he purpose of the Oregon Dressage Society is to educate, promote and inspire its members and the general public through programs, publications and competitions, in a way that enhances the image of Dressage and promotes the welfare of the horse.
DS was established in 1971 and officially chartered on March 21, 1972. We are currently one of the largest Group Member Organization (GMO) in the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) with an average of around 800 members annually.
After a 6 year discussion, in the early 1980’s, chapters were originally formed to encourage member growth outside of the NW corner of Oregon. North Willamette Valley, Twin Rivers (Eugene), Portland Area Chapter, Cascade Chapter (Klamath Falls) and Mid Valley in the Salem area are charter. Today, there are 13 chapters within four regions of the state and in Washington. Chapters then and today offer educational opportunities and shows in addition to the offerings of the ODS Committees at the behest of the ODS Board.
ODS has strong youth programs. Because of ODS members in the Pacific Crest Trail Chapter, the first county to participate in a Pilot program in 4-H was Washington County 1987. In 1988, Clackamas County joined and was incorporated in full honors offering medallions. 4-H Program in Oregon. The 4-H State Fair first offered Dressage in 1991, years ahead of many other states. In addition to our work with Oregon’s 4-H Youth, we have had a strong influence on the OHSET Dressage Program, offer a Varsity Lettering Program here in Oregon and helped lead the creation of the USDF’s High School Lettering Program. PCTC members wrote the Oregon 4-H Dressage Manual which is now a national publication.
ODS has also been a strong leader in educational programs for adults. Glimmers of the Learner Judge program started in the 1980s with an local training program for “Oregon Dressage Society Only” judges. This program has since gone national and is currently administrated by the USDF. “L” Programs are run in Oregon periodically. We were also helpful with the USDF Instructor Trainer Program and the formation of Adult Camp Guidelines.
Dressage shows provide testing opportunities that measure the progress of horse and rider in the discipline of dressage. ODS has proposed at a national level the concept of the Adult team competitions as a result of the successful Youth Team Championships (circa 1990), which are still held today. The ODS Championship Show was established in 1981, 5 years ahead of the USDF Regional Championships. ODS Championships has averaged 115 horse and rider combinations since moving the show to Sherwood in 2001.
Although membership is not always required to participate in our events, the easiest way to take advantage of the programs offered by ODS is to sign up for membership. Members enjoy a list of annual benefits including magazine subscriptions, members only educational opportunities, discounts on ODS merchandise, and through select retailers and hotels – plus more. The ODS membership year is 11/1 through 10/31 of the following year. ODS members are automatically registered as USDF group members. Please contact the ODS Office if you have any questions or want to “come ride with us.”