Source: Yellow Horse Marketing for US Dressage Finals
“I dream, quite literally, of going back to the Finals again, and to this day I compete with that mindset.”
For Jennifer “Joey” Evans of San Francisco, Calif., last fall’s journey across the country to compete in the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® with her Dutch Warmblood gelding Bombay Sapphire in the First Level Adult Amateur Championship division was the trip of a lifetime. Now the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) announces a new travel grant program for qualified competitors representing certain states in the Western United States, which may help riders like Evans realize their dream of competing in Kentucky again in the future.
To alleviate some of the financial burden for those traveling the greatest distance to the 2017 Finals, the USDF is making up to $50,000 in travel grant funds available to eligible competitors who apply and fall into one of two groups based on the rider’s address of record as associated with their USDF membership. Competitors from Group 1 (which includes Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada and Utah) are eligible to apply for grants of up to $1,200 per horse/rider combination, while competitors from Group 2 (Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado) are eligible to apply for grants of up to $900.
“I think this is great news for West Coast riders – my trainer and I are always telling fellow riders what an incredible experience the Finals was last year,” said Evans. “I would love to go back every time if I were to qualify again, but the reality is that it was such an expensive trip out that I cannot justify the cost year after year. We have some very talented riders out here who would love to go to Kentucky, but I know first-hand that the logistics and expense of making the trip can be discouraging.
“Conversely, possibly the top reason we found the Finals to be such an extraordinary experience was because we were at the Kentucky Horse Park,” Evans continued. “We were showing in the ‘big leagues’ at one of the nation’s most famous and historical horse parks. So with the Finals continuing to be held in Kentucky for the time being, I am thrilled to hear there will now be funds available to riders in my area and neighboring regions. I think it may help make the dream a little more accessible for more competitors.”
This new travel grant program announcement comes on the heels of an increase in USDF’s overall support of the US Dressage Finals, which will be held November 9-12, 2017 in Lexington: prize money for the main event will see an exciting increase to $75,000 this year, as well as a total of over $180,000 in prize money now being offered for the 2017 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships, which serve as qualifying competitions for the Finals.
“The USDF is proud of what has been created with the US Dressage Finals and is committed to keeping it one of the premier dressage competitions in the U.S.,” said USDF President George Williams. “Making it easier for those competitors who have to travel great distances to attend has been one of the goals from the start for this showcase event, so we’re excited to be able to make travel grants a reality for this year as well as continue to offer generous prize money incentives for both the Finals and the Regional Championships.”
Excitement for this year’s event is now officially underway as USDF has also released the official prize list for the 2017 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®. To learn more about the Finals, download the 2017 prize list, and sign up to receive news and updates, visit the official event website at www.usdressagefinals.com.