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2020 Captain Jack Fritz Fund Recipient: Grace Craven

2020 Young Rider Graduate Program Report

The 2020 Young Rider Graduate Program was an amazing opportunity to discuss many topics within the equestrian industry that were not directly related to horse training. As someone who just recently switched to becoming a dressage trainer full time, it was extremely helpful to get more in-depth information on insurance, savings, dealing with different client situations, balancing your personal life with your work life, the importance of contracts, social media accounts to help your business, getting sponsorships and more! It was also a great way to meet other young individuals in the industry, and I met several from my state who I had not met before.

There were several topics discussed that I had not thought of, or had not researched in-depth, before. One of the big topics that stuck with me were the two lectures about contracts and equestrian law. We learned just how important the details are when it comes to wording contracts, as well as the importance of placement of various signs required to be at equestrian facilities. There are also different laws in different states, and great importance placed on researching our individual state laws to make sure that we are in compliance with each one.

I also really appreciated the emphasis placed on having a balanced personal life. We had a lecture on balancing your personal life with your professional life, and the importance of prioritizing different aspects of each for a healthy lifestyle. We had another lecture from two women who had had children while being trainers. They discussed the ups and downs they faced because of their pregnancy and while having very young children. While they discussed several hardships they faced, it was encouraging to hear different stories of women who were able to both have families and pursue their equestrian careers.

We touched on the importance of social media and being aware of what you post, especially if your privacy settings are set to public. However, something that I had not thought of that we also discussed was using your social media to help gain sponsors, and the proper way to help yourself have the best relationship possible with a sponsor. As someone who does not have sponsors and wouldn’t even know where to start trying to get one, this was extremely helpful for me.

One of the topics that I had never even considered or thought of was the lecture over how your brain works and how you can self-hypnotize yourself to get in ‘your zone’ while competing.  This not only helps with show nerves and creating a more focused rider, but in turn can help the horse by creating a calming and encouraging rider, rather than a nervous one.

As a young rider just entering the industry as a young professional, the 2020 Young Rider Graduate Program was amazing experience that helped me in more ways than I ever imagined when I first applied. I feel more prepared for the business side of the industry and feel more equipped to successfully grow as a dressage trainer. I made many great connections with both the individuals who came to give us lectures and my fellow young trainers participating in the program. I am extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed to The Dressage Foundation and made these grants possible, allowing me to come and learn from this amazing experience.  Thank you!