US equestrians to benefit from $US43m in donations

Jessica Springsteen, McLain Ward and Laura Kraut after winning silver in the team showjumping at Tokyo 2020.
Jessica Springsteen, McLain Ward and Laura Kraut after winning silver in the team showjumping at Tokyo 2020. © US Equestrian

More than $US40 million has been raised by the philanthropic arm of the US Equestrian Federation to support programs to help its horses and riders compete on the international stage.

The “Raising the Bar” campaign established by the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation has raised $US42.3 million, exceeding its $40 million goal as of the end of 2021.

Going into 2022, the USET Foundation will give a $3 million grant to US Equestrian for high-performance programs and ancillary sport programs, such as safety in eventing and the development of licensed officials. In 2021, the USET Foundation directed $4 million to USEF, the largest grant ever given.

Of the $42.3 million raised in the “Raising the Bar” Campaign, 71% goes to high-performance programs, 23% to the USET Foundation Endowment, and 6% as planned gifts.

The campaign, which began raising money privately in 2017 before a public launch in January 2020, was designed to support a robust pathway for developing, emerging, and elite athletes that will one day represent the United States in international competition.

It helped fund programs leading up to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, and will continue to help fund programs in the year ahead.

W. James McNerney, Jr., Chairman, President, and CEO, of the USET Foundation, said it was the mission of the foundation to ensure that equestrian athletes have the resources needed to be competitive on the biggest international stages.

“In addition to providing support for our elite athletes, it’s also necessary to have programs that foster growth and development of emerging human and horse athletes in order to maintain competitive excellence and ensure our rightful place atop the podium for years to come.”

Funding for high performance is used to create the pathway programs that help identify up-and-coming equestrian athletes in the international disciplines, provide training opportunities, and support them through their development into world-class competitors.

Funds from the Campaign also help offset the additional budget required for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which became the most expensive Games in equestrian sport’s history because of changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Because the pre-export quarantine (PEQ) was changed from Gladstone, New Jersey, to Aachen, Germany, there was a need for a significantly greater amount of funding than was initially budgeted.

McNerney said that thanks to generous donors, the success of the “Raising the Bar” Campaign has helped close the gap in funds needed for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and also helped create a solid foundation to build upon looking ahead to the  World Championships this year as well as the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, France, and the return of a home Games in Los Angeles in 2028.

Funds were also leveraged to support teams of athletes who did not compete at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Nations Cup competitions at CHIO Aachen, for example, gave international team experience to riders starting out on the international stage. The historic outings — with jumping taking home team gold, eventing earning team silver and Will Coleman taking first individually, and dressage landing a respectful fourth place — also demonstrated the efficacy of the development programs with many riders on those teams having gone through the high-performance pathway.

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