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April 2024 Newsletter

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2024 WDAA/USEF Judges Seminar Experience Essay by Nance McManus

Dressage: (French) to train. May I point out not only the horse needs training? Also, the rider (and/or trainer) need training too. Luckily with the western dressage wheel we have a better idea of what training can do for us AND especially our horses. Being someone that enjoys competition I was curious to learn more of what the judge’s training would have to do with my scores. What could I do to get a better score and understand better what our judges are trained to look for and encourage? So, I signed up for the USEF/WDAA Judge’s Education Seminar in Denver and spent this last weekend, 3 days, getting a drink of water from a fire hydrant.

Over the three days we went from how to judge gaited horses to rail classes, Intro through Level 5 to exceptional riders to freestyle and even online judging. The brilliant 4 leaders that taught the classes were Cindy Butler (President of the WDAA), Joanne Coy, Jodi Ely, and Gail Matheus (brilliant video clips and computer work Gail). They brought amazing lessons to the weekend. Smartly Joanne Coy made sure that an “R” judge was sitting at every table. There were about 14 of us auditors and the rest were applicants or judges.

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February 2024 Newsletter

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WDAA Announces New Partnership with ASPCA Right Horse program

Each year, hundreds of thousands of horses are transitioned from career or ownership. A number of these horses end up at risk of inhumane treatment. The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Right Horse program was developed to unify horse industry professionals, equine welfare advocates, and the broader horse loving public to improve the lives of horses in transition.

ASPCA Right Horse promotes horse adoption as a trusted method for finding your next horse and operates an equine adoption platform, The Western Dressage Association of America’s partnership with the program commits time, talent, and resources to promote horse adoption through education, training, and public awareness on a national level. Together, alongside over 100 industry partners and equine shelters and rescues, we will work to achieve our shared goal of massively increasing the number of horse adoptions nationwide.

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December 2023 Newsletter

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Addressing concerns from participants at the 2023 World Show

FROM Dini Swanson WDAA Executive Director,

Addressing concerns from participants at the 2023 World Show.

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September 2023 Newsletter

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In Memory of Ellen DiBella, WDAA Founder

View the Memorial Email for Ellen DiBella as a PDF.

July 2023 Newsletter

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Western Dressage News from New Mexico

Well, no surprise to you the Ellie Stine-Masek clinic was great! There were traditional dressage riders (up to Prix St. George) as well as several western dressage levels being ridden. Folks came down from Colorado and then continued on to the New Mexico Quarter Horse circuit. It was great fun to visit with folks and get some great instruction. Many thanks go out to the team at Dressage Club of New Mexico and The Dressage Foundation with Lynn Palm’s grant. Super thanks to Vert for sponsoring the rider’s dinner that included a most wonderful evening with clinician Ellie Stine-Masek.

The next thing that is on our calendar is a fundraising trail clinic at the Stanley arena on July 9th. Brigette Honea will be the clinician. Brigette has taken a lot of horses to the AQHA World Show and done very well. For more information, here is the New Mexico Quarter Horse website.

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May 2023 Newsletter

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Pinto, It’s not Just a Color!

The Pinto Horse Association of America (PtHA) has been one of Western Dressage Association of America’s (WDAA) most cherished partners from the time our association started.  PtHA hosted the first few WDAA World Shows in conjunction with it’s Colorbreed Congress.  Many exhibitors may know that Western Dressage is still offered at Pinto shows.  However, you may not know that almost any horse can be registered as a Pinto. 

Pinto has evolved to become a horse show registry, not a color registry.  Therefore many breeds, colors and types of equines are eligible for registration and subsequently showing at Pinto shows.  To find out if your horse is eligible, you can follow this link:

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Multiple Championships for Morgan Stallion in Western Dressage

Reading through the latest edition of The Morgan Horse magazine, where the 2022 AMHA Open Competition winners were announced, we noticed that the Morgan stallion Misty Green Cimmaron was the Champion in Western Dressage Levels 2, 3, and 4. WDAA sends their congratulations to Misty Green Cimmaron and his owner Gia Long. Well done!”

The Open Competition Program of the American Morgan Horse Association recognizes Morgans competing in 34 different divisions of equine competition based on 8 core activities: open shows, competitive trail riding and driving, endurance trail riding, dressage, carriage driving and combined driving events, working western, western dressage, and eventing. Registered Morgan horses competing in these competitions earn year-end awards and lifetime medallions.

March 2023 Newsletter

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2023 March WDAA Member Question of the Month - Saddle Survey

Dear WDAA members,  

Thank you for your time answering this short survey, as the WDAA board of directors tries to determine how the majority of members feel about Western saddles. Because of the recent debate, we realize the saddle rule needs to be amended or clarified, one way or the other, so that it can be easily understood and consistently enforced. We welcome your opinion. DEADLINE TO RESPOND IS Tuesday, March 21st at 11:00PM Mountain time. 

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New statement on saddles from WDAA Board of Directors

Thank you WDAA Family for your many insightful and supportive messages to the WDAA Board of Directors regarding the recent discussion of what constitutes a standard American Western stock saddle.

The WDAA Board of Directors has determined to use the rest of 2023 to evaluate the definition of permitted saddles within the USEF discipline of Western Dressage by conducting research and WDAA member surveys.

If these activities indicate a change should be made, a rule proposal could be developed for implementation no earlier than the 2025 competition season.

We, the WDAA Board of Directors, will find a way forward that continues to uphold the WDAA Mission:
To build an equine community that combines the Western traditions of horse and rider with Classical Dressage.
We honor the horse.
We value the partnership between horse and rider.
We celebrate the legacy of the American West.

The Western Dressage Association of America Board of Directors

December 2022 Newsletter

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WDA of Illinois - December 2022 Newsletter

View the December 2022 WDA of Illinois Newsletter as a PDF!

WDA of Arizona - December 2022 Newsletter

View the December 2022 WDA of Arizona Newsletter as a PDF!

October 2022 Newsletter

View the October 2022 WDAA Newsletter as a PDF!