Stand up and represent!  That’s what some members of STRIDE will be doing at the 2018 Adequan United States Dressage Federation National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah November 28 – December 1, 2018.

As a General Membership Organization of the United States Dressage Federation, STRIDE is one several GMOs throughout the United States and Canada that comprise the USDF. While you must be enrolled as a Participating Member to compete for most USDF year-end award and championship programs, being part of a GMO offers many perks. One of those perks is being able to come to the table to take an active roll in the USDF annual convention.

The USDF has plenty of committees.  One of those is the GMO Committee. This elite group is made up of one representative from each of the USDF’s nine regions. STRIDE’s Loretta Lucas is our Region 3 delegate.

So what exactly does a regional representative do? There are two conference calls  that take place each year. During those calls, a myriad of conversations can take place. Reps might discuss challenges in their region and solicit ideas from others as to how to more effectively address them. Topics and ideas for further discussion at the convention may emerge.

During the convention, GMO leaders host round tables on various topics.  Conference attendees can rotate from round table to round table to participate in relevant discussions.  Loretta has facilitated groups at each 

of the last two gatherings. This year though, she decided to take a break from leading groups to be able to attend the various discussions.

The USDF has many different scholarship and awards programs. Depending on the award, GMO representatives and/or other professionals are asked to take part in judging.  Loretta took part in the awarding of the Ruth Arvenette Fund Award which provides financial support for someone to attend the USDF convention.

As Region 3 Representative, it sometimes falls to Loretta to guide GMOs in the handling of questions or disputes that come up within the region.

There are currently 25 GMOs in Region 3, but this can vary.

All GMOs either send a delegate or have a proxy, who carries their vote(s).  The number of votes is dependent on how many members the GMO has – one vote per 25 members. No matter what the situation, Loretta tries to maintain contact with the GMOs throughout the southeast.

Loretta has attended the annual convention for six years.  This will be her third year as a GMO Representative and her second year as a Participating Member Delegate. There are 12 Participating Member Delegates for Region 3 and STRIDE is well represented. Judy Downer will be among those. Charlotte Trentelman chairs the Historical Committee and Chris Trentelman chairs the By-Laws Committee and has also overseen the Financial Committee. Charlotte and Chris are also PMs.

For some, attending meetings of any kind is akin to getting a root canal- one long event that leaves you dazed and confused, but according to Loretta, it’s a great way to really understand and appreciate how the USDF functions. Rather than lamenting about things that are not done in the organization, it allows for the opportunity to have an impact, to dig in and find out about the whys and what fors, to sort out logistical challenges, and to consider solutions for problems previously never contemplated.

Regional Representatives also attend various committee meetings, and report back to their respective Region meeting so everyone knows the hot topics in each Committee; that also helps reps determine just how they will vote on various issues that come before the Board of Governors.

And then there’s the really good stuff, like the welcoming party and awards banquet where Horse of the Year, breed awards, and medal honors are experienced firsthand.

Each event location has its charm, and time can be built in for enjoying the unique offerings of every area. Networking possibilities are endless.

Of course, you don’t have to have be a representative or delegate to attend the convention but being involved does provide a sense of purpose and a justification for going if that’s how you roll. Ultimately, good things come to those who volunteer, so step up on any level, and represent!

By Dale Wade