Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Agricultural & Extension Education

Committee Chair

Harry N Boone

Committee Co-Chair

Deborah A Boone

Committee Member

Stacy A Gartin


The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) has sought to develop educational support for the American dressage enthusiast since its inception in the 1970s. American riders face unique challenges in comparison to European riders, such as the larger geographic mass of the United States and the logistics of both horse and rider confronting drastically increased travel demands. Additionally, differing educational and financial support infrastructures by country create further obstacles for those industry members who wish to aggressively pursue dressage as either an amateur or professional. While much conjecture and anecdotal evidence to these obstacles are documented by industry professionals, most of this discourse is in the context of success at internationally competitive levels rather than purely educational progress and little of it is supported with academic research.;Within the United States there is very little research addressing the support infrastructure of the American dressage enthusiast. The purpose of this study was to measure the U.S. riders' perceptions of the educational landscape. A random stratified sample of 2015 members of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) were surveyed in order to ascertain the most prominent perceived obstacles to their success within the industry. Awareness and participation in various educational programming offered specifically by the USDF was also explored. Participants additionally identified sources of educational support they utilized outside of the membership organization. By obtaining demographic information from respondents, the researcher described the current opportunities both nationally and per individual USDF Region. The long-term effects of the study will result in a better understanding of the training options needed to supplement current infrastructure in order to opportunities for American dressage riders. Results are available to regionalized Group Member Organizations to alert them as to both areas of exceptional support and areas where their membership needs assistance.