USDF Participating & Group Membership: What I Need to Know


As we approach the end of the 2020 membership year, and look forward to the 2021 membership year, it is important to understand the memberships available, the benefits related to each, and the requirements of different programs in relation to membership. This list will help to answer some of the most commonly asked questions related to USDF Participating and Group Membership (PM and GM).

Which membership is right for me?

The answer to this question depends on your goals. For most championship and award programs, a USDF Participating Membership is required. However, a USDF Group Membership allows the member to compete in USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized competitions, as well as the ability to earn USDF Rider Awards. Both membership types run on the same membership year (December 1 to November 30).

What is the difference in benefits between a Participating and Group Membership?

Both USDF Participating and Group Members receive many excellent benefits including a subscription to USDF Connection magazine, discounts in the USDF store and at USDF events, access to USDF’s online education, the ability to compete in USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized competitions, and the opportunity to earn USDF Rider Awards. The major difference between the two membership types is that USDF Participating Membership is required for most championship and award programs. For a full list of specific program requirements, view the USDF Member Guide.

Why would I want to have both a USDF Participating and Group Membership?

Surprisingly, there are a number of reasons a member may want to carry both types of membership. As stated previously, USDF Participating Membership is required for most USDF championship and award programs, so if a member wishes to participate in those, they would require a PM. One of the biggest benefits of becoming a GM is the sense of comradery and belonging that you get from being a part of your local dressage community. These local clubs provide direct access to the goings on in your area and keep you connected with an entire community of people as dedicated to the sport as you are. Additionally, most Group Member Organizations have an extensive benefit and program list of their own that are available to their members. So, anyone wishing to tap into both the local dressage community, as well as dressage on a more national level, would benefit greatly from retaining both memberships.

Do I need a membership as an owner?

For almost every USDF award program, there is some membership requirement for the horse owner at the time scores are earned. Because this varies program to program, owners should refer to the current year’s USDF Member Guide for any program-specific requirements. (There is no membership requirement to register a horse with USDF.)

How can I join or renew my membership?

Only USDF Participating Memberships can be obtained directly through USDF. USDF Group Membership is obtained by joining a USDF Group Member Organization (GMO). The GMO then passes the membership information along to USDF. To renew your PM, you may do so online, by fax or mail (printable membership form), or by contacting the USDF office at 859-971-2277. Also, for current members, you will receive an envelope inside the November/December issue of USDF Connection each year which can be pulled out and mailed back to the USDF office with payment.

How long does it take for USDF to process my membership?

For USDF Participating Memberships, during normal operations, we ask that you allow two business days for processing. USDF Group Memberships are updated when roster updates are received, with payment, from the GMO.

For any and all other membership questions, our membership department is always here to help. Call us at 859-971-2277 or e-mail for assistance.

Ready to join or renew today?  Visit the USDF website for more information!

*USDF Business and Education Memberships also available. More information on these membership types can be found on the membership page of the USDF website.

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