The American Horse Shows Association (AHSA) now US Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the United States Equestrian Team (USET), now the USET Foundation were the two primary organizations overseeing dressage in the United States until the 1970s. Although dressage competitions had been in existence in prior decades, dressage enthusiasts wanted to give dressage the attention it needed to flourish and establish uniform standards for the sport, providing education to dressage judges, instructors, and trainers. At that time, dressage existed in local and regional clubs found in pockets of interest across the country; however, there was a need for nationwide communication, interaction, and cohesiveness. In the early 1970's it became apparent that it was time to establish a national organization for the sole purpose of furthering dressage in the United States.
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Lowell Boomer, founder of the Nebraska Dressage Association, took action by placing an advertisement in The Chronicle of the Horse, asking "all those interested in the advancement of dressage" to come to join him in Lincoln, NE in February of 1973 to start a national federation. An official roster of registrants listed 70 dressage enthusiasts and several VIPs who traveled to Lincoln that February to establish the national dressage organization now known as the United States Dressage Federation. Because of his initiative, Lowell Boomer is known as "the father of USDF."
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The first official business meeting of the United States Dressage Federation took place in November of 1973. During that meeting, the foundation of USDF was created, including election of the first officials, approval of the organization's original bylaws and committee structure, and development of the mission statement. Over forty years later, USDF retains the core elements first established in the founding meeting in 1973: the dedication to education, recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage.
In 2006, the USDF National Education Center was completed and became the national headquarters for the United States Dressage Federation. Approximately 130 affiliated dressage clubs or Group Member Organization are currently operating across the United States enabling people to be involved with USDF on a local level.
The USDF Hall of Fame was established to honor and preserve the achievements of the people and horses that made outstanding contributions to the growth, development, quality, popularity and appreciation of dressage in the United States.
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In 1996, the USDF Hall of Fame began with the induction of the founding father of USDF, Lowell Boomer. The Hall continually grows with each new induction as we learn to appreciate more about the wonderful contributions that people and horses make to the sport of dressage.