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: 1987
Locality: Region 9, Texas
How many members does your GMO have annually, on average?
Tell us about your GMO.
The Fort Worth Dressage Club (FWDC) was established in 1986. Dressage enthusiasts in Fort Worth and surrounding areas had been members of The Dallas Dressage Club for many years, but it was a long drive for meetings and events. A group of us (founding members) met and decided to see if there was any interest in forming a new GMO, in Fort Worth. We put out flyers in feed stores, tack shops, and stables, as well as using word of mouth, and set a meeting date at a local restaurant. We expected a few people to show up but the room was full! So that was the start of FWDC.
At the onset, we decided to be an educational club, but also a social club, and to welcome riders from all backgrounds, on all breeds of horses, and at all levels. After all, it is the west and there were lots of Quarter Horses,
Paints, and crosses. At that time, there weren’t that many Warmbloods.
Through the years, we have grown and strived to meet our members’ needs and wants. Many of our members do not show in recognized shows, but like participating in schooling shows. So, we offer schooling shows to include gaited dressage, Western dressage, and eventing dressage. We have reached out to all these groups and had a great response. In the past, we have hosted the USDF Region 9 Adult Clinic Series with Hilda Gurney, and also the Region 9 summer meetings.
At our recognized show, we give back to community by donating funds received for one of our larger classes to Wings of Hope, a therapeutic riding organization.
From speaking to members, we have found that they want educational events close to home, group activities, low cost riding opportunities, and to meet other riding enthusiasts and further their’s and their horse’s dressage abilities.
Does your GMO off er unique classes or activities that cater to youth, adult amateurs, or professionals? If so, please provide a brief description.
We do an annual two-day (over one weekend) recognized Level 3 show. This offers classes for open, youth, and professionals. We also started an annual, low-cost clinic at which a professional in the area offers a full day of instruction for $50 a ride. This has become very popular and is always full. We have a member that donates her beautiful facility for the day, and everyone brings a dish for the potluck lunch. We are extending it to two days this year. Many of the professionals in the area are happy to do this, and it gives members who can’t afford the higher priced clinicians, who come to the area, a chance to ride at a low cost and get valuable feedback.
What type of educational events does your GMO offer?
We often have speakers at our meetings; a veterinarian comes every year, feed representatives, farriers, and members who have gone to special training sessions or programs. We had a professional come and explain how to correctly fill out a recognized show entry form. We have had Pilates and Yoga instructors speak on exercises for riders. One member went to Germany for a training program and spoke of his experiences there. We also offer a yearly scribing clinic, with a member who scribes at all levels. She uses On the Levels training videos and sample tests. Many of her students have gone on to scribe at championships, breed shows, etc.
What type of “fun” events does your GMO offer?
We host an annual pool party and potluck, in August. Our biggest event is our Camp – three days of riding with a professional. We receive a grant from The Dressage Foundation for ten members who have volunteered throughout the year. They arrive on a Thursday, to a wonderful facility donated to FWDC for the weekend, and they receive private lessons Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then, they have a group lesson Sunday. They are served breakfast and lunches, stabling is provided, and they get to enjoy a Saturday night video and pizza night- all for under $300. It is our most fun, and educational, activity of the year- a fantastic learning experience, great fellowship, and always full. A big thank you to The Dressage Foundation for their grant!
Any Additional Comments?
FWDC puts on an end of year Awards Banquet and Silent Auction to benefit our scholarship fund. Our scholarship fund is for members who have volunteered – they are eligible to receive $300 every two years to further their dressage education. We have ribbons for members in all dressage disciplines – gaited, western, and eventing. We have had to move three times, as the crowd just gets bigger and bigger. It is a fun evening and lots of special awards are given out, including most supportive significant other, most improved, and anything else we can think of.
Several FWDC members carpool to go the annual Region 9 Summer Meeting. FWDC also has several members who fly, or drive, to our Great American/USDF Region 9 Championships to volunteer. Always educational to see all the qualified riders in the region compete! Also, many of us have gone as a group to the World Cup and World Equestrian Games!
FWDC hosts an extensive video library for members. We also have a monthly column in a horse magazine that goes out to a large area, and includes pictures of members and their achievements. We send out a monthly newsletter, as well as updates on area clinics and upcoming club activities.