Wednesday 20 January 2016

Dressage Memberships Canadian Style

SprinklerBandit ( and Karen at Bakersfield Dressage ( recently covered dressage memberships in Idaho and California respectively. I've recently been sorting out my memberships for the year so I figured I would add a post on how it works this side of the border.

First: Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF)
This is mandatory, you can't even sign up with Equine Canada until you have an active provincial membership. Fortunately, I don't mind this at all as AEF has some good perks and is reasonably priced.
Individual Membership is $50/year
If you have 3 or more people in your family who ride you can benefit from the family price of $110/year (this does not apply to me).

What does AEF membership include?
- automatic basic liability insurance - for this reason many clinics and schooling shows require AEF membership. This insurance also can cover you for things like something happening while you are hauling a friend's horse (which I do regularly).
- Alberta Bits quarterly magazine
- optional programs (at extra cost)
Logo of Alberta Equestrian Federation Ride and Drive Program
AEF extras
I chose to pay $20 extra to be part of the Ride and Drive Program. This is a program where you log your hours in the saddle and get little awards for successive milestones (25, 50, 100, 200 hours...). This is my second year in this program, it has nothing to do with dressage but I like the extra incentive it gives me to log my rides.

Second: Equine Canada (EC) / Dressage Canada
I was surprised to learn that Americans have to have separate memberships for USEF and USDF; in Canada, Dressage Canada is a branch of Equine Canada so only one membership is required.
Logo of Equine Canada
Equine Canada has three categories of rated shows: bronze, silver and gold. There are actually four categories of individual membership: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum which you need to compete at FEI levels. All dressage shows are designated as bronze, silver or gold so it is fairly easy to look at the show schedule and figure out what level of membership you want. Other than the type of show you can enter, the only difference between the memberships is what kind of year end awards you are eligible for (bronze-regional, silver-provincial, gold-national). Of course the higher the membership, the more expensive it is, both membership fee and show fees.

My show plan for the year is mainly for schooling shows and bronze shows so I just went with the bronze membership. This costs $25/year.

Amateur Status
Equine Canada is also who determines amateur status. This costs $15.

Third: Alberta Dressage Area Group
Logo of Alberta Dressage Association
There are a few different area groups for Alberta that seem to cost $40-$60/year to join. As I mentioned before, there isn't much dressage in my neck of the woods so we don't have an Area Group here. I haven't yet encountered a show that you need to be a member to attend so I'm not sure what the benefit of joining would be. If anyone knows please feel free to enlighten me. Anyways as it stands now this cost me $0.

Fourth: Possible Upgrade
There are a few Gold shows later in the season that are tentatively on my calendar. If we are doing really well by then I will upgrade my membership to gold at that point and go to compete. If we're not doing so well we will stick with Bronze for this year and I will just go to the gold shows to watch, learn and scribe. I scribed at a few Gold shows and even a CDI*** last year and it was a super educational and fun experience.

Anyways, if I choose to upgrade my membership from bronze to gold it will cost me $100 but I can do that anytime.

Additionally, for silver and gold shows, horses need a passport to compete. A passport is $68 to apply for initially and then $12/year to keep active so it would cost me $80 for the first year as Kachina doesn't have one yet.

As I said, these costs are only maybes for me at this point but good to know about in advance.

My total memberships for 2016 cost me $110.
It could've cost me $340 if  I went for Gold and an Area Group membership so I'm feeling pretty good about what I paid
(For any Americans reading, these costs are all in Canadian Dollars so the way things are going they would cost mere cents in USD =-P )

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