TDF Announces Record Number of Cynthia Aspden Youth and Young Adult Development Fund Grant Recipients

Olivia Martz - Photo: Susan J Stickle

Edited Press Release

December 18, 2023- The Dressage Foundation (TDF) is thrilled to announce a record 11 grants have been awarded from its Cynthia Aspden Youth and Young Adult Development Fund. The Cynthia Aspden Fund provides $1,000 grants to youth and young adult riders (age 25 and under) to aid in their development in dressage. The grant selection committee was impressed with the quality of the applicants, including their volunteerism and training plans.

“When our Board member, Nicole DelGiorno, heard the rave reviews from the selection committee about the quality of this year’s applicants to the Cynthia Aspden Fund, she went into action,” said Jenny Johnson, TDF’s Executive Director. “Typically, we are able to award five $1,000 grants from this Fund, but Nicole wanted to see that all 11 applicants were rewarded for their hard work, dedication, and incredible volunteerism. Within just a few days, donors contributed enough money that a total of $11,000 will be awarded this year instead of $5,000.

What a great way for our dressage community to show support for deserving youth! We are incredibly grateful for all the donors who ‘answered the call’ to enable the expansion of support from Cynthia’s Fund this year. Many thanks to Nicole, JoAnn Cassidy, Amy French, Erin Johnson, Kim Mullins, Paula Oliver, Alexandra Tomson, and Rose Walker/Sherry Lane Performance Horses!”

The recipients are:

Kelly Barry (DE): Kelly is a full-time nursing student.

Kelly said, “I am delighted to receive funding from the Cynthia Aspden Fund to pursue further education that otherwise would be unavailable to me. Balancing life, work, nursing school, and equestrian endeavors means that something always falls short, or at least it feels that way. This grant allows me to focus time and energy on skill development for what I’m most passionate about—horses and the sport.”

Kelly Barry – Photo: Kristina Beiler

Mackenzie Brown (ID): Mackenzie plans to train with Regina Agren.

Mackenzie said, “I am truly honored to have received such a generous grant to put toward my education as an equestrian! The Cynthia Aspden Fund grant will allow me learning opportunities that may not have been otherwise available. I am extremely grateful to have been selected for this. Thank you so much to TDF and all those who support the training of young riders like me!”

Mackenzie Brown

Adelyn Burris (WA): Adelyn will use her grant funding to train with Sabine Schut-Kery and is the cousin of another Aspden Fund recipient, Olivia Martz.

Adelyn said, “I am incredibly grateful to TDF and their donors for awarding me this grant. I have big goals to go to the Festival of Champions this year and do the FEI Pony and FEI Children’s divisions. With this grant, I will receive extra training that will help me push to the next level. I can’t wait!”

Adelyn Burris – Photo: Susan J Stickle

Kalyn Callaway (CO): Kalyn is a Pony Club member and plans to take lessons with Susan Martin.

Mary Chapman Martin (AL): Mary Chapman plans to use her grant to attend the US Equestrian Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic.

Mary Chapman said, “It is such an honor to receive this grant. This grant means so much to me because I will be able to participate in the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic. I have always wanted to attend this, and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to do so now. Thank you, TDF, for everything.”

Mary Chapman Martin – Photo: Susan J Stickle

Killian Deano (AK): Killian is a board member of the Alaska Dressage Association. She will be training with Erin Downey.

Killian said, “This grant will help me receive guidance from a clinician who flies to Alaska from California, which means a lot to me. I recently purchased a young dressage prospect, and being only 16 years old and living in Alaska, it is hard to afford and get help from instructors that reside outside of Alaska. Now I will be able to get instruction from one of my favorite clinicians.”

Killian Deano

Sydney Langley (NC):  Sydney is a Pony Club member and plans to attend Dressage4Kid’s Winter Intensive Training Program in Florida.

Sydney said, “I feel incredibly honored to receive this wonderful grant. I greatly appreciate all members of the selection committee and TDF for this opportunity. I will strive to carry on Ms. Aspden’s legacy in furthering my knowledge and becoming a better horseman by attending the Winter Intensive Training Program.”

Sydney Lagley

Olivia Martz (WA): Olivia is a cousin of another Aspden Fund recipient, Adelyn Burris, and will use her grant funding to train with Sabine Schut-Kery.

Olivia said, “This opportunity means the world to me! Not only do I get to train and watch one of the most talented dressage riders in our country, Sabine Schut-Kery, but I get to learn and grow, so that I may one day become the international rider I hope to be!”

Olivia Martz – Photo: Susan J Stickle

Isabella Rice (VA): Isabella will use her grant funding to take lessons with Bill Warren and Terry Gallo. She also plans to attend the USDF Trainers Conference in Florida.

Isabella said, “This is an amazing opportunity, and I am extremely excited to be able to further my dressage learning and training with my horse, Tex. Thank you, TDF, for this grant. It will really help with our training goals to further my education.”

Isabella Rice

Adalie Tuman (VA): Adalie is a Para-Equestrian Emerging Athlete and plans to train with Para-Dressage Development Coach, Lisa Hellmer, in Florida.

Adalie said, “I would like to thank TDF for the honor of selecting me to be a recipient of the Cynthia Aspden Fund grant. I am looking forward to the chance to develop as a rider, as well as the new opportunities that this grant will afford me. I couldn’t do this without the wonderful support of TDF!”

Adalie Tuman

Name Withheld: Recipient is a Pony Club member and has ridden with Dressage4Kids. She will use this funding to attend D4K’s Winter Intensive Training Program.

She said, “I am so grateful to TDF and all the generous donors for making these grant opportunities possible! I love horses and want to learn as much as I can about horsemanship and how to best take care of my horse, while also working toward the FEI Children’s division.”

Cynthia Aspden was known as the “go-to-woman” throughout her dressage community, giving freely of her time and experience to whoever needed it. Before Cynthia passed away in 2011, she made it clear that her estate gift was to be used to help youth riders in dressage. She felt that this group of riders needed to become horsemen, not just riders, as their foundation is critical for the growth of the sport.

The Cynthia Aspden Fund grant application is available on TDF’s website with a deadline of September 1st. For more information about this Fund, visit www.dressagefoundation.org or contact Sara Weiss, Director of Grants and Programs, 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 and scholarships to dressage riders, judges, instructors, breeders, high performance teams, and nonprofit equestrian organizations. For more information, please visit www.dressagefoundation.org.