Meet Your Board
By Sandra Adair

This is the first in a series of articles in which I hope to better acquaint the HDS membership with the people on their board. Too often we refer to "the Board" as if it is a separate entity, when in fact it is a group of people who unselfishly put in an amazing amount of time and energy so the rest of us can have local shows and championships, a newsletter and website, awards and clinics, and other great programs. What would we do without all their behind-the-scenes effort? Well, for those of you who would like to volunteer, but are not too sure where, these articles will also give you insights into the different board positions. If one strikes your fancy, I'll give you the emails so you can inquire about the position and sub-committees. This month I interviewed Nancy Kempe, the Education Chair, and Martha Guyton, the Historian.

Nancy began riding as a teenager, doing mostly western and trail riding. After she and her husband moved to Houston from Jacksonville, Florida in 1985, she took hunter/jumper lessons for the next five years. She bought her first horse in 1990, and began her dressage training with Liz Wilkerson at the Equestrian Center. But it wasn't long until her daughter became active in Pony Club, and working full time with two children left little time for Nancy to ride. When Kelly switched her interest from horses to boys, Nancy finally took her passion from back- burner to top priority! She went to Europe in 2000 and bought Jamos, a 9-year-old Dutch PSG school master, moved to Freestyle Farm, and started training with Christie Raisbeck in earnest. Nancy says of Janos, "He's my soul-mate, the love of my life!" The pair is enjoying on Fourth Level this year.

Nancy joined HDS about 10 years ago, and has served as the Education Chair for the past three years. The first year she put together programs such as HDS' first Scribing Clinic, the Ride-a-Test Clinic with Bobbie Paulk, and the Col. Von Ziegner Clinic. Last year she tackled her largest undertaking, the "L" Judge Program, which will be completed at Championships. This year she helped bring in Robert Dover in January, and is the HDS liaison for the Debbie McDonald and the Sue Blinks JR/YR Clinics happening this fall. Nancy will be leaving the Board at the end of this year when her term expires, but plans to still serve on committees. She is willing to discuss her position with anyone interested, and wants to assist her replacement anyway she can.

Following is Nancy's heartfelt message to her fellow HDS members:
"You need to understand that the HDS Board are all volunteers. And, until you have served in this capacity, you will never know how much time and commitment it takes. We all have a life with family, careers, and horses. It was my goal as Education Chair to really make a difference in our Houston area. In the beginning of my term, I planned events that I thought would benefit riders of all levels, even though they were expensive and time consuming to organize. It was surprising what a small number of members actually participated in these events, and the apparent lack of interest was very disappointing to me. I feel that if you would prefer a certain event or clinician, step up to the plate! We need your input, as well as your assistance, to make the educational program what you want it to be. Bottom line...make yourself available for educational opportunities. They are all around us. Scribing is an excellent way to learn. Volunteer to be a gate-keeper at shows, and you will be amazed at what you learn on the sidelines from trainers schooling their students. Organize a video night with a group from your barn. There are many wonderful clinicians that come to our area. Go and audit, regardless of whether you like them or not. You must be open to every opportunity, because you never know when you are going to get it! I can't tell you how many 'light bulb moments' I have had in the most unexpected ways. Good luck to all of you and may each of you reach whatever goals are on your personal horizon." Your comments and input is always welcome at

Martha Guyton has been a member HDS since shortly after its inception, and has been volunteering in one way or another for over 25 years! She has been the Historian for the past year. She records and photographs HDS happenings, such as horse shows, clinics and other events, and submits an article to the Newsletter for the following month. She also maintains all monthly Newsletters for future reference. Martha says, "This is a fun job! It isn't difficult and it allows you to meet a lot of people." Martha has also developed an outreach program for HDS, of which she is extremely proud. "This program has been a terrific way for us to take the discipline of dressage into the community. We recently traveled to the Richmond State School for the Handicapped, and performed a 4th of July musical freestyle program for the residents of the school. They packed the grandstand under their covered riding arena, and clapped and cheered with great enthusiasm. These are people who are severely handicapped and live on campus their entire lives. Our horses loved the attention from these gentle souls, and even the wheelchairs didn’t bother them. There is a riding therapy program at the school and a number of the residents receive weekly treatments on horseback. Those of us who participated feel that this is a very worthwhile project that should continue."

Martha started riding at her family's ranch at the tender age of 5. She currently has been married for 44 years, and has 3 children and 7 grandchildren! As a teenager she rode hunter/jumpers, as it seems we all do. She started taking dressage lessons from Paul Cotton in 1980 when the Great Southwest Equestrian Center opened in Katy. When it became apparent that her horse was not happy there, Paul suggested she move to Freestyle Farm and train with Christy Raisbeck. When her horse passed away five years ago, Martha rejoined Paul, who let her ride his horse, Gabby, while he set about finding Martha her own mount. Two and a half years ago, he went to Germany and bought her Absolut Lee, a 12-year-old Oldenburg. This successful pair are currently tied for 11th nationally in the USDF's Horse of the Year standings for Third Level Adult Amateur!

Although there weren't any specific issues in the HDS Survey for the Historian to address, Martha had this to say "I feel that HDS has many things to offer its members. I have been a volunteer in both civic and horse-related societies all my life. I know one thing to be consistently true: to benefit from your club, you must give back as much as you get. Every member is important, and if HDS is to succeed, it will only be if people are willing to give their time and support to make that happen. For example, it is no accident that this year HDS will again host both the GAIG and the SWDC Championships together. We worked hard to make this happen. Help us do the great job we are committed to do, making HDS the best it can be!" Send all suggestions to


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