GRIT Application

Deadline: November 27, 2023

Unique in equestrian sport, GRIT sets the standard for high-performance equestrian development by providing athlete testing, education, enhanced training, and support services to riders that demonstrate podium potential, ages 13 to 27. GRIT is targeted to athletes in show jumping, eventing, and dressage who have a strong work ethic, determination, and the ability to dig deep to achieve their goals. Athletes accepted into the program will pay a fee of $1000 annually. Payment plans are available (4 x $250/mn).

GRIT is a high-performance athlete and coach development program. Athletes and their coaches will gain access to additional training opportunities and enhanced services to supplement their existing program.

1. Access to industry-leading coaching – human and equine expertise;

2. Teammates and a network of individuals with common goals;

3. Ongoing education and supervised strength and conditioning training;

4. Clinics focused on strengthening fundamental riding skills;

5. Introduction to monitoring tools both in competition and in the daily training environment;

6. Support in building a network and learning how to present yourself as an athlete on social media;

7. Increased visibility and profile through Ontario Equestrian and their partners;

Per GRIT athlete, Ontario Equestrian will support:

  • 4 coach/athlete consultations with GRIT Program Advisor
  • 1 site visit at the athlete’s daily training environment
  • 3 pre-season training camps with GRIT Technical Advisors
  • 1 cross-disciplinary training camp with GRIT Technical Advisors
  • 1 cross-country training camp with GRIT Technical Advisors *for eventing athletes
  • 1 in-competition monitoring session
  • 2 online weekly strength and conditioning sessions + access to strength and conditioning coach
  • 4 mental performance sessions
  • 1 fundamental riding skills assessment
  • 2 functional movement screenings
  • 2 social media campaigns
  • 1 social media challenge
  • Performance tracking
  • Competition tracking
  • YTP and IAPP development
  • GRIT apparel and promotional material
  • Strength & conditioning equipment
  • Access to over 30 pre-recorded industry-leading professional presentations

Behind every athlete is a parent/guardian supporting the journey. Our goal is to help demystify the athlete development pathway and provide you with the tools to support your athlete on their high-performance journey. GRIT has an open-door policy for parents to attend/observe all grit activities and special events.

GRIT Parents, will have access to the following:

  • GRIT Parent Series, a six-part speaker series, 2 webinars and 2 live sessions featuring a variety of topics
  • Option to attend all GRIT training camps and designated athlete education sessions
  • Opportunities to network with other parents
  • Invitation to participate in designated coach/athlete consultations
  • Access to expertise and guidance from GRIT staff and consultants

1. Athletes are required to be an Ontario resident and, if under the age of 18, registered in school full time (or full time equivalent approved by the athlete’s school);

2. Athletes must possess, or be eligible to receive, a valid Canadian passport;

3. Athletes, parents and coaches are required to sign the GRIT Participant Agreement;

4. Athletes riding a leased or sponsored horse are required to have the approval of the owner to participate in the GRIT program, including travel to qualifying competitions and training events as outlined in the program handbook;

5. Athletes are required to be between 13 and 27 years of age and have at least three 2023 competition results at the Gold level in one or more of the three Olympic disciplines as follows:

*Note – Age determined as of January 1, 2024

Select Discipline to display appropriate criteria

Dressage athletes with horses able to perform at 2nd level up to FEI Young Riders. Dressage Riders with goals to become advanced athletes or coaches in dressage with appropriate young horses/5-7 ideally, or higher 6-10 from 3rd level up to PSG or higher. All athletes must produce three results with a minimum score of 65% in gold competitions.

Minimum of three MER Results at Training or 1.05M division horse trials. One MER may include a maximum of 20 jumping penalties cross country.

  • 13 – 16 years

    1.20M – 1.30M – three placings with 0 faults in gold competitions

  • 17 – 20 years

    1.30M – 1.40M – three placings with 0 faults in gold competitions

  • 21 – 25 years

    1.35M or higher – three placings with 0 faults in gold competitions

  • 25 – 27 years

    1.4M or higher – three placings with 0 faults in gold competitions

Definition of Eventing FEI Minimum Eligibility Requirement (MER)

A Minimum Eligibility Requirement (MER) is achieved by completing a competition within minimum parameters of all-round performance as follows:

  • Dressage test: Not more than 45 penalty points ( 55%)
  • Cross Country test: Clear round at obstacles (activating a maximum of one frangible device will maintain MER result on cross country). Not more than 75 seconds exceeding the optimum time in the Cross Country Test for one, two, three, and four-star competitions and 100 seconds at five-star competitions.
  • Jumping test: Not more than 16 penalties at obstacles.

6. Athletes must ride with a coach holding a current Licensed Coach Status; NOTE: Ontario Equestrian will support GRIT Coaches with completing their Coach Status requirements and working toward their certification before the first in person training event. In addition, OE pays and supports two HP1 Cohort spots to be granted to two GRIT coaches each year.

7. Athletes and coaches will participate in program training including:

  1. Cross Disciplinary Training Camp – October 4-6, 2024 at Adena Springs North
  2. Human Performance Camp – April 20-21, 2024 at the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario
  3. Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO – Pan Am Centre) athlete training and testing sessions
  4. Strength and Conditioning
  5. Additional smaller training sessions with the GRIT Technical Advisors
  6. One-on-one training sessions with GRIT Performance Advisors
  7. Online education and training sessions
  8. Additional training and education sessions offered specifically for coaches and parents

8. Athletes will wear GRIT apparel during training and competition events;

9. Athletes will submit monthly competition updates to OE, within two weeks of the end of each month including:

  1. The name, location and date of competition
  2. A description of the competition class
  3. The number of entries
  4. The number of finishes
  5. The athletes placing and points on each round/ phase/class
  6. Details of any injuries that may have been sustained by the rider or horse during the competition

10. Any athlete and/or horse who is unable to participate fully in the program due to injury must report the circumstances to the GRIT Program Manager to determine how the athlete’s training program (including unmounted training) can be modified;

11. All horses and athletes participating in the program may be subject to randomized drug testing, per Equestrian Canada guidelines. Any failed drug test will result in removal from the program;

12. Athletes will be required to pay for some of their expenses associated with GRIT program participation.

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