January 2016 Newsletter

Exciting happenings at Western Dressage Association of America... Be sure to check it all out!
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WDAA Rules & Tests!

Our Rules incorporate elements of both Western and Dressage disciplines. Their revision was a collaborative effort on the part of member feedback, evaluation of respected horse people and equine organizations, and edited by a team of our Advisory Board members.

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.

WDAA Professional Directory

The Western Dressage Association® of America has implemented a new Professional Directory for WDAA members. For a very small fee you can "Get Listed... Get Found... Find an Instructor or Clinician!"

Try it FREE for 30 days!!!

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.
Christmas is back in the boxes and down the basement for another year.  I hope your New Year is off to a great start.  Snow is somewhat fun in December with a white Christmas but by January, it is starting to get a little old for me.  Some of you have had truly dreadful weather.  I send hopes that you and your horses are warm and well.

January means travel for me.  I attended the USEF Annual Meeting in Lexington, KY in mid-January.  I arrived to hear that the CEO of USEF was gone and that Bill Moroney would serve as the Interim CEO.  I have had the pleasure of knowing Bill and serving with him on USEF committees and the USEF Board for several years.  He is an outstanding individual whose commitment to horses, their welfare and horse sport is unparalleled.  He has long been a supporter of Western Dressage.

I attended a number of meetings in Lexington; I serve on several USEF committees as well as representing WDAA and I tried to attend other meetings that might be of interest to WDAA.  I was overwhelmed and delighted with the enthusiasm for Western Dressage.  I spoke with competition organizers, breed representatives, USEF staff, and all were excited by the growth this wonderful discipline.  I was proud to announce that our World Championship show would be a USEF competition in 2016.  At the same time, I told all the Breed and Discipline representatives and the staff of USEF that we would need help providing education for our members about USEF.  I have their promise and will hold them to it.

I will try to write a least one article for each newsletter about USEF and its culture.  USEF is dedicated to the welfare of our horses, which echoes our commitment to “Honor the Horse.”  The rules that fill the USEF Rule Book make this determination to protect our horses very clear.  USEF has a Drug and Medication Department that focuses on both education and enforcement of rules, protecting horses from the dangers of inappropriate and forbidden medications.  The Veterinary Committee is constantly looking for mechanisms to limit dangers to horses and their health while at competitions.  Both of these groups have committed to be active participants in our educational efforts.

USEF is also committed to providing a fair and level playing field for all equine sport on every level from those just entering up through international competition.  There is a knowledgeable and professional staff at USEF who are happy to answer our questions.  The USEF website at USEF.org is a wealth of information.  You will find information about current rules, pending and proposed rules, information about Licensed Officials, information for shows about health alerts and much more. 

I will start packing for our 2016 Judges’ Seminar in the next day or so.  Dini Swanson has been working with Joyce Swanson, Debbie Riehl-Rodruguez, and Cliff Swanson to revise and improve this program.  WDAA offers this two-day program to educate applicants for Western Dressage judging credentials.  This is a first step on a challenging process that is designed to ensure that our Western Dressage competitors have well-prepared judges to adjudicate in our discipline.  This year, Samantha Kline of the USEF Licensed Officials staff will also attend our Seminar.  I am proud of the uncounted time and effort that our clinicians have put into to developing and constantly improving the Judges’ Seminar. 

Go hug a horse and make our day better!

World Show Update

We are thrilled to announce that starting in 2016, the World Championship Show will be organized and hosted under the WDAA brand. This change includes a new venue, management team, date, and show format. The Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, OK will be our new host facility for 2016. With stabling for 500 horses, a park-like setting with a large pond, RV park, and indoor facilities large enough for five show arenas with warm-up, the facility offers plenty of room to grow. The Lazy E Arena is located a few miles from Edmond, OK and Oklahoma City is close by.

The show will be managed by Horse Show Consulting with Nora Wert serving as Show Manager and Stacia Wert-Gray serving as Show Secretary. Their website,
www.horseshowconsulting.com, will offer complete information regarding sponsorship, prize list, entry blanks, online entry, exhibitor lists, stabling charts, spectator information, and additional features. The new show format will include many exciting changes designed to enhance the competitor, spectator, and sponsor experience; four days of classes, a $1,000 freestyle stake, expanded awards, exhibitor’s party, silent auction, welcome party, and much more.


In order to better accommodate competitors traveling long distances, the show will be moved six weeks forward in the calendar. The specific dates are for the next 3 consecutive years are:

  • September 29 – October 2, 2016

  • September 28 – October 1, 2017

  • October 4 – 7, 2018

Judges' Seminar - February

The Western Dressage Association of America is hosting a Judge’s Seminar as part of the International Equine Judging Seminar (IEJS) at the Hyatt Regency in Tulsa, OK on February 1st and 2nd, 2016. This seminar is an integral part of the Judge’s Education program offered by the WDAA and is considered the first step in the process to attain USEF Western Dressage judge’s licensing.

The clinic is taught by Joyce Swanson, Debbie Riehl-Rodriguez and Cliff Swanson. Samantha Klein, USEF Director of Licensed Officials will also be in attendance. Early bird registration fee of $350.00 is valid up until Dec 25th. Registration increases to $375.00
until Jan 25th, and $400.00 after that. Auditors are welcome.

If you’d like to learn more or register for this program, click here:



Horse & Rider of the month

Our Horse and Rider of the Month for January is Hannah Whray and her handsome gelding, Rowdy. At just 12 years old, Hannah and her self-made horse competed at the 2015 World championships to bring home three World Champion titles and two Reserve Champion titles.

Read their story here:

New State Affiliates Council

The Executive Board of WDAA voted to approve the creation of a State Affiliates Council at its November meeting.  This council will include a representative of each State Affiliate organization as voting members as well as a representative of each pending state affiliate.  The Executive Board has provided a number of challenges to this new Council.  This group is charged with reexamining the current state affiliate model and making suggestions about potential changes to this model.  The council will also be asked to create a "best practices" list for pending affiliates and for recognized affiliates and to provide mentoring for these pending affiliates.


The most important challenge for this Council will be to provide timely and focused communication with the Executive Board.  WDAA must have informed and accurate communication from the membership to ensure that the board makes informed decisions for every member of WDAA.


March Train The Trainers™ Clinic

The California Western Dressage Association is hosting the first Train the Trainers clinic of the year on March 9-10th at the Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, CA. The Train the Trainers™ program is designed educate professional trainers, judges and Western Dressage enthusiasts who want to learn the standards of Western Dressage and how to train, hold clinics, show and judge this exciting new discipline.  A Certificate of Completion will be provided to all clinic graduates.  The WDAA lists all TTT graduate trainers on the WDAA website. Amateurs may also attend, being awarded an Amateur Certificate of Completion. Please note that you must be a current WDAA member to attend.

The second WDAA Train the Trainers™ clinic of 2016 will be in Michigan - stay tuned for more details! http://wdaatrainthetrainers.org


Lifetime Achievement Program

Don’t forget to sign up for the Lifetime Achievement & Awards Program, so you can start earning points in the 2016 show seasons. Simply register, then attend recognized shows, submit your results and start to earn points! This awards program tracks points achieved by a horse with their riding partner throughout their Western Dressage career. This award is open to all horses, ponies, and mules regardless of any breed registration, type, age, etc. A horse enrolled in the program can continue to earn points with a new owner if the horse is sold, and the points earned with the previous owner will stay with the horse.

Learn more and register your horse here:

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?

Why Be a WDAA Member?

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...

Congratulations to our December photo caption contest winner; Shirley Branston from ON, Canada. Shirley will be the proud recipient of some WDAA-logo swag, and all the bragging rights to go along with it!
A lovely story from one of our adult amateur members. Meet Misty and her handsome paint gelding Opie.

In just three short years, this determined duo went from their very first horse show to a 2015 USEF Horse of the Year Award!

Breed Alliances


Corporate Sponsor

International Alliance Partners

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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