Fund, my first thought was - this program describes my situation exactly. Finally, a program for all of us folks who work full time, are very committed to dressage - learning, training and giving back to the sport through volunteering - but can't always afford to do all we would like to with our own training."

The Gifted Fund scholarship can be used for training with any dressage trainer or clinician. Previous recipients have worked out many creative ways to focus on training – from daily lessons with a local trainer or clinician to moving in with a trainer to spend whole days immersed in riding, training, longeing, watching and the discussion of theory.

The recipients of The Gifted Fund are asked to share the benefits received through spending this time in concentrated work by writing an article for their local GMO newsletter, and verbally presenting at a meeting of the GMOs. The written article must also be sent to The Dressage Foundation for use in TDF publications and other equestrian media. To read reports from the 2003 funding visit

Applicants must be USDF GMO members and have a USEF adult amateur status number, or verify their amateur standing by signing the USEF waiver. Complete application details are available from The Dressage Foundation or from their website at The 2004 Application for 2005 funding must be received at The Dressage Foundation by Monday, August 16, 2004. Recipients will be announced in December, 2004.

The Dressage Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, whose mission is to cultivate and provide financial support for the advancement of Dressage. For more information contact The Dressage Foundation at 130 North Tenth, Lincoln, NE 68508; phone: 402/434-8585.

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