The Journey

If it were possible to have an internet hoedown, a Western Dressage celebration and dance into the arms of spring, we would be having one now in this beautiful month of April, 2011. It was last November in the brisk air of Pilot Point, Texas that a small group of dedicated horsemen and women convened to discuss a plan to organize the Western Dressage Association™ of America.

Some drove there, some flew there from Colorado and California, and some who could not attend gave their counsel by phone. Some came because they were looking for a better way than what they had known, and others came because they had had a taste of this idea and followed it like a bird dog on the scent of a Texas turkey. In spirit and belief, however, all differences faded away. At some point in the conversation, it was Larry Mahan who reminded us why he thought it was important to be there at all. He said, “It’s about the journey” between a rider and his horse, that long road with so many ups and downs and advances and setbacks, all the while building partnership and harmony between two very different beings, a horse and its human.

Not unlike a good and lasting marriage or any meaningful relationship, it doesn’t happen overnight. The more understanding and patience and respect put into it, the better the bond at the far end, and of course the more passion brought to the beginning, the more lasting the dedication and involvement. We knew as soon as we heard the phrase, that “it’s about the journey” was the slogan of the new Western Dressage Association™ of America. But, it wasn’t just a slogan, it was the belief of every person in that room that morning. Passion for the horse wasn’t an issue… there was plenty to go around in that company.

Larry had just come from a clinic in Texas, one attended by several of the founding directors of WDAA as well as an eager group of participants and their horses. He remarked that after four days of riding and cordial advice from Jack, the riders were smiling and the horses were relaxed and obviously enjoying their newly learned skills, testament to all that had come before.  They had started on their journey… and so far the trip was looking good.

From that day in Texas and from the many, many conference calls and meetings in subsequent months have emerged all that you see on the WDAA website and more: the realization that we needed to incorporate state affiliate groups into our national organization, the alliances with breed organizations, the recognition that all horse owners and professionals alike need to appreciate the significance of place and the mythology of what the horse has brought to the American West. From the history and inspiration and the spark that started us down this remarkable road to all the many old time horsemen and horsewomen who contributed, unknowingly, to its future development, it has been a wonderful journey, full of promise and full of laughter. It is a beautiful balance of all these things.

Welcome to you and all our new members from the directors and advisers of the Western Dressage Association™ of America. We are so glad you have joined us!

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