April 2021 Newsletter

Your April 2021 Newsletter from WDAA

President's Letter

Dear Friends,

The air around WDAA is electric! So much is getting done to benefit our members and their beautiful horses.

The Prize lists are out for both the 2021 WDAA Western Dressage Online International Challenge (aka the International, for short) and the 2021 WDAA Western Dressage World Championship Show (aka the World Show, for short).

By now, you have seen the International will offer a rich variety of classes and prizes similar to the World Online show of 2020, but with a few new twists. One thing that won’t change is that 1 ½ times WDAA Horse Lifetime Points and Achievements points will be awarded to horses competing in the International. WDAA is also working on a team competition using rides from the International.

WDAA’s premiere event, the World Show is coming back, bigger and better than ever to the Lazy E this Fall. It is a golden experience, like no other horse show. I am looking forward to seeing you all there.

The Test Writing Task Force is hard at work developing new tests (including Level 5) which will be used starting December 1, 2021.

The Member Education Committee has developed some incredible material for members. If you haven’t looked at the learning management system (LMS) videos available to members through the WDAA website, check it out.

The judges’ education committee is about half finished with a jam-packed online judges’ seminar for licensed Western Dressage judges

I could not be prouder of WDAA’s amazing staff, contractors and volunteers. They are taking us over the rainbow, above and beyond anything I ever imagined we would be able to accomplish when I became President of WDAA.

Enjoy the Journey,

Cindy Butler, Your President

Western Dressage Association of America

From the desk of Dini Swanson- WDAA Executive Director.

I’m stepping in front of the curtain so I can shine a light on all of you! You’ve heard it a million times but WDAA is the definition of the phrase “We couldn’t do it without you!”

I have 5 groups of people to spotlight. WDAA staff, WDAA Board of Directors, WDAA Committees, WDAA Show staff and WDAA members.

Our very small and part time staff goes so far and above the call of duty every day, it humbles me.

  • Kathy Newcomb our Membership, Show Recognition, State Affiliate, etc., etc., Manager keeps everything running smoothly with thousands of submissions coming it online and through the mail. Yet, still provides the best customer service one could hope for.
  • Una Schade our Internet Operations Manager keeps our web presence healthy and has been working behind the scenes to build our new WDAA website which contains over 80,000 files! Una is the “go to girl” in a disaster… she hears from us A LOT…
  • Jenny McBurnett has been working tirelessly on the WDAA Horse Lifetime Points and Awards Program (WHLPAP). Her goal is to make the program automated and user friendly, so all you have to worry about is showing your horse and figuring out where you will hang all of your loot! Let’s not forget Jenny’s wonderful production of both the Honors and World Show Awards presentations in 2020! Also, an IT savior!
  • Gail Matheus is the Judges and Member Education Administrator and Test Writing Task Force staff liaison and has her work cut out for her with these three groups! (More on that later) She has also created some amazing informational videos for all aspects of WDAA. Many can be seen on the website, YouTube and the Learning Management System.

These 4 women are available 24/7 in a crunch (unless they are with their horses). They make the impossible possible. I can sleep at night knowing I can count on them to help me find a solid solution to the issue of the day and am forever grateful to all of them.

The WDAA Board of Directors is an energetic and dedicated group from all walks of life. Cindy Butler- President, Holly Clanahan – Vice President, Sharron Sarchet – Treasurer, Thallia Blight – Secretary, Lynn Shinkle, Mike Corcoran, Cliff Swanson, Vivien VanBuren and Joanne Coy meet at least once a month to discuss and decide on the business of Western Dressage. Many times, they are called on to make very difficult decisions in a very short amount of time, and the decisions are always based on what is in the best interest of WDAA members and their horses. I know we can count on all of them for well thought out opinions that sometimes are quite varied but in the end, everyone always make the call that is best for the many and not the one.

Another group that has been hard at it is the WDAA Show Staff.

  • The World Show Coordinator is WDAA board member Vivien VanBuren. She works closely with Susan Peacock – Show Secretary, Cindy Reid – Show Manager and myself, Dini Swanson to guarantee another successful World Show in Guthrie this year. Every year we rework what didn’t work and enhance what did work. We hope you will see that in the new 2021 WDAA Western Dressage World Championship Show prize list now posted at https://www.wdaaworldshow.org/
  • I am the Show Coordinator for the Online International and with Susan Peacock and Cindy Reid it seems we just keep inventing new approaches to online showing out of necessity. Thankfully, the WDAA Board and members have been welcoming and excited about these new ideas and methods! The prize list is posted here, https://wdaa.memberclicks.net/wdaa-western-dressage-online-international-challenge

We have 3 committees that are currently extremely busy.

  • First, the Member Education Committee has been hurtling through our long-term goals for the WDAA member Learning Management System (LMS) faster than we imagined possible. Headed by Jen Sigety the committee consists of Kristin Kill, Heidi Adams, Sharron Sarchet, Amy Townsing, Joanne Williams, Ida Norris and Thallia Blight. This super smart group puts together great educational ideas, then staff member Gail Matheus puts it all together and places it on the LMS for all WDAA members to benefit from. There are countless ride videos with commentary and actual test copies, helpful instructional videos and some fun quizzes on the LMS with much more to come! Monthly webinars for members are being planned, you will be hearing about these soon!
  • Next, the Judges Education Committee has had to reinvent their very popular Judges Seminar. Chair Joanne Coy has tasked committee members Joyce Swanson, Cindy Butler, Jodi Ely, Julie Haugen, Cliff Swanson, Ida Norris and Gail Hoff to create educational seminar segments to be used online. These segments will be stitched together by staff member Gail Matheus and be offered to licensed judges to complete their seminar attendance requirement for 2021. Not an easy task, but everyone is learning the skills to make a great presentation!
  • Last but certainly not least, the 2022 WDAA Test Writing Task Force is banging away at new tests for you all to enjoy next show season, including a level 5! Headed by Joyce Swanson, the committee comprised of Susan Lang, Sharron Sarchet, Joanne Coy and Cindy Butler have been working together writing the new tests. Then comes the tedious task of scouring the tests for any issues, and… you guessed it, Gail Matheus is consolidation suggestions and compiling them into the test templates. We will have an entirely new roster of fun and challenging tests including freestyle thanks to this unbelievably hard-working group.

Big thanks go to Joyce Swanson for her unwavering dedication to WDAA, the WDAA tests and Judges Education, she is a shining example of the people we couldn’t have done it without!

Finally, the most important of all, the WDAA members. WDAA has become a shining example to the rest of the equine community of a group of supportive, fun loving, friendly, welcoming equestrians. Be it at shows, on Social Media or just contacting WDAA with a question, Western Dressage people are kind, loyal and outgoing. WDAA truly would not be where it is without all of you out there representing us to the world as you do! Almost all the groups above are made up of volunteers, these hard-working people don’t have extra time to fill, they make the time, actually create it. I do not know how they do it. They amaze me with their enthusiasm and creativity and love of the sport.

Thank you to all WDAA members we would not be here without you!

Very Sincerely, Dini Swanson – WDAA Executive Director

2020 Year in Review video produced by WDAA Board Secretary Thallia Blight.

The 2021 WDAA Western Dressage Online International Challenge prize list is posted!  

Please visit this link, to view the Online International page and access the prize list.

The 2021 WDAA Western Dressage World Championship Show prize list is posted!

Please visit this link, to view the World Show page and access the prize list.


Show season is here! Medalist Patches for horses who have received WDAA Bronze, Silver or Gold Medalist awards, and Supreme Champion prior to August 1, 2020 will be mailed this month to the address listed on the owner’s Membership profile.

We are upgrading the points software to begin processing competition results data received from show management. Information will be mailed to show managers this month regarding the new show data reporting requirements.

The Lynn Palm Western Dressage Fund 

The goal of this Fund is to provide funding for equestrian groups to host affordable, high-quality Western Dressage educational events (clinics, camps, symposia, etc.) with a clinician of your choice.

The fund was established in 2019 by Lynn in celebration of her 50 years as a professional equestrian and to give back to the sport she loves. Lynn believes that the classical training principles of dressage are applicable and beneficial to all levels of riders, breeds of horses, and riding disciplines.

WDAA is so thankful for Lynn's constant support and willingness to give so generously to the sport!

The Dressage Foundation : Grants and Programs : Apply For A Grant : Educational Events : Lynn Palm Western Dressage Fund

Ride a Test now exclusively for junior members AND FREE!!!!

Just visit this link and submit a video of your ride! Licensed WD judges will evaluate your ride and give you invaluable feedback!

WDAA now has a Facebook page that is dedicated to online show promotion! 

If you are interested in showing online, you now have two places to go, the WDAA calendar (Event Calendar View (wdaa.memberclicks.net)) and the WDAA Recognized Online Shows Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WDAAOnlineShows/

For all equine disease alerts please visit this link for the most current information.

WDAA Partner | GumBits WDAA Partner | Premier Equestrian

WDAA Partner | eVet



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!


Renew your WDAA Membership for 2021 before it expires and you lose member benefits.






The WDAA Horse Lifetime Points and Awards Program (WHLPAP) tracks points achieved by a horse with their riding partner throughout their Western Dressage career.

WDAA Website | Member Portal | Event Calendar | Social Corral

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