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Why Join the California Dressage Society?

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by Paula Langan

Although many members join CDS because they are going to show, and some do not even renew until they are ready to enter their first show, CDS membership dollars are not completely show-oriented, but rather devoted to communication, education and membership service.

The first thing to point out is that right off the top starting in 2004, the CDS sends $20 of your $70 membership to USDF to sign you up as a Group Member of United States Dressage Federation. That figure accounts for over $75,000 of CDS expenses.

The greatest expense though, is awarded to printing. Printing is the method of communication between CDS and its members, and also between members. The printed word in Dressage Letters is how CDS explains rules, award systems, recognizes outstanding competitors and volunteers. Printing is what makes CDS a great network for dressage enthusiasts to give and get information. Dressage Letters, the Omnibus, the Roster, and CDS Guidelines all add up to a large printing bill. Dressage Letters however, contributes some income toward that bill with revenue from the advertising.

The next biggest chunk out of the pie is the Central Office. In this piece of the pie I have lumped together several categories of expenses covered by your dues. The largest lump is the Central Office contract but also includes equipment, outside labor, repairs, and telephone. This is your primary membership service category. The work this piece of the pie represents to you is reflected in the production of Dressage Letters, membership tracking, new member packets, renewal notices, updates, check deposits, performance tracking, show recognition, scheduling, video library and quite an endless list of membership services.

Hopefully you feel that with just a phone call, fax, or note you can find out the answer to questions such as: Am I qualified for Annual Show? How do I nominate my horse for the Futurity? Can I get an ad in Dressage Letters? Is this date free for a show? Who is my chapter chair? What is a chapter? How do I apply for a scholarship? And can I still get an ad in Dressage Letters?

After these two sections, all the portions of the pie get smaller. Publicity reflects just over 6% of the pie and includes all the promotional expenses of CDS: advertising that CDS does for membership or special events; any donations, like the Equine Research Laboratory, and USEF; and promotional expenses, such as our booth where we have sold merchandise to promote CDS to others and raise scholarship money for the Scholarship Fund.

Education programs reflect the next portion of the pie. The education section reflects monies spent on seminars, symposiums, annual meetings and clinics.

Next down the line is dues to USDF. The contribution to the USDF for every person who joins CDS went up from $10 in 2003 to $20 in 2011. A monthly update is sent with the check to inform USDF how many new members we have and their addresses. This figure ranges from 50 to 100 members per month depending on the time of year. There are always many more new members in the spring and early summer as they are eager to start out their show seasons with all their memberships in hand.

Postage is of course inseparable from the communication aspect of CDS. After we print all of that wonderful information, we have to pay to mail it to you. CDS has worked hard to acquire a periodical mailing permit to increase the speed of delivery and cost savings in mailing.

Another assorted business category is Association expenses and in that section I have added together with the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) dues, the expenses for the CDS Executive Board meetings and expenses for CDS Delegates to the USDF Convention. These expenses are the nuts and bolts of the working CDS Board. They have to meet at least five times a year to keep CDS directed and functioning as a business and to have an opportunity to discuss new programs, ideas and avoid problems.

Next on the list is Awards. The CDS awards system is based on year-end achievements. CDS purchases a certificate or brass plate for every competitor who reaches for the goal of at least 60% and achieves it. Of the 4,900 members in CDS over 1700 competitors surpassed that 60% goal many times. 40% of the CDS membership has quite a good basic level of proficiency in competition, since just one 60% at Training Level represents hours of study, training and many dollars spent with instructors and trainers.

Last but not least important is the section for Insurance. CDS pays for an insurance policy that covers all CDS sponsored events whether they are shows, clinics, seminars, or meetings. All CDS Chapters have this insurance when they put on shows or clinics and they can have their facilities named as additionally insured on a certificate. The extent of the insurance is $1,000,000 liability for each occurrence. The one million liability limit includes ALL members and member chapters.

There are more areas of income and expense to CDS but the areas mentioned above directly reflect your membership dues. Other areas such as Championship Show, Junior Championships, Futurity, Prize Lists, Programs, and Show Recognition, all generate their own income to pay for their expenses.

Active Membership

A one-year renewable membership, this membership provides all access to CDS programs, monthly newsletters, waiver of non-membership fee in competitions, Championships, Awards, voting privileges, and a printed copy of the CDS by-laws, chapter set-up guide, show organization tool, job description for personnel, and other useful information.

Only members may hold office or apply for Qualified Riding Membership, plus more. ($70.00 per year starting in 2011)

Family Membership
A one-year renewable membership, this membership is an Active Membership for more than one member in an immediate family living at the same address. ($60.00 per year starting in 2011)

Life Membership
An Active Membership for the life of the member. $1,000.00 one time fee.

Your membership entitles you to participate in the following activities:

  • Horse of the Year Competition—Horse/rider combinations can qualify to compete, at all levels, for the CDS Annual Show.
  • Junior/Young Rider Championships—Juniors and Young Riders can qualify to compete, at all levels, for CDS Junior Championships. CDS also offers specialized clinics and seminars especially oriented for the Junior (18 years and under) and Young Riders (21 years and under).
  • Educational Activities—Statewide educational programs includes Riding and Instructor Seminars, National Symposiums and Judge's Forums, plus many more. Through CDS sponsorships, individual chapters can co-sponsor such programs as clinics, competitions, films, and informal schooling sessions with esteemed riding professionals. The goal is to educate, inspire, and challenge dressage enthusiast to strive for excellence. Individual prices based on programs.

Your membership entitles you to receive the following

  • "Dressage Letters"—The monthly publication of the Society offers educational literature ranging from book reviews to commentary by notable horsemen and horsewomen along with a complete calendar of all CDS events. Free with Membership.
  • The CDS Omnibus—A yearly publication, offers dressage show premiums and entry forms for your convenience in planning and entering show for the year. 1 copy free each year with membership. Available to members only. Duplicate copy $10
  • Membership Roster—A yearly publication of all the CDS members. 1 copy free each year with membership. Available to members only. Duplicate copy $10
  • Chapter Handbook—Printed booklets of all CDS By-laws, Chapter setup guide, show organization tool, job description for show personnel. Available to members only. Duplicate copy $20

How CDS, USDF, & USEF Memberships Work

CDS memberships run from December to December. If you join after October, you're considered a member for the following year. Dues are $70 and of this $20 goes directly to the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) for your group membership.

Your group membership with the USDF entitles you to:

  1. Rider Awards
  2. Subscription to the USDF Connection (official USDF magazine)

You must join the USDF as a Participating Member and register your horse if you want to compete in the USDF Horse of the Year Awards, Breed awards or USDF/Great American Championship. Your Participating Membership with USDF is for the year November to November.

USEF (formerly AHSA) has no reciprocal membership agreement with CDS. To avoid the $30 non-member fees at USEF shows, you must join the organization for $55. Your USEF membership entitles you to:

  1. A copy of the current rule book for your discipline
  2. Monthly issues of Horse Show Magazine

USEF memberships run from November to November. If you want to qualify and compete for the USDF Championships, you must also record your horse with USEF.

All of these organizations memberships apply to both rider and the owner of the horse, if they are not the same person.

© 2016 California Dressage Society • P.O. Box 417 • Carmel Valley, CA 93924 • Voice: 831/659-5696 • Fax: 831/659-2383