Each year, the United States Dressage Federation recognizes a Volunteer of the Year from each of the nine regions in the United States. This year, STRIDE’s Judy Downer is being recognized for her outstanding contributions to the sport for Region 3, a substantial five state area consisting of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Only one General Membership Organization
volunteer is recognized from each region. The award will be presented at the 2018 Salute Gala and Annual Awards Banquet at the Adequan USDF Annual Convention December 1, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Downer, who has been an active and innovative volunteer and STRIDE member since 2001 also boasts an extensive resume of personal accomplishments. As a rider and competitor, she has earned many USDF year end awards as well as her USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals. She is an “R” judge. As Dr. Downer (she holds a PhD in Animal Nutrition), she has been instrumental in the development of the Equine Program at the College of Central Florida and is currently in the process of expanding that program to include a degree in Business and Organizational Equine Management with Equine Specialization.

In her “free time” over the past year, Judy has collaborated with Charlotte Trentelman to run an “L” judge’s program in Central Florida. She organized and managed STRIDE’s two- day show and extravaganza at Grand Oaks in Weirsdale, Florida this past May, which featured clinics in Western Dressage and Dressage as well as a dinner and guest speaker.

She has served as a past president and vice-president of STRIDE, represented STRIDE and Region3 as a Participating Member at the annual national convention numerous times, judged STRIDE shows, and been a member STRIDE’s Board of Directors as President, Member at Large, and Treasurer.

As someone always in search of excellence, she has utilized her skills to encourage others to participate in leadership positions, negotiated new and improved show venues, and secured educational presenters.

If you’d like to honor Judy, just remember the old adage, “Many hands make light work.” Step up and volunteer. Judy is the perfect person to give you a few pointers.

Article by Dale Sue Wade