Take the Reins – Things to Look Forward to at the 2022 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention


By Ross Creech for YourDressage

The 2022 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention is just around the corner and the excitement is building! As the first in-person convention since 2019, USDF members are clamoring to get back to normal, with face-to-face interactions and meetings, premium education opportunities, and the networking and socializing that have always been convention staples. Here are just some of the exciting things attendees can look forward to in Lexington:

Immensely Popular Forums

Both the longstanding discussion forums and the newly instituted council forums have proven a big hit with attendees. To that end, this year features many forums where attendees can participate in active discussions on topics relevant to the organization, their GMO, their horse, and themselves. In addition to the three council forums (Activities, Administrative, and Technical), which feature panels of the committee chairs making up each council, presenting their accomplishments and goals, and allowing members to ask questions and discuss topics most important to them, other forums being offered include:

  • USEF/USDF Open Forum (Trending Topics in Sport & USEF Rule Changes)Discussing the latest trends in dressage and new rule proposals being put forward at the USEF convention.
  • US Dressage Finals Open Forum – Providing updates and asking questions regarding USDF’s premier event.
  • Competition Open Forum – Discussing developments in the competition world with representatives of USDF’s competition-related committees.

Featured Education

USDF is pleased to offer a number of education topics, with top-tier presenters. This year’s lineup includes:

  • Equine Podiatry with Dr. Craig Lesser, DVM – In this session, Dr. Lesser, who after completing a fellowship at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital went on to become a shareholder in the practice, will cover everything from common problems to chronic issues, and even traumatic injuries and their solutions.
  • First Aid – A Response to Equestrian Emergencies with Gwen Ka’awaloa – Gwen’s 21 years of experience as an Emergency Medical Technician Intermediate and Critical Care Tech with the Parker Adventist Hospital Emergency Department makes her more than equipped to present this session. Here, she will focus on first aid responses to falls and other barn-related accidents. (Gwen is also the 2022 USDF Volunteer of the Year!)
  • Constructing a Wellness Program for the Aging Performance Horse with Dr. Avi Blake, DVM – Dr. Blake, who has a BS in Zoology in addition to her DVM degree, transitioned away from clinical practice in 2008 to pursue technical editing for a major publisher and animal health industry clients. Having a frequent byline in Veterinary Medicine and on dvm360.com, she has worked closely with scientists and other veterinarians over the years. Joining American Regent Animal Health in 2021 as their Technical Services Veterinarian, she is uniquely qualified to guide our members on how to develop a wellness plan for their aging sport horses.

Unique Opportunities for Group Members

The annual convention has always offered a unique opportunity for Group Members to come together, share ideas, brainstorm solutions to common struggles, and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. This year will be no different with the many exciting opportunities geared toward our Group Members (GMs).

  • GMO Roundtable Discussions – The most popular of our GM-specific offerings, this year’s topics will focus on keeping GMO-hosted competitions affordable for members, attracting and maintaining sponsorship, and developing and supporting affordable education for members.
  • Featured GMO Education – Fundraising is an essential part of a GMOs existence and longevity, and in this highly anticipated session, Nancy Haws will be sharing the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ for tackling this important task.
  • 2022 GMO Awards Presentation – Join us on Saturday, at the Board of Governors General Assembly, as we recognize our 2022 GMO Award winners. Presented in the categories of excellence in newsletters, websites, first person and general interest articles, and creative and inspired GMO programs, it is our honor to award and celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of our GMOs and their members. This presentation will also recognize our nine GMO Volunteers of the Year for their outstanding volunteer efforts at the local level.
  • By Special Invitation – The USDF Competition Management Committee has extended an invitation, specifically to Group Members, to encourage attendance at their educational event, Be Prepared: Execution of Accident Preparedness, Handling Emergencies, and Isolation Plans. This session also serves as continuing education for competition management.

Return of Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet

This year will feature the return of the Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet. The Salute Gala portion of the evening affords USDF the opportunity to recognize dignitaries, such as Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame Inductee Janine Malone, Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Lisa Gorretta, Member of Distinction Bonna McCuiston, Volunteer of the Year Gwen Ka’awaloa, and Youth Volunteer of the Year Maren Elise Fouche-Hanson.

The transition to the Awards Banquet portion of the evening will see the presentation of the Adequan®/USDF Year-End and All-Breeds Awards, highlighting top competitors and horses from across the country in USDF’s many award categories, as well as their successes within their own breed standings. Additionally, many of our perpetual trophies will be presented, such as the Colonel Thackeray, presented to the Adequan®/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year, the Hilltop Farm, presented to the Adequan®/USDF Dressage Breeder of the Year, and the Sunshine Sport Horse Association perpetual trophies.

This illustrious night will also include the recognition of the USDF Rider and Breeder of Distinction Award Recipients, as well as a special World Dressage Championships presentation.

Back in the Bluegrass

After two years away, it only makes sense that this year’s convention is being held in our ‘old Kentucky home’. Lexington is not only renowned as the ‘horse capital of the world’, but it is also home to the USDF National Education Center and plays host to USDF’s premier event, the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®. This of course, is in addition to the many horse farms, training facilities, and the beauty of the Keeneland Racetrack that round out the rolling landscape.

In addition to all the usual things that Lexington has to offer, the holiday season brings something extra. From the city’s gorgeous and festive holiday tree in Triangle Park, with the ice-skating rink nestled near, to the beautifully decorated downtown landscape featuring horse-inspired art from local artists, and the ever popular and nearly unparalleled Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park, the holiday season in the bluegrass is something magical…especially for horse lovers!

(Did we mention that the city’s tree and ice-skating rink provide the perfect backdrop to our annual convention, as they are located just outside the host hotel?)

So please, join us in Lexington, as we celebrate the year that was 2022, and look to the future as our members ‘take the reins’ and guide us into 2023 and beyond!

To register, purchase tickets, or for more information, visit the 2022 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention website.

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