Charlestown, MA – Happy 40th birthday to the New England Dressage Association! Founded in 1972, the New England Dressage Association (NEDA) started with a handful of visionaries and has grown to an organization with over 1,800 members, major competitions, numerous activities and a national reputation for attracting top quality trainers from all over the world to their education events.
Katherine McHugh, the President of NEDA, said it’s exciting for the organization to have spent four decades supporting the sport of dressage. “NEDA was born from the idea that if the sport of dressage was to flourish in this country, two elements had to be present. First, there had to be a way to give riders access to the best European methods and trainers, because at the time we didn’t have many resources here. Second, horse enthusiasts and the general public needed the chance to observe the beauty of the sport by watching the best the sport had to offer,” McHugh said.
Today, NEDA is the largest single chapter American Dressage Organization in the country. They continue to promote educational opportunities and their 2011 Fall Symposium featured Kyra Kyrklund. NEDA’s 2012 Spring Symposium will feature Olympic teammates Carol Lavell and Michael Poulin.
“We continue to offer our members top quality education, competitive and scholarship opportunities, as well as team competitions, exhibitions and social events,” McHugh said. “Over the past four decades NEDA has also led the way in introducing the sport of dressage to the public.”
During NEDA’s early years, the organization sponsored public exhibitions of dressage at venues such as Castle Hill in Ipswich and Gore Place in Waltham. “Many of us remember those events as our first introduction to this beautiful discipline, with the horses floating through grassy gardens,” McHugh said. “It was only later that I realized how much of a sport it actually was, requiring strength and agility from the riders and stamina and conditioning from the horses.”
As NEDA celebrates its 40th birthday, the board has decided that the organization needs to launch another effort to bring the sport into the limelight. “We’d like to bring dressage exhibitions to equestrian competitions in other disciplines, as well as revive performances at venues like Castle Hill. What better way to celebrate this important birthday than by tooting the horn of our sport,” McHugh said.
To learn more about NEDA, visit their website at www.neda.org.
NEDA Summer Show in 1981