From Endurance to Dressage
I Want My Money Back
I am sure most of you will disagree with me, especially if you don't live in California and aren't members of CDS. But here goes - US Equestrian, I want a refund.
Up until this year, membership with USEF was $55 a year. I was never excited to send them half a Benjamin, but I figured it was part of the game; showing isn't cheap. This year, USEF raised their rate to $80 a year. That hurt. My USEF membership is now my most costly membership, and I get nothing tangible for those 80 bucks.
Like I said, a lot of you are getting ready to itemize all of the many ways that US Equestrian makes it possible for me to show. It kind of reminds me of the scene were Miranda so cheekily explains where Andy's cerulean blue sweater came from.
I get it; I really do. Rulebooks need to be maintained and updated. Horses needed to be registered and followed. Points need to be recorded. Awards need to be distributed. New members need to be brought into the fold. I grinched about the 45% increase, but I paid it.
This past week though, I got the newest edition of US Equestrian, the official magazine of the United States Equestrian Federation. My level of irritation rose from mild to are you kidding?!?!
Let me explain.
I am a member of the California Dressage Society, a Group Member Organization of the United States Dressage Federation. My annual membership is $70. For that fee, I am eligible to participate in various programs and earn numerous awards. And I do participate.
I've twice been selected by my CDS Chapter to ride in the CDS Adult Amateur Clinic - my chapter paid the clinic fee. I've shown at the CDS Regional Adult Amateur Competition more times than I can count. Speedy and I have won twice and been reserve champion once. We have two coolers and a leather halter to show for our efforts. Each year, Speedy and I have earned a "plate" to add to our plaque. And this year, we earned our scores for the CDS Ruby Award which we'll get in the fall.
A portion of my CDS membership fee goes to USDF which also offers a number of awards programs in which I participate. As of 2018, I've earned Rider Performance Awards at Training and First Levels, and with a little luck, I might get my Second Level award at the end of this show season. Once that's done, I'll set my sights on a Bronze Medal.
What do I get from US Equestrian? I get to be an Adult Amateur and ... I get this glossy magazine that now sports a trendy new textured cover. Glossy must have looked cheap. Not only that, but this month I got a 30 inch long foldout on heavy duty paper lauding the member benefits that my $80 get me.
There is a Learning Center (already get that with USDF), the USEF Network (I am not much of a TV watcher), the magazine and Equestrian Weekly which shares US Equestrian articles (redundant?), 120 National Championships, and International Team Development. How about no, nope, too expensive, and did I mention NO?
And to top it off, in bright red letters, US Equestrian included their current count - a community of over 105,000 members. I did the math; that's in excess of 4 million dollars in membership fees. And I didn't even count how much more they get as members pay to have horses registered.
I know it's probably a case of sour grapes, but I resent paying so much to an organization that gives me so little in return. I am just a small time adult amateur trying to have a little fun. I would think that instead of pumping even more money into the cost of publishing their magazine, US Equestrian might think of a small atta girl to help me see the benefits of joining. Even USDF sends me a sticker every year.
Right now, I'm looking at all this print media thinking I'd like a refund. Where's the recycle bin?
I got the same packet and had a similar reaction... although my frustrating extends to USHJA as well. I’ve paid my dues for years and the lack of recognition for those of us who don’t show on a national scale is ZILCH.
4/30/2018 02:47:30 pm
Oh, you are SO right. In fact, in the letter from the president, he even states, "learn about today's superstars." As if I am sitting around wishing I could meet Charlotte or Hester or whoever. Yeah ... they're great, but do I need USEF to shove them down my throat? How about spotlighting some adult ammies and their regular backyard horses who are doing something cool?
4/30/2018 10:53:56 am
And think of how much money they wasted on showing you all the "benefits" they're giving you when I bet there are a lot of people like me that tossed that print directly into the recycling bin without even cracking it open.
4/30/2018 02:50:01 pm
Bingo! The only reason I opened the stupid thing was so that I could write about how stupid it was!
The USEF and USDF fee's alone have relegated me to schooling show circuits until I win the lottery.
4/30/2018 02:52:57 pm
And there it is. Being able to compete as an AA is teh ONLY reason I join USEF. What a rip-off. A friend of mine organizes at least half a dozen or more USEF/USDF/CDS shows each year. She reminded me that when you pay you're entry, some of that goes to USEF/USDF as well. And if she makes some kind of processing error, USEF makes her pay an additional fee to correct it. So really, we pay USEF twice - once before we show and again when we pay our entry fees.
4/30/2018 04:09:21 pm
It IS ridiculous!
5/1/2018 09:16:03 am
5/1/2018 09:16:50 am
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: