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GVDS Bits of News

It's Almost Time For the Biggest Shows of the Year for GVDS!

The Summertime Warmup, Summertime I and Summertime II Shows, all presented by Alpine Bank, are our biggest and most prestigious shows.  Entries are open now through May 20, so if you have not entered, do it soon to be sure we have space for you.  A few things to note:

  • New for this year is the Summertime Shows Welcome Party!  This event to be held on Thursday, May 30 at 6:30pm, the evening before the start of the shows.  It's a time to connect with old friends, make new friends and kick-off a great weekend of fun, hospitality and great dressage rides.  GVDS members and Associates are also invited to join us.  Dress is casual - breeches or barn attire, but space is limitedRSVP today!  If you need volunteer hours, this is a great way to get those by helping with set up and clean up.  Offer to volunteer with Darby when you RSVPAttendance is free thanks to our party sponsors:  Dr. Susan Schneider, Vision Farms Equine Services, Revel Ranch, and Schuering Stables.

  • Gordy Outdoor Photography will be at all three shows to take proffesional pictures. If you would like pictures, please go to:!/showSignUp/10C084FA4AC23A3FBC25-49608855-grand  to sign up!

  • National Dressage Pony Cup (NDPC) recognition for ponies and small horses will be available at all three show.  If you are riding one of these vertically challenged exceptional equines, be sure to get them measured and have their measurement on file with the show office.  Special High Score Awards for each show will be awarded to ponies and small horses (16 hands and under).  A GVDS measurement is FREE, but must be scheduled with Darby Savoca.  NDPC measurements for ponies and horses have a fee associated with it and also need to be scheduled with Darby as they require a vet and/or TD.

  • If you are trying to qualify for the RMDS Championships and/or the USDF Regional Championship, both in September at the Colorado Horse Park, be sure to check the qualification requirements. Please refer to page 12 of the Summertime I or Summertime II prize list for Regional Qualification Requirements.  RMDS Championship Requirements can be found on page 57 of the RMDS Magazine-Omnibus Edition.  Also see page 39 of that same publication if you are interested in competing for RMDS year end awards.  This weekend offers you enough shows with different judges that you can qualify for both championships assuming you enter the correct classes and receive the applicable qualifying scores.

  • Have you accumulated your volunteer hours yet?  As this is a three-day show weekend, there are many volunteer opportunities.  Most importantly, we need experienced scribes.  Because we have two judges on Saturday, our scribe needs are greatest on that day. 

  • Sign up now at:  Summertime Warmup
                                Summertime I
                                Summertime II

  • This is a great weekend to invite your family and friends as there are a variety of classes for them to see what dressage is all about. And there are always a few photo opportunities with some beautiful horses - just ask before having your guests pet or take pictures. Be sure to invite them to the freestyle classes - watching amazing horses "dance" is always a crowd favorite!

Thinking About A Scholarship For 2025?

Now is the time to start planning if you want to apply for a scholarship awarded from RMDS, UDS, GVDS, and The Dressage Foundation.

  • RMDS: Grants are available to RMDS members who are Adult Amateurs, Professionals, Junior/Young Riders, and Western Colorado members only.  Scholarship applications accepted October 1 through November 30.  A minimum of eight volunteer hours are required to apply.

  • The Dressage Foundation:  This organization offers grants for Adult Amateurs, Professionals, Junior/Young Riders, Para riders, Western Dressage, Spanish Breeds, Military and more.  The submission dates vary by grant and may have specific number of volunteer hours required, but the more hours you have, the more favorable your application as it demonstrates a commitment to your GMO and chapter.

  • Utah Dressage Society: Grants are available to UDS members to further their educational training.  There is even a specific grant for their "short tour" (aka schooling show) riders who want to pursue their dressage education.  Again volunteer hours are required.

  • GVDS Youth Scholarship Program: This program offers assistance with fees for schooling shows for riders aged 8 to 17, in exchange for volunteer time at the shows.

If you are interested in any of these grants be sure to read the requirements carefully, including the expectations for recipients.  In some years, many of these grants go unawarded because people don't take the time to apply.  Planning ahead to get volunteer hours and thinking about how you would use the funds if awarded will ensure a well-planned, well-written application and a greater likelihood of success.  A number of our members have already received some of these grants in the past, so could be great resources if you need help.  Contact Karen Harkin to guide you to someone who may be able to assist with questions.

The National Dressage Pony Cup ribbons have arrived!

The National Dressage Pony Cup ribbons arrived for the Grand Valley Dressage Society June show weekend. We’ll be awarding these giant ribbons high score and reserve high score pony and small horse for each day’s show. Have your horses and ponies been measured?  In not, contact Darby Savoca. And if you’re not a member or have you Mr animal registered with NDPC, check that out too.

New for the August and October schooling shows, western dressage riders and their mounts are also eligible for these extra awards!

GVDS Youth Camp - Sign Up Now!

The camp will be centered around horse management skills such as groundwork, basic horse care, equine first aid, braiding, bandaging, grooming, appropriate turnout for horse and rider. It’s all about learning to be the best horse owner or horse caregiver you can be.  But this camp is also about enjoying your ponies or horses.  Afternoons will be dedicated to riding games or group lessons on a variety of topics.

A horse is needed for this camp.  The $75 entry fee pays for a day stall for your horse and breakfast for the camper.  Campers need to bring a sack lunch.  Several local dressage professionals and GVDS members are donating their time and talents to this camp experience, so it will be packed with educational activities and fun.

Find out more details!


•       Is your horse heavy in the contact, afraid of the contact, chewing the bit too vigorously, having tension,     tongue or mouth issues?

•       Have you purchased a bit or bridle thinking it would be the perfect answer to your horse’s problems  only to discover it’s worse than the original tack and now you are stuck with it?

•       Ever wished you could try a multitude of bit or bridle options to see which your horse prefers without having to purchase them all?


International rider and trainer, Kim Gentry from Bits and Such will be at Roy Yates Horse Training in Fruita, CO on July 29 and 30 with a huge selection of bit and bridle options to try.  Kim will do a mouth analysis on each horse to identify issues that may be creating bit-fitting problems before recommending and trying options.  This is a great educational opportunity to learn proper bit fitting, even if you are not currently having bitting issues with your horse.

More Information!

Get Your Horse Out of His (Sand) Box At The Cavaletti Play Day

The next Cavaletti Play Day is Sunday, May 5.  The horses and riders who braved the weather last time were treated to some fun and different exercises.  Read more about this fun activity for horse and rider, and be sure to sign up soon as space is limited.

Read more!

Help Wanted - We Need An EMT Trained Volunteer!

We have an immediate need for an EMT for the June 2 show.  If you can help, please contact Pat White, Show Manager.

USEF/USDF recognized shows require a medical person to be on the grounds during the show.  This person can be an EMT, nurse, doctor, fire fighter, police officer or ski patrol personnel - anyone trained in emergency medicine.  This person will direct any emergency medical needs should they be required during the show.  In the past, volunteers have served in that role to fulfill their volunteer hours.  A trained individual could provide this service and donate those hours to another GVDS member to fulfill the other person's volunteer hour requirement.  

Losing Another Key Volunteer

Last month it was Amber Benson, this month its Charlene Turano-Bauer. Another of our great volunteers is moving away from the Grand Valley.  Charlene has been one of our regular EMT volunteers and a sponsor ( for several years.  She is moving with her family to begin a new job in Kentucky.  "It has been a great pleasure being a part of the GVDS family.  I am moving and will miss every one. Thank you for everything and mostly for your friendship."  We will miss Charlene and thank her for your willingness to volunteer - be it as the EMT, help in the office or bake a cake.

Whew, We Did It!

The first shows of 2024 are under our belt.  We could not have asked for a better weekend of weather.  Excellent turnout, great show rides with many new faces (hope they all become members), excellent judging, and as always, amazing volunteers.  Many thanks to everyone who made this a great success. 

But don't rest too long, as the opening date for our Alpine Bank Summertime Warmup (May 31), Summertime I (June 1) and Summertime II (June 2) shows is May 6, 2024.  Remember that these shows will also be our first recognized by the National Dressage Pony Cup program for ponies and small horses (16h and under).  If you have not had your horse measured, please let Darby know so this can be scheduled.  And don't forget to sign up to volunteer.

Goodbye to Scribe Extraordinaire, Amber Benson

We are sad to say goodbye to our beloved scribe and scribe trainer, Amber Benson, as she leaves western Colorado for a new home closer to family in Boulder.  The Boulder chapter is gaining a jewel.  We can't thank Amber enough for all you have done for GVDS over the many years you've been here.  Please join us for lunch (bring your own or buy at Marge's) with Amber on Saturday, April 20 during the lunch break at the show to give Amber a great send off.

Does Your Horse Have A Microchip?

GVDS member Krista Nobilo decided to dig deeper into this topic.  

Please note that the time it took her to prepare and write this article count as volunteer hours!  Hint, hint for anyone who has a hot topic and is looking to ways to complete their volunteer hours, consider this option.  Editing help is available.  Take it away, Krista! Krista Nobilo, GVDS Member Grand Valley Dressage Society (GVDS) member Judi DeVore thought she was in the clear as her horse Believe WS, already had a microchip.  Judi discovered her mare’s chip was non-compliant.  “She was chipped in 2013, (ID 4C25452347) so when I went to the USEF website to add that number to her registration information, I discovered it wasn’t ISO compliant, which is 15 digits and all numbers, no letters”, explained Judi.   With that experience in mind, a word of advice to those who currently own a horse/pony that has a pre-existing microchip; double check the microchip is ISO compliant.  This article is intended to shed some light and provide facts about microchipping and the United States Equestrian (USEF) guidelines. During the 2023 mid-year Board meeting, the USEF Board of Directors approved a new rule; ‘Beginning December 1, 2025, under GR 1101.1, all horses competing in USEF-licensed or -endorsed competitions must be microchipped with a 15-digit ISO compliant 11784/11785 chip.’ USEF believes it to be fundamental in the aspect of equine welfare. 

The press release by US Equestrian Communications Department on September 5, 2023, largely attributes the rationale behind the new rule to have the ability to track and protect horses during events such as natural disasters and disease outbreaks.  Links to further information are provided on the USEF website and are listed at the end of this article. Besides the benefits of traceability during natural disaster events or disease outbreaks, microchipping horses proves ownership and prevents fraud especially when used at competitions or regarding a change of ownership for horses.  Discussion within the USA horse industry for microchipping dates back 10 to 15 years but failed to gain traction initially due to the lack of a universal reader and some added myths.  However, by 2017 The Jockey Club mandated microchipping for all foals born and microchips are a compulsory component of Thoroughbred registration in several countries, including Great Britain, France, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand.  The UK made it mandatory in 2020 for all equids to be microchipped and entered in a Central Equine Database.  Registered Warmblood breeders now have foals microchipped.  Since 2017, horses registered with the United States Hunter Jumper Association had to be microchipped for identification purposes and to accumulate points earned through competition. Horses registered for International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) since 2013 also had to be microchipped. The internationally recognized implantation site is in the neck on the left side nuchal ligament halfway between the poll and the withers.  

Dr. Kelsey Naftel, DVM (Shafer Large Animal Veterinary Associates, Grand Junction) says, “Microchipping is ideally performed by a licensed veterinarian or under direct supervision of one.  It is a large bore needle so ideally sedation +/- local block is best for insertion.” Now let’s bust some myths: (A more comprehensive myth-busting flyer is included in the resource links.) So “Who” might scan your horse at a competition? The USEF states: A groom, owner or trainer may utilize the biothermal microchip for monitoring the horse’s health on a daily basis. Competition management may choose to utilize the microchip for identification, recording of show results, or tracking horses on competition grounds. During an outbreak, state and/or federal animal health officials investigating the disease exposure risks may scan your horse. USEF or competition staff, USEF licensed officials, or drug testing personnel may scan a horse to confirm the identity of the horse.  Currently there is no requirement for competition officials/management to scan horses, but they must verify every horse entered in the competition has a compliant microchip listed on their USEF recording.  Currently, the USEF Veterinary Department is working on the compliance and implementation plan for the rule. 

Resource Links: 

Did you know that microchips will be required for dressage horses effective December 1, 2025?  For many breeds and disciplines, microchips have been required for a while, but for dressage horses and their owners and riders, this is something new.  This seems like ages away, but being prepared early rather than late is advised.

What you need to know about the new Microchip Rule GR 1101.1

During the recent New Rules class sponsored by RMDS, participants learned about the new microchip rule coming into effect December 1, 2025.  This sparked not only a lot of discussion during the class, but also over social media, including the rationale for and purpose of such a rule. 

Microchips are not new to the veterinary pet industry.  They have been widely accepted in small animal practice for decades.  The microchip for pets was first patented in 1985, and the very first microchip was implanted in 1989.  Since then, there have been big advances, and there are no longer issues between microchip and reader capabilities.  ISO stands for International Standards Organization, and ISO 11784/11785 emits radio waves at 134.2 kHz standardized frequency.  Hence the use of a universal scanner can read any ISO compliant microchip no matter where you live in the world and in any animal in which it is properly implanted.  Each chip has its own unique number encoded within it which scanners can read.  A registry was established in 2007 to register manufacture codes and the country code prefix as well.  Further to the advancement, biothermal chips now exist which enable a horse’s temperature to be recorded.  A specialized reader must be used for this function; a universal scanner only reads the ID number.

Migration of the microchip.  According to the 2012 study "Health Factors Associated with Microchip Insertion in Horses," radiographs of implanted microchips followed by measurement of distance from the most cranial point of the fourth cervical vertebra indicated that microchips did not migrate (J Eq Vet Sci 2012;32:177–182).

  • Microchips cause cancer. This myth arose from a cancer study involving lab mice that were implanted with chips other than the ones used for horses

  • Microchips can track the location of a horse. ISO compliant microchips are READ-ONLY, they do not contain GPS.

  • Microchips can be erased or changed.  They are passive and only activated by a read-only scanner device

  • Magnets can inactivate the microchip.  Microchips do not have a power supply, are read-only, and magnets cannot deactivate the chip.

The options to submit your horse’s microchip number to the USEF are provided through their website.  For new horses/ponies a New Horse Recording Application form must be submitted. For already recorded horses/ponies, use the Horse Microchip Update page link to update your horse, .  Once recorded with the USEF, the Show Secretaries will know your horse has a microchip because it will be included on your USEF Horse Recording Card.  Microchipping will be at the owner’s expense, however the USEF has stated they are ‘seeking potential partnerships to provide microchip member benefits.

New RMDS Scholarship Sponsored By GVDS Members

Julie Burt and Stephanie Stokes created the SV Percy Sledge Memorial Scholarship in memory of Julie's beloved pony Percy.  Since Percy was the consummate teacher for adults and children, this scholarship honors his legacy as it is for adult amateurs who want to continue to learn.  Read more about Percy's life and his legacy. If you knew Percy or benefited from his teachings, please consider a donation.

See you all in a few weeks.
Karen Harkin
GVDS President

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