Meet the Committee Chair – Cindi Wylie, Group Member Organizations Committee

Photo courtesy of Cindi Wylie

What is your committee’s mission? 

To accelerate the growth and development of the Group Member Organizations (GMOs), to broaden and strengthen the dressage community, and to increase access to education.

How long have you been on this committee? 

I started on the GMO Council in 2004

How long have you been the committee chair?

Since 2016            

How did you get involved in the sport of dressage?  

Any family member will tell you from birth I was all about the horses.  My parents unfortunately weren’t fans, but my grandfather used to sneak me out for lessons and trail rides when I was young.  In my teens, my mother was taking one of my younger brothers who wanted to try riding for the first time at a local program, so I asked to come too.  I remember watching beautiful horses dancing their way across the arena and knew this was something I wanted to learn to do!

How did you get involved with USDF? 

Through my involvement with my local GMO where I helped provide both competitive and educational programs for the membership, ultimately becoming their Education Coordinator.  In 1999, I achieved my USDF Gold Medal.   My friends on that board encouraged me to attend my first USDF Annual Convention to receive the medal in person.  I spent time listening to lectures and talking to people and enjoyed every minute.  Shortly thereafter, I was asked to become a delegate for my GMO, and later became a Participating Member Delegate as well.

How did you get involved in the committee?  

Our Regional Director at the time, Fern Feldman, suggested that I might enjoy it.

What is your favorite part of being involved with this committee? 

I love being a part of helping our sport grow in the US by being a part of the committee that helps support the growth of its GMOs, by providing them with the tools they may need.  I really enjoy interacting and hearing from GMOs all over the country regarding educational programs, volunteer programs, and membership programs.  There is such diversity!

What unique qualifications made you an expert in the committee’s area?  

I’m a workaholic and I love projects!  From my GMO years, I have a wide variety of experience in organizing programs for GMOs.  I was involved in the organization of small instructor programs, camps for both juniors and adults, horse shows, and some very large symposia with international clinicians, for 350 or more auditors. I am an active competitor (and judge) and am very familiar with GMO organized shows and schooling shows.  I’m also Certified Instructor/Trainer who, for 30 years, has worked primarily with adults, which gives me insights as to what types of programs or benefits USDF could provide to help attract them to their local GMOs, which to me is really important, as the adult amateurs make up a huge majority of our membership! 

What has been your committee’s greatest accomplishment, or what do you hope to accomplish during your tenure? 

The growth of benefits/programs that USDF offers the GMOs, including assisting in the implementation of the new Regional Schooling Show Awards program, that will offer regional recognition to USDF Group Members competing at local/non-recognized shows, and the USDF GMO Education Initiative, which provides financial support for GMO organized educational programs.  In the short term, our committee is looking forward to facilitating an educational session specifically for GMOs at the convention.  In the long term, we are hoping to find new ways to help promote better communication amongst the GMOs themselves.

Please share a little bit about yourself and your background.   

I’m married to Steve Schubert (former USDF Treasurer), and between us we have four great kids (ages 27-31) and three dogs.  We live on our farm, Rosebrook Farm, in Georgetown, MA, which houses up to 34 horses.  I graduated Tufts University with a degree in Clinical Psych, but a few years after graduation I had people offering me horses to ride and asking for lessons, and I loved to ride, so it was a no-brainer.   I’m also a HUGE Patriots fan, and my favorite food is sushi.

Do you currently compete in dressage, or have you competed in the past? 

Yes and yes.  In the past, I have competed on horses I trained myself from youngsters to the CDI GP level.  Currently I am competing a client’s PRE stallion (Amado XXXV) at the Intermediate 1 level, with hopes of finishing him Grand Prix.  I also have a five-year-old Sezuan son, who I do hope to debut in the show arena in the near future, and my Westfalen gelding, Edelrubin, who I have competed Developing GP and have hopes of showing GP someday.   I’ve also competed with many of my clients’ horses throughout the levels too!

Please share a favorite dressage-related memory. 

I was happily invited to Germany by friends to attend the 100 Anniversary celebration of the DOKR.  We had a lovely time at the party beforehand, and an even more wonderful time at the celebration itself.  The quadrille was memorable!  After the show, we were being ushered back to our friend’s place.  She instructed me to get into the taxi in the middle of the back and then told someone else, “Harry, get in the back next to Cindi”.  A tall, slender older man sat down next to me, and I realized it was Harry Boldt.  Harry’s book was the first dressage book I ever read, and I found myself quite star struck to the point all I could do was stare.  No words would come out of my mouth.  I couldn’t move.  I could just blubber…Steve asked why I was acting so strangely.  Like a complete moron I finally blurted out “Honey, do you know who this is?”  At which point, Harry so very politely said, “Don’t worry, I am just a man..”  That broke the ice and we had a lovely conversation afterwards.  What a goof I am!

What horse impacted your love for the sport the most?  

What impacts my love for the sport the most is not something I can credit one horse with, but all the horses and their reactions to correct training as they develop trust in us and work in harmony with us, and every horse is capable of that!  True, it’s a process, and a challenging one at times.  But patience and perseverance always pay off.  That’s what makes me love horses and impacts my love for the sport the most!

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