February 2018 Newsletter

<!doctype html> *|MC:SUBJECT|*
Exciting happenings at Western Dressage Association of America... Be sure to check it all out!
View this email in your browser
A Letter From Your WDAA President
Dear Members,

Your staff, directors, and volunteers have been busy as beavers working on new programs for you.

Your World Show Chairman, Ellen DiBella, is starting a monthly column in your newsletter to inform you about preparations for the 2018 World Show.  Don’t miss her entertaining and informative reports each month.  I am sure she is also scheming up a new idea for the golf cart decorating competition.

I have recently returned from the 2018 WDAA Judges Seminar.  I was blown away by how great our staff and trainers did and how dedicated our judges and judge applicants are.  You will truly be judged by the best-trained Western Dressage Judges in the World when you compete at USEF and WDAA recognized shows.  

Seminar attendees were the first to see the new Level 4 tests and everyone seemed thrilled with the content and opportunity for new challenges.  

Speaking of new, I would like to explain USEF’s new Competition Lite program here:  Essentially, a Competition Lite is a USEF schooling show.  USEF developed Competition Lite as a gateway into USEF Competition for new exhibitors and new shows.

Benefits of Competition Lite include lower costs and fewer requirements for riders, horses and show managers while still allowing USEF competing members to earn 1/2 points toward USEF Horse of the Year awards.

Only first time USEF shows are eligible to be Competition Lite shows.  

Keep in mind that shows must be WDAA recognized whether or not they are USEF Licensed in order for riders to earn points in the WDAA Horse Lifetime Points and Awards Program.  Rules for that can be found at:  

The following are eligible to judge USEF Competition Lite shows:
1. USEF Licensed Western Dressage judges,
2. USEF Licensed Dressage judges only for the 2018 Show season,
3. Judge applicants who have passed the written test and attended an official WDAA judges’ seminar within the past two years.  A list of applicants who attended the seminar and passed the written test in the past two years can be found on the USEF website https://www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/western-dressage.

Further, Judge applicants may receive USEF credit for apprentice judging at Competition Lite shows only if the presiding judge is fully USEF Licensed to Judge the levels being apprenticed.

Equipment checks at Competition Lite shows may be conducted by C2 stewards or appointed, knowledgeable show staff who have familiarized themselves with the WDAA Attire and Equipment Guide found online at: https://www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/western-dressage
and http://westerndressageassociation.org/western-dressage-rules-tests/

This chart offers a comparison of show types: http://westerndressageassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/USEF-lite-local-licensed-chart-final-2-21-2018.docx.pdf​

Additional information is available at:  https://www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/western-dressage

With so many different show options, I hope you throw your hat into the ring that works best for you and show your horses.  There is nothing more satisfying that setting a goal with your best equine friend and reaching it together.

Enjoy the Journey,

Cindy Butler, Your President
Western Dressage Association Of America
Bringing Joy, Embracing Change

US Equestrian’s 2018 Annual Meeting spotlighted progress on the ambitious strategic plan. Bottom line: it’s working!

By Glenye Cain Oakford

The United States Equestrian Federation’s 2018 Annual Meeting, which took place in Lexington, Ky., Jan. 17-20, showcased how recent changes in approach are making equestrian sports’ future brighter.

Themed “Bringing Joy, Embracing Change,” this year’s convention honored champions, delivered updates on key strategies and initiatives, hosted a number of popular educational forums, and welcomed lively open discussion.

US Equestrian President Murray Kessler’s upbeat progress report on the organization’s strategic plan was the Annual Meeting’s centerpiece. A year after launching the strategic plan—including the USEF’s consumer-facing rebranding as US Equestrian—Kessler showed how US Equestrian is rising to the challenges of its vision statement: “to bring the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible.”

“We want to be accountable for the things we say we’re going to do,” Kessler said. “At the end of the day, we have a 28% increase in membership, a $5 million revenue increase, and a whole lot more benefits and programs, and we’re having one of the winningest years that we have ever had internationally, with success across the disciplines and all levels.”

To watch the entire General Session, including Kessler's presentation and those by senior staff across US Equestrian’s departments, visit USEF Network. To get there, visit the USequestrian.org home page, click the Network & News tab, and scroll down for the 2018 US Equestrian Annual Meeting tile.

Among the General Session highlights:

  • Membership has grown 28% to 105,000 members, including 27,000 at the new fan level
  • Revenues are projected to rise $4.7 million in 2018, which allows for greater reinvestment in sport
  • Competition Lite, a program to increase access with a pathway to USEF competition, already has signed up shows for Saddlebreds, Paso Finos, Western dressage, Connemara, Welsh Pony, and Hackney Roadster, with Morgans also in the works
  • A new Grassroots Advisory Panel is addressing the decline in B, C, and local shows
  • The new, searchable Rulebook app makes accessing rules faster and easier
  • More investment in para-equestrian and a growing rider pool in para-dressage
  • The new Learning Center launched more than 50 videos, with more to come
  • Complete redesign of US Equestrian magazine, to be mailed to all members in 2018
  • The Joy Tour visited 19 major events, with more planned in 2018
  • USEF Network offered 54 livestreams, 26 new events, and 5,400 hours of on-demand video
  • Social media drew 637,000 fans, 15 million video views, and 161 million impressions
  • New, tougher penalty guidelines and Drugs & Medications program and rules amendments show a stronger stance for a level playing field

“You gave us a $750,000 investment last year to get started,” said Kessler. “That means by the end of 2018 we will have delivered a 500% return, but we’ll have that benefit every year going forward because we’ll be at a new level. That’s huge.”

“[Although] I wish more could be spent on membership services and to support national breeds and disciplines affiliates, his [Kessler’s] enthusiasm about USEF and its potential is inspiring,” said Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) President Cindy Butler. “We will have input into Competition Lite for Western Dressage and also be able to set the qualifications for judges eligible to officiate at these competitions. We want to get the mechanics on how to get free USEF fan memberships for WDAA members. We were excited to learn about that.”

A Collaborative Affiliate Roundtable

The annual Affiliate Roundtable brought US Equestrian's 29 diverse breed and discipline affiliates together for the annual Affiliate Roundtable. Based on feedback from the affiliate organizations, the collaborative meeting promoted idea-sharing on a number of issues. The Roundtable agenda was based on feedback from the affiliates, who submitted topics of interest they’d like to discuss. The meeting covered such subjects as

  • opportunities for collaboration, growing membership, and sponsorship
  • ways to improve communications between US Equestrian and affiliate organizations
  • support for licensed officials
  • USEF affiliate membership benefits

“Everybody in leadership at USEF is focused on growing equestrian sports and bringing the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible through every breed and discipline, and we know we can’t do that without great affiliate relations,” USEF President Murray Kessler said in opening the meeting. “This is a major priority for us.

“We view ourselves as the governance experts and you as the discipline and breed experts, and it doesn’t work unless we all do it together,” he added.

Affiliate representatives’ desire to see more breeds and disciplines in consumer-facing US Equestrian imagery prompted an idea to form a collaborative library of affiliate-approved, rights-free photos and video that USEF can use to promote those breeds and disciplines. This year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ at Tryon International Equestrian Center also presents promotional possibilities for a variety of breeds and disciplines, and USEF senior staff reported that the federation is working with WEG organizers on those affiliate opportunities. Moroney suggested that the group consider a “marketing retreat” to collaborate on other marketing-related strategies.

Other topics included membership growth, sponsorship, and improving communications between US Equestrian and affiliate organizations. The roundtable group agreed to reconvene once or twice by conference call in 2018 to follow up on discussions and continue sharing ideas, both among themselves and between affiliates and the USEF.

More Chances to Learn

The 2018 Annual Meeting’s educational opportunities included a new series of moderated forums on such topics as crisis communications with communications professional Sarah Hamilton, the SafeSport initiative with Malia Arrington of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and a detailed discussion of a proposed Coach Register by US Equestrian’s Director of Sports Programs, Will Connell. Mark Bellissimo, the guiding force behind the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, also updated attendees on that event and the accompanying World Equine Expo.

And there was a new feature that was open to all: the Competition & Member Summit, which had a theme of “Facing Challenges Together” and covered competition calendar management, the cost of participating in equestrian sport and competition, show standards, and prize money and bonus money.

Watch Annual Meeting highlights—including Kessler’s presentation and specific departmental updates from US Equestrian’s senior staff at the General Session, as well as the Pegasus Awards dinner and videos about 2017 Equestrian of the Year McLain Ward and William Steinkraus Lifetime Achievement Award winner Joseph Dotoli—on USEF Network.

World Show Write-Up
by Ellen DiBella

The calendar says February, but the WDAA board is already hard at work on our 2018 World Championship Show on September 27-30. The board has asked me to chair the 2018 show working closely with Jon Haugen, our Show Manager, and the WDAA board. One of our tasks this year will be create a detailed process and calendar to guide future show committees.

Contracts have been sent out to show officials, including judges and stewards, and the Request for Proposal for a 2018 Show Secretary has been posted on our WDAA website. As soon as signed contracts are received, WDAA will announce the panel of judges and stewards. Work has begun to review the statistics for our 2017 WC show and the results of the survey that went out to our 2017 competitors; this is an essential part of creating the prize list for our 2018 show and to making adjustments to our show to ensure that it meets your needs.

One of the serious concerns from our 2017 World Championship Show was the footing in the rings. A conference call with the management at the Lazy E, WDAA staff, several board members, and our Show Manager looked in depth at this serious problem. Several contributing factors were identified and appropriate remedies were addressed. Everyone was in agreement that appropriate footing was fundamental for our show. The management of the Lazy E and WDAA are committed to a coordinated, well-thought-out solution.

The first component is more frequent drags with enough time to work each arena; breaks will need to be coordinated so that adjacent arenas can be worked without disturbing riders. This will take serious work on ride times to ensure that each competitor has the best footing possible. Jon Haugen is working with the Lazy E staff to determine the recommended tractor size, the size and type of drag, ring layout, rides between drags, and any new equipment that might be required. Jon will be in constant communication with the USEF stewards, competitors, and the Lazy E staff to ensure that the footing stays in good condition throughout the show.

The World Championship Sponsorship Committee has already met by conference call and is hard at work under the able leadership of Ann Marie Avencino. The enthusiasm of this hard-working committee is amazing. It is not easy to ask for sponsorships, but these sponsorships make our World Championship show affordable for competitors. Whether you can join us for this wonderful celebration of Western Dressage in person or if you will be watching the live streaming and cheering at home, please step up to support this wonderful show and our generous commercial partners.

There is snow still on the ground here in Colorado, but I am already planning to enjoy a wonderful late summer-early fall at the Lazy E with our wonderful horses and their riders. See you there!

This is the second in a 3 part series concerning the WDAA Mission Statement, by Ellen DiBella

Words matter! In keeping with my belief in this short statement, I would like to explore our core mission statements with you all. I do my best thinking in the barn with a brush or a manure fork or broom, so I will include the long-suffering horses in my thinking process.

We Value the Partnership between Horse and Rider. Horses are prey animals in an evolutionary sense and in their minds. People are foreign to them and building communication and trust can be an undertaking. Just ask anyone who has adopted a wild horse! From an individual person’s point of view, a horse is a thousand pounds plus of uncertain animal; we are sometimes as worried about being hurt as horses are worried about being hurt by people! The wonder of a partnership between the predator (us) and a horse (prey) has always been a small miracle in human experience.

The concepts of imprinting of foals and the new approach to horse training has given us all wonderful new tools to build a partnership with a horse. We have bred, foaled out, and provided basic training here on horses here for 40 years. There is no experience quite like having a foal born in your lap; they smell like witch hazel and are wet and have floppy ears. I have loved toweling them off, kissing those floppy ears, petting the very tired mother mare, and being there when needed. I have also purchased yearlings and two year olds that were pretty much unhandled. Each experience building a relationship has been unique and each has been a complicated and joyful experience.

Getting on the back of a horse and moving somewhere with purpose, direction, and speed control is an amazingly complex process! Some of us work with untrained horses; others work to retrain horses who come to us with a variety of backgrounds and experiences, some of which are completely unknown. The starting point for each of these experiences is vastly different. This variation presents amazing challenges for the ultimate goal of a horse/rider partnership.

There seems to be some common requirements to build an effective horse/rider partner. They include, but are not limited to, patience, gentleness, a willingness to listen to the horse, a readiness to learn, and most of all, to build trust. We all know that each horse is an individual who needs and deserves our full attention. We also need to realize that each of us is also an individual with strengths and weaknesses. Our horses learn to listen to us, and we need to be clear in our requests and consistent in both our corrections and our praise. I will leave the details to the professionals with the special knowledge and tools to support us in our pursuit of a partnership.

I have filled boxes with ribbons, trophies, plaques, and coolers over 45 years. The most precious memories have less to do with those than with the memory of a really great ride where my horse and I were communicating and working together in a perfect partnership. I do not have many of those memories, but that makes each one more special.

I was fortunate to attend a meeting in December of 2010 when a number of generous and knowledgeable Western horsemen came together with the founding board members for a day-long focus meeting to create a mission and a vision for Western Dressage. What amazing individuals with unique and comprehensive insights to offer! Larry Mahan, a World Champion Cowboy from the world of rodeo, spoke movingly about the Journey that horsemanship is. Larry told us that each time he stepped up on a horse, he was thrilled because he knew that each ride was part of his Journey as an individual horseman and a Journey with each horse. The Journey offered new challenges and new opportunities for each ride. If he rose to the challenge, he would be a better horseman, his horse would be a better horse, and they would have a better partnership. Larry offered us his vision that Western Dressage was all about the Journey for Horse and Rider. Thank you, Larry, for your wisdom and your generosity! We embrace this wonderful Journey with our horses.

NEW 2017 WDAA Caller Audios
You requested and we responded.  
DI is now offering caller audios in mp3 format, the movements called to match the timing of a good ride.
These audios are for the 2017 WDAA Introductory through Level 3 tests.  

Dressage Illustrated audios are designed as memorization aids.  When you know your test you can concentrate on riding it, rather than on your side-line caller.

Listen and learn anywhere!  Listen as you practice-ride your tests.

This link will allow you to download a sample audio.
This link will take you to the page on the website to purchase an audio.
Connect with us on Facebook!
Follow on Twitter
WDAA Website
WDAA Social Corral

Western Dressage Education!

Find all the WDAA Tests, Guides and lots of great reading materials in our Western Dressage Education Center!
Get More Info
Clinics & Shows
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!
View Calendar

WDAA Social Corral

If you wish to be more informed about the Western Dressage movement, we do have a private Social Corral Facebook Group where members of the Western Dressage Association® of America can interact, discuss various topics, conceive new ideas and generally share all things Western Dressage, including people who are instructors, clinicians and even judges like yourself.
Join the Social Corral

Judges Education Program

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.

Learn More
Current Licensed WDAA Judges

Find A TTT Graduate

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..
Find A Graduate

WDAA General Store

Where You can purchase WDAA Customized Apparel in our Apparel Boutique as well as Books, DVDs and other educational material all about Western Dressage in our Products General Store.
Shop Now

Follow Us on Facebook

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for all of the latest Western Dressage updates from all over the US and Canada.

Find new WD groups, follow your favorite riders, find shows and clinics and connect up with Western Dressage friends in your neck of the woods.

Please Join our rapidly-growing online community...
Follow Us on Facebook
Why Be A WDAA Member?
Ever wondered what it means to be a WDAA member? Sure, you get access to the Social Corral, events, dressage tests, and tons of information on our website; you can participate in high points programs and receive our awesome newsletter each month, but what else?
Learn More

Breed Alliances


Corporate Sponsor


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.

Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Share this post:

Comments on "February 2018 Newsletter"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment