West Coast dressage enthusiasts will kick off the new competition year with three days of business, fun, camaraderie, and education during this week's California Dressage Society (CDS) Annual Meeting & Symposium presented by DressageClinic.com, being held in Burbank, Cal.
A highlight of the event will be CDS' popular educational symposium at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center featuring renowned FEI 5* judge and USEF Dressage Committee member Lilo Fore, who will be joined by international competitor, trainer, and coach Judy Harvey of Great Britain to discuss and demonstrate changes in USEF and FEI dressage tests for 2015.
Kicking off the busy weekend on , the CDS Executive Board will meet to conduct the business functions of the organization, a meeting which is open to all CDS chapter chairs, members, and guests. A second full day of organizational activities is scheduled for , including annual reports to members, chapter chair meetings, presentations of regional summaries, and discussions of member programs. Additional attractions include live and silent auctions, an evening dinner and awards banquet, and a special presentation by Dr. Stephen Schumacher of the United States Equestrian Federation. A member of the FEI Veterinary Committee, Dr. Schumacher has served as Chief Administrator of the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program and will speak and answer questions about drugs and medications issues in licensed competitions.
A large crowd is expected for the CDS Symposium as Lilo Fore and Judy Harvey team up to discuss not only the actual changes to USEF and FEI dressage tests for this year, but also reveal the "how" and "why" behind the 2015 versions, giving riders valuable insight as to how to improve their performances in the coming show season. "During the symposium, I hope to clarify any questions about the new tests and emphasize how riders should think of them not just as getting a score, but as part of the whole pyramid of training," said Fore, who sits on the USEF Dressage Committee and is a longtime member of CDS and the California dressage community. With live demonstrations by talented horses and riders, Fore and Harvey will explain why seemingly small variations in the tests can make a big difference, such as how simply changing placement of a movement or incorporating a different line of travel in a test can make an exercise much more challenging or ask a new question of the horse and rider. "In writing this year's tests, we made sure that the progression of difficulty in the tests is more precise between test 1, 2, and 3 of each level," Fore continued. "Additionally, we wanted to make it easier for riders to understand the reasoning for scores given by the judges, so we are using more detailed directives; and during the symposium I'll talk about why the general impression scores at the bottom of the test were changed to move 'harmony' back into the submission score."
Fore and Harvey look to emphasize the relationship between the tests, the training scale, and how key elements in the current editions can help the rider and horse develop correctly to best be prepared for the demands of the FEI levels. For additional insight, the presenters will discuss the tests from a judge's standpoint, explaining how riders can maximize their presentation for more points and why scores from "C" and "B" can often differ. "Most of all, what I would like to make riders understand is that the test is your friend, not your enemy," said Fore. "I hope everyone goes home from the symposium with at least one detail they maybe didn't think about before, and that I am able to share insight with them to make their dressage showing easier and more enjoyable."
"I would like to invite anyone with an interest in dressage to be a part of our CDS Annual Meeting, and I'm thrilled to welcome Lilo Fore and Judy Harvey as presenters for our Symposium," noted Kevin Reinig, President of CDS. "Every year our members attend this event for three key things: education, information, and input. We are proud to organize such an amazing annual event like this here in California, and we always look forward to hearing feedback about how CDS can better serve the dressage community. We draw upon the wealth of experience of our members to continue to improve our organization."
For complete information about the upcoming CDS Annual Meeting and Symposium presented by DressageClinic.com, please visit the CDS website, www.california-dressage.org. Walk-in registration for the symposium with Lilo Fore and Judy Harvey at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, Cal. is available at door – for more information, contact the CDS Central Office at (831) 659-5696. The symposium will be filmed and subsequently available for viewing on DressageClinic.com.
The California Dressage Society, formed in 1967, is a non-profit organization devoted to furthering interest in dressage. It is one of the largest dressage organizations in the nation with more than 4,000 individual members in its 36 Chapters and a rich history of equestrian sport on the West Coast.