The Dressage Foundation Announces Recipients Of Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund Grants

Marta White Photo by Lisa Cook

Edited Press Release

February 9, 2024 – The Dressage Foundation (TDF) is proud to announce the recipients of four $1,000 grants from its Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund. This Fund was established in 2018 to provide financial support for para riders to attend educational events that will further their training and goals. Additional funds were donated in 2020 to provide grants specifically for Visually Impaired/Blind Riders. 

Recipients of the Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund:

Marta White (MA): Marta is a former eventer who turned to dressage. She currently rides “Simply Cool,” owned and trained by Denny Emerson, who was a promising event horse until an injury. Marta plans to use her grant funding to spend the winter season in Florida training with Lisa Hellmer and to become internationally classified as a para-dressage rider.

Marta said, “I am deeply honored and grateful to be chosen by TDF as a Para-Dressage Fund grant recipient. These funds will go towards my training fees over the next three months with Lisa Hellmer of LCH Equestrian in Ocala, FL, in preparation for competition in the 3 CPEDIs in Florida this winter. My ultimate goal is to earn a spot on the Paralympic team bound for Paris…a very ambitious goal, but I am determined! This grant means a lot to me as I would not be able to pursue my dream without the generosity of donors like those at TDF. Thank you for your support in my para-dressage journey!”

Hannah Kingsley (ND): Hannah began riding before she could walk, sitting on her dad’s saddle while he checked cows. She was an eventer, transitioned to para-dressage, and is now on the USEF Emerging Athlete List. Hannah’s goal is to make a US Para-dressage team and she will use her grant to attend Sue William’s clinics and lessons with Henreitte Borst.

Hannah said, “Thank you so much to TDF! My horses and I are so excited to have received a Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund grant from TDF. We will use this to further our training and education. We are very excited to see how this helps me progress this year.”

Hannah Kingsley

Recipients of the Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund for VI/Blind Riders:

Mathieu Martinez (MA): Mathieu is a student at the Atkinson Riding Academy and is an active member of the Blind Equestrian Community. He has been riding for nine years with a focus on dressage for the past three years. Mathieu will use the grant funding to take lessons at Atkinson Riding Academy with Dawn Bruneau and Crystal Little to gain more confidence and space awareness. 

Mathieu said, “This grant holds profound significance for me as it provides me the continued opportunity to further hone and elevate my skills in the discipline of dressage. With its support, I am empowered to steadfastly pursue my aspirations, inching closer to the ultimate dream of representing the United States in the Paralympics.”

Mathieu Martinez

Sheri Robinson (NC): Sheri is a long-time rider, and new to Western dressage. Sheri had worked in the equine industry for years before suddenly becoming blind. While she is not currently competing, she will use her grant funding to take lessons with Heather Dunn to help her improve her confidence and ability to ride her horse. 

Sheri said, “This grant means a lot to me. It will help me get assistance with my riding. It is so hard to ride by yourself when you are blind. The grant allows me to ride more confidently since I know someone is looking out for me. Horses are my life’s passion and always will be that for me.”

Sheri Robinson

Applications for the Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund are due to The Dressage Foundation by November 1st of each year. For more information, please contact Sara Weiss, TDF’s Director of Grants and Programs, at (402) 434-8585 or visit www.dressagefoundation.org.

To support the Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund, contact Jenny Johnson, TDF’s Executive Director, at (402) 434-8585 or jenny@dressagefoundation.org.  Secure online donations can also be made at www.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 visit www.dressagefoundation.org.