Thought About Your GMO Lately?

If you’re like most, probably not.

Or, like some, enjoy more time sitting around complaining about the group-member organization (GMO), and all the things it doesn’t do for you as a rider and competitor.

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

Four years ago I decided it was not going to be the route I took, and since then have slowly increased involvement at a local chapter level as much as can.

Starting from small opportunities as a demo rider on a few occasions, growing to scribing at shows, helping during the L-program, attending educational events, and volunteering at the rated show our chapter puts on.

Already a member of two other committees and afraid of getting stretched too thin, I still got a little more involved this year and now attend our chapter’s monthly Board of Directors meeting. 

Without holding a secretary or treasurer title.  That was simply too time consuming for this year.

leading horse out of barn

You know you can do this too, right?

If you feel that you have just any extra time and energy and would like to apply it as a driving force at your local chapter (not only dressage, any equestrian discipline you belong to.) they will probably be very welcoming to the extra help!


Now, our local chapter could use a boost financially.  It is a very large chapter with some 200 members give or take, but for 2017 there’s some heavy fundraising to do.  (NOT my strength.)

Here’s where you come in!

I’d love to hear what your own chapter has done to “help itself” in the past.  Not just with raising funds, but with generating, and keeping volunteers.  Or creating a specific event.  Any comments will be helpful!

magical horse pictures

Jennifer O. Bryant shared ideas from the 2016 Annual Convention in her article “GMO Learning at the USDF Convention” in the March 2017 USDF Connection edition.

Here are just a few:

  • Rewarding volunteers with vouchers for a half or full day of volunteering.  The vouchers can be spent on anything the chapter is part of such club organized shows, clinics, or logo apparel.
  • Giving volunteers special local chapter logo items, think caps, shirts, visors, to use at events.  Doubles up not only as a Thank You to volunteers, but also creates awareness around the club as a vibrant and active chapter and volunteers can also easier be seen at the event for participants.
  • Offering first consideration to past or present board members to a special educational grant.  Great incentive to get people involved and willing to shave off some more of their horse and family time to serve on the board.
  • Creating an “off beat” event for fund-raising, other than shows and educational events.  A GMO in Texas had a Mystery Barn Tour with a little help from vans and chauffeurs.  Wine, cheese, and red carpet-style tours of three secret destinations; a breeding farm, a rehab facility and a fancy dressage barn!

Chime in with your thoughts on this!  Have ideas?  Want to mention something your club did in the past?  All ears over here!  Hello?

7 thoughts on “Thought About Your GMO Lately?

  1. I LOVE our GMO, but who doesn’t? CDS is the best thing going around. My local chapter however, stinks. When I first got interested in dressage, I had to do a ton of research as i knew nothing about the sport or the sanctioning bodies. When I found my local chapter, and believe me, it took a while, I jumped right in and launched a website and organized a clinic. All of it was met with such disdain, that I was essentially booted out along with all of the new members I had earned the puny chapter of about 10.

    I immediately moved my membership to a club that is too far away to attend meetings, but they welcomed me none-the-less. They have a very well run chapter considering they have fewer than 30 members. They put on four CDS-rated shows each summer that offer great prizes as well as an annual banquet. They also send a rider to the CDS AA clinic each year – I’ve been once and am going again this year.

    I think what makes my chapter so successful is that it is run by core group of dedicated leaders. They are very organized and don’t tackle more than they can handle. They provide excellent communication with the membership, and they NEVER bicker or fight. It’s a friendly group of people who just want to enjoy horses. :0)

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    1. Hahaha, yes, it’s interesting right, how I’m SURE you’re absolutely not the only one with that first story?.. Little tight groups out there, who are not very welcoming to change or energy.
      Oh well. Their loss 🙂

      Thrilled to hear you’ve got a great and supportive chapter. And very impressed to hear they can organize 4 rated shows each summer with only 30 members!!!

      Hey readers – did you guys SEE this!!? That is ONE dedicated and organized group. Wonderful!

      So, that also tells me where a lot of the funds are raised. I’m wondering if my chapter could pull that off, hmmm.
      We have several other rated shows in the vicinity, so it might be tough to scrape up enough riders to make the whole thing go around and make a profit while still paying the fees associated with a rated show. Well worth a thought!!!

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  2. Good for you! We do not have GMOs in Canada and our national federation is in complete disarray. I am hoping that the Dressage part of Equestrian Canada will be able to extract itself from the current mess. The kind of involvement you are doing is very important.

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    1. I do know you have dedicated and talented riders up there – what will be interesting is to see how dressage group decides to align themselves to grow and evolve. I know nothing about it, so if you ever want to write an update as time goes on I’d be all ears. Or eyes 😉

      In the U.S. there is a huge push now to create awareness of Young Riders, who truly are the future of competitive dressage, and to give them more opportunity etc.
      I DO think though, that a lot of the “bread and butter” of just dressage involvement and business generation comes from many average adult dressage “passionates.” And it would be a mistake to overlook them. I don’t see that happening just yet, but it would be sad to see funds toward 25 and below only…

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  3. I belong to not one, but two GMO’s, mainly because they both offer really good swag at the end-of-year awards banquet. The two groups also sanction some of the same shows (all are schooling shows) so you can qualify for some shows’ year-end awards no matter which GMO you are a member of. I think these two things help attract members, and maybe they’re just unusual in terms of a certain degree of cooperation with one another? We’re kind of spread out in a rural area, so having another group’s shows within a reasonable trailering distance can help. Both groups also solicit paid advertising in their ominbus, and both also happily accept sponsors for year-end awards. Volunteer hours can count toward eligibility for awards in one of the groups, so can attendance at board meetings. If you don’t fulfill the required number of hours for year-end eligibility then you can pay $ for whatever hours you are missing. One group also sponsors four benefit shows per season for a local therapeutic riding center.The other group does not require any eligibility for awards other than your scores and points. The end of year banquets both feature raffles of member-donated items and horse-business related donors such as local tack stores, farms and trainers. They both also present guest speakers on topics of interest to horse people at the banquets.

    I “donate” by way of ads in the omnibus, sponsoring awards, and providing items for the raffle. If I had time, I would do volunteering but that’s a tough one for me. So I get around it by spending a lot of money 🐴

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the cooperation between the two chapters!
      Having volunteer hours count toward award eligibility sounds like a great idea! I like it!
      We haven’t had much guest speaking at our banquet- great input. Ours is tonight by the way 🙂
      I really appreciate the input and will bring up all ideas at our next board meeting.

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