Grant drama at USEA convention

Has anyone else seen this circulating on Facebook ? I’m not even suggesting CM isn’t a wonderful horseman but it doesn’t seem like she was eligible for the grant.

Comments I’ve seen say she is eligible because Nations Cup competitions don’t count, only Olympics, WEG, and Pan Ams.

Interesting than a 4* team competition doesn’t count while the 3* Pan Ams do, but if true, she’s technically eligible.

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The “new” qualifications; (CM born in 1994)

(Which seem to have been amended since the question was asked.)

It also says;
“Riders who have already traveled overseas for an extended period of time are not eligible”

FEI records trips in Holland, France,Germany, Ireland, and GB.

I wonder how many applicants they had that actually qualified when they applied ?

It’s rather sleazy.

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I don’t see why anyone would be upset about this unless they knew someone personally they hoped would be the recipient. The stated purpose of the grant is to “provide the support and encouragement for talented riders to step away from their home-base to gain more international experience and education.”

Caroline is no doubt one of the most promising riders under 30 we have in this country and, more importantly, she has one of the best strings of young horses we have in this country… period. She’s actually positioned to get a lot more out of these funds than any other rider I can think of in that age bracket, which benefits the US team in the long run.

I think they got this one right.

ETA: I am a little confused about Will Coleman’s Chin Tonic getting the Connaught Grant. The grant clearly says “each year, the USET Foundation administers up to $25,000 to a CCI1 or CCI2** horse in the U.S. that is seen as a potential candidate to represent the U.S. Eventing team on an international level.” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this horse and am glad to see him get the support, but he finished 3rd at the 4-L at Tryon in November so I don’t really see how he qualifies…


Just for posterity;

Terms and Conditions of the Wilton Fair Grant

  • The grant is available to U.S. citizens through the year of their 28th birthday.
  • Riders must not have ridden on an Olympic or World Games team (clarified in 2021 due to confusion over previously used “senior team” terminology) .
  • Applications are invited from riders competing successfully at the CCI4* and above.
  • Applicants must be willing and able to apprentice with an approved rider/trainer in Europe within 12 months of receiving the grant.
  • The grant may be used to offset training, travel, living, and stabling costs.
  • The successful recipient will report regularly on progress and how the grant is being utilized.
  • Declarations of interest for consideration of this must be completed and received on time in order to be considered. Late and incomplete submissions will not be considered.
  • Riders who have already traveled overseas for an extended period of time are not eligible.
  • Declarations of interest for consideration are the first step in the grant process. You may also be asked to participate in an initial phone interview with a committee member following submission of your application.
  • While financial need is taken into account, this is not a need based grant.
  • Additional information, budgets, and a second phone interview will be required for riders selected for final consideration.

Applications for the 2022 Wilton Fair Grants will be posted at the beginning of 2022.

Has Caroline Martin spent an extended period of time overseas to train, though? There’s a difference between traveling overseas for a week or two to attend a specific competition and getting some coaching along the way, and staying there long term for training.

It also says it’s not a need-based grant, so while other applicants may have had greater financial need, it may have been determined that CM was in more of a position to capitalize on receiving the grant and hopefully becoming more competitive at the big international stuff.


I think these grants sum up everything which is wrong with your American system. Thousands and thousands of pounds going to people on one horse which could die tomorrow.

Think how much better the $250k could be spread round in setting up programmes which support youth or talent. We have so many schemes in the UK which are subsidised such as 12-21 training which is for 12 years old to 21 years old. Anyone can apply to do the training and its spread round the country. Even just a bit of horse talent spotting and supporting those people. Again we have this in the UK. All little schemes which don’t cost a whole heap of money but all focus on world class training opportunities.

Even as an absolute minnow I can go on training with Chris Bartle and Dicky Waygood through BE.

I actually find it obscene seeing all this money going to the same old names and then you get the same old individual results - average when you come against the big guns. The difference in the UK spending of money is that its rarely to the individual. Its always to a team/scheme/training. We do have one exception, those on World Class get access to a small grant but essentially its to support them getting physios, fitness etc


The only thing I have an issue with is the line: Riders who have already traveled overseas for an extended period of time are not eligible. What does “extended period of time” mean? Who is defining that phrase? This needs to be clearly spelled out so it is understood by all. Vagueness leads to unhappy people.


It’s like most things USEF do; they decide how things should be and then engineer whatever they need, to make it happen.This has nothing to do with the membership, and the corporate double speak they spew just makes it worse. They are a bunch of amateurs. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the calendar meddling causes a rebellion across ALL the disciplines.


Does it really matter now? They can throw as much money as they want at people but if there is no trust and no guidance…

Meh, funds are provided by private donors who decide what they want to support. Until I start hearing those donors push back on how the funds are being used, I’m just grateful that they’re generous enough to financially support the sport.


Take Will Colemans $25k for a horse that’s going to go to top level unless it dies or breaks.

For that money 250 USEA members could have a subsidised lesson by $100 with a world class trainer.

You could set up 10 demo days in different areas of the country all led by a world class rider with a budget of $2500. Enough to pay the rider and for arena hire. Getting world class training to USEA members for free. If you had 200 members at each session that would be 2000 members who are getting educated.

You could set up a navigate the gap training for riders who want to move from 2* to 3* and 3* to 4* and have not done it before. Maybe run them a 2 day camp they can attend with world class trainers in 2 locations (East and West coast) so they can get educated and learn what they need to do to make the jump safely. $12.5k on each camp and maybe riders pay a small amount.

All these ideas on how you could benefit the masses but oh no instead lets benefit one person who is going to still have the same plan with a good horse but now it just gets subsidised.

Do you know what makes the UK so strong? the pyramid of depth. A pragmatic and systematic ladder. Don’t forget its not that long ago we were disasters in Rio as we sent a crap bunch of horses that should never have gone. We sent 4S horses to a 5 gun fight. Now we send 5* winners who can also win a 4S to a 4S fight.


GB has a very long and deep history in the education and training of sport horses which does not exist in the US. THIS is what holds the whole thing up.


Giving a large number of people a single clinic doesn’t seem like it would be more likely to give the US success on the international stage than giving one person or a few people the funds to do very intensive training, though.

If you’re donating the money in an attempt to generically “benefit the sport of eventing” there’s a fair argument to be made for spreading it around to benefit the masses, but if you’re hoping to help put the US on the podium at WEG, giving a bunch of up-and-coming young riders a single really good clinic isn’t likely to have any effect… whereas giving really intensive training and competition opportunities to an upper level rider with a good string of horses might.


Yes, when you see and compete against the Brits in person, your eyes are opened up wideeeee real quick. 13 year olds schooling intermediate on ponies with ease… and doing it correctly. Not like the teenage yahoos that are scary on course at around events here. Every child has a better than basic understanding of dressage also, every child has their horse on the bit. Never see that here lol


Let’s just admit it, when the American system went to making money rather than horsemen, the quality of horses and riders diminished greatly and there was no national framework to continue what was in place.

When I was a kid, we HAD to be jumping 3’6" to go to a show because that is where the lowest fences started. Jr. Jumpers started a 3’9"/4’. I remember jumping 5’9" as a 17 year-old as part of the local puissance.

That world has gone away, and as a previous poster alluded, it’s now about the owners and their money. If they want to give it away as they see fit, we can’t complain. The system is always rigged to keep the wealthy who pay for the horses and riders comfortable.


While I would agree that Caroline Martin has a very talented string of young horses, I can also see why other people are upset that she was awarded this grant.

She has great financial resources to do what she is doing.

I would like to see more need-based grants awarded. Perhaps to people who have maybe 2 or 3 potential team horses, not the oodles that Caroline has. There are a lot of people who are very talented who have fewer horses who would benefit greatly from further developing what they have.


America has long been about what the rich folk wanted. That runs up and down American culture, where we seem to be constitutionally averse to regulation and collective thinking. But Rugged Individualism works less well in enterprises like, say, breeding livestock in a single direction. And it’s now coming home to roost that there’s not enough wealth and/or interest by the wealthy to fix a system that never wanted to create a wide base of opportunity for talented riders. I mean, billionaires can pour money on the few riders who came from families who were mere millionaires, but that might not actually be enough to create a deep and winning industry.


In fairness Europe is no different and the rich people there have had a lot more time to practice wanting things and then taking them from everyone else.

But riding and show jumping is treated as a sport there both traditionally, legally and by the many national organizations that compete with each other and so such attempts are made to keep it merit based and much more affordable with the idea that the more people that are able to compete the stronger the sport is for everyone.


The rude name given to Royalist adherents by the opposing Parliamentarians in the 17th English Civil War was “Rider” aka “Cavalier”, with all the bad behaviour and poor manners now associated with the word. The aristocratic horse was seen as the ultimate frivolous luxury.