A Primer on Equestrian Scholarships and Grants

Equestrian Scholarships and Grants
Photo by Sara Tromba

As students move on to higher education, such as colleges and universities, it can become stressful on them to figure out how to pay for it. Here is a collection of equestrian college grants and scholarships listed by organization and then by breed-related organizations below that. And for more about the intercollegiate equestrian associations, check out our Complete Guide to Intercollegiate Riding Programs.

Certified Horsemanship Association

CHA Educational Grant—This award from the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) is due annually on September 1 and is based on career goals, objectives, and equine-related activities. Applicants must be a current CHA member in good standing, at least 18 years old, be enrolled in a recognized university/college equine program at time of application and cannot be a relative of a current member of the CHA board of directors or a staff member. For more information, go to www.cha.horse/how-to-host-a-cha-clinic-2/#clinic-scholarships.

Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation (IEF)

Margaret “Maggie” Blackmon Memorial Award—This award is awarded in honor of Margaret “Maggie” Blackmon, who was a 20-year-old junior studying anthropology at St. Lawrence University. She passed away suddenly in 2020 and was a three-year member of the St. Lawrence equestrian team. This scholarship recognizes a college-level rider who demonstrates the same passion and commitment to equestrian sport as Blackmon.

Jack Fritz Memorial Award—This scholarship was named in honor of Jack Fritz, a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He co-founded the IHSA organization alongside Robert Cacchione, who was a student there at the time.

Joan Johnson Memorial Award—This award was named in honor of Joan Johnson, who was one of the founding members of the IHSA. To receive this award, students must turn in an application, official transcripts, and recommendation letters.

Emily Jane Hilscher Memorial Award—This scholarship was created in memory of Emily Jane Hilscher, who was a 19-year-old freshman studying veterinary science at Virginia Tech and who was one of the victims during the 2007 mass shooting on campus. She also competed on the Virginia Tech IHSA equestrian team.

For more information on these four scholarships, please visit www.iefscholarship.org/general-scholarships.

Jon Conyers Memorial Scholarship—IEF encourages coaches to nominate a rider from their team in honor of Jon Conyers. The nominee must be a full-time undergraduate Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) member who competes or has competed in the Introductory; Beginner Horsemanship; Pre-Novice, Novice, or Rookie Horsemanship divisions during the year of qualification for the award. The nominee must also be in good standing with the IHSA and the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) if the nominee is a hunter seat competitor. He or she must also demonstrate financial need and display a passion for horses and a desire to better themselves on and off the horse. For more information, visit www.iefscholarship.org/jon-conyers-scholarship.

Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation (IEF) for Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) Members

Bob Anthony Memorial Scholarship—This scholarship was established in honor of Bob Anthony, a legendary horseman and National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame inductee. Coaches are encouraged to nominate a rider from their team. The student must be a full-time undergraduate IHSA member who competes in the IHSA Open Reining class during the year of qualification for the award. Nominee must be in good standing with IHSA and demonstrate financial need. For more information, visit www.iefscholarship.org/bob-anthony-scholarship.

Teresa L. McDonald IHSA Scholarship Challenge—Teresa L. McDonald taught at Virginia Tech, was an active IHSA board member, and is a founder of the Intercollegiate Dressage Association. This scholarship challenge is a free online test covering non-discipline-specific general horsemanship topics that is open to all IHSA undergraduate members. The timed test consists of 50 questions from the USHJA study guide and will be available for a two-week time period during the spring semester. The participant with the top score from each zone is then invited to compete in the next phase at IHSA Nationals, along with the next top four scores from across the country. The top 10 combined scores at IHSA Nationals win scholarships. For more information, visit www.iefscholarship.org/horsemanship-challenge.

Intercollegiate Saddle Seat Riding Association (ISSRA)

The Intercollegiate Saddle Seat Riding Association (ISSRA) scholarship for $1,500 will be given to an undergraduate-full time student participating on an Intercollegiate Saddle Seat Riding Association (ISSRA) team and is applicable to the school of their choice. For more information, visit www.intercollegiatesaddleseatriding.com.

Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA)

Financial Assistance Program—This program was established through donations from the Equus Foundation. This fund was created to assist students that have the promise, potential, and desire to move forward in their careers but lack the financial support. This fund is also available to financially assist IEA coaches during times of unexpected misfortune or hardship. For more information, please go to www.rideiea.org/opportunities/for-riders.

Coaches Assistance Grant—This grant is made available for IEA coaches who has endured some unexpected event that affects their ability to generate income. They can apply to the IEA for a one time “hardship” donation. For more information, please go to www.rideiea.org/opportunities/for-riders.

National Sportsmanship Award—This award is available to recipients of the Sportsmanship winners for each of the regular season shows. In past years, the award winner has received $500 from the IEA with an additional $500 from the IHSA if that rider attends an IHSA college or university. For more information, please go to www.rideiea.org/opportunities/sportsmanship-award.

IEA Founders College Scholarship Awards—These awards are given out to the highest-placing senior and the second highest-placing senior from each of selected individual rider classes. For more information, please go to www.rideiea.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Founders-Scholarship-Page-2020.pdf.

Zone Specific Scholarships—Each IEA zone offers scholarships to graduating seniors. For more information, students should contact the zone administrator in their area.

Jockey Club

Jockey Club Scholarship—This award provides $15,000 (at $7,500 per semester) to a student who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher at any university and has demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in the Thoroughbred racing industry. For more information, go to www.jockeyclub.com/Default.asp?section=Initiatives&area=15.

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

Division 1 and Division 2 schools are able to offer up to 15 scholarships per school. Division 3 schools must provide athletic scholarships per NCAA rules, so they typically make up for it in academic awards and scholarships. Equestrian programs are also allowed to divide scholarships into partial awards as a way to distribute scholarship dollars among a greater numbers of players. Scholarship eligibility requirements vary across individual schools, so interested applicants are encouraged to contact individual programs for more information.

National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHA)

The Reining Horse Foundation—The National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA) members are encouraged to apply for seven annual scholarships provided by this program based on financial need, academic achievement, and reining involvement. Three scholarships valued at $2,000, two at $1,500, and two at $750 are awarded. For more information, please go to www.nrhya.com/scholarships.php or www.usef.org/media/press-releases/1680_reining-horse-sports-foundation-awards–in-scholarships.

Youth Team Tournament—Youth contestants from each affiliate championship youth contestants can receive an application and turn it in within seven days to be eligible to receive a $1,000 or $800 scholarship. For more information, please go to www.nrhya.com/scholarships.php.

John McQuay Memorial Scholarship—The NRHyA awards a $2,500 John McQuay Memorial Scholarship to the highest scoring individual in combine Youth 13 & Under and Youth 14-18 classes at the NRHA Derby. For more information, please go to www.nrhya.com/scholarships.php.

Varsity Reining Club (VRC)—Points that are received throughout the year are counted at the end of the year for both age divisions, and scholarships are awarded based on point earnings. For more information, please go to www.nrhya.com/scholarships.php.

The Race for Education Scholarship Program

This award assists horsemen and women pursuing a related education, including agricultural disciplines and animal stewardship. The Horsemen’s Scholarship and The Thoroughbred Scholarship are awarded to deserving students, who are evaluated based on background and income. Age and GPA are additional selection criteria for awards valued at up to $6,000 each. For more information, visit www.raceforeducation.org/programs/scholarships.

United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)

Emerson Burr Horsemanship Grant—This grant from the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) was created to promote proper horsemanship in equestrian youth. This is awarded at the zone and national level and each winner at the zone level will receive a $100 grant to be used toward education or equestrian-related expenses. Each winner during Pony Finals will receive a $500 grant to be used towards educational-related expenses. For more information, visit www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/hunter/emerson-burr-horsemanship-grant.

Youth Sportsman—This award was made to identify future leaders within the equine industry. Individuals 17 or younger, as of December 1 of the current competition year, can apply. To be eligible, applicants must be active members in good standing with USEF and their recognized national affiliate or international discipline association. The overall winner with receive a commemorative trophy and a $1,000 grant payable to the educational program of choice. The reserve winner will receive a $500 grant payable to the educational program of choice. The application runs from May 1-September 5 of each year. For more information, go to www.usef.org/learning-center/youth-programs/grants-scholarships/youth-sportsman.

Higher Education Equestrian Scholarship—USEF offers five separate $1,000 scholarships for high school seniors preparing to enter a college or university. The scholarship funds are provided to students interested in furthering his or her equestrian education throughout college. Students must be actively competing or are registered fan members of USEF. They also should be preparing to enter a college or university in the fall of the current competition year. Applicants must turn in an essay, at least one reference from an individual within the horse industry, and a completed application. For more information, go to www.usef.org/learning-center/youth-programs/grants-scholarships/high-school-scholarship.

United States Equestrian Association (USEA)

Wilton Fair Fund Grants—This program allows up to $100,000 in grants to be given out each year for a variety of educational opportunities for riders 29 and under who have not yet ridden for a senior team.

Rebecca Broussard Developing Riders Grant—Available to riders at the CCI4*-S and above who have not yet represented the United States in official team competition. The National Developing Rider Grant awards $10,000 to one rider at the USEF convention and the International Developing Rider Grant award $50,000 to one rider at convention.

The Essex Horse Trials Grant—This award is made available to a rider aged 25 and under who is competing successfully at the CCI4*-S and above and who is working towards representing the U.S. in international team competition. The grant may be used for expenses related to equestrian education, coaching, training, and competing.

Seema Sonnad Junior Rider’s Grant—This award is made available for riders 14-18 years of age who are competing successfully at the Preliminary/two-star level and who are working towards representing their area at the North American Youth Championships CCI3*-S team competing the following year. The grant may be used for expenses related to equestrian education, coaching, training, and competing.

Worth The Trust Scholarship—This award is a $4,000 scholarship that is available to riders 16 years old or older who have declared amateur status with the USEA.

Le Samurai Fund – Area Adult Amateur Education Grants—The USEA Foundation has a total of $10,000 annually from this fund for adult amateur education programs that are USEA Area activities.

For more information on USEA scholarship and grants, please go to www.useventing.com/events-competitions/awards/grants.

United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA)

The United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) has more than 50 grants and scholarships readily available, offering more than $90,000 in funding to support members across the nation who hold a current paid membership with the USHJA. Individual grant or scholarship criteria are outlined in the application. Members are encouraged to visit www.ushja.org/zones-affiliates and look more into what their zone is offering.

$25,000 Hamel Family Scholarship for Further Education—This award is designed to encourage further education among equestrians. The USHJA Foundation awards up to $25,000 to be used for college, graduate, trade or professional school to one USHJA member each year. For more information, please go to www.ushja.org/foundation/how-we-help/hamel-family-scholarship-further-education.

Horseman’s Assistance Fund—This program was established to provide emergency financial support to active USHJA members who require assistance as a result of accident or illness. For more information and eligibility requirements, please go to www.ushja.org/foundation/how-we-help/horsemans-assistance-fund.

Gochman Grant for USEF Pony Finals Presented by Collecting Gaits Farm—This award is offered to three young pony riders to give the opportunity to attend and compete at USEF Pony Finals. For more information and eligibility requirements, go to www.ushja.org/foundation/how-we-help/gochman-grant-usef-pony-finals.

J.T. Tallon Memorial Equitation Grant—This award was made available to encourage excellence in the equitation arena for inspiring junior riders with a passion for equitation to pursue their goals. For more information and eligibility requirements, please visit www.ushja.org/foundation/how-we-help/jt-tallon-memorial-equitation-grant.

Alvin Topping Governance Grant—This award was established to provide one $500 grant to assist one USHJA member, 25 years of age or under with funding to support their attendance at the USHJA or USEF annual meetings. For more information and eligibility requirements, please go to www.ushja.org/foundation/how-we-help/alvin-topping-governance-grant.

Charles “Chuck” Keller Grant for Equestrian Excellence—This award was established to provide an annual $500 grant to one USHJA Emerging Athletes National Training Session participant to further his or her equestrian training to pursue excellence. For more information, please visit www.ushja.org/foundation/how-we-help/keller-grant-equestrian-excellence.

Horsemanship Quiz Challenge (HQC) National Grant—The HQC offers participants to take two levels of online horsemanship quizzes, which consist of multiple-choice and true/false questions to quality for the HQC Nationals. To learn more about the HQC, please go to www.ushja.org/education/horsemanship-quiz-challenge.

Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program (EAP)—This program was created to provide opportunities for young riders to advance their education to become knowledgeable horsemen within the hunter/jumper industry. For more information, please go to www.ushja.org/education/emerging-athletes-program.

Trainer Certification Program (TCP) Grant—This program was developed to preserve the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System by offering an educational program for professional horse trainers. To learn more about the TCP, please go to www.ushja.org/education/trainer-certification-program.

United States Pony Club (USPC)

The United States Pony Club (USPC) distributes financial assistance at multiple schools across the United States. USPC members can earn awards based on criteria established by each school. Only certain schools partake in the USPC scholarship program, so students should check with potential schools they are considering to find out more information.

Youth Equestrian Development Association (YEDA)

IHSA/YEDA National Achievement Award—This award, sponsored by the Youth Equestrian Development Association (YEDA), goes to the YEDA alumni rider that achieves the highest placing in individual western classes in any IHSA western division. The scholarship award is $250, and the YEDA member would have to have been on a YEDA team and competed for at least one season to be eligible. For more information, visit www.ihsainc.com/membership/scholarships.

Scholarship Incentive Fund—This scholarship was designed to provide support for competition members who are graduating seniors based on their individual performance. Applicants must be a YEDA member during their senior year of high school to receive a distribution. For more information, please visit www.showyeda.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-2021-Scholarship-Incentive-Fund-SIF-Application-Packet-Information-Rules-Applications-PDF-.pdf.

Tim McHugh Dodge Jeep Senior Achievement Scholarship—This $1,000 scholarship’s due date is March 1, and the winner will be announced and presented at the YEDA national championships. The winner will receive their award and a certificate to recognize their outstanding achievement. For more information, please visit www.showyeda.com/scholarships-2/scholarships.

ROSS Environmental Services, Inc Junior & Senior Achievement Scholarships—One $2,000 senior scholarship and one $1,000 junior scholarship will be awarded. The due date is March 1, and the winners will be announced and presented at the YEDA national championships. The winners will receive their award and a certificate to recognize their outstanding achievements. For more information, please visit www.showyeda.com/scholarships-2/ross-scholarship.

Lakota of Ohio Senior Achievement Scholarship—This scholarship’s due date is March 1, and the winner will be announced and presented at the YEDA national Championships. The winner will receive their award and a certificate to recognize their outstanding achievement. For more information, please visit www.showyeda.com/scholarships-2/lakota-of-ohio-senior-achievement-scholarship.

Breed Organizations

Various breed organizations offer a plethora of scholarships and grants for college students. Here are just a few examples.

American Paint Horse Foundation

The American Paint Horse Foundation (APHF) offers 53 academic scholarships each year. For consideration, students must be a member of the American Junior Paint Horse Association (AjPHA) or the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) for the past three years, must be a graduating high school senior (or apply within two years of graduating), must pass a college entrance examination, provide three letters of reference, and submit an essay explaining their educational plans. Once granted a scholarship, the student must maintain a “B” or 3.0 GPA each academic year to be eligible for renewal. For more information, visit www.apha.com/foundation/scholarship-application-info/academic-scholarships.

American Quarter Horse Foundation (AQHF)

The American Quarter Horse Foundation (AQHF) recipients are selected based on academic achievement, financial need, and Quarter Horse involvements, as well as an applicant’s leadership and communication skills. Applicants must submit an application form with financial information, three reference letters or appraisal forms, and a high school or college transcript. Students applying for a state or regional scholarship will also need to provide proof of membership in their state. For more information, visit www.aqhfoundation.smapply.io/prog/aqhf_scholarship_program.

Arabian Horse Association

Region III Scholarship – www.diabloaha.org/youth-members/scholarships
West Michigan Arabian Horse Association – www.wmaha.org/scholarships.html
AHA Youth Scholarships – www.diabloaha.org/youth-members/scholarships
Dale and Debbie Harvill Foundation Scholarship – www.diabloaha.org/youth-members/scholarships
More AHA Scholarships – www.arabianhorses.org/export/content.export/youth-docs/AHYA_Scholarships.pdf

American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA)

ASHA Youth Scholarships – www.asha.net/clubs/youthscholarships

American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA)

All AMHA Scholarships – www.morganhorse.com/youth/scholarships
Alex Mooney Memorial Scholarship – www.morganhorse.com/upload/photos/863Alex_19_scholarship.pdf
American Morgan Horse Educational Charitable Trust – www.amhect.org

Appaloosa Youth Association (AYA)

AYA Scholarships – www.appaloosayouth.com/contests/scholarships.html

American Shetland Pony Club

ASPC Scholarships – www.shetlandminiature.com/programs/youth/awards

Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America, Inc. (WPCSA)

WPCSA Scholarships – www.wpcsa.org/youth/scholarship-application

College-Specific Equestrian Scholarships and Grants

Many colleges may offer their own form of equestrian scholarships and grants. These vary based on different schools, so students are highly encouraged to be in contact with the potential schools they are considering to find out more about college-specific award options.


  1. Great article! I want to point out that The Dressage Foundation is another great place to apply for grants for dressage riders/ There are numerous grants for youth, adult amateurs, professionals, instructors, breeders, organizations and more. Learn more at dressagefoundation.org. Thank you!


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