Dressage instructor Sonya Kershaw and about nine novice dressage riders—most of whom were Kershaw’s students—started the St. Louis Area Dressage Society in 1973 in Arnold, MO. Approximately ten were in the initial group, most of whom were only familiar with upper-level dressage through photographs. Early club activities included clinics with Violet Hopkins, founder of the USDF instructor seminars.
In the early years, SLADS ran several schooling shows and fun activities. Today the calendar is crowded with activities, including the SLADS Fall Classic, which has been the host competition for the Great American/USDF Region 4 Championships in the past. Clinics, seminars, schooling shows, and year-end awards are also on the SLADS roster.