A Founding Club: Midwest Dressage Association

MDA member Violet Hopkins founded the USDF/Hopkins National Seminar for Instructors (now USDF FEI-Level Trainers’ Conference), which were held at her Tristan Oaks Farm in Union Lake, MI. The late Col. Anders Lindgren demonstrates at the 1985 Hopkins seminar.

With only a few shows in the midwestern US offering dressage classes in the 1960s and no shows dedicated solely to dressage, MDA’s founding members designed an organization to help ensure the sport’s future and promote education and achievement. The Michigan-based club launched in 1969 and was invited to be a part of USDF’s formation by Col. Donald Thackeray. Several MDA members attended the 1973 organizational meeting, including Lillian Zimmerman as the club’s official delegate.

The GMO played an important role in advancing dressage education. Among its early members were the late trainer and USDF founding member Chuck Grant and the late Violet Hopkins, who founded a series of instructor seminars that later became the USDF FEI-Level Trainers’ Conference.

The MDA’s proud tradition of dressage education continues today with clinics and seminars with some of today’s brightest stars. The GMO also hosts a series of four well-regarded schooling shows over two weekends, offers year-end awards, and maintains its own Hall of Fame.


Leave a Reply