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Delta Dressage Branching Out In 2013


By Sandy Donovan and Peggy Gaboury

Delta Dressage Association (DDA) met December 18, 2012 to formalize the club’s plans for 2013. Under the leadership of new President Peggy Gaboury, Delta will focus on forming relationships with other equestrian disciplines, such as Eventing, Pony Club, 4-H, Combined Training, Driving, Hunters/Jumpers, and Western Dressage. The downturn in the economy for the past few years has had a harsh impact on the equine world, especially at the entry and youth level.  But as economic conditions improve, the club wants to broaden its approach to educating new riders to the benefits of dressage training.

“The sport of Dressage is very strong at the top levels due to its exposure as an Olympic sport,” said incoming President, Peggy Gaboury. “We need to reach out to new riders, both youngsters and adult amateurs, to grow the next generation of riders.”

“Dressage training provides a correct foundation for every equine performance discipline,” Gaboury continued. “Whatever the training problem, e.g., your barrel horse anticipates the turn and leans into the barrel; your hunter has trouble getting straight to the fence after a tight turn; your driving horse speeds up into rein contact instead of balancing; for all of these problems, dressage offers a solution! Dressage training can prevent injury, and can enhance that elusive ‘connection’ with the horse that makes riding an art and a joy.”

If you are an exclusive, serious dressage competitor, traveling to multiple shows during the year and competing for end of the year awards, a participating USDF membership at the national level is required. This costs $75.00 a year and does not require membership in a local dressage organization.  

But for the many other people who ride dressage, who may not show or may go to only a few shows a year, membership in a local dressage organization, a Group Membership Organization (GMO), gives all of the benefits of USDF membership at substantially less cost. A local club serves a number of purposes, particularly for people who are entering into dressage or who are interested in dressage, but not to the exclusion of all other equestrian activities.

GMO members have membership cards and are eligible to compete at USEF-licensed/USDF recognized shows. Their scores give them eligiblility for a wide range of rider awards without paying the participating membership fee: Rider Performance Awards; Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals; Freestyle Gold, Silver and Bronze Bars; Master’s Challenge. But for the “serious” dressage rider, the GMO membership alone is not sufficient if you want to qualify for Regional Championships or for National Horse of the Year and All-Breed Awards.

GMO membership offers access to a wide range of educational opportunities, too. Any GMO member can log into USDF and access “E-TRAK,” the USDF on-line learning center for dressage and equine education. You can search by specific movement, such as “shoulder-in,” and find a list of articles and video clips on that subject. There are also structured, long-term “courses” with University credits available.  E-TRAK is easy to use and well organized.

GMO membership allows participation in other USDF educational events, such as Symposium and the “L” program, at discounted rates.  Members are eligible to apply for grants like the Ruth Arvanette Memorial Fund Grants, which funds convention attendance, or grants funded by The Dressage Foundation, which are available to USDF Group Members and not to Participating Members.

Membership in DDA is a first step toward including dressage in your training program. DDA offers benefits to both long-time dressage riders and new-to-dressage riders at the local level, as well as connecting you to the educational and practical resources at the national level.

DDA offers “dressage mentors,” riders with experience in the discipline who can answer questions about anything from daily work routines to correct show dress. While this buddy system cannot replace working with a good trainer, it can give riders immediate help when they need it. For younger dressage riders, mentors can be available at shows to be “shadowed,” to learn the way a strong competitor approaches the experience of showing.

For more information about GMOs and member benefits, visit: Information about DDA is available at Direct inquiries about joining DDA to membership chairperson Vicky Rimstidt at  If you have additional requests about using DDA in your own training program, please e-mail Karen Raber at or Peggy Gaboury at

At Delta’s next meeting, the last weekend in January, the club will present year-end awards to qualifying members.

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