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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,256

    Default Your GMO: What's in it for you?

    Please share your stories of how your GMO serves its members. Hosting Clinics? Excellent meeting topics? Newsletters? The number of shows? Options for greenbeans? young riders? donkeys (just testing your reading comprehension with that last one)?

    I would love to hear your input on what's pretty cool about your GMO.

    And what would you like to see the GMO STOP doing?

    And what would you like to see the GMO START doing?


    Thanks in advance on this rainy Christmas day



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2012
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    38

    Default

    My GMO is CDS, the California Dressage Society.

    I get more out of my GMO than any other organization in terms of education. It depends on the chapter, but many sponsor clinics. Last year I attended one on equine nutrition and next year we will have a freestyle clinic. We do benefit from the knowledge of the many national level riders in our GMO.

    One of the competitions CDS sponsors is the Regional Adult Amateur Competition. Three are held in the North, Central and South regions so you don't have to travel very far to attend. These are a great lower cost, lower pressure option for AA's who want to a yearly goal but not the intensity of the annual championships.

    The number of CDS only recognized shows has gone down. In talking to show managers, this is more a function of the economy, many people are focusing their show funds on USEF/USDF recognized shows. They are trying to lower costs to make the one star shows more appealing.

    Don't kow about donkeys, but I believe our GMO has a couple of the top dressage mules in the country.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2012
    Posts
    1,795

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oreobob View Post
    Don't kow about donkeys, but I believe our GMO has a couple of the top dressage mules in the country.
    One of which is boarded at my barn right now.

    I no longer belong to CDS. One of the reasons I did not renew was that the newsletter was so self-referential. It would be a write up of some fabulous clinic, followed by letters from the participants praising the fabulousness of the clinic. Also, there might have been other breeds participating, but the pictures were all of the big fancy warmblood, month after month. It got very old.

    I would like to see the newsletter focus more on education or profiles of the local BNTs and stop with the event coverage.

    There is an annual clinic in the general area, but instead of holding the clinic in the LA area or even north of here in Moorpark area, the clinic is held at a private facility in the mountains. Because it's a private facility, the address is not even posted on the notices, so if you want to audit, you have to call the individual and ask for the address. When the president asked in her column a few years ago why attendance at these clinics was so sparse, I told her everything I am saying here.

    The RAAC is the best thing that ever happened in CDS, IMO. My horse became lame right before the first show. I was so bummed, because that is exactly where I felt we could compete. If I ever get the chance to show again, that will be my goal.
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2000
    Location
    Somewhere in the Midwest
    Posts
    2,081

    Default

    I support a GMO that is a distance away but offers quality activities, well managed shows, educational activities and a super awards program with something for everyone. I do NOT support the local GMO where the wheels have come off over the last 6 or 7 years....Tom Cruise jumping up and down on the couch would say these people are cultish...lost cause.
    I also support a smaller club about 100 miles away that is not a GMO but is about the best group I have been a part of. NOT self-serving, friendly, nice shows, affordable dues because it is NOT a GMO. Everyone really works together with a nice round robin of volunteers. I drive 125 miles to attend their events and help because they are worth it.
    I don't know if or how the USDF can keep GMO's from not deteriorating into a nasty coven of witches.
    I would like to see the Regional Directors take more of a role into the development and management of the GMO's and the promotion of education in their Regions...there really are remote areas where a GMO is not going to benefit you. There are a ton of private facilities just "doing their own thing" that are not thru a GMO. Maybe have a central place where education and clinics etc can be promoted.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,256

    Default

    Hey, I have a donkey! No dissing of donkeys was implied or inferred!

    Keep the stories coming!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2008
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    224

    Default

    My GMO Is the Northern Ohio Dressage Assossiation, or NODA.

    We have a schooling show series every year in diff. locations, a two day rec. show in the summer, a great Awards program, great website/ newsletter, yearly banquet, clinics/ seminars. Every event is very well organized and it's all around just a fun, friendly & helpful group of people!! I just found out about a planned certified instructor workshop and I am all excited



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2003
    Location
    Eastern Pacific coast
    Posts
    3,637

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    I no longer belong to CDS. One of the reasons I did not renew was that the newsletter was so self-referential. It would be a write up of some fabulous clinic, followed by letters from the participants praising the fabulousness of the clinic. Also, there might have been other breeds participating, but the pictures were all of the big fancy warmblood, month after month. It got very old.
    This is so true. Only thank you letters are published. No letters to the editor about opinions on dressage topics are printed. Any news items are usually the "Don't forget to renew your membership" kind.

    CDS is not one to take suggestions kindly, nor do they appreciate being questioned. It's a tough bunch.

    However, they must be running a tight ship, otherwise they would have sunk years ago.
    -Amor vincit omnia-



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    1,410

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mardi View Post
    This is so true. Only thank you letters are published. No letters to the editor about opinions on dressage topics are printed. Any news items are usually the "Don't forget to renew your membership" kind.

    CDS is not one to take suggestions kindly, nor do they appreciate being questioned. It's a tough bunch.

    However, they must be running a tight ship, otherwise they would have sunk years ago.
    Actually, I have found CDS to be very open to suggestions as both of those I've offered were accepted. Given the size of the organization, by far the largest GMO, it is incredibly well run IMO.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2010
    Posts
    1,641

    Default

    I'm also a CDS member. Sure, they aren't totally going to change direction for every suggestion they get, but I've found they are fairly open to conversation. Several years ago, the President asked why the AA clinics aren't well attended and I wrote a pretty detailed letter - pointing out location difficulties, reality of AA work lives, etc - it was not a warm fuzzy letter, and it got published.

    CDS has been pretty supportive of regular riders - the RAAC is a fabulous program - for AA riders ONLY! They also have an annual AA clinic - where one AA member from each chapter gets to ride with a BNT. They offer grants to local chapters for educational events.

    They also oversee an annual Jr Championship show (2 shows, one on each side of the State, again, to keep travel costs down), which caters to a handful of kids with money and a HUGE contingency of normal, middle-class kids riding normal horses (much different from USDF's JR/YR program, which is really focused on priviliged kids on 6 figure horses).

    They run an annual championship show in conjunction with USDF's regional championship show - and again, they are smart enough to rotate back and forth, North and South, so all can attend - even if not showing, it is a great show to attend just to watch quality rides (and shop).

    They also came out against the Rider Qualification standards, realizing it would have negative impact on many riders.

    A few years ago, there was talk of moving the "Northern" championship to a central location - which would have actually hurt most of the Nor-Cal and eastern location riders, and membership came out against that move - CDS listened.

    CDS isn't perfect, but I think it is a pretty darn good GMO, especially considering how HUGE an area they have to cater to. I appreciate that they do move their programs up and down the State, so there is a chance for everyone to attend, and they support individual chapters (like GMOS to the GMO), so there are educational events all over the State.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,256

    Default

    I am so interested in hearing more input: I'm heavily involved in our small GMO, and I'm eager to hear from people who are happy- or unhappy- with their own GMO, looking for ways to suggest improvements to better serve our members, and to encourage more folks to join.

    Thanks everyone, keep it coming.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,256

    Default

    I am so interested in hearing more input: I'm heavily involved in our small GMO, and I'm eager to hear from people who are happy- or unhappy- with their own GMO, looking for ways to suggest improvements to better serve our members, and to encourage more folks to join.

    Thanks everyone, keep it coming.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2006
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    2,232

    Default

    Over the years I've definitely seen improvement in our GMO and have come to appreciate all that they do. We have two schooling show series which, one has it's own year end awards, the other holds a championship at the end of the season. There is an annual hosted/sponsored BNT clinic and they've encouraged all to participate (taken a lot of ammy's with all types of horses). They have solicited suggestions and tried to deliver on a variety of educational clinics - scribing, biomechanics, saddle fitting, etc. They have tried to improve the offerings to juniors and youth but imo work very hard to cater to what the local ammy's need too (and this was not always the case). They've changed the format of some shows to attract more ammies including one day shows and offering opportunity classes. There is a monthly newsletter which isn't perfect but is informative (have a friend who criticizes it to no end but I find it better than what I used to receive when I was a member of another GMO). If they're behind in their website updates, most anyone is easy to contact and gets back to you quickly with answers. They offer scholarships and post information if additional funding becomes available through other avenues. While I don't appreciate or agree with the price increases, particularly for the recognized shows I do understand why they feel they need to make the increase. I believe it will hurt them in the long run; but, that remains to be seen. All in all I do believe that they work hard and try hard.

    My only complaint though its trite is that for me who would volunteer more and/or participate on the board if allowed, I always find I can't because of the times when meeting are held. Due to my work schedule it's just not possible. I certainly don't see that as their fault or a problem to be fixed by them in any way. It's just what is. When I've been asked to help and explained why I can't attend the meetings they have always been very gracious in thanking me for the support I do give in the way of volunteering at shows, financially supporting their schooling show series (both of them), and the sponsorships I provide when I can. Often times all one needs is a thank you in order to stay interested and willing to help out when one can. I would rather sponsor a show division or show up with a full trailer to help fill a schooling show than pay USEF or USDF when the pennies need to be pinched. During the leaner years I am known to pay my GMO dues and not renew with USDF (as a PM member) or USEF because of the perceived value I receive....just sayin.
    Ranch of Last Resort
    www.annwylid.com



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2003
    Location
    Eastern Pacific coast
    Posts
    3,637

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by atlatl View Post
    Actually, I have found CDS to be very open to suggestions as both of those I've offered were accepted. Given the size of the organization, by far the largest GMO, it is incredibly well run IMO.
    This is good news and I'm happy to hear it.

    However there is still work to be done on how the championship show is managed and exhibitors are treated. CDS seems to have a hands off policy in that area.
    -Amor vincit omnia-



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2010
    Posts
    1,641

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mardi View Post
    This is good news and I'm happy to hear it.

    However there is still work to be done on how the championship show is managed and exhibitors are treated. CDS seems to have a hands off policy in that area.
    It does take speaking up - I know when the Championship show manager tried to move the championships to Woodside, it did seem CDS was "hands off" - until many, many members came forward with their (negative) thoughts on that move. Do provide them with feedback - approach your Rep, or send your thoughts to the CDS office, and get your friends to do the same - if they hear it often enough, perhaps there will be a change that makes you happy?



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2012
    Posts
    1,795

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MysticOakRanch View Post
    I'm also a CDS member. Sure, they aren't totally going to change direction for every suggestion they get, but I've found they are fairly open to conversation. Several years ago, the President asked why the AA clinics aren't well attended and I wrote a pretty detailed letter - pointing out location difficulties, reality of AA work lives, etc - it was not a warm fuzzy letter, and it got published.
    I don't remember reading it, but was it in line with my feeling that having the SoCal clinic at a private facility away from the larger dressage population centers made it seem too exclusive?

    I am still on the mailing list for participation in the Region 7 clinic--in Hawaii.
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009
    Posts
    3,195

    Default

    Our GMO is on the small side - just under 100 members; we have been trying to find a mix of activities that will suit as many members as possible. We do several clinics; some successful and some not so much...A couple of bigger NTs have been well attended, including a Daniel Stewart event that is really useful for any discipline. We tried a clinic for the juniors that was all about dressage equitation classes - it was not as well attended as we had hoped. We have done a schooling show two years in a row now, and it is very well received - in part because we have a Hawaiian theme encouraging wild shirts/pads, flowers in manes! This year we are going to try to get members to some educational lunch meetings, and recruiting various speakers. We are also investigating a clinic that will combine pilates classes on the ground w/ a mounted dressage lesson. Its a challlenge in any event, but we have also used surveys to help us figure out what options are wanted. We don't have an official newsletter due in part to lack of help.

    I noticed above a posting from a NODA member - I was involved w/ that GMO for a number of years, and they are a hard working group if there ever was one. Their schooling show set up effectively provides a full season "circuit" together with a year end schooling championship show. Also well rounded newsletter which encourages articles on any relevant topic a member wishes to write about.

    NJ RIDER: I agree that it would be useful/beneficial for USDF regional reps to be more visible to their GMOs - a tough expectation given the distances some would have to travel, but still....
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2012
    Posts
    213

    Default

    I love my GMO. They put on schooling shows and clinics throughout the year. They keep track of your points and do year end awards. They even have a 'medal' system. It is great for amateurs without deep pockets. You still get to show, win awards and get a great community feel without having to join the big leagues.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 11, 2007
    Location
    Andover, MA
    Posts
    5,523

    Default

    I have been a member of NEDA (New England Dressage Association) for a couple of years and get a lot out of it. It's a hard-working group of people that really tries to do well by its members. Even if I drop out of showing entirely, I'd probably stay a member.
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    Proudly owned by Mythic Feronia, 1998 Morgan mare; G-dspeed Trump & Minnie; welcome 2014 Morgan filly MtnTop FlyWithMeJosephine



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2002
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    5,288

    Default

    I *miss* the CDS, but I was smack dab in the middle of a couple of chapters so could take advantage of the varying ... uhh ... styles I was a member of the SF chapter, and a board member for quite a few years, and got a lot out of all the experiences.

    Like any volunteer organization, GMOs are run by (and therefore influenced by) the people who step up.

    Many of the volunteers are not competitive riders so their roles are very important to them and change does not come easily. This is not to say they do the job you, or I, might think they should, but they are often reluctant to accept "help." At the same time, I've seen more than a few volunteers come in with fire in their eyes and determination to change everything ... it doesn't work that way.

    Granted, it's difficult to worm your way in once people are established, but that's what you have to do ... and be very patient ... to make changes. I found some very solid cliques and some very open groups.

    Re those semi-secret clinics ... there's the balancing act: how to complain without alienating the elite? And therein lies some of the disappointing situations, also. The whole "move to Woodside instead of Murieta" thing was an internal power struggle ... the CDS wasn't hands-off, all members of the board were not in agreement.

    My job now is more demanding than when I was in CA, so every time I think about organizing a schooling show or clinic I have to re-evaluate my ability to commit. There's an awful lot to these volunteer gigs and it's only human for people with the influence to use it for their benefit.

    Actually On-Topic: A couple of weeks ago I looked online around for more information about a GMO local to me (Brevard County, Florida) and couldn't find any compelling information one way or another. For my purposes now, I think just joining the USDF as a participating member is the right approach.
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=
    Dressage becomes art when it is a joy for the horse. -KBH

    Mighty Thoroughbred Clique Now on Facebook ... ... show the loff



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 5, 2000
    Posts
    9,380

    Default

    We are lucky to have a couple of very active GMOs operating in our area (Atlanta and surrounding environ in north GA). One GMO other is pretty much the personal organization of one individual (although there are a couple of board members). It holds a series of shows throughout the year (some recognized, some schooling shows), and has been involved with instructor certification and the "L" judge education program. It has also in years past sponsored occasional clinics with internationally known clinicians.

    The other GMO is a strictly volunteer organization, with a board elected by the membership. It is a DCTA, and is the older and larger of the two organizations (I think will celebrate its 39th birthday in 2013!). It holds several shows throughout the year – spring and fall USDF shows, and a mid-summer schooling CT show. It has also sponsored the USDF Region 3 championships a few times, and will hold them again in 2013.

    For the past 10 years (at least), it has offered several low-cost "Kudzu Klinics" each year, scattered around the area, and aimed at beginning or low level riders, with local instructors who donate their services. Some of these clinics are dressage-focused, some are CT focused, some are more general (like one on rider fitness).

    It also sponsors clinics with nationally recognized trainers and judges - recent clinicians have included Debbie McDonald, Axel Steiner, Scott Hassler, Guenter Seidel, dressage master Walter Zettl, and freestyle designer Cynthia Collins. (So far, they have Hassler and Zettl scheduled to return in early 2013). Many (most?) of the sponsored clinics are held at a lovely farm owned by the VP-Dressage, who donates use of the facility for sponsored clinics (which helps keep costs down). They do consider moving the clinics around the area, but the board usually votes to use this facility because of the very nice combination of amenities there (large covered arena with good footing, high end sound system, plenty of seating for spectators, upstairs and downstairs climate controlled viewing lounges, inside restrooms, lots of parking space, etc., plus it serves very yummy lunches).

    I believe the organization is also involved with the "L" judge education program. And, it has a pretty strong awards program and holds a rather fancy awards gala and banquet each year at a nice hotel or special events facility. It also publishes a monthly full color newsmagazine (which I believe, won an award from USDF a few years ago).

    Most of the board members are long time dressage or CT enthusiasts. They seem to be pretty engaged and well-motivated, and are always looking for ways to provide value to the members in the way of educational events, etc. From what I understand, they are pretty open to suggestions regarding clinicians, etc., but they are picky about which ones they will support – pretty much has to be a well known individual that they feel will draw riders and auditors, or is a clinic asked for by the membership (e.g., the freestyle clinic). And one they hope will MAKE money for the organization - LOL!

    Senior membership is $55/year, which really isn’t a lot, considering it includes opportunities to ride in the low-cost Kudzu Klinics, discounted rider/auditor rates for other sponsored clinics, a Group Membership in USDF, the awards program, newsmagazine, etc. All-in-all, it seems to be a pretty good organization, thanks to the dedication of the hard-working board and other volunteers.
    Last edited by DownYonder; Dec. 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM. Reason: fixed a typo



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