Staff Picks – Our Favorite Stories From the First Year of YourDressage!

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YourDressage is celebrating its One Year Anniversary!  Meet the faces behind USDF’s publications website, as the team chooses their favorite articles, videos, and photos since our launch!

Emily’s Picks

Photo by John Borys Photography

Emily is the USDF Senior Publications Coordinator, and she has been with USDF for almost 15 years.  She uploads stories onto YourDressage, maintains the scheduling calendar, and leads weekly meetings with the YourDressage editorial team to check the status of all content. One of her favorite articles since our launch is A Day in the Life of a Dressage Photographer, where John Borys gives us a fun and colorful peek behind the lens at what he does in a typical day at a horse show.  She also likes Dressage Therapy – How Dressage Has Helped My Daughter, where Jennie Pruden writes about how much her autistic daughter Payton has benefitted from dressage. 

Ross’ Picks

Photo by SusanJStickle.com

Ross keeps busy at USDF as the Marketing Manager.  In addition to general oversight of YourDressage projects, he helps with the review process of articles we receive, and also writes some of our articles.  Looking back at our first year, his favorites include some of our listicles, like 5 Unique Dressage Mounts at Finals, which highlights a few of the interesting and unusual breeds that have competed at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®.  He is also a fan of our Tip Tuesday series, which give you short bite-sized guidelines each week. Among his favorite Tip Tuesday videos is Simple Changes, which features Grand Prix rider and Jr/ YR clinician (and former USDF President) George Williams giving tips for improving your canter-walk-canter transitions.

Amber’s Picks

Photo by Bethany Larsen

As USDF’s Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Amber wears many hats.  She edits and uploads our weekly video features (including our Featured Videos and Tip Tuesdays), reviews and edits story submissions, and runs many of the technical and behind the scene functions of YourDressage.  She names Invest the Time by Bethany Larsen as one of her favorite stories since the launch, which reminds us to slow down and really enjoy our time with our horses.  She also thinks A Life Spent with Quarter Horses was a great article, where QH enthusiast Joni Patten describes bringing this breed through the levels.  

Katie’s Picks

Photo by John Borys

Katie, USDF’s Graphic and Multimedia Coordinator, keeps YourDressage looking great.  She creates ads, banners, and anything else we might need, coordinates Photo of the Week and Word of the Week submissions, and solicits for original content stories.  One of her latest endeavors is our new series, “The Many Faces of Dressage” which takes a look at some of the unconventional breeds you may see in the dressage ring. Katie’s favorite Photo of the Week so far is Wagner #2, which was submitted by John Borys Photography.  As far as articles go, Katie thinks one of our best is Mustangs at Wills Park.  This article, by Caitlyn Bennett, was a GMO Newsletter Award winner from Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Association.

Chelsey’s Picks

Photo via Sally O’Dwyer

Senior Marketing Coordinator Chelsey loves connecting with folks to share their stories.  She runs USDF’s social media pages, and helps bring in new story leads from our different platforms, as well as promoting the stories once they are published and keeping track of trending articles.  She writes some of our original content, and reviews and edits story submissions we receive. Chelsey loves our weekly videos, choosing her favorite Featured Video as Working with a Horse’s Conformation, a clip from the 2017 Adequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference, which features Lilo Fore and Hans-Christian Matthiesen discussing the benefits of working with a horse’s natural way of going.  Chelsey’s favorite article so far is Fancy “Prancy” Not Required, where Sally O’Dwyer writes about how dressage is for every horse.

Amanda’s Picks

Photo via Sarah Azbill

Amanda represents the USDF Operations Department at our weekly YourDressage meetings.  The Operations Administrative Coordinator works to bring story ideas to the table, and also helps keep the group coordinated with reminders about assignments and deadlines.  She also writes some of our original content. When looking back at her favorite stories, Amanda is especially fond of Forging Ahead: An Interview with a Female Farrier.  Sarah Azbill provides an interesting take on her experience in a predominantly male trade. Amanda also selected Tales of a Horse Show Organizer: Chapter 1, in which Christina Keim writes about some things you might not consider when organizing a competition. 

Jill’s Picks

Photo via Sgt. Joe Cummings
*USDF strongly recommends all riders wear protective headgear when mounted.

Jill attends our weekly meetings as a representative of the USDF Membership Department.  As the USDF GMO Coordinator, she brings us our monthly GMO Spotlights, which feature different Group Member Organizations across the country.  She also works with members to bring new stories to YourDressage.  Since our launch, Jill’s favorite story was Lisa Blackmon’s Texas Team Takes on the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, written by Suellen Hogue, the story of a Region 9 trainer who had five of her students qualify for the 2019 Finals.  Since she works so closely with our GMOs, Jill has firsthand knowledge of the GMO Newsletter Award winners that we share on YourDressage.  Her favorite GMO Newsletter article this year was Classical Dressage: From Dallying a Rope on My Saddle Horn to Breeches and Tall Boots, from Rocky Mountain Dressage Society, where Sgt. Joe Cummings writes about his transition from the western world to English riding. 

Jamie’s Picks

Photo via Meghan Miller

USDF’s Education Coordinator Jamie is our main contact for all things youth-oriented, including content from Jr/YR clinics, the North American Youth Championships, and Youth Convention scholarship winners.  She attends our weekly meetings to represent the USDF Education Department. Among her favorite stories since the launch, she chooses NAJYRC: From Dreams to Reality.   This story from Meghan Miller takes you inside the world of a young rider with the goal of making the team for NAYC (formerly NAJYRC).  Jamie also loved Ariel Christy’s story Rising to the Occasion in the Rolex Arena, which profiles USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist Kasey Mix of Texas, who participated in the Retired Racehorse Project’s 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover.

Taylor’s Picks

Photo by Terri Miller

Taylor, USDF Senior Competitions Coordinator, brings us stories from competitions and show management.  Hailing from the USDF Competitions Department, she attends many of our shows and gets to meet the faces behind our stories.  She likes Cross-Training the Rider: The Importance of Trying Different Disciplines, an article by USDF Youth Volunteer of the Year Ruby Tevis about some of the different disciplines that can help you become a better dressage rider.   For her other story, Taylor tags Vincente Flores: From Expatriate to Engineer to Dressage Trainer.  In this article, Samantha Yonika writes about USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medalist, and Gold Bar recipient Vincent Flores, who left his corporate engineering job to focus solely on his horse goals, and shares tips for others looking to pursue their dream career as well. 

We are all looking forward to year two of YourDressage.  We have some exciting new ideas, stories, and videos on the horizon, and we can’t wait for you to join us here for your daily dose of unique dressage content!

What are your favorites from Year 1?  Let us know in the comments below! It’s YourDressage, be a part of it!  If you have an idea for a story, e-mail us at yourdressage@usdf.org!

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