Skip to main content

Karen Skvarla Fund for Emerging Professionals

Karen Skvarla and Corky
Photo courtesy of Diane Skvarla

The Karen Skvarla Fund provides grants enabling emerging dressage professionals to pursue training or educational opportunities. Up to two grants may be awarded annually.

Amount of Grant: $1,500

Application Deadline: February 15

The Karen Skvarla Fund was established in 2014 by Diane Skvarla in memory of her young sister. Grant applicants should be in the beginning stages of their dressage careers as instructors/trainers and should be eager to grow and improve, share their knowledge with their students, and are fair and respectful to their horses. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated a strong work ethic, good sportsmanship, and contributed to their local equestrian community.

Applicant Requirements:

Applicant must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Be a professional dressage instructor in the beginning stages of their career.
  • Demonstrate positive sportsmanship principles, good horsemanship, education, and commitment to advancing in dressage through training.
  • Have a detailed and attainable training plan.

Additional Grant Information:

  • Training 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.

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 Karen Skvarla Fund for Emerging Professionals

Karen Skvarla was a budding equestrian when she passed away in 1968 at the age of nine. Her family created this Fund to honor Karen, her love of horses, and her joy in riding. Karen’s dad, John Skvarla, said, “Karen had a special quality that brought happiness to all who knew her. She had boundless love for her pony, Corky.”