GMO Education Initiative Types

2017 GMO Education Initiative established: first grants awarded

Previously, YourDressage has shared with you Five Facts About the GMO Education Initiative. Here, we will expand on that by outlining the four types of events that can be hosted by a Group Member Organization (GMO) or chapter, as part of this initiative.

The primary objective of the GMO Education Initiative is to create and support new and affordable programs to engage members. The four types of events that GMOs or their chapters can host under the USDF GMO Education Initiative banner are:

Clinics and Symposia with USDF Certified Instructors

GMOs have the opportunity to host a traditional riding clinic or symposium as their GMO Education Initiative Events. In order to be eligible for accreditation as a GMO Education Initiative Event, the clinic/symposium must be instructed by a current USDF Certified Instructor, Honorary Instructor, or USDF Instructor/Trainer Examiner, each of whom must have completed their continuing education requirements, as well as the required Safe Sport Training. Additionally, rider selection must be done in such a manner to ensure that the schooling level of the riders does not exceed the certification level of the selected instructor.

Ride-a-Test Clinics

The ever popular Ride-a-Test clinic format provides riders the opportunity to receive feedback from a judge in a non-competitive environment. In order to be a part of the GMO Education Initiative, all judges at Ride-a-Test Clinics must be either a USDF L Program Faculty Member, a current USEF Licensed Judge, an FEI Licensed Judge, or a current USDF L Graduate with Distinction, each of which must have completed the USDF continuing education requirements and Safe Sport Training. In addition to the opportunity to receive this invaluable feedback from judges, Ride-a-Test clinics are also the perfect opportunity to bring young riders or young horses out, stress-free, and for participants to learn the new tests each cycle, as they are rolled out.


Another popular event format is the camp. Camps provide a multi-day, immersive educational opportunity for the participants. Camps may have a theme or topic of focus and,  usually, offer a combination of mounted and unmounted educational sessions to the participants such as private lessons, group lessons, lectures, and social events. For camps to be eligible to be a part of the GMO Education Initiative, all instructors must have completed the required Safe Sport Training, at least one instructor must be a current USDF Certified Instructor, Honorary Instructor, or Instructor/Trainer Examiner that has completed their USDF continuing education requirements, and the camp must offer one riding session per day in dressage.

Unmounted Events

In some instances, GMOs may opt to host an event that does not include a riding opportunity. These types of events are especially ideal to host for those in areas affected by the winter months, when it may be too cold to ride. Topics for these events can vary and may allow attendees of all ages and riding abilities. The specific curriculum for these events is determined by the GMO and the chosen instructor. To be a part of the GMO Education Initiative, even unmounted events require that the instructor be a current USDF Certified Instructor, Honorary Instructor, Instructor/Trainer Examiner, L Graduate with Distinction who has met USDF continuing education requirements, L Program Faculty Member, USEF Licensed Judge, or FEI Licensed Judge, each of which having completed the required Safe Sport Training.

To access lists of USDF Certified Instructors, L Graduates, and USEF Licensed Officials, visit the USDF website. Upcoming GMO Education Initiative Events can be found by searching the USDF Calendar of Events. They will also be published in USDF eNews and USDF Connection.

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