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: 1973
Locality: Region 4, Iowa
How many members does your GMO have annually, on average? 44 members
Tell us about your GMO. A group of early dressage enthusiasts in the 1960’s, led by a passionate Iowa transplant and horsewoman from Maryland, named Betsy Coester, formed Winds Reach Dressage, which would eventually become the Eastern Iowa Dressage and Eventing Association (EIDEA). EIDEA, as it is currently known, was officially incorporated as a nonprofit in 2003 under the leadership of Amanda Johnson, then president. Between Betsy Coester’s early days, when dressage was barely known in the US, and the present, EIDEA has hosted many internationally prominent clinicians and held fondly remembered recognized show series. Although many of the active barns in those days are now gone, the Coester’s Winds Reach Farm remains under the leadership of Bill Coester, and continues to be a rich resource for our equestrian community. EIDEA was proud to have hosted the 2003 USDF Region 4 Adult Clinic with the late Walter Zettl, and to have been part of the ground force that brought the charity event, Catalpa Corners, into being. Our tagline is “Your hub for community and learning” and indeed, our particular focus as a GMO is not on competition or awards, but on the enthusiastic study of our sport, in all its facets, and the enjoyment of friendship in the horse community.
Does your GMO offer unique classes or activities that cater to youth, adult amateurs, or professionals? If so, please provide a brief description. EIDEA is pioneering the use of video conferencing for educational meetings. We use a free Google Suite app called “Hangouts” for both our monthly board meetings, and for two educational meetings in 2018. This allows remote members, who have difficulty attending meetings due to long driving distance or a farm to take care of after work, to participate in a live presentation by clicking on a link from the comfort of their homes. All they need is a device and wifi. On the flip side, Hangouts allows us to “bring in” top FEI professionals, potentially from anywhere in the world, to speak to us! We find that these hard working, busy professionals are often willing to share their expertise with us and help further dressage education in the US, and this format allows them to do so with no travel time and no time away from their busy training operations. We’re excited about the possibilities with this format.
What type of educational events does your GMO offer? We program a mixture of classroom presentations, live video conferences (Google Hangouts), hands-on horse care, and riding demonstrations throughout the year. We publish our full year’s programming ahead of time on our website, and print “barn posters” with dates, topics, and locations for the calendar year that hang in area barns, as a constant reminder of what’s next!
What type of “fun” events does your GMO offer? This year, we’re about to host our first “Taste A Wine/ Ride-ATest”, as a social event for members and the community, that also offers a low pressure opportunity for first time riders to present a test to a judge for feedback, in a supportive and fun atmosphere. Other past “fun” events included a January “Tack and Yack”, where members would gather to clean and swap tack, and visit with each other. Kind of like a quilting circle, but horsey! A
Additional Comments The EIDEA equestrian community is made up of many small private barns that can be as much as three hours away from one another. Our group offers a great way to connect people, as well as a way to close that distance using the technology and social media available to us. Speaking of, please follow us on our Facebook page- we’d love to hear from you! Our GMO’s stated mission is to provide innovative, high quality learning for dressage and eventing riders and enthusiasts in Eastern Iowa. By engaging our members in the pursuit of a deeper understanding of our equine partners, we foster a sense of community and shared purpose.