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The Lower Puget Sound Dressage Club (LPSDC), Chapter of Oregon Dressage Society (ODS) is located in the Gig Harbor/Port Orchard area in Western Washington State, although our members hail from areas beyond these boundaries. The club is dedicated to the education of its members and the promotion of the harmonious development of horses and riders in the finest tradition of equitation. Our average membership of 60 consists of Juniors, Adult Amateurs and includes many equine professionals and several “L” judge graduates.

LPSDC was formed 1989 and was a chapter of ODS as there was no other organization who could offer our members the array of benefits. At the time there was no real organized focus on dressage in our area. The Gig Harbor Horsemen did stage a few shows in the previous decade however they announced that they would not be offering any dressage shows in the future. So in stepped Gene Dueber who gathered together a group of dressage enthusiasts and the Lower Puget Sound Chapter of the Oregon Dressage Club was formed.

In 1993 the Club determined it would best serve our members to become a chapter of Equestrians Institute mainly due to location as they are a Washington based organization. That relationship continued until early 2011 when EI determined they needed to reevaluate chapters and for the time being would not include chapters in their organization. ODS graciously took us back into their fold.

Back in the day, class fees were $8, and our early awards banquet was a potluck at the Kitsap Saddle Club. Finding a venue for meetings was an ongoing search and the never ending need for volunteers was a consistent theme.

From the early days of 1 to 2 shows a year LPSDC now sponsors 5 schooling shows and has added clinics to its schedule. LPSDC offers members reduced fees for its clinics and offers classes from Intro to FEI, Freestyle and as we have a contingent of Eventers, we also offer the Event Dressage Tests. We have a great Year-End Awards program for our members and our shows are also Washington State Horseman “B” system rated. Awards are presented at our Annual Banquet, which is also our major fund raising event. Event attendees dine, dance, visit and bid on a generous collection of donated items from local tack stores and other businesses as well as national recognized manufacturers.

Over the past 10 years LPSDC has sponsored 50 shows and 30 – 40 clinics. Typically our judges are USDF “L” graduates, however, we now have one show a year with a big “R” or even “S” rated judge. This additional exposure for our riders to the more seasoned judges’ eye is very helpful. Our clinicians have included Sonja Vracko “S”, Diane Royce “R”, Jennifer Schrader-Williams, Erin Jorgenson “L”, Peggy Cummins, Gerd Zuther, and Ulla Boysen, to name a few.

We have watched some of our junior riders go from bouncing around on ponies to becoming some of the Northwest Regions top riders and dressage instructors. Others headed off to college and graduated to become teachers, veterinarians, nurses, marketing manager to name of few. Several are now parents. Our horses have gone up the levels, earned us our bronze and silver medals and are now school masters to the next generation of riders.

1st and 3rd photo courtesy of Kelly Coultas Photography