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George Williams Young Professional Grant Fund

Photo by Susan J Stickle

The purpose of the George Williams Young Professional Grant Fund is to support dressage professionals, ages 25-35, who are committed to the sport and have established businesses as instructors and trainers.  Applicants should have a strong desire to participate in continuing education opportunities, in order to provide higher-quality instruction to their students.

The amount of the grants can vary depending on the need and request of the applicants but will typically range from $3,000 - $5,000.  At this time, one grant will be available each year to a qualified applicant chosen by an independent selection committee.

The online application form and all required documents must be submitted to The Dressage Foundation on or before June 1st of each year.  A final decision will be announced by July 15th.  The grant must be used for training and programs that fall after the grant deadline date of June 1st and within 2 years of that date.

Grant funding should be used for two purposes:

  1. To receive training as a rider that is outside of your typical plan (for example, an intensive training time away from home or more lessons from your trainer) AND
  2. To attend a formal instructor/trainer education program, such as the USDF Instructor/Trainer Program, L Education Program, or other event of your choice that is focused on the education of instructors/trainers.

Applicant Information:

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Must have riding experience at 3rd Level or above.  Preference is given to applicants who have competition records at 3rd Level or above.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have started or completed the certification process through the USDF Instructor/Trainer Program.
  • Must be committed to their dressage education, their clients, and their businesses. Applicants will be asked to present a brief business plan in the application.

Additional Grant Information:

  • Funding cannot be used for competition entries, vet and/or farrier expenses, stabling fees, living expenses, or the purchase of a horse or equipment. 
  • An individual can only receive a grant from this Fund one time.
  • The committee reserves the right to not award a grant in any given year if they determine that no candidate has met the criteria. Funds would then be held until the following year.  The applications and discussions of the selection committee are confidential and their decisions are final.
  • If the grant recipient is unable to attend the program specified in their application, The Dressage Foundation must be notified as soon as possible. Approval for a change in the use of funds is at the discretion of The Dressage Foundation and the grant selection committee.

About the Fund:
Wanting to honor Williams’ lifelong commitment to the sport and acknowledge his nine years as President of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), Janna Dresing, Dr. Jeni Gaffney and Gardy Bloemers initiated the idea of this Fund in December 2018.  Dresing shared, “We felt that George has given so much to the dressage community in all of his roles within the USDF, and that creating a scholarship in his name would help honor his commitment to the sport."

Williams was surprised with the news of the Fund at the USDF Salute Gala on December 1st, 2018.  After the announcement, he said, “I am honored to have a Grant Fund in my name, which will have a goal of helping up-and-coming young equestrians.  Thank you to all the donors.”

TDF’s President and CEO, Beth Baumert, shared, “Those of us who hold USDF dear will never forget George's many years of wise and steady leadership. His contribution to dressage is impossible to calculate, and he set a fine example for us all. It seems very fitting that this Fund will continue beyond his tenure, giving in his honor.”