An Evolution is About to Begin

An Evolution is About to Begin

By Nicole Landreneau, SEDA Newsletter Director

Hello once again and welcome to the May/June issue of Off Course. It’s been a busy spring and hopefully you’ll be able to both reminisce and catch up on what’s been going on with our members.

First of all, I’d like to mention Fleur de Leap. What a fun event! You’ll find photos throughout and a short write-up on the front page. Keep in mind, the fall Fleur de Leap is our first recognized horse trials in years – it is going to take a lot of work and people to make it a fun and successful event – so please mark your calendars!

Next up is Le Bon Temps. I can’t encourage everyone enough to come out and compete, volunteer, or just enjoy some camaraderie. The number of dressage shows in our area is down and everyone’s support is necessary if we want to maintain and build interest in the discipline.

And hot on the heels of Le Bon Temps is the SEDA Junior Classic – back to its early June date. This is always a great opportunity to see our young riders shine. Plus, kids and ponies just have to make you smile! Please consider volunteering there as well, sponsoring part of the pot luck or a prize. Since we always have a slew of fun prizes, it’s fun to see most everyone go home with something. But again, that wouldn’t be possible without you all getting involved in some way.

There are other things on the horizon, too. As I write this, I have asked all of you to respond to survey about communications from SEDA. There is going to need to be an evolution of sorts in the way we communicate with our members … but I don’t know just yet exactly what that will entail. For certain, there will be fewer issues of this newsletter. Why?

For starters, the newsletter used to be the only communication tool we had with membership. As times have changed, we now utilize e-mail, Facebook, and the website. Add to that the fact that, due to cost, the newsletter is now distributed electronically … and the result is fewer people reading the newsletter. For the huge amount of time it takes to produce a single issue (20 hours or more), and then to have much less than half the membership actually looking at it, it just doesn’t seem feasible to continue at its current production schedule. It has yet to be decided how often it will be produced, but it will be less.

The question then arises, what will become of some of the features of the newsletter? You will begin to see an evolution on the website as well. Content from the newsletter will soon start to show up posted as illustrated articles on the website, as opposed to simply available in the PDFs of the newsletter archives. This will give us a broader reach for our content, as well as offer more resources on the website. These new entries will also be cross-referenced in the weekly Bleeps and on our Facebook page.

It is my hope that we can start to develop some regular submissions for our website. While I do not expect we will be able to get enough commitment from members to create a regular blog, we should be able to populate it with somewhat regular posts.

The feedback I’ve received from the survey thus far has also been helpful in determining where we are successfully reaching people, what appeals, what is useful, and ways we could improve. Nothing is final yet, but you may see the Bleeps reduced to (typically) once a week to avoid too much repetition. Unfortunately, due to new people joining all year long, there will need to be a recycling of information to ensure that important messages reach all inboxes. My apologies to those of you who find this boring: please try to accommodate the new folks!

There were a couple of comments received which I heartily agree with: we need more member-submitted articles, and we need more member-submitted photos. The perception seems to be that either we don’t ask for these things or submissions are not welcome … but I assure you, we LOVE to get member-submitted material and ask for it regularly, especially preceding each Off Course deadline. We would also LOVE to have stories about members who perhaps aren’t in the press much – at times it seems we talk about the same few people. It’s not intentional, it’s just that those folks send material in! Keep in mind that as we start to flesh out the website, there will be more opportunities to submit your prose and photos. Please do so!

While I’m at it – and since we received a couple of comments to this end – I’d just like to remind everyone that this club is made up of volunteers. Everyone holding a Board or Chair position also wears many other hats, and often the volunteer work gets pushed to the bottom of the list. Things like standings being updated quicker … we’d all like to see this happen. However, the scores have to be submitted (which takes up to two weeks), the Chair then has to enter them in the database (as soon as she can) and then I have to put it on the website (as soon as I can). There’s going to be a lag time and we appreciate your patience as we juggle the rest of our life requirements. We really do try to do our best!

If you come across information or groups or events which you think the rest of our members would benefit from, please let us know. Our calendar does list events all around our respective dressage and eventing regions, but that doesn’t mean we have them all! We  can’t possibly be aware of everything, so your eyes and ears are of great help in that regard…send us a note if you find something of interest.

All in all, I’m very encouraged that it seems we are reaching most members in some capacity. We need to make some tweaks to what we are doing now to be more effective and useful, but that’s all part of growing and evolving to meet the changing needs of our membership.

Thank you for riding along with us and submitting your feedback. And thank you to all who submitted kind words of appreciation and encouragement. That means a lot.

I look forward to seeing some of you out and about at our upcoming events.

Happy reading and happy riding!

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