“I can’t wait,” CDS President Joan Williams exclaims as she describes what’s in store for California Dressage Society members at the virtual CDS Annual Meeting to be held on February 12 through 14. “It’s new and exciting; something different that will bring members together in a new way. We can maintain social distance online, yet gather as many members as want to attend.”
All Virtual, All Weekend
There’s a full slate of business meetings that include a board meeting as well as chapter roundtable discussions held for north, south, and central regions. Highly respected presenters Kristi Wysocki, Axel Steiner, and Doris North will educate members with their insights and experience. A Kahoots! Dressage trivia game precedes the awards presentation on Saturday evening, where year-end awards will be celebrated in a special music video. Sponsor GGT Footing will introduce their new water-free footing, a sure bet for drought-plagued California dressage riders. Full schedule.
Joan points out that, unlike in previous years when the annual meeting required taking time away from work and the expense of travel and lodging, members can attend from the comfort of home. Horse-themed pajamas haven’t been seen at previous meetings, but may crop up this year.
Held exclusively on the CDS Members Only Facebook page, the only requirement for admission is a current CDS membership. Those who typically wait until the first show of the season before renewing their membership are strongly advised to renew well before the annual meeting if they plan to attend. With CDS staff consumed with details of holding this virtual meeting, last-minute requests for renewals many not be feasible. You and renew or join here.
Meetings for Fun and Education
You might not think that meetings are fun … but I’ve had a lot of fun at previous CDS annual meetings, and I expect this year’s meeting to be even better. Why? This is an unmatched opportunity to get acquainted with other dressage enthusiasts from all over California. There’s nothing like sharing a passion for dressage to turn newly-met acquaintances into new friends.
At the annual board meeting, members get a first-hand look at the hard work and deep commitment of the California Dressage Society directors who, along with the indefatigable Central Office staff, conduct the business of the CDS organization. They also plan, promote, and produce the stellar programs that distinguish CDS: Championship Shows, Regional Adult Amateur Competitions, Junior/Young Rider and Adult Amateur Clinic Series, and a robust roster of scholarship and travel grant awards, just for starters. Board meeting is Friday, February 12, from 5:00-6:00 pm.
Chapter round table sessions are an eye-opening combination of fun and education. Chapter chairpersons gather with the other “chairs” in their CDS region (North, Central, or South) for a lively roundtable discussion of what each chapter has done during the year, what worked, what didn’t, and what new ideas are percolating up through the membership. Where else can you meet others with similar experiences, who might have just the information and experience you need, and who are delighted to share what they know to help you and your chapter. Chapter roundtable discussions are Saturday, February 13, 10:00-11:00 am/north region, 12:00-1:00 pm/central region, and 2:00-3:00 pm/south region.
With all of the CDS annual meeting on Facebook, it’s easy to send a friend request to someone you see on the virtual meeting and reach out to them about one of the many topics under discussion. I’m also expecting to have some side conversations going via text message or on Messenger with my riding friends and fellow chapter members about ideas being discussed, awards being presented, or one of the great educational sessions.
Education is intrinsic at these meetings. Why? Consider this: Because last year was a year like no other (and there will be lots of discussion about what worked and what didn’t), and this next year will be one in which CDS and its chapters can apply what we learned last year about training and showing during a pandemic, we will be able to move ahead with even better plans for member activities.
May I Present …?
Kristi Wysocki is a familiar name to California Dressage Society members. She’s presented topics from conformation to para-dressage to dressage seat equitation. This time around, she brings her extensive equestrian experience to the topic of dressage insights. Kristi has developed a comprehensive online education platform where she teaches the course “Wy Conformation and Movement Matter When Buying, Breeding or Training the Dressage Horse.” Kristi presents on Friday, February 12, from 6:00-6:45 pm.
Doris North, a CDS member and USDF Technical Delegate or “TD”, represents USDF Region 7 on the Technical Delegates Committee, whose mission is to provide education and an organized voice for Technical Delegates. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her educational session, where she will shed light on what exactly the job of being a TD is like, and how the TD can help you when you need them most. She’s been called “fun, positive, and knowledgeable” so bring your questions to her presentation on Sunday, February 14, from 10:00-11:00 am.
Axel Steiner brings a lifetime of dressage expertise to his presentation, providing answers to all your dressage questions. A USEF “S” and FEI 5* (Emeritus) judge, Axel received his first judging credentials in 1968 and has been judging and teaching ever since. He will answer questions about tests from Training Level through Grand Prix, so attendees are encouraged to bring their tests (those they’ve already ridden, or those they plan to ride) and ask questions about “Training Level, box 12” for example. Axel’s presentation will be Sunday, February 14, from 12:00-1:00 pm.
Fun and Games …And Awards!
Are you in Kahoots! … the virtual trivia game, that is! Kahoots! will be the lead-in to Saturday evening’s awards presentation, with a competition to test your trivia skills based on the USEF Rule Book. If you’re a fan of facts, a fan of dressage trivia, or just a fan of fun, join in on Kahoots! on Saturday, February 13, from 5:00-5:30 pm.
It’s award time: CDS Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 13, from 6:00-7:00 pm, will be a music video CDS members won’t want to miss. All the winners, all through the spectrum of year-end awards: Horse Performance and Sporthorse Breeding awards, GEM pins, Henry Burchard award, Volunteer of the Year, and gifts to outgoing board members, as well.
So, dear dressage enthusiast: Clear your calendar for Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, February 12 through 14. Make sure your CDS membership is up to date and you have requested and been approved for the CDS Members Only Facebook page – ahead of time, please! Then you can dress up, or dress down, for a weekend of virtual fun and education.
Just don’t forget to get your horse and your sweetheart a valentine. Carrots, red roses, champagne … just saying!