September 2016 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 days are getting cooler here and the horses are starting to get some extra hair. It is still August but they are planning ahead. I am calling about more hay and sending in blankets to be washed and repaired; I am planning ahead as well.

I met the daughter of a friend of many years who is now grown with a daughter of her own at a horse show; she was leading her wonderful older saddle seat equitation horse back to his stall. She was so excited and could not wait to tell me that her horse was winning all of his equitation classes thanks to Western Dressage. She went to a clinic and has been using Western Dressage to school her horse and he is calm and confident now. I got a hug for a thanks and was so happy for everyone!

Entries are terrific for our WC show! We are also getting sponsorships for parties, divisions and awards. I hope that you will consider become a sponsor as well; there are a wide variety of levels to fit every budget. We hope that you will be part of this very special show experience whether you will be at the show or not.

Our Group Apprentice Judging program at the WC show is full! This program offers aspiring Western Dressage Judges the opportunity to see a wide variety of rides at all levels and to work with three outstanding judge clinicians. We are an educational 502 c.3 and this program is an integral part of our mission.

Our Annual Meeting will be September 28 and 29; in addition to our Honors Luncheon, we will have a USEF Rules Forum, reports from the President, financial reports, a presentation on Marketing, an Affiliates Roundtable and more. Most exciting of all, we will see demos of the new tests for 2017. Thanks to a generous sponsorship from USEF, the cost of the Annual Meeting is less than half of last year’s meeting.

Both the WDAA rules committee and the USEF Western Dressage rule committees have met in the last two weeks. Both groups have worked very hard to review the Western Dressage chapter and make recommendations for rule changes in response to your requests, feedback from competitions and the requirements of our new tests. Cindy Butler has worked especially hard to put these rules changes in the required format. The members of the USEF WD rules committee spent almost three hours reviewing the proposed rule changes which include a complete rewrite of the entire Equitation Chapter to make it more appealing to both competitions and competitors.

If it sounds like the Executive Board and the staff of WDAA have been busy, you would be correct. We live in a forest of sticky notes! On to the next thing on my list if I can find the right sticky note!

Welcome Thalia Blight to the Executive Board of WDAA

Thallia is a Program Manager at the OSU College of Pharmacy in the Doctor of Pharmacy program. Her job involves daily communication with students, pharmacist-preceptors, instructors, and clinical site staff members. She is the primary person responsible for attending to educational contracts, and monitors the health requirements compliance for more than 500 students that those contracts require. Thallia also assists in the coordination of the internship scheduling for the program.
After riding in the Equine Affaire “Ride with the Best” clinics in 2013 taught by Cliff Swanson, Thallia helped organize a WDAA Train the Trainer event in Ohio that same year. She has been an active spokesperson for Western Dressage, giving presentations to college clubs, 4-H advisor workshops, and equestrian organizations. She has also coordinated presentations about the sport at the Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio for the past three years. Since 2012 Thallia has been blessed to be the human partner of Finest Five, a talented Paint mare whom she leases from her instructor. Thallia and “Five” have shown at the first three WDAA World Shows, and have won three WDAA World Championships at Basic Level.
Thallia has been an active member of the WDAA Marketing Committee and authored a marvelous brochure that WDAA sends to potential commercial partners.  Thallia has a background in and special interest in video education and views a comprehensive member education as a critical next step for WDAA.
Please join us in welcoming Thallia Blight to the Executive Board of WDAA.

Meet the WDAA Staff

Dini Swanson is a familiar face from past World Championship shows and our Judges’ Seminar; she was a wonderful volunteer and is an even better staff member.  As Staff Supervisor, Dini’s job description is long, varied and constantly subject to change.  In addition to being in charge of event planning and execution, Dini works closely with the rest of our staff on day to day operations.  Dini has a talent for asking the right questions of us all and her endless patient and attention to detail are remarkable.  Her biggest challenge is dealing with me!
Kathy Newcomb is a lifelong and well respected horsewoman and breeder whose background in technical writing and editing makes her uniquely well suited to provide support to our state affiliates, our membership program, Lifetime Points and Awards, Show Recognition and more.  Kathy is dedicated to customer service as you know if you have spoken to her or written to her.  Kathy is also in charge of our association cloud; the board has asked Kathy to put all of the important information, minutes, documents, etc on this cloud to protect and to preserve this material.  We are so lucky to have Kathy’s attention to details, commitment to service and her intelligence.
WDAA is delighted to welcome Una Schade to our staff as our new IT support and Online Operations Manager.  Deirdre Davenport left WDAA to pursue other career opportunities and we were without formal IT support for a month.  The Executive Board and staff have had many interesting adventures while operating without an IT net and we are delighted to have Una on our staff.  She has been working very hard catching up with so much ranging from day to day operations and more.  In addition to her extraordinary IT credentials, Una has a significant background in Social Media Marketing.  She combines patience with those of us whose IT ignorance tests her daily with a wonderful sense of humor and love for horses. 
WDAA is fortunate to have a talented and committed staff that is in charge of the day to day business of the association.  Each of these wonderful individuals brings a special set of skills to our association.  Each is a talented horsewoman with specialized knowledge and talents.  To read more about this very special staff please visit:

2016 WDAA World Show

Please join us for five fabulous days celebrating our favorite discipline, Western Dressage!

The Annual Meeting and Convention beginning on Wednesday the 28th will start with the debut of the new 2017 tests, meeting registration is required to view the tests, this is an exclusive for meeting attendees. The Honors Luncheon on Wednesday will include the presentation of the first Horse Lifetime Achievement Awards and the Top Hand Award. Thursday morning continues with more educational and instructional information and will culminate with the General Meeting and conversation with the WDAA Board of Directors.
Ellen Says "Be Prepared For a Party or Four".

I have been studying the schedule of events for the WDAA World Championship Show and I see parties and opportunities to get together and celebrate our discipline, our horses and our friends.

Following the Annual Meeting on Thursday and a full afternoon of rail classes, we get together for the Exhibitors’ Meeting and Welcome Pizza Party at the Covered Arena.  I listen better when I have pizza in hand!

Friday will be another busy day filled with classes; be sure to use your imagination when it comes to stall decorations.  The guest judges will be in the barn area on Friday morning. Awards for the Stall Decorating Contest will be a sweet little something complements of the World Show Committee. The girls and I will have two golf carts; you will not be surprised to hear that one will have a Denver Bronco theme.  

Friday night we have the Costume Freestyle and party in the Roper’s Cantina.  Bill Moroney, CEO of the United States Equestrian Federation, will be on hand to share in our celebration.  Be sure to come by and introduce yourself to Bill; he is a wonderful horseman who was instrumental in creating the United States Hunter Jumper Assn.  USEF is providing generous sponsorships for our Annual Meeting and for our show.

Saturday night is the Gala Dinner and Silent Auction plus the raffle drawing for the custom Western Dressage saddle donated by Mike Corcoran.  Get those raffle tickets for the saddle now; you do not need to be present to win the saddle. Click Here to Win A Custom Saddle. A great time is planned with great food, music and fun. Be sure to purchase tickets ASAP $30 each contact Stacia Wert-Gray at [email protected] . I will look for everyone at the covered arena with their party bling on and ready to cut a rug!

After the show on Sunday, we will have a Farewell Party and presentation of Awards for Breeds, Division, State Affiliate sponsored Awards and High Score Rider Awards for Open, Amateur and Junior. 

This hospitality and the outstanding awards are made possible by the generosity of our sponsors; you can check this ever growing list on the WDAA World Championship Show website and in the program at the show.  Each of these wonderful sponsors deserves our thanks. They certainly have the thanks of the board and staff of WDAA and our show management team.  See you at the Lazy E!

World Show Website | Annual Meeting Schedule
Shout Out to Sponsors for the World Show

WDAA and the Western Dressage World Championship Show would like to thank our sponsors, with out their thoughtfulness and generosity we would not have a show to put on. It takes all of us pitching in to produce this spectacular stage on which we will display the best that Western Dressage has to offer to the world. We will also be able to produce educational materials for use by enthusiasts through out the world. Please open the link below and thank these people and companies when you come across them at the show, they have made it all possible!"
WDAA Adopts New Calendar Year Membership Format
The new year–2017–is not that far away. WDAA staff are making the final preparations for our first year of memberships that will follow calendar-year renewals, replacing the previous anniversary-based renewals. All WDAA memberships will now begin on January 1st and end on December 31st. This system will better serve our members by allowing for more efficient administration of programs and memberships, eliminating troublesome bookkeeping for members to remember when they need to renew. Following the practice of most organizations, including USEF, AQHA, AMHA, and USDF for example, memberships in WDAA will not be prorated during the year, since this practice also produces inefficiency in the membership administration. We most likely will be sending out invoices for 2017 in November.
We also are pleased to tell you that your membership cards will be commercially prepared and sent to you through USPS instead of emailed to you by MailChimp. We understand that some of these emails end up in spam folders instead of reaching the members. WDAA wants the card to be of better quality for members to keep in an accessible place all year.
The WDAA highly values our members and wants to ensure that they are able to access the full scope of their benefits for the time frame which they have joined the organization. If you have questions or comments regarding the change to the calendar membership renewal date, please message the WDAA via [email protected]. We thank you for sharing this amazing Journey of Western Dressage!

WDAA Horse & Lifetime Points & Awards Program
We are very pleased how the WDAA Horse Lifetime Points & Awards Program is going. There are already 14 horses who have achieved Register of Merit and 2 who have reached the next level Register of Achievement. Many of these horses will be honored and receive their awards at the upcoming WDAA Annual Meeting and Convention at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, OK September 28 & 29, followed by the WDAA World Show September 29-October 2.

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WDAA Website

Western Dressage Education!

Find all the WDAA Tests, Guides and lots of great reading materials in our Western Dressage Education Center!
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!

WDAA Social Corral

If you wish to be more informed about the Western Dressage movement, we do have a private Social Corral network 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.

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.


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..

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.

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...
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?


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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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