SCDCTA receives the USDF Creative GMO-Sponsored Program Award

Group photo from 2018 featuring Mary-Cameron (Rollins) Mansfield

The Creative GMO-Sponsored Program Award is designed to recognize one USDF Group Member Organization (GMO) for an outstanding effort made to develop a program that has contributed to the GMO’s membership growth and retention. For requirements and information about the nomination/selection process, download the nomination form.

The South Carolina Dressage and Combined Training Association (SCDCTA) puts on an annual dressage clinic for our Junior members with an out of state FEI trainer. It’s a three day affair at the SC Equine Park in Camden, SC and is free of charge to our Junior members. Each participant receives two lessons, stabling, meals, educational lectures, fun swag, and friendships with memories to last a lifetime!

Young Riders of SCDCTA

Throughout the year the SCDCTA Junior members fundraise for the SCDCTA’s Annual Jr. Clinic. The annual cost runs between $4,000- $6,000. The clinic is paid for entirely from the SCDCTA Junior members’ fundraising efforts and sponsorships. The Juniors host a bake sale and raffle in February in conjunction with SCDCTA’s February dressage show. We host a lemonade stand and raffle in conjunction with SCDCTA’s September dressage show. Starting in 2018, a raffle basket full of donated items was put together to be featured and raffled off at the USDF Region 3 Dressage Finals. It was a huge success and we plan to feature a basket in 2019! All raffle items are donated items, and all of the funds from the aforementioned activities go towards the annual clinic. Also, the SCDCTA’s Junior members send out letters to their family members, church families, coaches, and ect. to beseech sponsorship for the year’s coming clinic. The SCDCTA Juniors also have a long-standing relationship with SC Embroidery to sell customizable vests and coolers of which the Juniors get a kickback for their sales.

After the February bake sale and raffle, which is the SCDCTA Juniors’ biggest earner, the venue and date of the clinic is reserved. For the past several years we have been fortunate enough to raise enough funds to reserve the SC Equine Park in Camden, SC for a weekend. The SC Equine Park features a covered area so that inclement weather is not an issue. The facility has lovely permanent stabling, wash racks, and a covered pavilion, where we host lectures and Q & A sessions with the clinician. The show office beside the pavilion is equipped with a refrigerator for food storage and has permanent bathrooms.

Endel Ots

Once the clinic venue and date are set the clinician is booked. Our goal is to bring in someone that the kids would not necessarily otherwise have access to. Someone that is an established FEI trainer with the ability to dialog with the kids about the equestrian industry. In 2019, we featured Pan American Team member Endel Ots. Past clinicians include Mary-Cameron Rollins, Scott Peterson, and Jodie Kelly.

Upon booking the clinician we know roughly how much of the budget is left for printed programs, swag, and food. Often the kids’ parents will sponsor the majority of the meals. We have a meet and greet pizza party where everyone can get to know one another on Friday evening after everyone has arrived. Breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday are served under the pavilion. Saturday’s supper is an all out Southern BBQ affair! Every year the participants (riders) receive fun swag bags including sponsored items such as Nickerdoodle horse treats, Vetrolin liniment, and gift cards to local SC tack shops. Part of the Juniors’ budget goes to one big swag item per rider per year. In 2019, we afforded directors’ chairs. Past years have featured collared shirts and saddle pads with the SCDCTA’s logo. The kids receive their swag bags and printed programs featuring their pictures and biographies at Friday night’s meet and greet pizza party. All weekend long there is a Thank-You note station set up under the pavilion where each of the participants are required to write at least two thank you notes to sponsors, parents, or the clinician before the weekend is out. The Junior Coordinator ensures that all of the notes are mailed to the correct addresses at the close of the weekend.

Saturday and Sunday are two full days of lessons and scheduled educational lectures. The kids are expected to watch one another ride and to have a notebook ringside to write down exercises, advice, and questions. Cell phones must be silenced and left on the rail. Past lecturers have been vets, farriers, and a nutritionist. Auditors are welcomed! Kids audit for free. We ask that adults that are not legal guardians make a donation to the next year’s Junior Fund for the new clinic. We have local tack shops and artists set up booths at the clinic in exchange for a donation for the following year’s clinic.

It’s a yearlong process for one fun, educational weekend! The riders are selected based on volunteer hours and applications that must be fulfilled and submitted to SCDCTA’s Junior Coordinator by a set date prior to the clinic. We have never turned away a rider with a complete, on time application that has fulfilled all volunteer hours! Volunteer hours are eight nonconsecutive hours at a show of the Junior’s choosing. The volunteer activity can be anything from running tests to helping show management break down the arenas on Sunday afternoon to manning the bake sale table. We feel that it is important for the kid’s to learn to give back to the sport and it helps them make friends and connections while appreciating show volunteers. The application process is implemented to receive a head count on who is attending and to give the children practice at applications. Whether they go on to apply for colleges or The Dressage Foundation grants, the application process is an important one that we at SCDCTA wish to foster.


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