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Military Fund

The Dressage Foundation’s Military Fund provides financial support for dressage-related education to riders who have served, or are currently serving, in the United States military and their dependents. The Fund is open to all branches of the military including active duty, reserves, and veterans. To apply, applicants must be an Amateur or youth rider and/or Amateur or youth para-dressage rider.  

Amount of Grant: $1,000 

Application Deadline: May 15 

The Military Fund was established in 2022 by Colonel David and Sue Bender of Beech Island, South Carolina. Applicants should be eager to further their dressage education and have a strong desire to grow and improve.  

Applicant Requirements: 

Applicant must: 

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.  
  • Be a member of the United States military (any branch), retired member, or veteran or be the dependent (spouse or dependent under the age of 19).  
  • Be an Adult Amateur (within the meaning of USEF Article GR1306) or a youth rider under the age of 19 and/or Amateur or youth para-dressage rider. . 
  • Have a detailed training plan with obtainable goals that are outside of the rider’s typical training plan. Examples include clinics, camps, or lessons in a concentrated amount of time.  
  • Be eager to grow and improve and be passionate about the sport of dressage.  
  • Show dedication to furthering their dressage education.  
  • Applicant does not need to own or lease the horse they will use for training.  

Additional Grant Information: 

  • Training or events funded by this grant can start no sooner than two months after the application deadline date.   
  • Funding cannot be used for competition entries, vet and/or farrier expenses, or the purchase of a horse or equipment.  
  • The recipients of these grants must use the funds within two years of the date of the award.  
  • Recipients are chosen by an independent selection committee comprised of dressage industry leaders. The applications and discussions of the selection committee are confidential, and their decisions are final. 
  • The grant selection committee reserves the right not to award a grant in any given year if they determine that no candidate has met the criteria.   
  • If the grant recipient is unable to attend the event/training 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.  
  • This grant may not be received in consecutive years.  

Reporting Information: 

  • For all recipients, 75% of grant funds will be paid prior to the recipient’s departure for training; 25% will be paid after the applicant has completed training and has submitted a training and financial report to The Dressage Foundation. 
  • The recipients of the grants are required to provide a training and financial report of their experience to The Dressage Foundation. The reports may be written, video, photo journal, or other ways pre-approved by The Dressage Foundation. The report is due within two months following the completion of the training. 
  • Throughout their training, recipients are encouraged to share training/event updates with The Dressage Foundation via email or tag The Dressage Foundation on social media.   

History of the Military Grant Fund:

Through their generous gift, the Benders wished to recognize the contributions of military members and dependents to our country and sport. 
“These individuals are constantly giving to this country in many ways, sometimes with little ability to concentrate on their personal goals,” said Sue Bender. “While serving, the pay received is not large and there are usually moves required every two to three years. We hope that this Fund will ease the financial burden of dressage training and will allow recipients to take the time to focus on their riding goals.”