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The Dancing Horse Fund

The purpose of The Dancing Horse Fund is to provide financial support to promote and advance the art of riding to music.

The objectives of the Fund are:

  • Promote participation in musical freestyles at all levels.

  • Improve the technical and artistic quality of musical freestyles at all levels.

  • Provide help at the local and regional levels through programs to assist competitors in the selection and editing of music appropriate to their horse, and in choreography appropriate to the horse's level of training.

  • To obtain quality audio sound systems for freestyle events.

  • Support the advancement of other forms of riding to music that are closely related to musical freestyle Dressage, such as pas de deux and quadrilles.

  • Form a stronger connection with the artistic community as a means of improving the artistic content of musical freestyles, gaining broader audience awareness and support as a whole, and establishing technically correct and aesthetically pleasing musical freestyle Dressage as an art form in its own right.

General Requirements: 

  • Applications are accepted from non-profit Equestrian group located in the United States who are hosting educational events.
  • Applications must be received by The Dressage Foundation at least 75 days before the planned event.
  • Grants should only be used to support the educational part of the program and should not be used to purchase food, goodie bags, vests/t-shirts, etc.
  • Grants may not be used for the organizer to make a profit and will only be provided to the break-even point for selected events. Excess income should be returned to The Dressage Foundation, to be put back into the Fund. 

Grant Amount: 

  • The amount of the grants can vary depending on the need and request of the applicants, but the typical amount to be awarded will be up to $750.
  • Organizers/groups can receive a grant only one time per calendar year. 

Additional Information:

  • If the grant recipient is unable to hold the program specified in the 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.  
  • An independent Selection Committee will review the applications and make selections based on published criteria and guidelines. The committee reserves the right to not award a grant in any given year if they determine that no application has met the criteria. The applications and discussions of the selection committee are confidential, and their decisions are final.
  • For educational events that are selected to receive a grant, 75% of the grant will be sent one month prior to the event, with the final 25% sent after an evaluation form and final budget is received by TDF. 
  • Not all events that apply for funding are guaranteed to receive a grant. 

The application link is found in the right-hand sidebar (desktop computers) or by scrolling down (mobile).

About The Dancing Horse Fund:

An enthusiastic Freestyle group - Michael Matson, Lazelle Knocke, Clay Teske, Lois Arnold, Kay Meredith and Wendy Insinger - established The Dancing Horse Fund at The Dressage Foundation in 2001. 

As most freestyle clinics can only accommodate a limited number of riders, increasing auditor participation is an important part of educating the dressage community about the fun and beauty of riding to music, as well as the practical issues involved in designing and riding musical freestyles. The Dancing Horse Fund Committee has provided clinic organizers with some helpful tips to increase auditor participation, found in the right-hand sidebar (desktop computers) or by scrolling down (mobile), along with the Grant Application.

Past Foundation Board member Michael Matson chairs the Dancing Horse Fund Committee. "We hope to make the sport of Dressage more widely known, understood, recognized and enjoyable to the general public," said Matson. We have awarded many smaller grants to help a good many groups with Freestyle," said Matson, "and we are now at work to 'bump up' the size, scope and activities of the Dancing Horse Fund. If you would like to help, we would welcome hearing from you."

Sound System Information

Every year, TDF receives numerous evaluations from groups that have hosted a clinic, symposium, or other dressage-related educational events supported by a TDF grant. Countless times, the reviews are amazing, but there is one common complaint amongst the auditors and riders- hearing the instructor. We’ve gathered some information that we think can help you as you prepare for your next event.