May 2018 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

Dear Members,

We have only one full-time staff contractor and two part-time staffers who work for WDAA. All the rest of us are volunteers. In order to keep up with the incredible growth of Western Dressage and continue providing outstanding services and educational opportunities to members and enthusiasts nationwide, WDAA must prepare to expand in a fiscally responsible manner. There are so many benefits I would love to provide to members, but with the lowest membership fee of any equine organization I am aware of, WDAA’s capabilities are limited. We are contemplating a small raise in our annual membership fee, but we don’t want to cause a hardship for any of you.

So, we have asked you to contribute your opinions through our “Question of the Month” which was emailed to the membership. You have generously responded, giving WDAA wonderful ideas and insight yet again. Last time we sent you a question, we got several suggestions to give the option of a text field so you could add new ideas or explain your answers. We listened and made that change. The “Question of the Month” this time asked about membership benefits you would like enough to be willing to pay higher membership fees.

Your responses have been very enlightening. The biggest take-away for me in reading them was that we need to do a better job making sure you know what we already offer. There were many requests for services we already provide.

There were two responses we received far above and beyond any others:

1. Clinics – Clinics were the most popular request. WDAA wants to support all the wonderful trainers out there who are working hard to share Western Dressage with the World. We don’t want to limit our support to one or two. Therefore, we feel we can best serve our trainers and members by providing venues for you to share information to advertise and promote clinics, lessons, and general training tips and tricks. We already do this in several ways:

  • WDAA Calendar of Events Interestingly, a calendar of events was also a popular response to the Question of the Month. So, it’s nice to be able to say we already have this. Please bookmark this link: and add events you know about. Check the calendar to find events near you. Also, keep in mind that our State affiliates host webpages and Facebook pages where they share event information.
  • Social Corral The Social Corral is a members only Facebook group where members share all kinds of information and ask questions or introduce themselves. I think I learn about more Western Dressage events there than any other place. If you are not already a part of the Social Corral, follow this link to find out more and get yourself added to the group:
  • Professional Directory Western Dressage professionals can pay an annual fee to be listed on the WDAA website where you can find them. If you are a Western Dressage professional or clinician, please consider joining this directory because our membership is looking for you. If you are searching for a clinician/trainer/instructor , check here: Really, any kind of professional can join. We all want to know about Western Dressage services of all types. Consider this if you make or repair saddles, hellhats, show clothes, sell horses, tack or any other cool thing…
  • Train the Trainers Graduate list We have a list of trainers on the WDAA website who have graduated from the Train the Trainers program. Many of these trainers conduct Western Dressage clinics and lessons full-time. If you are looking for a trainer/instructor near you, check the list and give one a call: They may have clinics already scheduled near you.
  • WDAA Judges’ Seminar Anyone can attend the WDAA Judge’s seminar. You don’t have to be an aspiring judge to benefit from this two and a half day seminar where top industry professionals share information on how gaits and movements are evaluated and what Western Dressage judges are looking for in performances. The seminar is held in early February in Denver, CO. Although registration is not open yet for this year, you can add your name to the list of interested persons so you will receive registration information when the time comes:

2. You love what we are doing now and can’t think of additional benefits you might like - Members told us they especially like:

  • WDAA judges’ seminar,
  • The free one-year USEF Fan Membership for WDAA members,
  • Social Corral,
  • Western Dressage rail classes,
  • WDAA staff (this is one of my favorite parts too!),
  • WDAA Horse Lifetime Points and Achievements Program (WHLPAP),
  • The new Equisure insurance benefit.

So, I am grateful you are grateful, but I still want to keep improving our services for you.


Here are a few other popular responses we received to the Question of the Month regarding benefits you would like:

3. Vendor Discounts – Smart Pak and insurance discounts were mentioned most. I will say we are working on upping our game here and will keep working on it. We have a new agreement with Equisure where our members can purchase a million dollar equine liability policy for only $24 per year. We also recently worked with USEF to offer our members who don’t already have competing memberships with USEF free USEF fan memberships for one year. Fan membership is a $25 value and it comes with access to all USEF member benefits like vendor discounts and access to educational videos. If any of you have connections with businesses who are willing to partner with us to offer members vendor discounts, please hook us up!

4. More awards – I must say the board, staff and I loved your idea of the Century Award for riders and horses whose combined ages add up to 100 or more! We also liked your idea of a volunteer recognition program. We will start working on those immediately. In the meantime, we have introduced a rule change proposal to USEF to expand Horse of the Year awards in Western Dressage to include divisions for Open, Amateur, and Youth for each test level, Suitability, Hack, Equitation on the rail, and Horsemanship. This proposal will only pass if we have adequate numbers of competitors for USEF to feel it is worthwhile. Therefore, if you care about more awards, ride in USEF shows as a competing member on a recorded horse or two or three… If you care about more local awards, join your State affiliate and learn about its award program or to increase your horse’s value, sign up for the Western Dressage Horse Lifetime Points and Achievements Program (WHLPAP). We have 263 horses in that program currently and we present them with beautiful prizes to honor their accomplishments in Western Dressage throughout their lifetimes. We also have fabulous jackets (and vests this year), belt buckles and ribbons up for grabs for competitors at our WDAA World Championship Show:

5. Articles about Western Dressage and with training tips and tricks – We are working on this and also encourage you to share your own tips and tricks in the Social Corral. Dini has decided to institute Training Tip Tuesday there! Recently, we have published articles from Ellen DiBella, Lynn Palm, Wayne Hipsley, and myself that you can find on the WDAA website in the News section.

6. Educational videos or video examples of good tests – Cliff Swanson is featured in an Introduction to Western Dressage video on the USEF website as well as on the WDAA website in the News section. We are working to populate the WDAA YouTube channel with great rides, if you have one please contact [email protected] and we will get it posted! We are working on another idea that I will share more about later, stay tuned.

7. Partner more with other organizations like AQHA and USEF – We are an affiliate organization of USEF and therefore we work constantly with USEF. One thing we have worked on recently with USEF is the agreement between Equine Canada and USEF to use our tests in Canada. We are working with AQHA and anticipate a similar program to what happens with English Dressage beginning next year. You will be able to earn AQHA points in Western Dressage and achieve #4 above (more awards). We hope to work with more breeds and equine organizations as opportunities arise, but currently have no specific plans to announce.

8. More shows – Oh baby, we have got more shows!

  • USEF Lite Shows - WDAA worked with USEF to develop procedures and policies for USEF Lite shows. USEF Lite shows are a less expensive alternative to showing in Full USEF shows. They are kind of like schooling shows in that there are fewer regulations and requirements that cost money to implement, but USEF members can earn half points toward Horse of the Year awards as long as they are competing members riding recorded horses. Western Dressage is leading all USEF breeds and disciplines in the number of USEF Lite shows that have been scheduled for 2018.
  • WDAA Recognized Shows - Also, we have a record number of 95 shows nationwide that have applied and become WDAA recognized shows for 2018. WDAA recognized shows are great because shows of all levels and price points can become recognized for only $35 and they all agree to employ USEF judges licensed to judge Western Dressage. This means exhibitors can be sure they are being judged by well-educated judges knowledgeable of Western Dressage rules whether they are competing at a small fun show or a World Championship.

Other less mentioned responses included:

  • Youth/Scholarship programs
  • Lower WHLPAP costs
  • Easier tracking for WHLPAP
  • Joint memberships for WDAA and USEF or WDAA and State affiliates

Not mentioned in today’s newsletter are the responses we only got one or two of, but only because I thought you might get tired of reading by now… I read them all and am considering every one of them. Thank you to all of you who sent feedback! I promise WDAA will continue working to improve our services, keeping in mind your wishes. You are the most awesome people and I am proud to serve WDAA.


Cindy Butler, Your President

Western Dressage Association of America

Safe Sport

by Ellen DiBella

Our part of the equine world is centered in our barns, with our horses, and with riding friends. My children grew up at horse shows running amok with friends; horse shows were safe places, and everyone looked out for our kids. At one show, the announcer asked that the mothers of the children playing in the outgate area please remove the children! The children were my youngest daughter and the wife of our show manager, Jon Haugen!

Our world, even our equine world, is not always the safe environment where we could trust everyone to look out for our children and grandchildren. What can we do to ensure that our juniors can show their horses and be safe at shows as my children and grandchildren were?

USEF has created the Safe Sport Policy and has an online educational model and test that each of us can access using either a competing membership or the fan membership that USEF has given to WDAA members. I can proudly report that I took the course and passed; I even have the certificates!

As show chair for our 2018 World Championship show, I am asking each member of the WDAA board, our staff and volunteers to take this course online. I would ask each of our members to do the same. We all need to be more aware and protective of our young exhibitors and ensure that they have a safe place to enjoy their horses.

Western Dressage has brought a wonderful new discipline to the equine world. I want to keep our shows the safe places for all, like shows were 46 years ago when I began competing. We cannot turn back time, but we can insist that our standards for a safe environment for all competitors, especially our juniors, are the highest that we can create. Won’t you join me in this commitment to be the best?

All WDAA members, as a member benefit, have been given a USEF Fan (noncompeting) membership. On the website please go to “My USEF”, which will bring up your USEF Member Dashboard. Scroll down to the “Safe Sport Training” box and that will take you to the Safe Sport registration. Or go directly to . You will be given the option to save your work and go back to it at any time, so there is no need to finish the training in one sitting.

There is also a safe sport training for parents, which is free.

If you have not received an email from USEF with information about your free Fan Membership, please contact USEF at 859.258.2472, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET.

We can't do it without YOU!

Our goal for this years Western Dressage World Championship Show is to have every single class, division and Breed High Score Award sponsored. The 2018 World Championship Show will gather competitors from across the United States and Canada September 27-30, 2018 at the Lazy E. Arena in Guthrie, OK and will be live streamed all over the world. Help us show the world that Western Dressage offers the best of everything, Horses, riders, competition, community and comradery!

Please go to the following link to learn more about being a World Show Sponsor and an integral partner in the future of Western Dressage.

Sponsor the World Championship Show
Update for WDAA Horse Lifetime Points & Awards Program

We have several achievements to announce for horses enrolled in the WDAA Horse Lifetime Points & Awards Program (WHLPAP). First of all, one horse (Truly Unsurpassed, owned by Nancy Conley) has achieved Gold Medalist in March of this year. We also now have eight horses that have achieved Bronze Medalist level. We are truly amazed at how many new levels have been achieved since the month before the 2017 World Show.
Remember that you can review each horse’s record, which includes points earned at each show as well as their current award level, by scrolling down to the Important Links boxes on the WDAA home page and clicking on the link for the Top 100 horses in WHLPAP. We will be providing an updated listing of new achievements periodically in our newsletters through the year, and final award levels will be calculated from scores submitted up to approximately September 1st to allow time for personalized awards to be ordered for presentation at the annual meeting. Below is the list of new level achievements from September 2017-May 12, 2018. Congratulations to all!!
In the first quarter of 2018, more WDAA recognized shows than ever have been submitted, including several that are eligible for horses to earn double points. All recognized shows are listed on the WDAA event calendar, and you will see that shows are available from coast-to-coast. Many of these are breed shows that are offering open western dressage divisions. We are truly inspired by these shows and their support of western dressage. We hope that many of you will be able to find shows in your area to continue your journey to higher achievements with your partners.
Horse Owner Level reached Date
Truly Unsurpassed Nancy Conley Gold Medalist 3/9/2018
Truly Unsurpassed Nancy Conley Silver Medalist 10/16/2017
Hug Me Hotrod Donna Cruzan Bronze Medalist 2/28/2018
Zips Vanilla Belle Sandra Ogden Bronze Medalist 9/22/2017
Gallant Prince Von G Patty Couch Bronze Medalist 10/17/2017
VP Keys to My Karma Linda Henry Bronze Medalist 11/12/2017
Zips Bit of Luck Terri Ross Bronze Medalist 11/25/2017
Tecolote Jane Ann Lake Bronze Medalist 12/1/2017
Moon’s Black Label Rachael Freeman Bronze Medalist 4/27/2018
Hug Me Hotrod Donna Cruzan Bronze Medalist 2/28/2018
KBs Timepiece Cindy Rau-Sobotka Reg of Excellence 10/11/2017
Gallant Prince Von G Patty Couch Reg of Excellence 9/18/2017
Danville Dinero Nady Peters Reg of Excellence 10/26/2017
King’s Prairie Rose John Brandreth Reg of Excellence 11/25/2017
Dante Nancy Conley Reg of Excellence 10/21/2017
Moon’s Black Label Rachael Freeman Reg of Excellence 11/25/2017
Tecolote Jane Ann Lake Reg of Excellence 11/3/2017
Hug Me Hotrod Donna Cruzan Reg of Excellence 10/21/2017
Bonita Lights Glynis Walford Reg of Excellence 4/27/2018
Luna Nueva Brandie Haining Reg of Achievement 10/9/2017
Kit and Caboodle Janet Cagle Reg of Achievement 10/5/2017
Bonita Lights Glynis Walford Reg of Achievement 10/7/2017
Southern Legend Tane Taylor Reg of Achievement 12/21/2017
Jewel By Execute Tim Christensen Reg of Achievement 11/12/2017
Confetti’s Ricochet Carole Purdy Reg of Achievement 12/1/2017
DeKourated Dude Hallie Anders Reg of Achievement 10/7/2017
Maxed in Chocolate Daniel Davis Reg of Achievement 10/7/2017
Potential Old Gold Kristin Hansen Reg of Achievement 12/1/2017
Proud Tradition Marcia Corbett Reg of Achievement 4/7/2018
T Town’s Big Boy Frances Krak Reg of Merit 10/11/2017
Excalibur Elite Equine's
Kathy Lewis Reg of Merit 10/6/2017
Margrets Tejon Eight Nance McManus Reg of Merit 10/7/2017
Luna Nueva Brandie Haining Reg of Merit 10/8/2017
An Eye for Color Kim Depp Reg of Merit 10/25/2017
Mr Worldwide Elizabeth Roth Reg of Merit 1/4/2018
CLR Sheza Bonita Ashley Wallace Reg of Merit 10/15/2017
Confetti’s Ricochet Carole Purdy Reg of Merit 11/3/2017
Bravado Betsy Moles Reg of Merit 10/24/2017
Potential Old Gold Kristin Hansen Reg of Merit 11/3/2017
Classic Royal Pride Elizabeth Plaut Reg of Merit 12/3/2017
Matisses Sassy Image Linda Lamarche Reg of Merit 11/1/2017
Itsa Rio Snazzy Zip Lisa Wieben Reg of Merit 11/3/2017
RHM Miss Chic Please Connie Klauzer Reg of Merit 10/6/2017
One Hot Persuasion Carol Carlson Reg of Merit 10/17/2017
Spin Doll Michelle Binder-Zolezzi Reg of Merit 10/22/2017
Slow Your Roll Jeaninne Brumfield Reg of Merit 11/12/2017
One Choice Lady Emily Steffan Reg of Merit 2/7/2018
Simone Deville Shelly Graham Reg of Merit 1/16/2018
Sudden Chipped Nicole Dombrock Reg of Merit 1/1/2018
JBs Absolute
Southern Pride
Marcia Corbett Reg of Merit 5/2/2018
Tommy Temon Joanne Lanzisera Reg of Merit 4/28/2018
Aces Wild Card S Leslie Emery Reg of Merit 5/10/2018
Sharis Gemini Monique Czaja Reg of Merit 5/3/2018
Classic Cali Randy Conley Reg of Merit 5/7/2018
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Looking for a Schooling Show or Clinic to brush up on your skills. Stop by the Events Calendar on the WDAA website where you will find lots of events happening all over the USA!
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The WDAA Western Dressage Judge’s Education Program is open to all licensed Dressage judges, Western, Breed judges and those starting out who want to learn about Western Dressage. This Judges Education Program offers training so that they can accurately evaluate horse rider combinations, score the tests and provide comments.

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The Western Dressage Association® of America has a list of professionals that have graduated from the past few years of Train The Trainer Clinics. If you are looking for an instructor or trainer in your area..
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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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