South Florida Dressage Association launched with it’s first general meeting on November 22nd, 2014 to serve the vibrant community of horse enthusiasts in South Florida and to fill the void left by the dissolution of the Miami-Dade Dressage Association, shortly after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Jennet Cook Linn as President, Jennifer Petrey as Vice President and Lee Ann Steinberg as Treasurer founded the organization and made up the first board.
From it’s creation, SFDA emphasized an amateur friendly atmosphere and evolved to serve its members south of and outside of the spotlight of Wellington – primarily focusing on cultivating members from Southern Palm Beach County to the Florida Keys.
One of the continuing management principles employed to preserve this intention is that all leadership and management positions within the organization be filled exclusively by amateur adult riders so that issues and needs of the amateur are always a high priority. However, SFDA also maintains a strong commitment to appreciate and support all of the dedicated local dressage professionals working hard to advance the skills of their clients as they are our members.
Many amateurs and professionals volunteered their help to insure SFDA’s growth during this first phase.
The first two schooling shows were held at Plantation Equestrian Center March 28 & 29 and October 3 & 4, 2015. Suzie Cook chaired this first Horse Show Committee and successfully ran the shows as she brought her experience from both operating Spectrum Saddlery and organizing the Parkland Dressage Horse Shows.
Thomas Poulin, a USEF “S” Judge, instructor, clinician and dear friend to Jennet has continued to be an immense help to the SFDA since its inception. He has continued to give dressage clinics at Buttonwood Farm and acted as SFDA’s Advisor during those first few years. He even waved his judging fee for one of the first schooling shows.
SFDA also hosted clinics with other highlevel riders and trainers including Bill McMullin, Willette Brown and Olympic team member Allison Brock during those first few years.
Others offering their help included local equine veterinarian, Laine Hills D.V.M, as author to a ‘Vets Corner’ column in the first newsletters, and the use of her farm for association clinics. Becky Baez, owner of Live Oaks Andalusians, a beautiful breeding and training facility in Sunshine Ranches, also offered to host SFDA activities and lend her breeding knowledge to a newsletter submission.
While not all ideas were realized during the first few years of the association, the ideas were sound and hopefully will transform into reality someday. Perhaps one day we will have a beach ride in the Keys and or join with SWFDA and Alpha Dressage in hosting a GMO Schooling Show Championships in Tampa.
SFDA now continues the work with it’s second elected board as of December 1, 2018 consisting of President Holly Zickler, Vice President Daphne Plug, Treasurer Sue Reamer and Secretary Kellie Kaspriske. SFDA has also expanded committee roles with Caitlin Flynn as our horse show scorekeeper, Ellen Greenfield as our Instructors and Barn Listings coordinator, Natalie Perlin as our volunteer outreach coordinator. However, as with any small organization, all volunteers have gratefully stepped up to wear multiple hats and get the work done.
Please reference our newsletters to see what we’ve been doing lately.
In the meantime, we will continue to support our members riding at any level and on any horse to find that elusive moment when riding becomes a dance.