When the Whole World Turned to Zoom…


By Darian Quinn

It feels like ages ago now that our whole world came to a screeching halt. Really it was only two months ago. In that time, USDF Group Member Organizations (GMOs), governing organizations, horse shows, and individuals have turned to Zoom to host community-building events.

Coming into this new world, I had a bit of a leg up on the Zoom platform. I had used it every day for just over a year while completing my master’s degree in communications virtually at Syracuse University. Because of this, I found I was in a great position to teach GMO officers and their membership the ins and outs of a successful Zoom meeting.

For those who felt they needed a more robust understanding of how to use Zoom and how to host meetings, I have created Zoom 101 and Zoom 201! Head on over to Youtube and watch, and you may pick up a couple of tips and tricks you haven’t figured out yet.

One of the most successful events to come out of the online migration was the creation of the Eastern New York Dressage and Combined Training Association (ENYDCTA) trivia night. We have hosted two so far, and both have been well attended, with lots of laughing.

Teams of participants are established at the beginning of the game, and breakout rooms are set up to allow each team to work through questions together without being overheard.

We had some super groups get together that dominated! In our very first game, one team was built of four members who had never met; not only did they win, but they became friends! It was the entire reason we hosted these events.

Our events consisted of 4 rounds with an additional “tie-breaker” round. Each round had a specific category and was 5 questions. The categories were ENYDCTA, Dressage, Eventing, and General Horse. The tie-breaker was one question from each of those categories.

While we did offer prizes for playing, most people were just happy to have a social gathering that allowed them to interact with friends and fellow horse people. The trivia games also provide an element of competition, which many of us are missing and craving.

Each round had friendly banter as scores were presented and excitement for the next series of questions. While we never needed our tie-breaker round, many opted to play it just for fun as the questions were more difficult than the rest.

If you are interested in hosting a trivia night for your GMO, be ready to spend some time getting really familiar with Zoom and moving between programs such as Excel and your presentation software. I am more than happy to help answer any questions on that and work with you to find certain program features that are beneficial to smooth operation.

All in all, Zoom trivia night has been the perfect distraction from the lack of horse shows, and it has fostered new friendships! That is what I would deem a success.

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