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Your Hub for Community and Learning.

Our mission is to provide innovative, high quality learning for Dressage and Eventing riders and enthusiasts in Eastern Iowa. By engaging our members in the pursuit of a deeper understanding of our equine partners, we foster a sense of community and shared purpose.


What We Do

We get together, learn and have fun! EIDEA members gather for educational meetings and hands on riding demos, clinics, shows and workshops throughout the year. Meetings are generally held the first Tuesday evening of the month, with some riding events taking place on weekends. 

We volunteer. An organization where all members are involved in making things happen for each other is a healthy organization in it for the long haul. Members can serve on the board, hold an office, or do something as simple as bring refreshments to a meeting.  



2019 GMO Marketing Awards

  • Honorable Mention, Website Layout and Design for GMO with 75- 174 Members

  • Honorable Mention, Creative GMO-Sponsored Program; "Ride Pain Free with Dave Thind"

2018 GMO Marketing Awards

  • Best Website Layout and Design for GMO with under 75 members

  • Best First Person Newsletter Article, Donna Hammond for March 2018 On the Bit

  • Honorable Mention Most Creative GMO-Sponsored Event; "Taste a Wine/Ride a Test"

2009 Best Newsletter Award – Best layout and Design for GMO with under 75 members

2009 GMO Website  Award – Best layout and Design for GMO with under 75 members

2004 GMO Newsletter Award – Best layout and Design for GMO with under 75 members

Our History

In the 1960's and '70's, a group of early Dressage enthusiasts, led by a passionate Iowa transplant named Betsy Coester, formed what would eventually become Eastern Iowa Dressage and Eventing Association.


EIDEA, as it is currently known, is a Chartered USDF Group Member Organization and officially incorporated as a nonprofit in 2003 under the leadership of the late Amanda Johnson, then President.


Between Betsy's early days, when Dressage was barely known in the US, and the present, eastern Iowans hosted internationally prominent clinicians and held fondly remembered recognized show series. Many of the active barns in those days are now gone, but the memories and reputation of eastern Iowans as promoting Dressage theory and practice, remain. Many thanks to member Sharon Neff for compiling our important milestones through a series of interviews, and to Megan Ward and Barb Hall for photos.


Dressage Milestones in Eastern Iowa

  • 1956 Betsy Coester (later a charter member of USDF) founds Winds Reach Farm in Iowa City. The farm remains an active hub for dressage and eventing today, owned and managed by her son, Bill Coester.

  • 1959 Betsy founds Rapid Creek Pony Club. Clinicians include Waldemar Seunig.

  • 1973 USDF Founded by Lowell Boomer in Lincoln, Nebraska. EIDEA's origins start here (then known as Winds Reach Dressage), as Betsy Coester was involved with the founding group.

  • 1975-1976 Karl Mikolka clinics at Maffitt Lake Farm in Des Moines.

  • 1978 River City Dressage and Combined Training Association founded, Ellen (Mahaney) DeCicco founder and president.

  • Iowa Dressage and Combined Training Association Founded (a USDF GMO).

  • 1980's University of Iowa Riding Classes at Sugar Bottom Stables.

  • A sampling of clinicians who visited Eastern Iowa barns: Tom Poulin, Bill Woods, Neil Ishoy, Betsy Steiner.

  • 1990s Free Rein Farm opens on Dubuque Street in Iowa City, hosts recognized shows, benefits and dressage camps. Clinicians include Mette Rosencrantz and Colonel Von Ziegner.

  • 1996 EIDCTA record of first meeting held: "Developing an Eye for Collection." with Betsy Coester and Dorothy Maxwell (R).

  • EIDEA (jointly with IaDCTA) hosts the 2002 USDF Region 4 Adult Clinic featuring Walter Zettl at Winds Reach Farm, an undertaking involving many volunteers and attended by participants from a five state region.

Past EIDEA Presidents

  • Barb Putnam (1998-2002)

  • Chuck Bennett (2003)

  • Jan Vlasak (2004)

  • Amanda Johnson (2005-6)

  • (2007 – no president) Merrill Klemm Vice President 

  • Anne Cizadlo (2008-2011)

  • Nan Barta (2015-2017)

  • Jean Rude (2018-2019)

  • Ali Hayford (2020-2021)

  • Leigh Ennen (2022 to present

Group at Catalpa.jpg

EIDEA members and community supporters gather in 2006 to make Catalpa Corners, now one of the midwest's premiere recognized Events, a reality.

team championship pic.jpg

Adult Team Championships, 2007, Mason City, IA. Left to right: Joyce Pundt, Jennifer Pundt, Megan Ward, Cara Solness, Lois Pienkos, Lynne Birkland.


USDF Adult Clinic Series for Region 4 held at Winds Reach Farm. Left to right: Walter Zettl, Heidi Zettl, Megan Ward, Ali Hayford, Deb Levine Eckland, Deb Ockenfels, Bill Coester, Barb Putnam, Nan Barta, Judy Nauseef and Chris Africa.

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