United States Dressage Federation Celebrates Groundbreaking

Photos copyrighted: Jennifer Munson

The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) held the official groundbreaking ceremony for the USDF National Education Center on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at the Kentucky Horse Park. The organization's president, Dr. Samuel Barish stated, "I believe that this is the most significant event in the history of USDF. We are looking forward to being included on a daily basis in an equestrian community environment where we can work effectively on behalf of dressage and our members.”

The USDF National Education Center will be the next door neighbor of the United States Equestrian Federation and within sight of the U.S. Pony Clubs, the American Hanoverian Society and many other equestrian organizations.

John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park, in referring to the Horse Park’s bid to host the 2010 World Equestrian Games, asked those in attendance to imagine they were in the year 2010. "We are hearing a thunderous ovation and seeing the flag of the United States of America elevated to the highest position. We are listening to our national anthem because the United States has just won a gold medal in dressage. They have done it literally in the very shadow of [the USDF’s] national headquarters."

"This is a very special moment for USDF," said Charles Smith, USDF National Capital Campaign Chair, “and I want to thank those that have worked with the campaign both in contributing money, time and energy." Those contributions currently total over two million dollars, but Mr. Smith cautioned the audience that the campaign has a long way to go to reach the five million dollar goal. “We would like to be completed with this campaign by the time we have the ribbon-cutting ceremony.”

Kentucky Commerce Secretary Jim Host recalled how the original plan for the Park included making it the “business center of equestrian sport and a gathering place for all related horse associations.”

Opening speech from USDF President, Sam Barish

What a wonderful day this is for the United States Dressage Federation! We have come a long way in our 33 years. But today, we will celebrate the ground-breaking for the USDF National Education Center here at the Kentucky Horse Park in the horse capitol of the United States. I believe that this is the most significant event in the history of USDF and I am very pleased to share it with all of you.

We are looking forward to being an important component of the National Horse Center along with the many other prominent equine associations that have their headquarters here. In our three years in Lexington, we have established a good working relationship with our future next door neighbor, the United States equestrian Federation, the national governing body for Equestrian Sport. We are making good progress to implement the Memorandum of Understanding we signed last fall with US Equestrian on joint membership, horse registration, and Competition recognition. Cooperation between the staffs of the two organizations will be even easier when a USDF staff member will be able to walk from her office to the US Equestrian building in two minutes.

Our future home at the park will give us new opportunities to work effectively with the United States Pony Clubs, the American Hanoverian Society and many other associations on site. For the first time, we will be included on a daily basis in an equestrian-community environment.

Sam Barish Opening Speech: Increase Visibility of the USDF

The National Education Center will dramatically increase the visibility of USDF, our programs, and the sport of Dressage. The Kentucky Horse Park is an ideal location for us to promote the sport since it attracts one million people per year who attend more than 60 equine or equestrian events, such as the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Dressage Symposiums and Championships, and the U.S. Pony Clubs Festival.

We will also have the first permanent home for our Hall of Fame where we can honor those who have made outstanding contributions to dressage in America and USDF. These people and horses will be showcased for the many visitors to the horse park each year.

When we are located at the park, our overhead costs will be significantly reduced through “home ownership.” The savings will benefit our members through enhanced education and competition programs. This will enable us to fulfill our primary mission of dressage education.

Sam Barish Opening Speech: Words of Appreciation

We are very grateful to the Commonwealth of Kentucky for allowing USDF to make the Horse Park our home. I would like to thank Governor Ernie Fletcher, Secretary of Commerce Jim Host and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Derrick Ramsey for giving USDF this fantastic opportunity, and for making me a Kentucky Colonel last November. As Margie Koffler and her family know very well, I have become a big fan of the Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Team. I would also like to thank Kentucky Horse Park Executive Director, John Nicholson, and the Chair of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission, Tandy Patrick, for their support and guidance.

The USDF Executive Board is also very appreciative of the following people and companies that have been very helpful to us as we make the transition to our new home at The Kentucky Horse Park: our architect, Joe Martinolich of CMW Incorporated, for his expertise and encouragement; our builder, the EC Matthews Company; and USDF executive Director, Stephan Hienzsch and Senior Director, Cindy Vimont, for their leadership and commitment.

I am also very pleased that many USDF leaders are here with us today to celebrate this historic occasion: Executive board members George Williams, the USDF Vice President from Ohio, Janine Malone, the USDF Secretary from North Carolina, Sue Hughes, the Region 2 Director from Michigan (Region 2 includes part of the Midwest and Kentucky), and Sandi Bishop, the Region 3 Director from Florida (Region 3 is the most of the Southeast). Also in attendance today are Committee Chairmen Margee Koffler from Kentucky, who heads the Development committee, Lisa Gorretta from Ohio, who chairs the Regional Championships committee, and Robert Higgins from Florida, who leads the Budget and Finance Committee.

USDF is so excited about our move to the Kentucky Horse Park and we can hardly wait for the day when we will call the park our home.

We deeply appreciate the leadership and dedication of our National Chairman of the Capital Campaign for the USDF National Education center, Charles Smith of Richmond, Ohio. We are thrilled that Charles and Joann Smith’s Westphalian mare, Rocher, and USDF Vice President George Williams won the us Equestrian National Grand Prix Championship last weekend in Gladstone, New Jersey. Charles is a member of the USDF Sport Horse Committee, and is also the breeder of Polard’s Vision, the horse who is blind in one eye, who ran in the Kentucky Derby last year. Finally, many thanks are due to Charles and Joann Smith for their commitment to our Capital Campaign.

Groundbreaking, Highlight of the Event

The highlight of the event came with the honored guests donning hard hats and digging in with their gold shovels to ceremonially break the ground at the site of the USDF National Education Center. Immediately following the groundbreaking, large earth-movers stoked up their engines and began the construction project, which is expected to be completed in late April 2006.

Dignitaries taking part in the golden shovel ceremony included Kentucky Commerce Secretary Jim Host, USDF President Dr. Samuel Barish, Kentucky Horse Park Executive Director John Nicholson, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Derrick Ramsey, Kentucky Horse Park Commission Chair Tandy Patrick, USDF Executive Director Stephan Hienzsch, USDF National Capital Campaign Chair Charles Smith, Joann Smith, USDF Vice President George Williams, USDF Secretary Janine Malone, USDF Regional Director (Region 3) Sandi Bishop, USDF Regional Director ( Region 2 ) Sue Hughes, USDF Budget & Finance Committee Chair Robert Higgins, USDF Development Committee Chair Margee Koffler, and USDF Regional Championship Committee Chair Lisa Gorretta.

The progress of the building project and the capital campaign can be viewed on www.usdf.org.

Founded in 1973, the United States Dressage Federation is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to education, the recognition of achievement, and the promotion of the sport of dressage. For more information about USDF visit www.usdf.org or contact Robin Hollar, Director of Marketing, at 859-271-7882.

Related Links
Search the Phelpsphoto Database for more pictures from the Groundbreaking Ceremony. Search by Show/Event -> USDF Groundbreaking 2005
2005 USDF National Convention & Symposium to be Held in Los Angeles