Niki Clarke Receives Holleger's Declined $25,000 Debbie McDonald Fund Grant

Sat, 12/30/2023 - 10:00
Niki Clarke and Komsi Komsa (by Apache x Osmium) at the CDN Thermal :: Photo © Terri Miller

Earlier this year, The Dressage Foundation awarded the first $25,000 Debbie McDonald Fund grant to Lindsey Holleger. However, Lindsey was unable to use her grant funding and declined the award.  TDF is pleased to now award the grant to Nicholia "Niki" Clarke (MT).

The Debbie McDonald Fund provides funding for high-level training to horse and rider pairs who are training at Prix St. Georges or higher, who show potential to succeed at FEI Levels, and who may not otherwise have the opportunity for the training.

Niki plans to use this grant to train with Debbie McDonald over the winter in Florida, and then throughout the year from her home in Montana. She is the co-owner of her horse, Komsi Komsa, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood, and will use the funding to concentrate on training with him.

Niki said, “I am incredibly grateful and humbled to be a recipient of TDF’s Debbie McDonald Grant with Komsi Komsa. It is a tremendous honor to receive this grant in Debbie’s name. I want to thank TDF and its donors for their generosity in allowing riders like me to deepen our education when we may not otherwise be able to. I hope to make Debbie, TDF, and US Dressage proud as I use this grant to further strengthen my education and abilities.”

The Debbie McDonald Fund previously provided $10,000 grants to Pacific Northwest FEI Riders. Thanks to the generosity of Pamela S. Jones and the Jones Family Foundation—Malama Honua, the Fund has expanded and increased. 

Holleger was the first recipient of the $25,000 Debbie McDonald Fund at the start of 2023. The grant was allocated for her on horse Ave Maria MW, which is owned by Jen Vanover's Maplewood Warmbloods. Holleger left her employer of six years last month to begin her own business in Aiken, S.C and could therefore not use the grant.

"The grant was to be used in Wellington this season (2023-2024) and is awarded to one horse-and-rider combination specifically," Holleger told Eurodressage. As she is no longer riding Ave Maria MW, Holleger decided to send the grant back for another deserving combination. "I am so grateful that the Dressage Foundation awarded me the grant this year. It is a huge honor and they do so much for the sport in the US. I am so happy to hear that the grant is now going to Niki. She is a wonderful rider and also an amazing person."

Related Links
Holleger and MW Ave Maria OLD, First Recipients of $25,000 Debbie McDonald Fund
Claire Darnell Awarded $10,000 Grant from Debbie McDonald Fund for Pacific Northwest FEI Riders
Debbie McDonald Fund Established To Support Pacific Northwest Riders