On an annual basis, USDF recognizes the GMO's efforts in member communications. Newsletters are recognized for First Person Articles, General Interest Articles, and Photography, and GMO Web Sites are rated on ease of use. FCEA is eligible for GMO Awards from USDF in the Small GMO category (under 75 members). Plaques are given for First Place, and Honorable Mention is second place.
Newsletter First Person Experience - Honarable Mention - Linda Otto
"Feed Back from the George Williams Clinic"
Check This Off My Bucket List - by Linda Otto
A few years back, a medical condition woke me up to the fact that I am indeed not only mortal, but, I am an older mortal. Truly, I could croak any time, so I made my bucket list. The most crazy idea on it was that I was going to ride with George Williams. I had watched in awe as he danced around Devon with Rocher. For the first time, the light bulb moment, I clearly saw the communication, trust and unified effort that brought looseness, throughness, tears and goose pimples. I thought, "I can do that." Hahahaha-good luck with that one.
At the time, I didn't show. I rode a half plow horse and crooked thoroughbred as often as possible in the backyard and on the trails in more or less clown outfits. I felt myself hugely fortunate and was trying with all my might, with all my years of built up built in bad habits and misconceptions to “Get it right”, to let my inner dressage queen shine through. My poor horses!
Fate lead me to a flyer advertising an FCDA (French Creek Dressage Assoc.) clinic with George. I screwed up my courage, (I had myself totally intimidated) and audited. What an eye opener! No one had white pants on! Everyone could ride ok- but only a couple of the riders were 'really' good. And surprise, surprise- the horses were by no means dressage super stars! They were the same kind you would see in any boarding stable! It was NOT such a crazy idea after all.
In that audience, I connected with Helen Stearns (heaven sent) of Justaplain farm and then with her daughter Gert. The rest is history. There was a clinic at their farm- I applied and was accepted and rode with George. Everyone was kind and helpful. No one laughed at me, not at my ancient truck or twice as old trailer or my not quite dressage clothes. No one laughed at my backyard riding or my half plow. Everyone recognized my desire and effort. They saw what a 'perfect' horse I ride. The audience actually applauded us! Actually, what was applauded was the fantastic results that George led us to those first 2 magical mornings.
My mountains turned into baby steps in that clinic. And the beat goes on. Since the Eye Opening, I have ridden with more than a half dozen amazing clinicians. If I learn only one amazing thing from each of them, I will know many amazing things. One has given me my courage back. Another has used that courage. Most have worked on my hands, my contact. One has fixed my posture, given me a frame to work from. And now, I am being tweaked- thinking about things like elegance. The auditors share experiences. The clinics are additive and addictive. The people who attend them are rabid students. They are there to learn and share. It is an exciting climate.
So all you chickadees - get off the fence. Sign up and go. The first time, go just for the fun of it. Dress warmly,(more warmly than that) bring a snack, a chair just in case and open your mind. Yes, there are definitely the more and less educated, the more and less capable. The competition, however, is with oneself. Everyone is reaching for their own personal best. You can do this! The act is its' own reward, and it is immensely fulfilling.
Newsletter Photography - First Place - Fay Seltzer - Glass Horse Head Award
In 2014, FCEA nominated articles for USDF's GMO Awards.
As a small GMO, FCEA earned First Place for the Web Site. Thank-you 1and1 for the redesign, and Michelle Thomas & Fay Seltzer for maintaining and keeping activities up to date.
In the Newsletter Division, Kelly Beaver earned a first place for her president's message in the General Interest category.
Louise Jordan-Beam earned an Honorable Mention for her First Person Experience article "You're Only 50 Once", about her scholarship experience.