A New Journey Begins in Illinois!

WDA-Affiliate-QuoteThe first time I ever heard of Western Dressage was only a little over a year ago at Color Breed Council in Tulsa, OK. I was there applying for another association’s judge license and renewing a couple of other licenses. I met a lady in the lobby who excitedly told me about the lightning-fast growth of Western Dressage and how she was traveling all over the Western Hemisphere promoting it.

I let it roll around in my head for a couple of months and then decided I should learn more about Western Dressage and even pursue my judge’s license. I started scribing at as many dressage shows as would let me. My good friend, Jan Corvallis decided to host a little experiment by offering Western Dressage together with the usual Classical Dressage at a show at Royale Ranch, the farm of another close friend, Mary Skittino.   The show was held in August, 2014. I apprentice judged the show with Marie Johnson who had already judged Western Dressage several times. The show was approved by USEF, USDF, and AHA.   Even being breed-restricted, the Western Dressage was a hit with well over twenty rides. We thought it would go like gangbusters if Royale Ranch could host open shows as well. So, we started having schooling shows almost every weekend over the winter. I judged many of them, and Jan managed them. Mary and Mickey Corvallis and Hannah Winters set up the ménage and worked the snowy ground. When it got really cold, the schooling shows moved inside. Everyone was having a blast.

In the midst of all this, our little group decided that we should host a Western Dressage Association® of America (WDAA) Train the Trainers™ session to learn more about this fast-growing new discipline. So, we naively set about the process.   We found out that not just anyone can host a Train the Trainers™ clinic.   It must be hosted by a State Affiliate of WDAA. We quickly learned that our State didn’t have an affiliate and that no one was hot to trot about starting one. Although my friends and I thought it was pretty formidable; we decided the two of us should attend the WDAA National Convention anyhow to find out more.

So, Jan and I trekked out to Oklahoma and after the first night’s reception, we had learned so much our heads were spinning like a figure skater in a Tilt-A-Whirl. At this point, we were unsure we could take on something as ominous as starting a state affiliate. By the next day, we both adjusted our sails a little and started breaking down the process of starting an affiliate and seeing it as something we could do and do well.

We learned that Western Dressage is the fastest growing equine discipline ever endorsed by USEF. By the end of the convention, we had met some great people, including our own State’s Freestyle World Champion, Nell Tekampe. Everyone was really supportive and people gave us loads of ideas which inspired more of our own ideas and we were spinning out of control again, only this time it was with plans to pull Illinois into the future of WDAA.

Our group learned about another bunch which had started a Facebook group for Western Dressage in Illinois, but didn’t really have the resources to go any farther. So, we contacted Dave Wagoner, the leader of that group and arranged a round-up in Springfield, IL on January 10th, 2015 to get organized and start our affiliate. We prepared for this meeting by pulling together all the requirements and instructions to start the affiliate in order to accomplish as much as possible during the initial meeting. I must say here that WDAA staff members were extremely supportive throughout the entire process.

Officers were elected at the initial meeting. I became President; Jan, Vice President; Mickey, Secretary; Mary, treasurer and Gail DeClue became a board member. We doled out jobs and accomplished them quickly because we decided the Illinois Horse Fair in Springfield, March 6-8 would be the perfect place for our coming out party. We pulled in some wonderful people, like Marilyn Weber and Tammy Fuller, along our whirlwind journey to get prepared in time for the horse fair.

February 24, 2015 we were officially anointed by WDAA as the official Illinois State affiliate of WDAA, Western Dressage Association® of Illinois!   We are proud, we are excited, and we are here!   We can’t wait to showcase Western Dressage in our State and create opportunities here to learn and show in USEF/WDAA approved shows.

Cindy Butler, President
Western Dressage Association® of Illinois (WDAIL)

Visit our WDAIL Facebook page in the interim of our website being developed!

3 Responses to “A New Journey Begins in Illinois!

  • Judy Snyder
    3 years ago

    I’l so happy and excited to be a part of Western Dressage in our state of Illinois. We are having a schooling show at Frontenac Farm, West Dundee IL on June 7. Jennifer Kytolo will be our judge for 4 western dressage into tests that day. This is very exciting to us.

    Keep us posted. Judy

    • Judy:
      Send me the details on your show so I can post it on our Facebook page.



      • Judy Snyder
        3 years ago

        Hey, sorry for such a late notice…but our show is tomorrow at Frontenac Farm,
        West Dundee, IL. The show is an IDCTA Combined Test and Dressage; and Western Dressage tests.
        Our judge is Jennifer Kytolo from Sunflower Farm in Bristal, Wisconsin.

        Show begins at 9:00 a.m.