Thoughts on my Journey at the WDAA Convention and World Show

photo8It’s Thursday and I just got back from Tulsa, OK on Monday. I haven’t been able to think of much else because so much happened in four those days… its hard to sort it all out. The first two days were the Western Dressage Association of America’s Annual Convention followed by two days of the WDAA’s Second Annual World Championship Horse Show at Tulsa’s awesome Ford Expo Center.


The whole experience served to remind me why I love this new sport so much and what it is about it that makes me want to give up my precious spare time to help spread the word.

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First, the people!!

Every single one of the wonderful folks that make up the board and the staff of this still fledgling organization are generous, positive and so committed to the philosophy of Western Dressage that you can’t help but be inspired. The general feeling is one of inclusion as opposed to exclusion. In other words they are welcoming, they listen to each other, they listen to new attendees, they want people to join and share. This feeling is so different and refreshing compared to other organizations where you feel as if you have to jump through hoops and pass various, mysterious tests in order to feel welcome.

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Second, the horses!!

Just as the board and staff are inclusive and accepting of people from different backgrounds so is this sport accepting of all types, sizes and breeds. I have always as a trainer been interested in different breeds and types. I enjoy the challenge of bringing out the best in each individual rather that trying to produce copies of some ideal that is held on a pedestal. In addition I have always used dressage to train my horses no matter what their end goal will be. The basic dressage movements are necessary for every horse to develop so that they can carry a rider successfully, without risk of injury, both in the short term and long term.

This is a sport that thrives on diversity! Where else would you see a Belgian competing alongside an Arab, a Fjord or Halflinger alongside an Andalusian, or Quarter horses alongside Morgans. Big and small, draft and thoroughbred, old and young they were all there, at the World Championships no less!!

Third, the riders!!

Just as the horses are all so different so too are the riders. Young, old, tall, short, male, female, beginner and advanced. I have never seen so many different types of riders represented at one show. It is thrilling to see so many horse lovers from different walks of life, different parts of the country and indeed the world, come together to share their common love of the horse in all its wonderful variations.

Western Dressage is about honoring the horse in all his manifestations. It helps to prepare him to do the job that suits him best, to build his body and mind in a consistent and safe way so that he can partner with his human companions in as seamless and harmonious a way as possible. It teaches riders to be balanced and patient, to enjoy the journey, the everyday pleasure one gets by slowly building the partnership and gradually feeling strength, suppleness and trust increase.

I find it so invigorating to be a part of something new that is all about the JOY of horses rather that the business of horses and that is inclusive of ALL types of horses and riders.

Written by Cathy Drumm

One Response to “Thoughts on my Journey at the WDAA Convention and World Show

  • Laura Ferrisi
    4 years ago

    Tori, You are such a wonderful woman/person. I wish I had the knowledge that you have in your ‘little finger’.

    Everything you touch, turns to gold. Continued good luck is what I wish for you!