Delaware Valley Combined Training Association

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Group Member Organizations (GMOs) are the foundation of USDF and integral in bringing dressage and dressage education to the masses. Stay connected with your local dressage community and support dressage at the local level by joining a GMO in your area today!

USDF GMO Established: 1965
Locality: Region 1, Pennsylvania
Website: www.dvcta.org

How many members does your GMO have annually, on average?
300 members

Tell us about your GMO:
The Delaware Valley Combined Training Association (DVCTA) is an organization of over 200 individuals who share a common interest in horses and the related activities of Combined Training (known popularly as eventing) and dressage. Some of us ride, some of us compete, some breed and train, and others just love being around horses. While our members come from all over the US, as well as several foreign countries, we are primarily active in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, Northern Delaware, and Northeastern Maryland. The story goes that the DVTCA was conceived over coffee in someone’s kitchen in 1965. It was originally an “adult Pony Club” (and until 1997, members had to be at least fourteen years old). The membership roster in 1966 was composed of eighteen people, most of whom were total strangers to each other. DVCTA’s first event was held that year ,where “the scoring and pinning could not be done until all the riding was over and the horses cared for, because the competitors had to do the scoring and pinning too.” DVCTA is a founding member of USDF and the Gladstone Team Competitions, and has been responsible for such programs as the USCTA Event Evaluations, which were started on a local level by the DVCTA inspired Local Organizers Meeting, held in 1976. DVCTA is also responsible for the creation of Dressage at Devon (DaD) in 1975, which is the largest breed show/CDI in North America. Starting with the 2006 show, DaD became a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation. While still maintaining a strong working relationship, DaD and DVCTA now operate as separate entities. The majority of the DaD committee members are members of DVCTA, and DVCTA still supplies strong volunteer corps to the show. Famous members over the years include Bruce Davidson, Phillip Dutton, Paul Belasik (author), Todd Fletrich, Harry Gill, David Goodman, Scott Hassler, Mary Hazzard, Marilyn Heath, Chris Hickey, Mary Alice Malone, Silva Martin, Edith Master, Karen and David O’Connor, Lars Petersen, Jessica Ransenhousen, and John Winnett.

Does your GMO offer unique classes or activities that cater to youth, adult amateurs, or professionals? If so, please provide a brief description.
DVCTA offers clinics on everything from groundwork to bit fitting for youth, adult amateurs, and professionals. Our proximity to University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center Hospital allows us access to lectures given by their expert veterinarians throughout the year. While DVCTA stopped running their own dressage schooling shows, they now “sanction” four show series in the area. Members can earn year end awards by participating in sanctioned schooling shows. Working to get back to our eventing roots, DVCTA has partnered with a professional event trainer to offer cross-country schooling sessions and, eventually, a few schooling shows at a local farm. We offer one USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized show each season and also run a championship schooling show in the fall season. We keep our thirty juniors and young riders busy, throughout the year, by offering them access to riding clinics, the opportunity to attend a week-long eventing camp, and Lendon Grey’s Dressage4Kids competition. In recent years, the DVCTA quadrille team has become a favorite pastime for the club. Teams have performed at every level, from Training to FEI. Each team consists of anywhere between four-fifteen horses that perform exhibition rides at prestigious events, within our region. Various themes have been presented; Salute to our Country, Fighting Breast Cancer, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Uptown Funk, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Chorus Line, western dressage, and our juniors did a “Peanuts” theme on four matching Haflinger ponies. Performance venues have included DaD, Fair Hill International, Jersey Fresh CDI, Plantation Field’s BEST.EVENT.EVER, PVDA Ride for Life’s Dancing Horse Challenge, and our annual DVCTA recognized
Spring Dressage Show.

What type of educational events does your GMO offer?
DVCTA hosts clinics (mounted and unmounted), a veterinarian lecture series, various judges programs (musical freestyle and L Program), dressage competition “viewing” parties, as well as a year-end banquet that include Adult Amateur, professional, Jr/YR, Master, and volunteer awards in the categories of schooling dressage, recognized dressage, rider medals, western dressage, and recognized/unrecognized eventing.

What type of “fun” events does your GMO offer?
DVCTA holds quadrille performances and “play-dates”, sanctioned dressage schooling shows, a USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized show each year, and cross-country schooling.

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