February/March 2019 Newsletter

Exciting happenings at Western Dressage Association of America... Be sure to check it all out!
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A Letter From Your WDAA President 

The Game of Western Dressage

Dear Members,

One of my Spring time duties for WDAA is to craft rule change proposals we receive from members.  So, I have been reviewing requests for changes and preparing them for presentation to our internal rules committee. 

I love reading and working on rules because rules teach you how to play a game (or how to win a horse show).  If the game is too simple, it’s not fun for long.  It should be challenging and engaging so I want to keep playing.  Think of all the video games that you like for a month and then get bored of. Chess is a good game because you can develop skill and strategy while using the rules.  Working Cow Horse is a good game because it’s fun and incorporates multiple skills.  Western Dressage is a great game, because as the players get better, the game gets more challenging.  

I think rules should be clear and easy to follow.  There should be enough rules so we know what the game is and how to proceed when something unexpected happens.  However, there shouldn’t be so many rules that they are impossible to follow or that beginners just don’t even bother to learn… Rules shouldn’t be so restrictive that all creativity is limited.  I remember playing Monopoly with my dad.  He was always making side deals with other players, like buying hotels from my sister when she was almost out of money (maybe Monopoly needs an ethics committee…)  

Using Dressage methods to train Western horses is not new, but the game of Western Dressage (showing) is pretty new.  Therefore, we still have to tweek the rules sometimes as the game evolves. 

Luckily, I don’t have to work on rule change proposals by myself.  WDAA is fortunate to have a great Rules Committee made up of a diverse group of individuals committed to honoring the horse and providing clear instructions for competition. 
Members include:

  • Ronald Bartholomew
  • Tori Blankenship
  • Cindy Butler
  • Ellen DiBella
  • Lillian Evaniew-Phelan
  • Joyce Hamlin
  • Ann Judge
  • Lynn Palm
  • Cindy Reid
  • Cliff Swanson
  • Joyce Swanson
Rule change proposals recommended by the rules committee go to the WDAA Board of Directors and then to the USEF Western Dressage Committee for review before they end up with the USEF Legislative Committee.  The USEF Legislative Committee allows other USEF committees which may be affected by the proposal have input before sending proposals to the USEF Board of Directors for final approval. 
I have received a few requests related to “leveling the playing field” for various types of awards programs through rule change proposals.  If your interpretation of the phrase “level the playing field” is to provide all players with the same set of rules so players can make informed choices, then I think WDAA is doing that for the program we manage.
Regarding awards programs, WDAA can only implement rules for WDAA Horse Lifetime Points and Achievements Program (WHLPAP).  That program is designed to add value to horses as they progress through the Western Dressage levels over their lifetimes.  Our goal is for every horse to be loved for its lifetime.  WHLPAP is not a competitive program and there’s no time limit.  However, there are really cool prizes along the journey.  WHLPAP is a program everyone who plays can win and truly the biggest prize is the harmony you get between the horse and rider just because you played.
Other awards programs Western Dressage riders can participate in include:
  • USEF Horse of the Year points,
  • WDAA State affiliate high point programs,
  • national breed organization high points,
  • local schooling show circuit awards) 

Whatever awards programs you choose or not and whatever games you play, I hope you are still having fun.  I know I am whenever my partner is a horse.  This morning, I looked out my bedroom window and my horse looked back at me and well, you know how that makes a girl feel….
Cindy Butler, Your President,
Western Dressage Association of America

Judges Seminar Report

The sixth annual WDAA / USEF Western Dressage judges seminar was held in Denver, CO February 5th -7th. 58 eager Western Dressage enthusiasts attended the seminar, 10 were auditors, 12 were Large R WD licensed judges that were renewing their cards, 7 were small r WD judges ready for promotion and 29 are now actively working toward their small r licensing. If the future of Western Dressage depends on this group we have a VERY bright future ahead of us! This was the highest scoring class so far and the positive, pro Western Dressage attitude was infectious! We all had a great time and everyone came away with a renewed enthusiasm for Western Dressage and the industry in general.

     From an attendee,"The atmosphere of inclusiveness to all equines not just exceptionally talented Olympic style mounts revived my flagging spirit! Your program prepared me well." 

The seminar is exceptionally valuable to those that want to learn everything they can about Western Dressage with a group of like-minded horsewomen and men. It is not just for those wanting to be licensed. Come join us early next year in February in Denver, CO.
Intro Freestyle Launch

You asked and we delivered! Get ready to have fun this summer with the new INTRO FREESTYLE TEST!!!! Please visit the WDAA test page to see your newest Intro to Western Dressage challenge! Find the new test here: 
While doing any shopping on Amazon, you can also support WDAA! Be sure to go to "smile.amazon.com" when shopping and choose the Western Dressage Association of America as the benefactor from your shopping.

Or click this link to start shopping immediately: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-3143450 

Dear Competition Organizer,

We hope that this email finds you doing well, and that the beginning of the competition year is off to a great start for you and your team.  We wanted to take a moment to remind all organizers, managers and licensees of the current general requirements for competition managers. 

In addition to the requirement for competition managers to have completed Safe Sport Training, Background Check and the Competition Manager Education prior to the start of the competition, the individual who performs the duties of a manager at the competition, must be named in the prize list as a manager.  The acting manager must be present on grounds and identified on the prize list.  Additionally, the acting manager must be reported as the manager on the Steward or Technical Delegate’s report.

We’ve included the applicable rules for your reference below.  Please feel free to contact [email protected] if you have any questions. 

GR1202 Manager

1. An individual acting in this capacity is required to be a Senior Active Member of the Federation. Any individual acting as the Competition Manager of a hunter and/or jumper Open (not restricted to a breed) competition must be a Senior Active member in good standing of the United States Hunter Jumper Association, Inc. The competition manager of a Federation- licensed/USDF-recognized competition must be a current USDF Participating or Group member in good standing at the time competition recognition is granted and on the date of the competition. Anyone acting in the capacity of Competition Manager at a Federation licensed competition must complete applicable Federation education requirements or Federation approved Affiliate education requirements prior to the start date of the competition. BOD 1/14/17 Effective 12/1/18 2.

2. Licensed Competitions should exercise extreme care in the selection and appointment of a competition manager for the mutual benefit of committees, exhibitors and spectators. Any member of a Show Committee or Competition Management who performs the duties assigned herein to the competition manager, in lieu of an appointed manager, is in fact the responsible officer within the meaning of these rules and must be so named in the prize list. A thorough knowledge of the rules of the Federation is one of the requisites of a person serving as a competition manager.


Competition Licensing, Evaluation and Safety

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About The Western Dressage Association® of America is a 501(c)3 educational non-profit organization focused on providing a model of horsemanship which optimizes the partnership of horse and rider for their mutual benefit.  The mission of the Western Dressage Association® is to honor the horse, to value the partnership between horse and rider and to celebrate the legacy of the American West which it focuses on through its offerings of educational opportunities and events to the equestrian community.

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