TDF’s Verne Batchelder Instructor Fund Awards Two Grants to Dressage Instructors

Kiersten Vroman. Photo by Stacee Aspland

Edited Press Release

The Dressage Foundation (TDF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Verne Batchelder Instructor Fund grants are Alexa Derr (PA) and Kiersten Vroman (NY). The Fund, established by Verne’s family and friends in 2020, is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Batchelder’s long career as a dressage instructor and sport horse breeder. The Fund provides grants of up to $2,500 to professional instructors from USDF Regions 1, 3, or 8 for continuing education and training. 

Alexa Derr has been a professional instructor for seven years and teaches a variety of students from 18 to 75 years old. Her clients have a wide variety of horses including Warmbloods, Connemaras, and Draft Horses. Alexa says that she focuses on independent riders who cannot afford full training and/or are in areas that do not have much access to a dressage trainer. Alexa plans to use her grant to work with Brittany Stanley and Ali Brock to help develop her horse in the Prix St. Georges movements.

Alexa Derr. Photo by Inese Roth

Alexa said, “It truly is an honor to receive this grant to further my training with my horse, Gentleman. I am very excited to advance my training and teaching through more lessons with Brittany and Ali. With more consistent instruction, I am confident Gentleman will become an FEI horse in 2023 while simultaneously having better training insight for my clients. There is nothing more inspiring than being able to pass on my education to my horses and clients. I truly can’t thank TDF, donors, and the selection committee enough for this generous opportunity.”

Kiersten is a USDF Certified Instructor and has been a professional instructor for 11 years. She has 35 students, including adult amateurs and several young riders, who compete in Training Level through Second Level. Kiersten trains weekly with Jennie Meyer and tries to participate in one or two clinics per quarter. She will use her grant funding to spend two weeks working with Ann Guptill.

Kiersten said, “I am thrilled and so excited to have received this grant. Thank you to TDF and all who have donated. This will enable me to continue furthering my education and share my knowledge with my students.”

Applications for the Verne Batchelder Instructor Fund are due September 10th.  Visit for more information and to find the online application form. Contact Sara Weiss, Director of Grants and Programs at (402) 434-8585 or with any questions

Donations to the Fund are welcome and can be made online or by calling Jenny Johnson, Executive Director, at (402) 434-8585 or