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History of PVDA
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The Potomac Valley Dressage Association (PVDA) is the second oldest dressage club in the United States. Founded in 1964 in Gaithersburg, MD, PVDA promotes the art and sport of dressage by providing leadership, education, scholarships, and competitions. Much of the credit for PVDA’s leading position belongs to Frederick (Stretch) Harting. Harting established the Potomac Horse Center in Gaithersburg in the early 1960s. He employed Great Britain’s Betty Howett, a Fellow of the British Horse Society and a highly acclaimed student of Nuno Oliveira of Portugal. She installed the BHS system of stable & horse management, teaching, and riding. Harting called the instruction course “Horsemasters” and had it trademarked.

The names of former students of the Potomac Horse Center read like an American equestrian “Who’s who.” Just to mention a few: USET members Kay Meredith and Elizabeth Lewis, and internationally recognized combined training instructor and judge Sally O’Connor. Other are Brian Ross, Grant Schneidman, Gina Lacroix, Margaret Gafford, Linda Oliver, Wendy Carlson, and Gretchen Veronica. They all accompanied horses to national awards. Linda Zang was a graduate of one of the first Horsemaster’s courses as well. Following her graduation, she went on to extended course work at Stromsholm in Sweden, culminating in her participation in the 1979 Pan American Games and the 1980 Olympics.

PVDA was organized at meetings in the upstairs lounge of the Potomac Horse Center in the spring of 1964. The original board included Erna and Clarence Edmonds (Col. Ed), Sally O’Connor, Gen. Jonathan Burton, Linda Zang, and Col. Donald Thackeray. In 1970 the Potomac Horse Center employed Col. Bengt Ljungquist from Sweden, a former Olympian in both fencing and dressage. After a short time at the Potomac Horse Center, Ljungquist became a permanent trainer at Linda Zang’s Idlewild Farm in Davidsonville, MD. As Zang is fond of saying, “These were the days when top riders would come from around the country to work with Col. Ljungquist.” Later Ljungquist coached the United States Equestrian Team and, because of his prominence, PVDA’s influence rose as well. Idlewild became the hub for East Coast riders long-listed with the USET, including Robert Dover, Kay Meredith, Janalee Salestrom Redmond, Jayne Ayers, Elizabeth Madlender, and Zang herself. In memory of his great contribution to the sport, PVDA member Sam Barish established the Col. Bengt Ljungquist Memorial Championship (BLM) in 1982. PVDA hosted the first BLM Championship together with its 18th Annual Competition, October 15-16, 1983, at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, Upper Marlboro, MD.

Today PVDA’s membership encompasses dressage enthusiasts in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. PVDA sponsors licensed and schooling shows, clinics, education programs, JR/YR programs and other opportunities. If you are not already a member PVDA invites you to join us in the fun and exhilaration of our local dressage activities.

PVDA Presidents

1964-65 William S. Gould   1991 Sigrid Thomas
1996 Sally O'Connor   1992-93 Ingrid Gentry
1967-68 Brent Carlson   1994-95 Deri Jeffers
1969 R. McGuckin/S. Murray   1996-97 Peggy Pariso
1970-72 Sally O'Connor   1998 Sigrid Thomas
1973-74 Col. Clarence Edmonds   1999-2000 Mardee Rochelle
1975 Ginger Nelson   2001-02 Peter Onoszko
1976-77 Suzanne Dater   2003 Mardee Rochelle
1978-79 Charles Musco   2004-05 Peggy Pariso
1980-81 Elizabeth Hellman   2006-07 Betty Thorpe
1982 Beth Horigan   2008-09 Marne Martin-Tucker
1983 Vickie Allen   2010-11 Betty Thorpe
1984-85 Samuel Barish   2012-13 Jocelyn Pearson
1986-87 Sigrid Thomas   2014-15 Mary Sue McCarthy
1988 Samuel Barish   2016-17 Claire Lacey
1989-90 Carol Swartz   2018 Christina Dale

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