Interesting Education Sessions You Won’t Want to Miss at the 2020 Adequan®/USDF Virtual Convention


By Chelsey Burris

This year, the Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention is going virtual for the first time ever.  If you’ve not typically been able to join us in the past, due to the location or cost to attend, this is the year to get involved!  USDF members can attend the virtual convention free of charge, and experience first-hand USDF governance in action, engage with your friends, peers, mentors, and representatives, gain knowledge through educational opportunities, and join us for a look back at the year that was 2020. In addition to roundtables, open forums, and awards, there is also a full slate of interesting education sessions scheduled for the week.  Take a look below to see what’s in store for this year’s education sessions!

Youth Education – You Be the Judge with Margaret Freeman

This youth education session will feature USEF Senior Dressage Judge Margaret Freeman.  Participants will view videos of Training and First Level rides, and have the opportunity to write their own comments and numbers for a test. We will then go back through the test and review the possible scores and comments, so you can see how yours would compare. This session will be held Saturday, December 5 from 12:00 – 1:00 PM EST. Learn more about this youth education session with this short video.


Materiale Classes for the Dressage Horse with Kristi Wysocki

If you have a young horse and are interested in materiale classes, this education session is for you!  Speaker Kristi Wysocki is a FEI 4 star dressage judge, 5 star para dressage judge, and USEF Registered Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Judge, as well as chair of the USDF Sport Horse Committee.  Join her as she discusses the ins and outs of riding and judging materiale classes. This session is approved for L Graduate Continuing EducationIt is scheduled for 5:00 – 6:00 PM EST on Saturday, December 5.


Drugs, Devices, and Decisions: Understanding Your Options in Managing Equine Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) with Dr. Marian Graves  

We thank our convention’s title sponsor Adequan® for providing this education session, where equine veterinarian Dr. Marian Graves will go over the pathogenesis of degenerative joint disease (DJD), diagnostic modalities, and treatment options for the equine athlete. In addition, the differences between FDA drugs, generics, compounded drugs, and medical devices will be covered.  This session will wrap up Saturday’s educational offerings, being held from 6:30 – 7:30 PM EST.


GMO Education – 8 Ways to Grow Your GMO with Jean Rude

Group Member Organizations (GMOs) are always looking for new and creative ways to increase their membership numbers.  Jean Rude, former president of Eastern Iowa Dressage and Eventing Association, will present different ways to boost memberships, including strategies that helped grow a struggling GMO 259% in two years. Some of the topics that will be covered are positioning your brand for success, planning programming that creates a buzz, and how to turn your newsletter into a siren call, with dozens of tips that can help you energize your GMO. This session will be held Sunday, December 6 from 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST. Learn more with this short video.


Bits 101 with Beth Haist

Is your horse using the right bit for them?  Join Beth Haist, owner and founder of The Horse of Course, as we explore different types of bits in this session.  Beth trained with Alix Etherington, a well-respected bit engineer from England. This education session will give the audience the tools on how to choose the correct bit. Beth will cover the history of classic bits, discuss the differences in metals, weights of bits, and how it affects horses. She will also explain the different types of snaffles, how they are engineered to work in the mouth, and how to correctly fit a bit to your horse. With this information, riders should be able to look at a bit and understand how it impacts points of control and whether it is appropriate for their horse. This session is scheduled for 2:30 – 3:30 PM on Sunday, December 6. 


Training Issues of the Not-So-Perfect Dressage Horse with Janet Foy

International dressage judge, clinician, and riding coach Janet Foy has ridden many different horses—different sizes, colors, and breeds—to the highest levels of dressage competition. In this session, she will discuss the best tips for training and showing the not-so-perfect dressage horses. This session is approved for L Graduate Continuing Education and will be held Sunday, December 6, at 3:45 – 4:45 PM EST.


The P’s and Q’s of Protein Feeding in Equine Diets with Dr. Caroline Loos

For optimal performance, feeding good quality protein is important. To put that into practice, we need to understand what defines the “quality” of protein and what to look for when choosing feeds for our horses. Dr. Caroline Loos, who has been working on several research projects in collaboration with Cavalor Feeds, will lead this session. This presentation will encompass key concepts regarding protein quality, commonly used protein sources in equine diets, and most importantly, how to safely and effectively feed it to horses. She will also briefly touch on the relationship between dietary protein and muscle development and share some of the exciting research she has been conducting in this area. This session will be held 5:00 – 6:00 PM EST on Sunday, December 6.Learn more with this short video.


Sleep for Success with Dr. Sandy Venneman

This session will conclude the 2020 convention, with a time of 6:15 – 7:15 PM EST.  After spending a few days learning, it will be a great time to close your laptop, turn off your phone, and get some sleep, hence the topic of this session.  Dr. Sandy Venneman is an experimental psychologist and combines psychology with over 40 years of experience riding to help equestrians reach their potential.  She will explain why sleep is vital to athletes and their performance. Learn why sleep is important, how much you need, and how much your horse needs. Dr. Venneman will cover the importance of sleep hygiene and how to be better prepared for success in your dressage test. Learn more about this session with this short video.


Ready to join us for our virtual convention? Register here for any (or all!) of these sessions, as well as much more! Registration is FREE for any USDF Member who has 2020 or 2021 USDF membership. If you’re not a member but want to attend, you can become a USDF Education Member for only $35 and join us for the full Virtual Convention. Become a member here!




  1. […] The annual convention is always a great place to further your dressage education.  This year is no different, as we have a full schedule of education sessions featuring experts from various industries.  These include presentations on equine nutrition, training issues, proper bitting, growing your Group Member Organization, horse health, and much more.  There are also numerous roundtable discussions and open forums planned, giving you a chance to engage with others about a variety of topics facing and related to our sport.  Learn more about all the interesting education sessions you can attend this week here! […]

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