The California Dressage Society (CDS) will play host this week to dressage enthusiasts from across the country who are on their way to sunny San Diego, CA for the Adequan(R)/USDF National Convention and Symposium. "We're thrilled to welcome everyone to California," said CDS President Peggy Klump. "As we kick off celebrations for our 45th anniversary in 2012, I'm so excited to show why I think we have the best members and programs in the country." The California Dressage Society, formed in 1967, is a non-profit organization devoted to furthering interest in dressage. It is the largest regional dressage organization in the nation with more than 4,000 individual members in its 36 local chapters.
With an expansive awards and recognition program both within local chapters and on a regional basis, CDS readily rewards horse and rider achievements. But CDS has also proven to be more than just ranking lists and ribbons - they have evolved to become a national leader in creating innovative programs to better serve its members.
The hugely popular CDS Junior/Young Rider Championships, held annually in both Northern and Southern California, create a special atmosphere where young exhibitors at all levels can compete, have fun, and enjoy dressage education in an environment devoted to youth. The organization also supports the next generation of elite riders by helping field teams for the yearly pilgrimage to the FEI North American Junior and Young Riders Championships (NAJYRC). "In 2011, CDS contributed $12,000 to help send the Region 7 team members to Kentucky," said Klump. "I don't believe any other regional organization invests this much in their riders of tomorrow."
It's no secret that adult amateurs make up the majority of the nation's dressage enthusiasts. To further serve these riders, CDS has developed what Klump describes as "one of our most innovative programs" to shine a spotlight on this division: the Regional Adult Amateur Competitions (RAAC). Held annually in three locations (Northern, Central, and Southern California), the RAACs provide an opportunity for all CDS adult amateurs to qualify and compete against others of similar skills and experience, provide a developmental path for gaining competitive experience, and promote excellence. CDS also provides continuing education for riders in this division through its annual CDS Amateur Clinics, to which each chapter is invited to send a representative. "The goal of these clinics is to provide an opportunity for our adult amateurs, whether competing at a lower level or FEI, to receive instruction from an eminent clinician who might not otherwise be available to them," explains Klump.
A spectacular display of the best horses and riders the West Coast has to offer occurs each year at the CDS Championship Show, which includes the USDF Region 7 championships. In addition to awarding a multitude of titles, this annual showcase offers tens of thousands of dollars in prize money and awards (over $29,000 in 2011) as well as a wealth of good times and great experience for competitors. The show also includes the unique CDS Futurity, a lucrative program which rewards excellence in four-, five-, and six-year-old horses, as well as offering additional payouts for California and Nevada-breds. "I believe our Futurity and Cal-bred program is the first of its kind in the country," said Klump. "Not only do we offer this program as an incentive to promote development of young horses, it also especially rewards American-bred prospects."
In addition to competition and clinics, CDS re-invests membership dues into services by offering a variety of scholarship support for riders and chapters who seek financial help in achieving their equestrian and educational goals. As well as its support of NAJYRC teams, CDS offers travel grants for members who have been selected for participation in national and international dressage competition. Klump is proud of the myriad of services CDS makes available to its members, but is quick to note the organization isn't one to rest on its laurels. "As we celebrate our 45th anniversary in 2012, I really believe that CDS is the best regional dressage association in the nation with our variety and scope of programs," said Klump. "But at the same time, we'll continue to look for even better ways to serve the sport and our members."
For more information about the California Dressage Society and its 45th Anniversary Celebration, please visit www.california-dressage.org.