Get to know who’s nominated for USDF Executive Board office this year
This article is reprinted from the September/October 2023 issue of USDF Connection magazine
During the 2023 Adequan®/USDF National Convention, November 29-December 2, the USDF Board of Governors will elect three USDF members to serve as at-large directors, who are members of the USDF Executive Board.
The at-large director (ALD) positions represent USDF’s three councils: Activities, Administrative, and Technical. Classified by type of USDF activity, each council comprises several USDF committees. The Activities Council includes the Adult Programs, Awards, FEI Youth, National Youth Programs, Regional Championships, and Sport Horse Committees. The Administrative Council is the “umbrella” for the bylaws, Group Member Organizations, Historical Recognition, and Nominating Committees. The Technical Council comprises the Competition Management, Freestyle, Instructor/Trainer Development Program, Judges, L Program, and Technical Delegates Committees.
The incumbent Activities Council ALD, Sue Mandas, is running unopposed for reelection. Incumbent Technical Council ALD Sue McKeown is also running for reelection; she faces one challenger, Janet Foy, for her seat. And the Administrative Council ALD, Barbara Cadwell, is running against challengers Anne Snipes Moss and Cindi Rose Wylie as she bids to retain her seat.
Like all organizations, USDF needs committed leadership in order to enjoy continued growth and thoughtful direction. The USDF Executive Board functions as a cohesive team and strives to further the organization’s mission and goals. For the 2023 election cycle, the USDF Nominating Committee asked each ALD candidate to submit a brief biography and to answer a series of questions. Those questions are:
- Why do you wish to run for at-large director?
- If elected, what do you wish to accomplish?
- With so many diverse committees within your council, how will you support and represent each committee chairperson on the Executive Board?
- How has your involvement in local, regional, and national USDF activities promoted and enhanced dressage, both regionally and nationally?
Read on for the candidates’ biographies and responses.
Incumbent: Sue Mandas
Having been blessed with the world’s best parents (my dad was an “S” dressage judge), I began as a child riding saddle seat, then hunter/jumper, then eventing before focusing and specializing in dressage. I have been involved in the sport of dressage for over 50 years, as a competitor, trainer, instructor, and judge. It’s an addiction, really! I have earned my USDF bronze, silver (bronze and silver “with distinction”), and gold medals, as well as silver and gold freestyle bars, all on horses I have trained. My first Grand Prix horse I also bred. I have been champion or reserve at every level from Second through Grand Prix at Regionals, including some before they were Regionals, and made the US Equestrian Team long list twice. I became a judge in 1991 and am currently a US Equestrian (USEF) “S” dressage judge, an “R” sporthorse judge, and a member of the USDF Sport Horse faculty. I joined USDF when it was created and attended my first USDF convention in 1978 in Milwaukee. I have been a member of the USDF Sport Horse Committee since 2004 and currently live in Centerville, Ohio, where I train and teach. I enjoy traveling around the country judging and teaching clinics. I cannot imagine a life without horses!
Responses to questions:
- Because I feel I can bring a voice to the Executive Board that represents the committees on the Activities Council.
- I hope to continue to facilitate communication and the sharing of ideas.
- With equal respect and consideration to the mission and goals of each.
- I have been involved at local, regional, and national levels as a trainer, competitor, coach, and judge for over 50 years. I have conducted many USDF continuing-education programs and benefited from attending many USDF symposiums, Trainers Conferences, and judges’ clinics, which in return has benefited my students and competitors. I am proud to have been a part of the emphasis USDF places on education and rewarding accomplishment, which I feel has enhanced the lives of all participants in the sport of dressage.
Incumbent: Barbara Cadwell
I went to my first dressage show as a spectator in 1962, ten years before the USDF was founded. It was one of Bodo Hangen’s first competitions in this country, and Kay Meredith was riding Blue Jay. Since then I have:
- Received my USDF bronze and silver medals.
- Attended most USDF conventions, usually as a GM or PM delegate.
- Been a member of the Group Member Organizations, Bylaws, and Nominating Committees, and assisted my mother on the Historical Recognition Committee. I continue on the Nominating and Bylaws Committees.
- Become an L program graduate.
- Bred multiple horses that have earned regional and national recognition. One, Freedom, is a successful Grand Prix competitor with rider Patti Becker and has qualified for the U25 Grand Prix with Alexander Dawson.
- Been active in multiple GMOs in two regions.
- Served and continue to serve on the board of The Dressage Foundation (TDF).
- Sponsored multiple competitive horses, including Freedom and Hope of Rania.
- Served as the USDF’s Administrative Council at-large director.
Responses to questions:
- Service is a tradition in my family. COVID has presented challenges to our sport. As we emerge from its shadow, I am uniquely qualified to continue to serve the USDF as Administrative Council director.
- The Administrative Council provides the structure through which the USDF expresses itself as an amazingly democratic organization. My history of service to the USDF and dressage, as well as my legal training and experience, help the committees function.
- As a result of my current and past involvement in each committee and my long history with the USDF, I am able to represent these committees and communicate their needs.
- My involvement in local, regional, and national activities promoting dressage speaks for itself.
Candidate: Anne Snipes Moss
Anne lives with her husband, John, in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, with two dogs and four horses. She enjoys many horse sports, especially riding and teaching sidesaddle. Her background is in Pony Club (graduate “A” from Huntingdon Valley Hunt PC), Western equitation, gymkhana, pleasure driving, eventing through intermediate three-day, Grand Prix dressage, sidesaddle (USDF bronze and silver medals riding sidesaddle), and foxhunting. She is a retired practice manager for her husband’s Brandywine Valley Veterinary Hospital for the past 25 years.
As a young woman, Anne was given the chance to teach local Pony Clubbers, which blossomed into a lifelong passion for sharing the joy she has found with horses with others and running a riding school for five years. The ladder of learning that she was introduced to in Pony Club has continued to this day and fuels her passion to improve herself and those around her.
Hobbies include: pottery, horticulture, historical reenacting (Civil War, Wild West, and Rendezvous), trail riding, open-hearth cooking and baking, traveling, and volunteering. She loves to organize USDF L programs, USEF judges’ programs, and USDF sport-horse seminars.
Anne’s record of service on nonprofit boards and committees includes president of Dressage at Devon, Delaware Valley Combined Training Association past president, US Pony Clubs national examiner and NE Committee, USDF Historical Recognition Committee, past member of the USDF Sport Horse and Freestyle Committees, International Side Saddle Organization, Cochran Hunt Board.
She is a USEF “R” dressage and Western dressage judge and an “r” sport-horse judge.
Responses to questions:
- I love USDF and think it has so much potential to improve understanding of dressage principles and riding at all levels, and more important, to improve the quality of life and training for horses. USDF has done a great job of educating lower-level riders and judges with the L program. It is time to expand this concept beyond Second Level and activate the USDF Instructor/Trainer Development Program to support the needs of the riding community with excellent instruction.
- To enable more educational programs for riders, instructors, and judges in each region; develop a financial support system for recognized shows to hire more judges for panel judging; and expand membership outreach to build a larger dressage community.
- I have been a member of all of the branches of USDF: Activities Council (Sport Horse Committee), Technical Council (Freestyle Committee), and Administrative Council (Historical Recognition Committee). I have a cosmic view of the organization and experience within the Administrative Council over the past two decades. My goal is to attend the Administrative Council’s committee meetings and to stay current with chairs’ concerns and challenges, and bring those issues forward to the Executive Board.
- I have participated as a member of many GMOs and their activities over the past 20 years. I have organized or co-organized L programs, an “S” program, camps, freestyle programs, clinics, and quadrille exhibitions. As president of Dressage at Devon, I am committed to enhancing the opportunities for up-and-coming FEI riders and educational programs for the larger Mid-Atlantic dressage community.
Candidate: Cindi Rose Wylie
I was born and raised in Massachusetts by two fabulous but non-horsey parents. I started dressage lessons at the local riding school at 16 and got hooked. I graduated Tufts University with a degree in clinical psychology, later working in social services and corporate settings, in positions where I helped people with my listening, problem-solving, and goal-setting skills. I was also a working student when time allowed.
By the time I was 30, I was being offered money to ride people’s horses. Ultimately, I became a full time trainer/instructor. Thanks to GMO educational offerings and support, I’m a USEF “S” judge, a USDF-certified instructor (FEI B), and a USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist with distinction on self-trained horses.
I owned and ran a large training operation in Georgetown, Massachusetts, but recently downsized due to time constraints. Currently I teach locally, give clinics, and judge. I live in Florida with my husband, Steve Schubert. We have four adult children and a beautiful granddaughter.
My participation in GMO programs led me to volunteering. It started with my participation on an adult team. Over the years I managed shows and ran clinics, camps, large symposia, and fundraisers. I was elected to the GMO’s board and was a GM delegate at the USDF convention. My first convention was in the late 1990s. I’ve also been a PM delegate for years, served on standing committees, was chair of the Certified Instructor Subcommittee, and have many years on the Group Member Organizations Committee, which I currently chair.
Responses to questions:
- I feel I could be helpful in problem-solving issues that PM and GM membership and organizations are facing, as well as in helping to identify ways to further promote the growth of dressage in the US.
- I wish to help develop ways to get more people involved in dressage at local levels, and develop better support systems for those climbing up the levels. I would like to help improve communications between the Executive Board, the committees, and the membership.
- Using listening and problem-solving skills to help conduct our meetings, and ask the questions that help the committees think together, utilizing their diverse collective experience, and come to conclusions as a group. I will rely on my communication skills to bring the important points from our meetings to our Executive Board meetings.
- Locally, I’ve volunteered for or managed fundraisers, adult/youth camps, certified-instructor programs/testings, clinics, lectures, volunteered at shows and judges programs, and organized large symposia. Nationally, I’ve been a USDF Board of Governors PM and/or GM delegate for many years. Currently I chair the Group Member Organizations Committee. We updated the GMO awards and roundtable programs, created/implemented a recognition program for local-level volunteers, and helped reinstate the GMO educational sessions. I participated on standing committees for the National Education Initiative grant and the Schooling Show Recognition Program. As a rider and trainer, I also volunteer at educational and charity events as a volunteer, clinician, or demo rider, to help promote the sport.
Incumbent: Sue McKeown
I have been involved with dressage for over 40 years, first as a competitor and then as a competition secretary and manager, as well as by serving on the USDF Executive Board. I earned my bronze, silver, and gold medals on my two Swedish Warmbloods and truly enjoyed all aspects of training and showing as an adult amateur. I have been a secretary and/or manager for more than 100 shows in the New England area, as well as manager and secretary of the Region 8 Championships and assistant show secretary for the US Dressage Finals. I got involved with USDF first as a participating member delegate, then as a member and later chair of the Competition Management Committee. I have served two three-year terms as the Technical Council at-large director. As ALD I have focused on supporting the committees, which is where the real work of USDF is done, and on working with the committee chairs to help them with their jobs. I truly enjoy the dressage community and love being involved at all levels of the sport.
Responses to questions:
- I want to help and to be part of the future direction of dressage in the United States. I think the way to do that is to represent the committees that are part of the Technical Council on the Executive Board, but also to bring my varied expertise in management and strategic planning to the board.
- I would like to continue to see more shows across the US be well run and managed, and bring the ideas and practices of one area to the visibility of other areas. This would include focusing on meeting the needs of competitors, officials, show management, and the USDF and USEF. I would like to continue the meetings between committee chairs to help with their education and jobs.
- Listening to and understanding the issues of each committee would be key. I would attend as many of their calls and meetings as possible, and discuss with the chairperson any specific concerns they would want taken to the other councils and the Executive Board.
- I have managed and been secretary for more than 100 recognized dressage shows in the New England area and in Virginia. As chair of the USDF Competition Management Committee, I have organized and helped to teach training sessions at USDF conventions. And I have volunteered at many schooling shows in our region, to encourage growth in dressage starting from the lowest levels.
Candidate: Janet Foy
Janet is a FEI 5*/Level 4 dressage judge and a US Equestrian (USEF) Senior (“S”) judge. She is a USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist.
Janet has judged all the major competitions in North America, including several FEI North American Young Rider Championships. She was on the panel for the FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Paris and served as president in Omaha 2023. She judged the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, and will be the FEI technical delegate (TD) for Santiago, Chile, 2023. Janet judged the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the 2019 European Championships, and the 2018 European U25 Championships, and was the FEI TD for the World Dressage Championships in Herning 2022. She has judged the Bolivarian Games and the Central American Caribbean Games. Janet has done extensive judging in Europe, South America, Australia, and Asia.
Janet is a former member of the Board of Directors for the American Horse Shows Association, USA Equestrian, and the USEF, and served on the International Disciplines Council. She has been a 30-year member of the USEF Dressage Sport Committee and was chair of the High Performance Committee. She is a retired member of the USDF “L” program faculty. Janet is the first vice president for the International Dressage Officials Club.
She has been a volunteer and officer with her GMO and is also a former USDF Region 5 director. She has served on the USDF Competitors, Judges, Young Horse, Test Writing, and Sport Horse Committees; and she chaired the University Committee. Janet has also managed Regional Championships and CDI competitions in Region 5.
Responses to questions:
- I have served USDF in many capacities and am excited for several projects the board has been developing. I am in a good position now to have the time and to use my expertise to help see these projects through to fruition.
- I would like to see better communication and shared education among judges, competitors, and instructors. Having been a judge instructor for the FEI and US and also a coach and trainer to the top levels, I think I have a unique background to see these projects through to a successful launch! Dressage will only grow and succeed in our country if all stakeholders have shared goals and exposure to top educational opportunities. USDF can provide this with the correct leadership.
- I have been involved in committee work for USDF and USEF for 30 years. I have become a good listener and feel I am a good communicator. The key is finding the right priorities for each group and then a pathway for success in the organization.
- I have been a volunteer for my GMO and for USDF, and have chaired the USEF High Performance Committee. I am a past show manager, including of CDIs. I have been involved with every aspect of the horse world and the dressage world for 40 years. I also have vast knowledge of dressage around the world. I have seen the good and bad in Europe, eastern Europe, and Central and South America.
I am the first vice president for the International Dressage Officials Club and am its North American board member. I have run judges forums internationally and would love to have seminars at top shows for riders, breeders, and judges. All stakeholders need to be brought into this orb of education.