The Dressage Foundation Awards $75,000 in Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prizes to Laura Graves, Ali Potasky, and Genay Vaughn

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Laura Grave - Picture by Susan J Stickle

Edited Press Release

October 26, 2023 – Thanks to the unprecedented quality of applicants, The Dressage Foundation (TDF) is pleased to announce three recipients of its $25,000 Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize. The recipients are Laura Graves with Sensation FOD, Ali Potasky with INXS, and Genay Vaughn with Gino. These Prizes provide financial assistance for coaching and training to talented, committed, proven horse and rider combinations with plans to reach and excel at the elite, international standards of high-performance dressage. Since 2009, the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize Fund has awarded 24 grants totaling $600,000 in support of U.S. High-Performance teams. 

“These Prizes are usually awarded one or two per year,” said Beth Baumert, President and CEO of The Dressage Foundation. “TDF is extremely pleased to be able to award a third prize in this important year before the Paris Olympic Games.”

United States Olympic bronze medalist, Laura Graves (FL), and 10-year-old Sensation FOD, a Westphalian gelding owned by Carol and Scott McPhee, plan to work with Ali Brock, Debbie McDonald, and Robert Dover in Wellington, FL.

Laura said, “We are excited to be a recipient of the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize. I know many athletes apply for these prestigious grants, and I take it very seriously to honor this gift with the utmost determination and grit. It has been an honor for me to have Sensation FOD’s owners, Carol and Scott McPhee, trust me with the development of this incredibly talented horse. This grant will allow us to accelerate our training under the supervision of our country’s best trainers. I am thankful for this opportunity and this great horse. Go USA!”

Ali Potasky (KY) and INXS, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Kathy Priest and Ali, will spend the fall in the Netherlands training with Egbert Kraak. 

Ali Potasky – Picture by Susan J Stickle

Ali said, “I am honored and humbled to receive the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize. I would like to thank the selection committee and TDF’s donors for this generous grant. I would also like to thank my boss and co-owner of Inxs, Kathy Priest, for her unwavering support. Her dedication and expertise over the past years have prepared INXS and me for this trip. The opportunity for this extended training stay is ideal because it provides adequate time and focus to identify and strengthen areas for growth. It is very exciting to have this opportunity to further my dressage education and deepen my understanding of horsemanship!”

Genay Vaughn (CA) and Gino, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Michele Vaughn, will train with Debbie McDonald in Wellington, FL. 

Genay said, “I am incredibly grateful to have been selected as a recipient of the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize. I remember the picture of Carol and her horse, Gifted, that my mom had hung up in our tack room, and I always aspired to be like her. Carol’s contribution to dressage has been enormous, and I’m honored to be associated with both the Lavell and Cadwgan families. Furthermore, the long list of previous recipients of this grant has set the bar high and I am hopeful to continue that trend! Thank you to TDF for all that they do for this sport. It is greatly appreciated.”

Genay Vaugh – Picture by Susan J Stickle

Carol Lavell achieved excellence in all phases of dressage – as an Olympian, rider, competitor, trainer, teacher, and judge. She knew firsthand the work, sacrifice, and struggle necessary to make it to the top of the dressage world. Through the creation of these $25,000 Prizes, she wanted to help other deserving riders who aspire to climb this high-performance mountain.

Information about The Dressage Foundation and the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize can be found at www.dressagefoundation.org. The Prize application deadline is August 31st of each year. For more information on applying, please contact TDF’s Director of Grants and Programs, Sara Weiss, at (402) 434-8585 or sara@dressagefoundation.org.

The Dressage Foundation

The Dressage Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax-exempt, donor-driven organization that is dedicated to educating, supporting, and advancing the sport of dressage.  The organization solicits contributions, appropriately allocates the donations, and awards grants to dressage riders, judges, instructors, breeders, high performance teams, nonprofit equestrian organizations, and more.  For more information, please call (402) 434-8585 or visit www.dressagefoundation.org.