Did you know that the USEA Foundation currently administers 15 grants and scholarships designed to help event riders reach their goals? From funds used to assist juniors have access to additional training to aiding up-and-coming riders fund international competition to help adult amateurs gain education, the current grant opportunities offered by the USEA Foundation has something for almost everyone.
In 2012, the Board of Directors of the Essex Horse Trials elected to have the USEA Endowment Trust (now the USEA Foundation) administrate a new grant which aimed to assist promising young riders financially with the development of their horsemanship skills as they transition from a young rider career to young amateurs or professionals. Grant recipients may use this funding for expenses related to their equestrian education, coaching, training, and competing.
What You Need to Know
The Essex Horse Trials Grant is available to a developing rider age 25 and under who is competing successfully at the CCI4*-S level and above and who is working towards representing the U.S. in international team competition. Eligible riders will be in good standing with the USEA. The rider’s performance at the CCI4*-S level and above during the previous competition season will be reviewed by the Essex Horse Trials Grant Committee when making the final selection. The Essex Horse Trials Grant is awarded at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in December each year.
Funds must be used within two calendar years following receipt of the grant and riders must keep complete accounting records and receipts for all funds used and submit these to the USEA Foundation by November 30 of that year. Any funds used for inappropriate activities must be repaid to the Essex Horse Trials Grant, care of the USEA Foundation. The recipient will be required to prepare a report on how the grant has benefited him/her during the year for presentation to the USEA Foundation Trustees at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
Catch Up With Previous Essex Horse Trials Grant Recipients
2012 - Meghan O'Donoghue: O'Donoghue had her CCI4* (now five-star) debut in Kentucky aboard her own Thoroughbred gelding Pirate in 2013 where she finished in 12th place. With Pirate, O'Donoghue went on to compete internationally at Blenheim (2013) and Burghley (2014) and competed twice more at Kentucky in 2014 and 2015. O'Donoghue made her return to the five-star stage in 2021 aboard yet another Thoroughbred gelding Palm Crescent and placed 23rd in Kentucky and 17th at the inaugural Maryland 5 Star , and recently finished 11th in the 2022 Kentucky five-star.
2013 - Lizzie Snow: After receiving her grant funding in 2013, Snow competed Coal Creek at the three-star level (now four-star) in 2014 with several top placings such as a third-place finish in the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) at Bromont and a fourth-place result in the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) at Galway Downs. The pair then went on to complete their first CCI4* (now CCI5*) in Kentucky in 2015.
2014 - Libby Head: Head had a top-20 finish in Kentucky at her CCI4* (now CCI5*) debut the year in which she received the Essex Horse Trials Grant with Sir Rockstar and in 2016 went overseas to contest the five-stars at Badminton and Burghley..
2015 - Jenny Caras: Upon receiving her grant funding, Caras and Fernhill Fortitude traveled to England for the U25 division of the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) at Bramham International where they would have a ninth-place finish.The pair would also have a sixth-place finish in the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) at Fair Hill later that fall. 2018 would be a great year for Caras and Fernhill Fortitude with a fourth-place finish in the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) at Fair Hill, a third-place finish in the CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) at Jersey Fresh, and a first-place finish in the CCI3* at Bromont. Caras competed Fernhill Fortitude through 2019 and has since focused on campaigning Trendy Fernhill and Sommersby at the three and four-star levels, with Trendy Fernhill having a first-place finish in the CCI4*-S at Tryon in 2020 and a top-10 finish in 2021 at Great Meadow.
2016 - Hallie Coon: Following a top-20 finish in 2017 at the Nations Cup at Great Meadow, Coon focused on moving her mount Celien up the levels. They had a third-place finish in 2019 in the CCI4*-S at Carolina International and a fifth-place result shortly after at The Fork. While Coon and Celien attempted their first five-star together in Kentucky in 2019 where they retired on cross-country. The partnership had a top-10 finish in the 2019 $60,00 Adequan USEA Advanced Final, another top-10 finish in the CCI4*-L later that fall at the Ocala Jockey Club 3-Day Event, and 2020 brought them a third-place finish in the four-star short competition at Red Hills. Most recently Coon has focused on producing Global EX at the upper levels and they recently completed their first five-star together in Kentucky this year.
2017 - Caroline Martin: Martin put grant funding to good use producing several horses through the FEI levels. In 2018, Martin took the trip overseas to compete at Houghton Hall and Bramham where she and Danger Mouse had a top-15 finish in the U25 CCI3* competition. After returning to the States, Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack had a sixth-place finish in the CIC03* (now CCIO4*-S) Nations Cup at Great Meadow. 2019 would lead Martin and several horses back overseas where she and Islandwood Captain Jack would finish in third the CCI4*-L at Millstreet in Ireland. Martin would get her first five-star completion in 2021 in Kentucky and continued to have several career wins at the two and three-star levels since. Martin can also be found frequently dominating the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) classes and championships.
2018 - Zoe Crawford: Crawford made her first four-star appearance in 2019 with K.E.C. Zara at Great Meadow and had a top-20 finish in the CCI4*-S there. The pair have had several top-15 finishes at the four-star level since 2019 and had their first five-star completion in 2021 at the inaugural Maryland 5 Star.
2019 - Mia Farley: While Farley received her funding right before the pandemic hit, she came back to competition in 2021 with a bang finishing third in the three-star short at Jersey Fresh with Phelps and the pair would have another third-place finish at the level later that year at Plantation Field. Then in 2022, the duo would have a top-20 finish in their first CCI4*-S together at Red Hills before having another top-20 finish in their first CCI4*-L as a pair at the Tryon Spring International Event. Farley also had top four-star finishes this year aboard BGS Firecracker including a third-place finish in the CCI4*-S at Chattahoochee Hills and a second-place finish in the CCI4*-S at Red Hills.
2021 - Cole Horn: Separate from his Essex Horse Trials Grant funding, Horn also received the 2021 Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Grant and represented the U.S. with MBF Cooley Permission to Land at Le Lion d'Angers in 2021. Horn ended 2021 on a winning streak after having won the Intermediate division at the Stable View Summer H.T., the Intermediate at the Horse Park of New Jersey Horse Trials, and the CCI3*-S at the River Glenn Summer H.T. Following his trip to France, Horn stayed in England and kicked off his 2022 season in the Intermediate at Tweseldown with a 22nd place finish.
In the final USEA Classic Series event of 2022, three horse and rider pairs rode their way to the top of the podium in the Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice 3-Day divisions offered during the Ram Tap Horse Park Horse Trials which took place November 18-20 in Fresno, California.
US Equestrian opened a bid process for one event to host the Advanced level in Area 3 on Week 10 for 2023-2027 due to an event cancellation. The bid process was conducted in accordance with the 2023-2027 U.S. Eventing Calendar CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, & Advanced Policies and Procedures. The USEF Eventing Strategic Calendar Review Task Force made recommendations to the USEF Eventing Sport Committee who made recommendations for final approval by the USEF Board of Directors.
Concluding the 2022 Area Championships season was the Area X Championships held during the SAzEA H.T. which took place November 19-20 in Tucson, Arizona. Three Championship divisions were offered, allowing three horse and rider pairs the opportunity to conclude their 2022 eventing season by being crowned champion!
“The highest priority must be given by instructors to developing in their riders a correct, balanced, supple, effective, and independent seat for dressage and for jumping.” - “Teaching Principles” in the new ECP Eventing Handbook by the Levels