Are You a Card-Carrying Member?

Are you a member of any equestrian organizations? Maybe a local saddle club? An international show organization or breed registry? What about 4H or pony club?

I have been a member of various horse organizations over the years. I never held office in one, but I contributed in other ways. I wrote newsletters articles. I planned a fun show. I brought donated items to club auctions. I baked snacks for meetings.

Being part of a horse organization is not exactly the work of say, a Mother Teresa, but it is a way to give back to your horse community of choice. Ideally, joining a club is one way to encourage and support your fellow equestrians while also reaping personal benefits. Maybe you want to meet other people who are aficionados of your favorite breed or discipline, gain the opportunity to win specific awards or make contacts to grow your horse-related business.

Of course, not all clubs function well. Some display really unhealthy interpersonal dynamics, making participation unattractive. Sometimes the club seems great from the outside, but once a member, we find it awkward to make friends or participate in activities. Sometimes we as members are much more interested in what we can get out of an organization rather than what we can put into it. Clubs can find it difficult to grow without contribution of members’ time or resources.

My own horse-related memberships have waxed and waned over the years. I have been that enthusiastic, active member. And truthfully? I have also been that floundering member who never contributes.

For 2021 so far, the only organization I have joined is the North American Western Dressage Association (NAWD) at


You may recall that this is the organization that sponsored the online horse show that I entered last Fall with my horse, Shiloh. North American Western Dressage hosts virtual shows throughout the year. If I can manage to find a better venue for filming than my own backyard with its small spaces and uneven footing, I would like to capture more tests on video and enter future shows.

So, do you belong to any equine organizations? Why or why not? Have you experienced a particular benefit of being a member? Or experienced problems? Let me know in the “Leave a Reply” comments section.

2 thoughts on “Are You a Card-Carrying Member?

  1. I belong to Equestrian Canada and we are required to join our Provincial organization the Ontario Equestrian Federation in order to get an EC membership. I also belong to the USDF. I like the USDF because they have great awards including the Masters Challenge Award for riders over 60. I have all my MC Awards including the FEI level award. They send a nice picture frame with that and it si so nice. I also like the magazines that come from the USDF. My opinion about EC is mixed although they have put on some good webinars during the pandemic.

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    1. I was recently up on the USDF website looking up some information about the dimensions of circles and whatnot in hopes of improving my future western dressage scores. Their rule book looks quite comprehensive, and I don’t think I’ll live long enough to read it in its entirety. 🙂 I like the sound of the Masters Challenge Award. Congratulations on working your way through the award levels. That’s a great accomplishment!

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