Monday 30 April 2018

Seize Opportunities: 10 Easy Steps

I am now Vice President of the Alberta Dressage Association (ADA). Wha?!?!?!?

Don't worry, that's not just your reaction, that's mine too. How did this happen? Quick recap. 

Step 1: be a below average low level ammy rider trying to figure out how to get anywhere in the sport of dressage without a trainer (Dec 2015
Step 2: find a trainer three hours away (Feb 2016)
Step 3: after failing to figure out skype/video lessons, organize a clinic in town mostly so I can avoid the cost and stress of hauling my horse to trainer (Nov 2016)
Step 4: organize a few more clinics (once you do one, doing it again isn't nearly so hard) (Feb 2017, May 2017, Oct 2017, Dec 2017)
Step 5: after some idle conversation with new riding friends about having a local dressage show, turn the idle talk into actual investigation about what would be involved in putting on a show (Jan 2017)
Step 6: ask dressage association chapter in next city about whether they would post info about local show on their facebook page, and have that spontaneously turn into me being given a director position on chapter board, free insurance coverage for show, and casino funds to help pay for judge (and yes, they did also post my show on their facebook page) (Feb 2017)
Step 7: organize show at new equestrian venue, which then results in equestrian venue unexpectedly inviting me to join their board too (May 2017)
Step 8: participate in two meetings of dressage chapter board over last year as part of my new role as director and reply to emails as required (not a heavy time commitment at all)
Step 9: reply to email where president of ADA was asking for volunteers from chapter boards to consider running for VP of overall ADA board (ADA acts as umbrella organization for all the individual area chapters). (April 2018)
Step 10: get acclaimed into position at the AGM this past weekend despite clearly stating my lack of experience because there were no other volunteers/nominations. (April 2018)

Bottom line, I didn't become VP because of my great dressage wisdom or having any great connections to the sport (I don't have either), I'm here because I was willing to say "hmmm" in situations where other people might have thought it was too hard and not even tried. I'm still very much a below average low level ammy rider trying to figure out how to get anywhere in this sport. 

It's so so easy to feel imposter syndrome in this circumstance, and I did straight up tell the president that I was A-okay stepping aside if anyone more qualified wanted the position. However, nobody did, and now that I'm here I'm going to add my voice to the direction of dressage in Alberta. We already have some great people looking after the interests of higher level dressage riders, trainers etc., but as an organization we want our membership and the sport of dressage to grow. I can help speak for other low level ammy riders who are just trying to figure out the sport, especially in non-dressage areas, and that has value. An organization really does need a range of voices to best meet the needs of everyone it serves. 

To summarize, I'd just like to encourage all of you to seize any opportunities you come across within your sport. Don't worry about not being good enough, just do it. A lot of organizations don't have as many volunteers as they need and are happy for any involvement. And if you don't seem to have any opportunities to seize: make your own opportunities. You never know what may come from it =)


  1. Very similar to how I ended up on my GMO's BOD as well -- sometimes it's less about the experience and more about the willingness to get things done. Congratulations!!

  2. That is so cool! You will be awesome as the VP :) I think dressage in AB could use some new faces and ideas. Congratulations!!!

  3. Yay! Congrats! I'm really excited for you! I truly think you're more qualified than most - you're interested, you have a great work ethic and you're the perfect rep for all the adult ammies.

  4. This is so cool!! Congrats, and I think very well-deserved ��