Robert Higgins Wins The Paddock Saddlery United States Dressage Federation Volunteer of the Year Award
RELEASE: January 10, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Paddock Saddlery
Each year, the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) recognizes a member of the organization who has demonstrated exceptional commitment toward USDF through consistent volunteer work. Thanks to a sponsorship from The Paddock Saddlery, that person is presented with the USDF Volunteer of the Year Award to acknowledge their superior efforts. This year, Robert Higgins received the prestigious award presented by The Paddock Saddlery. Higgins was presented with a beautiful bronze perpetual trophy, a commemorative plaque and a $500 gift certificate to The Paddock Saddlery.
Higgins, who hails from Winter Springs, FL, exemplifies the characteristics of an indispensable volunteer. He is a technical delegate (TD) that has an eye for detail and a head for numbers. He was a member of the USDF Fiscal Review Committee and later the USDF Budget and Finance Committee. Higgins has also co-chaired the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Representatives Committee and is a committee member of the USEF Fiscal Review and Competition Management Committees. Higgins' most recent accomplishment with USDF was his involvement in creating the new Audit Committee and serving as its first chairman. Dressage competitors are more likely to recognize Higgins from his work with large shows on the East coast. Just this year, he has performed integral roles in the following CDIs: Raleigh, Dressage at Devon, and New England Dressage Association. Additionally, Higgins has been a prominent figure at championships in 2007, such as the FEI North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships and three different USDF Regional Championships.
The Paddock Saddlery owner/operator Lisa Gorretta said, “The commitment of volunteers is what the sport needs to be able to run, from backyard shows to the Olympics.” Gorretta herself sets an unparallel example. She has given her time for 22 years at the regional level and has served nationally for USDF for fourteen years. Additionally, Gorretta has served on USEF’s Dressage Committee for four years.
The Paddock Saddlery caters to the needs of English riders, from tack and clothing to saddle fitting. Recently, The Paddock Saddlery merged with A’Dashi, a popular dressage fashion boutique. Along with providing equestrians with the finest in couture and functional riding wear, both The Paddock Saddlery and A’Dashi has been giving back to the equestrian community since their inceptions. With the merger, The Paddock Saddlery hopes to expand their volunteer award sponsorships to include a youth award as well as nine regional awards, one for each USDF region.
In December, Gorretta and USDF President Sam Barish were on hand to present the award to Higgins at the Adequan/USDF Annual Convention in Orlando, FL. The perpetual trophy will be engraved with Higgins’ name and be placed in the USDF Hall of Fame. The USDF Hall of Fame is in Lexington, KY, at the USDF.