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NEDA News: President's Message

From the NEW President - Halt at X, Salute and Carry on

Wednesday, January 15, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Nov/Dec 2019

You know that feeling when you are riding from the warm up to your show ring to ride a new level test for the first time?  This kind of feels like that.  A little nervous, running through my goals and aspirations, trying to remember the to-do list (take his boots off!), excited to be moving up but seeing the amazing rider before me totally nail it!  Phyllis, you nailed it.  How can I possibly live up to the standards of achievement and diplomacy that you set? And without Christine as wing woman?  … By embracing the challenge, as we always do when we halt at X, salute and carry on.

NEDA is in great hands with our slate of continuing and new Board members.  Kate O’Connor and Heather Stone are going to keep Jen Dillon, Helen van der Voort and I between the guardrails.  Our wonderful slate of Coordinators and Event Managers are going to keep the show running, providing educational opportunities, competitions, supporting scholarships, dazzling publications, exciting sponsors, and all the supporting infrastructure.  NEDA is a growing, complex organization based almost entirely on volunteers.  I say almost because we would be lost without our Bookkeeper Carol Gordon, our Membership Services contractor Tammy Paparella, and our Fall Show Manager Sue McKeown, our only paid staff.  Everyone who contributes to NEDA, especially our members, does so for a common passion – the sport of dressage and the gracious horses we ride.  So, let’s ride!

2020 is an exciting year for NEDA as we celebrate 50 years of memories, accomplishments and historic contributors to our organization.  We have big plans for this celebration as we look back at all that has happened.  But we also have big plans to draw on that history as we move forward on our strategic plan to support the Aspiring Rider.  We coined this term during our 2018 strategic planning retreat.  This year our plan comes to fruition.  The Board recognizes that people become part of NEDA for different reasons – to achieve riding goals, to be part of a supportive community, to learn, to be part of the larger USDF network, or to do things with friends.  In all, there is a common aspiration to embrace the sport of dressage whether in the saddle or on the ground.  We hope to support that aspiration through our services to our member community.

Did I mention volunteers?  We need more!  Want to be part of a fun group of people working together on great events?  We are seeking Board members for technology infrastructure and year end awards.  Don’t want to commit to being on the board but still want to contribute?  We need folks to take on specific projects in document management and a publicity project.  Have some skills in project management, publication, and/or document storage – please let us know.  Specifically, send a note to our Nominations Coordinator Jennifer Englund at  She will help find the perfect place for you within this marvelous organization, whether for a few weeks, a year or a lifetime.

So, how did I get here?  I have been riding all my life, starting in a Western saddle on a farm in Ontario, CA.  Then in a jump saddle, and now a dressage saddle.  My love for the horses, the smell of the barn, and the elusive perfect ride has never waned.  A few years ago, I joined some folks from my barn on a road trip to Equine Affair.  I had just acquired my first real dressage horse and of course, shopping was in order.  I came across the friendliest group of people ever at the NEDA booth.  What on earth was “needa”? And who was this crazy woman in bling? (Who hasn’t met Karin Swanfeldt and not walked away bedazzled?).  I joined on the spot and have grown in the organization ever since.  We should never forget that people come to us for different reasons, on different paths, and from different backgrounds.  I am speaking to our membership in this letter.  Thank you for signing up and staying with us.  But who else could you bring to our party?  Are there people in your barn that you could entice on a road trip?  Friends that you could join with in taking on a project?  Ways that you could help promote our great organization?  Look around, I am sure there’s someone.

Thank you for your support.  I am excited about this new adventure and look forward to seeing you at another great NEDA event.



more Calendar

2020 USEF/USDF Competition Year ends

10/17/2020 » 10/18/2020
POSTPONED until 2021!!! ~ 2020 NEDA Fall Symposium ~ Featuring: Carl Hester MBE!

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