Meet the Show Secretary – Shannon Ryan-Dinmore

Shannon (right) with her show manager on the tractor dragging the ring at their last show.

Please share a little about yourself and your background.

I am an avid equestrian that grew up riding hunter/jumpers, but have since transitioned to eventing and dressage. I served on the board of a nonprofit thoroughbred rescue and have previous experience doing managerial and secretarial work for some local hunter/jumper shows. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and own three horses- a Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) and two off the track Thoroughbreds (OTTB).

What is your primary role at a dressage competition? (manager, secretary, both)?

I am a show secretary.

How did you get started and how long have you been involved in dressage show management?

I was asked by the former president of my local GMO if I would be interested in doing secretarial work for their recognized shows and have been doing it ever since! I started in 2018.

How many dressage shows do you run each year (approximately) and where are they located?

Cayuga Dressage and Combined Training (CDCT) hosts two recognized shows per year that will be held in Cazenovia, NY for 2020. We also host one non-recognized show per year that is held in Castle Creek, NY.

Do you have a second career outside of show management?

I work as a full-time Associate Analytical Chemist drug testing all the racehorses for the state of NY. I also ride and train horses.

Do you own horses/ride/compete in dressage or another discipline? If so, tell us about your horse!

I own three horses. A retired TWH who used to compete in hunter/jumper competitions, hunter paces, etc., but now mainly trail rides. I own a senior OTTB, who had a short stint as a hunter, but is mainly retired and my newest mare, who is also an OTTB, is doing eventing and dressage.

What is your favorite part of being a dressage show manager or secretary?

I enjoy the data entry and troubleshooting involved with making a thousand little pieces come together into a successful show.

What qualifications make a great dressage show manager or secretary and what are the greatest challenges of the job?

I think being a little bit OCD is helpful to be a show secretary. There are lots of i’s to dot and t’s to cross, so being very thorough speeds the process up a lot. Knowing rules, regulations, and whatever software is used is also critical. Additionally, it helps to be a people person and someone who is good at both keeping calm under pressure and being a quick problem solver, especially when issues arise and must be dealt with live time.

Bonus: Do you have any tips or advice you would like to share to someone who is interested in dressage show management?

Learn as much as you can before you start. Make sure you know your prize list, the data entry software, and make sure there are hard deadlines that allow enough time to process anything received. Managing or being a secretary for a dressage show is very rewarding and can be a lot of fun, if you work hard and work together as a team.

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