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: 1985
Locality: USDF Region 2, Kentucky
How many members does your GMO have annually, on average?
Tell us a little about your GMO:
The Kentucky Dressage Association recently celebrated our 30th Annual Spring Show, held at the Kentucky Horse Park. Thirty years, what an accomplishment! Our GMO is currently managed by a group of fourteen board members, who are passionate about serving our membership. Our priority is to educate and offer dressage shows and programs that will benefit our members. We proudly offer a $5000 grant to an up-and-coming junior/young rider in serious pursuit of the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships each year, three $750 Adult Amateur Scholarships, one $750 Professional Scholarship, a $750 Young Rider Scholarship for young riders between the ages 14 and 21, and a College Scholarship. Our volunteers, members, and non-members alike are the backbone of our organization. They provide staffing for all of our shows and clinics, allowing us to make the money required to put back into our programs.
KDA has become adept at managing a variety of shows including 3* CDIs held at the Kentucky Horse Park, the Festival of Champions, and the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 2 Championships, in addition to our annual May shows. We have undertaken a new partnership with the National Dressage Pony Cup (NDPC) in July, which brings the element of ponies into the mix, while serving a new faction of our dressage community. We offer schooling shows in different locations within the state to service another segment of our membership. KDA has taken on the task of offering breed shows, and recently hosted the Great American Insurance Group/USDF North Central Breeders Championship Series Final this fall. In the past several years, we have partnered with the Central Kentucky Ride for Hope (CKRH), to provide dressage classes for their participants at our shows. CKRH is a local non-profit, whose mission is to enrich the community by improving the quality of life and health of individuals with special physical, cognitive, emotional, or social needs through therapeutic activities with the horse.
In response to the loss of one of our members, and others who are fighting against cancer, KDA created a 5k and 10k charity walk/fun run in conjunction with our shows. All proceeds are donated to the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center for research to find a cure. We also provide an e-newsletter, which is published six times per year for our membership.
Does your GMO off er unique classes or activities that cater to youth, adult amateurs, or professionals? If so, please provide a brief description.
Angela Hecker Jackson helped coach the Region 2 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships team in Colorado this year. This spring, we provided a clinic with Angela for young riders. We also offer a clinic with Gwen Poulin aimed at our youth, but all are welcome to participate. Please see below for our clinic series, which attempts to fulfill the needs of all of our members.
What type of educational events does your GMO offer?
We off er a clinic series each year, which changes with the demands of the membership. This series includes dressage trainers for both adults and young riders, at all levels, an eventing trainer, and upper and lower level trainers for amateurs and pros alike. This year, our panel of clinicians included Angela Hecker Jackson, Caroline Roffman, Gwen Poulin, and Susan BeeBee. We recently had the distinct privilege of hosting a clinic with Olympic Silver Medalist and Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame Inductee Hilda Gurney, which sold out in six hours. Hilda was here to judge our Great American Insurance Group/USDF North Central Breeders Championship Series Final and graciously agreed to teach a clinic. She attracted a myriad of riders, which included young riders, professionals, and adult amateurs of all ages and abilities. She was an exceptional clinician, and all of the participants were thrilled to receive her instruction.
What type of “fun” events does your GMO offer?
In the past, KDA has offered adult dressage camps, with overnight stays. A recent survey at our annual awards banquet found that many of our members would like to try a Hunter Pace or Hilltopping event. Hopefully, we can work something into our busy schedule next year. Our themed annual awards banquet is always a fun time for all of our members who are able to participate.
In an attempt to draw in members who might not normally show, we offer Western Dressage classes at our schooling shows and para-equestrian, eventing, and CKRH classes at our smaller, relaxed fall show.
If that sounds like it’s a lot of work, you’re right. But we have an amazing group of hard working individuals who love horses, and have found common ground to work together to improve lives. We believe in the benefit of proper training, for ourselves and our horses. It’s not always peaches and cream behind the scenes in an ambitious GMO like the KDA. Our mission is to promote and strengthen the art and sport of dressage in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. KDA provides leadership to its members, to assist them in fostering individual and collective growth by providing education, publications, competitions, and exhibitions, while increasing general public awareness for the sport of dressage.