It’s renewal season – how do you choose?

Because I’m the biggest procrastinator ever, I waited until the day my USEA membership expired to renew. One of the great things about being a lower level eventer is the membership fees – technically all I have to have is the $85 annual membership to do recognized shows. Coming from Jumperland, where you need 5 thousand different memberships and registrations and renewals that come out to something around 19 million dollars annually if you want to do rated shows (only a slight exaggeration), I will never complain about USEA’s cost. It’s a bargain, and so much less headache to renew and keep up with.


They do give you the option of joining your area’s Adult Rider program, which I did last year but opted not to do for 2016. Aside from the Adult Team Championship at AEC (for which you had to be an Adult Rider’s member) I did nothing with Adult Riders in 2015, and since I don’t plan on going to AEC this year I decided to skip it. I can always join later if I need to.

Instead I think I’m going to join a local association instead. Of course Texas is split up kind of awkwardly for me… Dallas/Ft Worth has North Texas Eventing, Houston has Greater Houston Combined Training, and San Antonio has Central Texas Eventing. Austin has nothing centered around it. Of course. Because there is no eventing in Austin.

I’m pretty on the fence about which one to join. Each association has a couple of things that appeal to me, but no one in particular stands head and shoulders above the rest. When I did local h/j shows you had to be a member of the local association to do their shows, so there was no option – you had to join. None of the local eventing associations put on their own shows (at least not ones I would go to), the venues do, so there’s no membership requirement to do the shows.

If you’re in an area where you have more than one choice for a local association, how do you decide what to join? What things make one organization more appealing to you than another?

Mostly I’d just like to support their existence with my membership dollars, and since I can’t do all 3 of them I have to pick one. I have to be honest, I think I might just pick the one where I have the most friends and know the most people…

18 thoughts on “It’s renewal season – how do you choose?

  1. So this is terrible, but I’m considering joining the local dressage/eventing association for next year with the fewest Adult BN riders so that I can get a year-end award. I’d also look at the events that they recognize and see how many of the events that you already plan on going to will count towards an award with whichever group you’re considering joining.


    1. LOL I know plenty of people that take that approach too! I don’t really care about year end awards (not that I’d turn it down if we got one…) and wouldn’t chase points for it, but it’s a nice perk. Most of the assn’s use points from both the USEA shows and the local shows to make up their year ends, or have separate point tallies for each category.


  2. Still sans horse (but with a plan) I am seriously considering making the leap to the Dark Side (Re: to 19 mill dollars). I LOVE jumpers, I really do. It is where my heart is, but not my check book. It seems that you have gotten more out of your USEA membership than USHJA/USEF. But I hope you go GH bc that is where I am headed!


  3. Since you are not aiming at any year end awards I would def. choose the one with more friends. We do a year end banquet here every November and I go even if I’m not a member, it is a total blast and there are amazing raffle prizes!


  4. I just simply don’t show enough to make it worthwhile to join a local association. To be competitive I need to go to 8-10+ shows… which I don’t. So I skip the local stuff to save some cash.


  5. I joined our local Dressage/eventing GMO last year specifically for a year end award, which worked out very well. 😉 I’ll join again this year, because I want the USDF GMO member # to work towards my dressage scores. I’ll also have to get a horse number for C through USDF and yeah, I’m pretending none of that is a thing in December. I’ll worry about it after the 1st.


  6. i haven’t decided whether to join the USEA or not bc i’m not sure if recognized shows are in our future this year. might have to be a game time decision. i LOVE my local organization tho (but stupidly somehow missed the deadline by a day to submit my points for year end awards, hopefully they are nice and still accept me!) and am very happy to support them.


  7. I’m a member of the local dressage GMO, which has come with a lot of benefits. We put on a ton of schooling shows, and while you don’t have to be a member to participate, we do charge a $5 non-member fee. I’m also eligible for year end awards (not that I’m getting any) and for special things the club does (e.g. earlier this year, the club subsidized the cost of a clinic and offered private lessons for members for $30/rider).

    I also joined the local eventing group (Oklahoma Combined Training Association, or OCTA). I might as well have lit $30 on fire, because that seems to have ZERO benefits. The only reason I knew my membership form had been received was because I saw they’d cashed the check! I never get emails, they don’t appear to have meetings, and while they have a year end awards program, I have no idea how you submit an application. I’ve thought about trying to get more involved with them, but as most eventers in OK are 2+ hours away from where I live, I’ve given up. I won’t join again next year.

    I need to renew my USEA membership, though.


  8. I’m unfortunately not a member of any organizations. No real point since I only do 1 or 2 schooling shows a year. Instead of supporting with money, I support with my time through volunteering at the events that I would compete in if I: 1) had money 2) wasn’t such a chicken.


  9. I just wrote a blog post about this exact topic a week or so ago. Dressage memberships add up to pretty good money pretty fast. I have to join USEF in order to show as an AA ($55). I always join the California Dressage Society (CDS) ($70), a group member organization (GMO) of the United States Dressage Federation. Membership in CDS gives me group membership to USDF which allows me to show and work toward my medals. Since I don’t really care about national placings, I don’t join USDF as Participating member. I also joined DASC – the Dressage Association of Southern California ($70), another GMO of the USDF. Both GMOs have great championship shows and CDS offers tons of reward programs and special competitions and events that are relatively easy to qualify for.

    I DIDN’T join the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) even though we would be eligible for all sorts of awards simply because it’s over $75 and all of their awards have additional fees to participate – no thanks!

    I am happy to join an organization if I know I am getting something back from them, a certificate or something! Join the one with with the most goodies to offer and where you’ll have the most fun!


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