2020 – What a Year for GDCTA!

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Tessa Geven & Tullymor's Houdini Pony Champion Musical Freestyle; Reserve FEI Jr/YR

By Janie Pride

Reprinted from the 2020 GDCTA Virtual Awards Gala newsletter.

Wow! It’s been quite a year for Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Association (GDCTA) Board members, GDCTA members, riders, owners, and trainers! We started off the year 2020 excitedly awaiting new meetings, competitions, clinics, the USDF and USEF Conventions, and the Annual GDCTA Awards Gala and silent auction.

Sterling Equestrian celebrated their wins together

Each year GDCTA holds a super Gala with food, drinks, award ceremonies, a big silent auction, and the Barn Basket raffle. It’s also the time of year when GDCTA members visit and celebrate with new and old friends. The GDCTA Board works quite hard to plan and put on this celebration. A grand time is had by all!

Pony Champion AA Darcy Sun & Blueridge Starbound
Team Ghost’s Ben Turner & Makenzie REnier

We all stated the competition year of 2020 with great expectations. We were ready to continue our riding career with lessons clinics, competitions, Regionals, getting together with riding friends, riding activities, and participating in the GDCTA Gala! We all rode hard and strived to increase our competiotno scores as that we could walk across the Gala stage and receive a coveted GDCTA Recognized Show or Schooling Show award or Letterman Jacket! We also looked forward to bidding on the silent auction or winning a Barn Basket in the raffle.

Then COVID hit! Our daily lives and riding lives – everything really – changed drastically in a short space of time. No longer could we all meet at the barn or go out to eat as a group. Lessons, competitions, clinics, and meetings were canceled. The USDF and USEF Conventions were held as ZOOM meetings. Everyone in our riding community faced hardships and missed opportunities.

Then the question came up. What are we going to do about the Awards Gala? The GDCTA Board members and GDCTA members were concerned about what we could do to put on our yearly event. The GDCTA Board spent hours researching solution to our problems. Caren Caverly, the GDCTA President, found a company that could help us, CLICKBID. Their auction software was a real solution to our problem. It allowed us to set up a virtual vehicle in which we could manage an online silent auction and raffle.

Bidding on the items was easy and the system let us know when we were outbid. Convenient! We could also purchase items using the Buy It Now option listed on the item and pay using credit cards and our phones.

Others watched the videos on TV. Very cool!

There was also a feature which allowed us to set up a virtual showing of award winners using videos. June Brewer worked an insane number of hours putting the video of the award winners together please thank Caren Caverly, June Brewer, Liz Molloy, Peri Lambros, and the GDCTA Board for their tireless work on the Gala! Caren arranged for a group of “elves” to pick up winners’ awards, silent auctions, barn baskets, and make them available for pick up to the recipients. Whew! What a mass undertaking! the Gala went off smoothy.

2020 was going to an extra special year for me! the Board allowed me to establish Special Pony Awards in honor and memory of my incredible Dutch ponies, Ico and Ilja. the ponies really put me on the dressage map. I was so excited about giving out the awards. If you know me, you know I love being on the stage! I was a bit disappointed, but June did a fabulous presentation of the awards. Many members got together to watch the sinners” presentations together. I hope my Pony Award winners could “feel” my congratulations across the Internet.

The Virtual Gala was an awesome substitute for our regular Gala! Thanks to all who made it a huge success!

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