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Cynthia Aspden Youth and Young Adult Development Fund

The purpose of the Cynthia Aspden Youth and Young Adult Development Fund is to provide financial assistance to youth and young adult riders (age 25 and under) to aid in their development in dressage. 

Amount of Grant: $1,000 

Application Deadline: September 1 

The Cynthia Aspden Fund was established in 2011 as a gift from Cynthia Aspden’s estate. Cynthia felt young riders needed support to become horsemen, not just riders, as their foundation is critical for the growth of the sport. 

Applicant Requirements: 

Applicant must: 

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.  
  • Be 25 years old or younger at the time of the application.  
  • Have a detailed and obtainable training plan to be used for educational experiences that are not within the rider’s typical training plan. These may include events such as USDF’s youth outreach clinics or Dressage4Kids’ Winter Intensive Training Program, TEAM Program or others. 

Additional Grant Information: 

  • Training or event 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 one year of the date of the award.  
  •  Recipients are chosen by an independent selection committee comprised of professionals and experienced amateurs. The applications and discussions of the selection committee are confidential, and their decisions are final.  
  • The 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. 
  • The Dressage Foundation feels strongly that this grant should be based on merit and need. If your financial situation permits you to pursue these goals without the help of TDF, we urge you to allow other riders who are not in that position to apply.

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 in 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 Cynthia Aspden Fund

Cynthia Aspden was known as the “go-to-woman” throughout her dressage community, giving freely of her time and experience to whomever needed it. As a professional groom and barn manager for many years, her top priority was the health and welfare of horses in her care, and she often shared her knowledge with youth riders through free educational clinics. Cynthia was an instrumental volunteer for the Virginia Dressage Association; she served on the Board of the Charlottesville Chapter, helped organize many fundraisers, and could be found donating her time and energy at many dressage shows.