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Scholarship Application [pdf | doc]

Horse Owner Agreement and Release [pdf]

Karen Harkin

Rocky Mountain Dressage Society Scholarship Program

1. Purpose of the Rocky Mountain Dressage Society Scholarship Program

The purpose of this program is to provide financial aid to RMDS members who request it to advance their dressage education and/or competitive skills. In addition, the Program will work to:

  1. Raise funds in order to increase the scholarship fund each year;
  2. Increase both the number of scholarships and the amounts awarded each year, and
  3. Target scholarship support so that the program continues to fulfill its purposes.

2. Basis of the RMDS Scholarship Awards

Scholarships are granted on the basis of financial need and volunteerism.

  1. Scholarship applicants must have completed a minimum of 8 hours of volunteering at RMDS events in the year prior to the scholarship year for which they are applying for a scholarship.
  2. Scholarship recipients must complete an additional 8 hours of volunteering at RMDS events during the year in which they were awarded the scholarship.
  3. Volunteer hours must be documented using the Volunteer Hours Form found on the RMDS website.
  4. Financial need is based on whether or not the applicant could pursue this opportunity to further their knowledge of and experience in dressage without receipt of the scholarship funds.  Ability to complete the applicant’s training plan in full with a scholarship will be considered.

3. Application Requirements

Applicants are responsible for reading all Scholarship Program documents and understanding their obligations should they be awarded a scholarship. Application forms are available in Microsoft Word format from the RMDS web site. An applicant must be a current member of RMDS for the year of the scholarship. Applications must include the following in order to be reviewed:

  1. At least two letters of recommendation—with one preferably being from the applicant’s instructor or mentor;
  2. A detailed activity plan to include at least one educational event;
  3. All required waivers, signed (applicant, parent/guardian if applicable, horse owner if applicable);
  4. A projected budget; and
  5. Proof of volunteering

Completed applications should be submitted by mail, without any form of delivery confirmation to the Scholarship Chair (see RMDS website for the current Scholarship Chair’s address).

If the applicant is a minor, the application must be signed by one parent or legal guardian. (Minor applicants are encouraged to complete the application in their own words; however, assistance from parents, mentors, instructors, etc. may be provided as appropriate).

4. Scholarships Categories

The RMDS Scholarship Program shall award money to riders in the following categories.

  1. The “Leg-Up” Scholarship will be awarded to riders, regardless of age, who are training at Intro, Training or First Level.
  2. The Beverly Swanson Memorial “Solid Seat” Scholarship will be awarded to riders who qualify as USEF Adult Amateurs (must have a current USEF AA card on file with the RMDS Central Office). This scholarship is available to riders over the age of 21 and for any level.
  3. The “Junior/Young Rider” Scholarship will be awarded to a rider under the age of 21 and is available to riders of any level.
  4. The “Opening Doors” Scholarship will be awarded to riders/riding instructors of any age who are considered professionals according to the USEF rules. This scholarship is available to professionals, whether they compete or not, to help support their continuing education and/or competitive goals.
  5. The ”Barbara McElnea” Scholarship will be awarded to any rider at any level residing in western Colorado at an annual amount of $1,000.  This scholarship was created in honor of Barbara McElnea when the Western Colorado Chapter dissolved.
  6. The “SV Percy Sledge Memorial” Scholarship will be awarded to riders who qualify as USEF Adult Amateurs (must have a current USEF AA card on file with the RMDS Central Office). This scholarship is available to riders over the age of 21 and for any level who want to continue their dressage education.  Funds cannot be used for horse show expenses. This scholarship was created in memory of “Percy” who taught many adults and children.

5. Obligations of Scholarship Recipients

Scholarship awards may be spent on any activities involving the horse and rider pair that will make a positive impact on the pair’s level of understanding of the principles of dressage and general horsemanship, and/or their level of competitive achievement.

  1. Scholarship awards must be spent in pursuit of the dressage-related activities documented in the recipient’s application.  Online training programs are considered an eligible activity.
  2. Scholarship funds must be spent within the scholarship year for which they were awarded.
  3. Scholarship recipients shall provide updates to the Chair monthly during the scholarship year. (An email to the Chair will suffice.)
  4. RMDS may ask recipients to speak to individuals or small groups about their scholarship experience.
  5. At the end of the scholarship year, recipients will write a comprehensive report to be published (with editing as needed) in the RMDS newsletter and on the RMDS website.
  6. Scholarship recipients must write at least one article for the Centaur during the scholarship year.
  7. Scholarship recipients are highly encouraged to share the knowledge and skills gained from their scholarship experience(s) to enrich our membership. This can be done through writing extra articles for the Centaur, by making a presentation at an RMDS chapter or board meeting or hosting a presentation at a local barn.
  8. Recipients must communicate any changes to the planned scholarship activities to the Scholarship Chair in a timely manner. Any changes must conform to the requirements of this policy and will require the review and approval of the Scholarship Chair
  9. If the recipient is unable to complete the activities they have stated in their application, or to gain the approval of the Scholarship Chair for alternate activities, the recipient must return any unspent scholarship monies to the Scholarship Fund.

6. Scholarship Application Period and Award Decisions

  1. Each year, at the September RMDS Executive Board meeting, the Scholarship Committee will submit a recommendation to the Executive Board detailing which scholarships will be offered and in what amounts for the current year.
    1. The amount awarded in any year may not draw the balance in the Scholarship Fund down lower than 50% of the Funds balance as of the September meeting, until such time that the Scholarship Fund exceeds $10,000.
    1. If the Fund balance has exceeded $10,000 as of the September meeting, then the Fund may be drawn down up to 70% (that is, $3,000 left in the Fund).
    1. Generally, individual scholarships will not exceed $500 except for the Barbara McElnea scholarship, which will not exceed $1000.  The RMDS Executive Board will make the final decision, which may differ from the Scholarship Committee’s recommendation.
  2. Scholarship applications will be accepted between October 1st and November 30th for the following year’s scholarships.
  3. The Scholarship Committee will review each application for completeness and compliance with Scholarship Program requirements.
  4. The Scholarship Committee will not consider late or incomplete applications.
  5. The Scholarship Committee will review all applications and make recommendations to the RMDS Executive Board at the January meeting. The RMDS Executive Board will vote on the recommendations presented, thus choosing the scholarship recipients.
  6. The Scholarship Chair will announce the names of the scholarship recipient(s) by January 30th of the Scholarship year.

7. Administration of the RMDS Scholarship Program

  1. The Scholarship Committee will review the Scholarship Program each year and propose any suggested changes to the RMDS Executive Board at the BOG meeting.
  2. The Scholarship Committee Chair (“Chair”) shall be elected by the RMDS Executive Board to serve a term of two years, according to Article VIII-A-2 of the Bylaws of RMDS. The Chair will serve as a non-voting Administrator and will organize and run the Scholarship Committee and administer the Scholarship Program. The Chair must be an RMDS member in good standing.
  3. The Chair’s tenure will last through the January meeting in order to maintain the continuity of the program.
  4. When possible, the Chapter President of each RMDS chapter shall appoint one person to serve on the Scholarship Committee. All Committee members must be RMDS members in good standing.
  5. Any RMDS member may suggest another RMDS member for appointment to the Scholarship Committee. Suggestions should be sent to a member’s Chapter President.

8. Obligations of the Scholarship Chair and Committee Members

  1. Neither the Scholarship Chair nor the Committee Members may be granted any scholarship while they serve on the Scholarship Committee.
  2. The Chair and Committee Members will maintain the privacy of scholarship applicants and the deliberations of the committee.
  3. Committee Members must recuse themselves from voting on any particular scholarship application if they have some interest or bias with regard to that applicant.
  4. If any RMDS member, scholarship applicant or scholarship recipient feels that the Scholarship Committee or Chair has conducted themselves in a manner that is inefficient or lacks impartiality or trustworthiness, s/he shall report this conduct to the RMDS President who will determine whether the accusation has merit to warrant further action.
  5. Other duties of the Scholarship Chair include:
    1. Taking an active role in raising funds for RMDS Scholarships. Scholarship Committee Members are encouraged to help with this task.
    1. Advertising the Scholarship Program in The Centaur, on the RMDS web site and by other reasonable means so that Program information reaches the largest possible number of potential applicants.
    1. Providing Scholarship Program guidelines and application forms to applicants and to the RMDS webmaster for posting to the web site.
    1. Maintaining all records and organizing/ managing the deliberations of the Committee. The Chair shall keep accurate and comprehensive records of all correspondence, deliberations, and communications so that the flow of historical information will remain intact.
    1. Assisting applicants and recipients as needed.


Annual Events

  1. Deadline to submit applications for the four (4) to five (5) scholarships is November 30
  2. Scholarship committee meets between Deadline and the January board meeting to review the submitted scholarships
  3. The Board votes on scholarship applicants at the January meeting
  4. After the Board meeting create reimbursement forms for each scholarship recipient and forward to Central Office and Treasurer
  5. Send email to the scholarship recipients and to inform them of the results; notify scholarship applicants who were not awarded scholarships
  6. Prepare announcement of scholarship recipients for eCentaur
  7. Update the online documents with correct dates as needed


  1. Write a report for board if needed, otherwise written reports bimonthly
  2. Check that reports by recipients are prepared and submitted on time for publication
  3. Encourage potential applicants to volunteer to meet the eight (8) hour minimum prior to the application Deadline