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! Tell us
USDF GMO Established: 2003
Locality: Region 9, Louisiana
How many members does your GMO have annually, on average? 150 members
Tell us about your GMO. The Southern Eventing and Dressage Association (SEDA) has a long history of serving the Gulf South – since 1975! Many of our original founding members are still with us and continue to guide the club to a new future. Hurricanes, economic downturns, and assorted natural disasters have made for some challenging times in our club’s history, but we have managed to maintain a faithful membership base and provide entertainment and education for our local horse community. We offer a recognized dressage show, Le Bon Temps, in the spring and a recognized horse trials, Fleur de Leap, in the fall. In between, there are a variety of schooling shows to allow for more opportunities to compete and stay sharp. In conjunction with several of the local stables and show facilities, we endeavor to offer educational opportunities in the form of clinics and speakers. We’re looking to expand our offerings in the future, and the newly elected board is brainstorming ideas to encourage member engagement at all levels.
We have some very dynamic members, who have been instrumental in getting high school letter programs for the local equestrian teams and promoting both our club and involvement with horses to high school students. A few of our members are deeply involved in The Retired Racehorse Project, trying to give off-the-track thoroughbreds (OTTB’s) new careers. We were thrilled that one of our members received the USDF Region 9 GMO Volunteer of the Year award in 2017!
We are fortunate to have access to some fantastic local breeders, veterinarians, and professional trainers who offer some great opportunities for education! The breadth of knowledge and talent in our membership is truly astounding, and they are all generous with their time and expertise.
A huge achievement was developing our cross country course and improving it to the point of being able to offer a recognized horse trials after many years!
Does your GMO offer unique classes or activities that cater to youth, adult amateurs, or professionals? If so, please provide a brief description. Each year we offer the SEDA Junior Classic, a schooling show targeted toward our juniors and young riders. This has been a popular show since its inception. It has included: equitation classes, games, demonstrations by upper level riders and pas de deux or quadrille teams, driven dressage, hunter classes to provide exposure to some other disciplines and appeal to nonmember juniors in the area, and a potluck luncheon that everyone loves. We provide a light-hearted atmosphere and, typically, some fun awards that are handed out throughout the day. Our intent is to make sure the kids have fun, as well as showing them ways to ride that they may not be familiar with. We’ve also offered an ‘Adults Only’ show in the past which was a lot of fun, but not something we do every year (it depends on demand). Additionally, we’ve developed our own Prix Caprilli tests up to First Level and have created a Doodlebug test for our youngest riders (lead line). We try hard to address the diversity in our membership with a variety of opportunities.
What type of educational events does your GMO offer? Typically, we have clinicians come in. These may have a dressage or eventing focus. In the recent past, we’ve had Sally O’Connor, Jimmy Wofford, Will Faudree, and Loma Fowler, and soon will have Jeremy Steinberg. We are also very fortunate that many of the local stables and facilities bring in some fantastic talent, which our members can utilize, but which the club does not need to fund: Charlie Hutton, Linda Strine, Mary Wanless, Heather Blitz, Leif Sorensen, Aaron Nobbs, Jonathan Allinson, and many more. We’ve also offered Volunteering 101 to help educate our volunteers, Ride- A-Test clinics, and Pilates for Riders. We are also exploring the value of some of the new educational materials USDF has prepared, to see how we can incorporate that into our schedule.
What type of “fun” events does your GMO offer? We have an annual awards banquet, which is typically a good time. Its theme and presentation vary year to year, as we try new things to keep it interesting. This year, we are attempting our first evening banquet, with a DJ and dancing! We have also offered post-show potluck tailgate parties, a breakfast sponsored by local breeders, and picnics. We’ve found that best attendance is usually in conjunction with another event (like a show or popular clinic), and we’ve also discovered that our members like to just get together and visit – without their horses!
Additional Comments: SEDA has been very fortunate to have been the recipient of many USDF GMO Awards over the years: Best Newsletter, Best Website, Photography, Articles … and we are very proud of these achievements! We endeavor to provide quality materials and experiences for our membership, to keep them engaged, informed, and involved.
The majority of our membership comes from Louisiana, but we have members from Mississippi, Florida, and Texas (and occasionally Arkansas). Our location means that we have fairly easy access to the Houston and Florida shows, so the limited number of recognized shows in our locale isn’t as huge of a handicap as it could be.
Unfortunately, our location also means we are in the crosshairs of hurricanes. Devastation from Hurricane Katrina and others affected our membership in countless ways – yet we survived and have thrived despite the setbacks. These experiences have made us very sensitive to the needs of other victims of natural disasters, and I’m proud to say that our club members have offered a lot of support to others in need from floods, fires, droughts, and storms.