Riding for a Cause: The Evolution of Idaho Dressage Show

Once Upon A Horse, located in Eagle, isn’t just a haven for equestrians—it’s a place where passion meets purpose. For the past three years, the Benefit Idaho Dressage Show has been a beacon of community spirit, raising between $1500 and $2000 annually for Ride for Joy and The Idaho Humane Society, totaling an impressive $10,000. Now, with a new June 1st and 2nd date at Spurwing Stables, with exciting changes, the impact is set to gallop even further.
 
Beth Harris, one of the boarders at Once Upon A Horse, shares the show’s humble beginnings: “In May of 2021, we learned that a local recognized dressage show would be lost. We saw an opportunity to fill that gap and do some good.” Thus, the Benefit Idaho Dressage Show was born, fueled by a shared love for horses and community.
 
Choosing Ride for Joy and The Idaho Humane Society as beneficiaries wasn’t arbitrary; it was a reflection of the equestrian community’s values. “Many riders are animal lovers,” explains Harris, “and Ride for Joy resonated with our mission of empowerment through equine therapy.” Likewise, The Idaho Humane Society’s Nadia Novik echoes the sentiment, emphasizing how the unexpected donations have directly impacted animal welfare.
 
However, the show’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of key players like Erin and Brian Storey of Storey Tails Boarding and Training. Their support, along with the recent partnership with Spurwing Stables, ensures the show’s continuity amidst property developments. In addition, the Fears Family, a key contributor, states “The Fears family has enjoyed championing Ride for Joy for many years. Our oldest son, Graham, now 22, found so much joy and growth in the program as a little kid. Being a part of and witnessing the positive impact it has on the growth and happiness of all the participants is truly fulfilling.”
 
This year, the show’s format undergoes a transformative shift. Saturday introduces recognized Western Dressage classes, catering to a broader spectrum of riders, while Sunday sees the event gain USDF/USEF recognition. “We wanted to provide opportunities for everyone,” Harris remarks, emphasizing inclusivity and diversity within the equestrian community.
 
But with growth comes challenges, particularly in organizing an event of this scale. “Predicting turnout can be tricky,” admits Harris. Yet, the addition of a schooling show aims to accommodate various skill levels, fostering a supportive environment for both seasoned competitors and newcomers alike.
 
As the show expands, so does its impact. With proceeds from the June event benefiting Ride for Joy and the August show supporting The Idaho Food Bank, the community’s reach extends beyond the arena. Gretchen Schulz of Ride for Joy highlights the profound difference these contributions make in serving vulnerable populations, echoing the sentiments of countless beneficiaries and participants.“Over the last three years, the Benefit Dressage Show has raised $5,000 in donations to Ride for Joy. As a small nonprofit, this has made a tremendous impact on our ability to serve riders with disabilities, military veterans, and individuals facing terminal illness. We’re very grateful for the ongoing support of the dressage community and their commitment to making a positive difference!” – Gretchen Schulz 
 

Looking ahead, Harris envisions a future where the Idaho Dressage Show continues to unite riders in their shared love for horses while making a tangible difference in the community. “Our aspirations are simple: to keep riding for a cause,” she declares, a sentiment echoed by the Fears family, whose personal connection to Ride for Joy underscores the show’s profound impact.
 
In the world of equestrianism, where every hoofbeat carries a story, the Idaho Dressage Show isn’t just an event—it’s a testament to the power of passion, purpose, and partnership. As riders gear up for another unforgettable season, they ride not just for ribbons, but for a brighter, more compassionate tomorrow.
For more information email Beth Harris.

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