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HomeMission & Vision



The mission of SLADS shall be to foster an interest in, and greater understanding of, dressage among people in the greater St. Louis area.

The programs SLADS sponsors shall be primarily educational in nature and shall offer a framework in which individuals can progress with their education and the training of their horses.


We believe in promoting the well-being of the horse.

We believe our members are the heart and soul of the organization.

We believe that all members, no matter what level of experience in the discipline of dressage, will be treated in the discipline of dressage, will be treated equitably and with respect.

We believe that interactive communication is essential to a healthy organization.

We believe the value of participation is in the process as well as the achievement.

We believe in and appreciate the volunteer ethic.  We believe in the pursuit of excellence in all our activities.


The Saint Louis Dressage Society was started in 1972 by Sonja Kershaw and her students, Sherri Johnson, Bobbe Kennedy, Donna Singer, Georgia Mauk, Marietta Buechner, Nancy Kutta, and Kathy Kottimer.  They would hold the meetings at Sonja’s house.  The first 6 or 7 years everyone held at least one office and sometimes two.

Pete Johnson and Ed Kottimer designed and built the first SLADS dressage arena out of 1X4’s, 2X4 stakes with U shaped metal attached to the stakes to support the 1X4’s.  The letters were made out of plywood and paint.

Clinics for SLADS members was of most importance in the beginning.  The very first clinic was with Violet Hopkins in December, 1972 at High Trails in Eureka, Missouri.

The First SLADS show was held at Bridlespur.  The members hired only “I” judges because the members thought these judges would teach everyone the most.  In the beginning the gate to the show arena was closed and opened for each competitor.  The shows were run by 5 or 6 people doing all of the jobs.  At the end of each show these 5 or 6 people would figure up what SLADS made versus what was spent and many times SLADS owed money. These few individuals would then pull money out of their own pockets and donate so SLADS would break even.

***The information above was as recounted in an interview with Sherri Johnson on June 3, 2007.