Debbie Smith Partners with US Equestrian to Create New Grant Opportunities for 2023 and 2024 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships

USEF Grant Program for the 2023 and 2024 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East and West generously supported by Debbie Smith

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian announces the establishment of the USEF Grant Program for the 2023 and 2024 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East and West generously supported by Debbie Smith.  Traverse City Horse Shows in Traverse City, Mich., will host the East Coast championship from June 27 through July 1, 2023, while Blenheim EquiSports in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., will host the West Coast championship from July 23 through 25, 2023.

Debbie Smith established the grant to help deserving riders pursue their dreams of competing at the Championship, regardless of their financial means. Thanks to Smith’s generosity, two grant recipients from both the East and West Coast championships will receive a $10,000 grant. Recipients may use the funds for hotels, shipping, transportation, training, braiding, and other expenses associated with competing at the championship. The selection committee will select one rider from the 3’6 section and one from the 3’3 section for each coast.

Smith’s motivation to create the grant is fueled by her desire to promote the sport that has given her so much purpose and joy in life.

“We are responsible for doing all that we can to support the things we love and hold dear to us and to see that they continue once we are gone,” said Smith. “This is what I love, and this is what I can do.”

With the belief that our sport grows from our youth, Smith wants to create opportunities for more junior athletes to compete at the highest levels.

“I have been fortunate enough to enjoy showing on both coasts and want to do what I can to make sure we support our hardworking and deserving juniors nationwide,” said Smith.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer these grants to deserving riders who aspire to compete at the Adequan/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships thanks to the generosity of Debbie Smith,” said Bill Moroney, CEO of US Equestrian. “Junior Hunter Finals are a highlight of the show calendar for many of our members, and these grants offered by Debbie will help make the finals accessible to more youth hunter competitors. We look forward to receiving and reviewing the application essays, and to seeing everyone this summer at the finals in Traverse City and San Juan Capistrano.”

All riders who plan to compete on a horse that is qualified or will be qualified for the championship are eligible to apply. The recipients should exemplify the qualities most important in the sport: horsemanship, tenacity, and good sportsmanship. They will be selected by a committee consisting of representatives from US Equestrian. The application portal will be open May 12 and close at midnight on June 1. The committee will review application essays and select the four recipients, and US Equestrian will notify the grant recipients by Thursday, June 8.

How to Apply: 

  • Applicants and guardians must fill out, sign, and return the Grant Application.
  • Applicants must complete the questionnaire on the application explaining their riding goals and how this grant would allow them to achieve those goals at the Championships.
  • Applicants must also submit three (3) letters of recommendation.

All applications and recommendations must be submitted together through the USEF Grant Portal available here:

The deadline for applications is midnight June 1. 

Please send questions to​

About Debbie Smith

Debbie Smith has had an undeniable love for horses since childhood, that only grew stronger throughout her adult life. She has competed on both the East and West Coasts, and her successful junior career has continued to the present day, resulting in numerous USEF Horse of the Year Awards. While the thrill of competition drives her, Debbie’s true passion is for the sport. She loves the camaraderie of the competitors and has recently become infatuated with breeding future hunter and jumper winners. Debbie looks forward to attending the Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East and West to cheer on all the riders. Her establishment of the USEF Grant Program, which provides opportunities for junior athletes to compete at the highest levels, exemplifies her dedication to the sport.