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Introducing ADS’s New Executive Director

Introducing ADS’s New Executive Director

Dec 21, 2017 280 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

December 20, 2017

Cross Plains, WI. - The American Driving Society, Inc. (ADS) is proud to announce the promotion of Abbie Trexler to the position of Executive Director. Trexler was promoted from inside the organization after an open application and search process.

“Abbie reenergized The Whip in her last year and a half as Editor of ADS publications,” said ADS President Mike Arnold. “We look forward to her enthusiastic leadership and continued excellence.”

Abbie previously held the position of Associate Editor of The Morgan Horse magazine, and trained and bred Morgan horses prior to her work in publishing. She’s based in Pennsylvania where she resides with her husband and two small children.

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Nominations Sought: ADS Board of Directors

It’s time to begin assembling a slate for officers and directors who will serve a two-year term between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020

Dec 12, 2017 194 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

Nominations Sought: ADS Board of Directors

Pat Cheatham, Chair - ADS Nominating Committee

 It’s time to begin assembling a slate for officers and directors who will serve a two-year term between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020. These slates will be published on July 1, 2018 and will be voted upon during the 2018 Annual Membership and Board of Directors-elect meetings. The membership will elect the board of directors and the elected directors will elect the officers.

I ask all ADS members to think about the tasks and challenges faced by our society and submit names of persons they would like to have as an officer or director. You may send suggestions to

ADSNomCom@americandrivingsociety.org. Please tell us which position you would like to see your candidate serve and why, along with the individual’s e-mail address and phone number. Your submissions will be reviewed by the Nominating Committee and the person suggested may be interviewed. Your suggestions should be submitted no later than April 15, 2018. Any information received by the Nominating Committee will be held in strict confidence.

Members may also nominate someone for the board of directors from the floor during the 2018 Annual Membership Meeting.  Details for nominations from the floor will be published along with the proposed slate of candidates in July.

The ADS Nominating Committee makes every attempt to select individuals with the knowledge and expertise necessary to carry out the duties of the Board for the good of the society and our sport. All nominees must be members in good standing with the ADS. In addition to the regional directors, we work toward a geographical spread so all areas of the country are well represented.

Resources: Current Roster of Officers & Directors:


Documents to download

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2017 ADS Proposed Bylaw Changes

Sep 26, 2017 461 Views 8 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

Notice to Members
Board of Directors
The American Driving Society, Inc.
Proposed Bylaw Changes 

The American Driving Society, Inc. is incorporated in the State of New York as a Not for Profit Corporation and also holds Federal Tax 501 (c ) 3 status allowing donations to ADS to be tax deductible according to law. 

As a New York Not for Profit Corporation we are required to follow New York’s applicable laws.  New York has made revisions that make it necessary for us to amend our Bylaws in order to comply.
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2017 ADS Proposed Bylaw Changes
Comments can be sent to gbl@americandrivingsociety.org  or simply comment below for all to see.

8 Comment(s)

Mike Arnold

I do not agree with the removal of Robert's Rules. They have been used in full force only when an issue required it and offer many places for relaxation of the process. We could use something like: https://wiki.hacdc.org/index.php/MIBS_Simplified_Rules_of_Coordinated_Consensus_through_Chaos

but that is a bit more informal than I am comfortable with.


9/26/2017 4:53:41 PM
Margaret Grillet

The President, as the presiding officer of the Board of Directors, does have the duty of conducting the meeting in a constructive and orderly manner but should not be required to abide by Robert's Rules. I noticed at the meetings I participated in that compliance with Robert's Rules was often distracting (as very few are familiar with the rules and those that are argue about them), impeded constructive and helpful discussion of the topic, and often resulted in confusion on what was being considered for a vote.

I also believe that the President's term should NOT be perpetual and that it is a very bad practice for an organization like the ADS to not have a term limit. Change is a vital part of the organization and without term limits, change will not happen. Consider modifying the term limit, but do not remove it.

Margaret Grillet

9/27/2017 9:17:45 AM
Jeff Morse

I agree with Margaret on this point: a President's term should not be open ended. But, I also think the literal reading of the current Bylaw wording perhaps means something other than that was intended. My guess is that what was intended was that a president could only serve two consecutive terms before someone else took the position .....and not that once a president served two consecutive terms they could never again be President.. IOW, after two years, there is to be a mandatory break.

9/27/2017 10:34:08 AM
Daniel Rosenthal

Jeff- I think you mean after two terms not two years. I have an issue with not having term limits. My town has two guys who take turns being mayor. Because of our legal structure they are "elected" by the three member town council. Only one member of the council ever gets replaced and the new person loses the vote two to 1. I prefer the two year break to "President for life' for sure but I think term limits that are absolute are a good policy. I was not present when the current bylaws were drafted so have no data on what was meant by the authors.

9/27/2017 2:21:59 PM
Michael Ridge

I do not agree with the removal of Robert's Rules without some replacement. Without some rules, no one knows what is allowed. Can I second a motion only if it is modified in some way? Can I introduce an alternative motion at the same time and have the discussion address both questions? I don't think any organization can make order out of chaos without some rules. Robert's Rules is kind of standard for large corporations, but in a small non-profit it is sometimes better to run meetings to come to a consensus rather than a vote. There could be a simple set of rules that set the order of meetings, the method of announcing a proposal (in writing, on a website, three minute pitch at the Board meeting, etc.).

In the meeting itself, the Chairman enforces civil discussion with ad hoc judgments - one person talks at a time, don't attack the person, stay on the topic,etc.. In this kind of system, the group can do either of the two scenarios I put in the first paragraph.

Googling 'Consensus Building for non-profits' gives you a lot of different systems that could be referenced in the by-laws.

I am agreeing with Margaret Grillet that the Chairman has the responsibility to run an efficient and civil meeting. The Board needs to have some common rules about how the meeting will run and how new ideas can be introduced.

9/27/2017 10:47:32 PM
Jeff Morse

Yes, Dan, sorry I meany 2 terms: " after two TERMS, there is to be a mandatory break." actually, after two consecutive terms.

RE: Roberts Rules.... some system of rules should be maintained. The proposed bylaw language simply abandons any rule system. making it too easy for chaos to ensue and talk about wasting time, how much time would it take to untangle meetings without some formal rules? Perhaps as an alternative to RR, which I get can be a little complicated and arcane, even clumsy, this simple alternative might suffice: http://democraticrules.com/#top For a compareison to RR: http://www.democraticrules.com/pdf/INFORMATION_LEAFLET_2013.pdf

9/28/2017 1:50:26 PM
Merridy Hance

I agree with comments above that term limits should not be removed. This is a volunteer-based organization, in which member engagement should be paramount. Current challenges in filling an executive position do not translate into doing away with term limits. On the contrary, this situation points to the need for even greater member communication, encouragement, and engagement.

Similarly, I agree that Roberts Rules should be maintained as a reasoned way to encourage civil and effective communication and participation with members. Yes, some of the rules may be arcane to some, but that's not to say that we can't educate ourselves in the process. The rules are there to encourage participation, and that's what we're going for.

As a supportive member, I'd be interested in following along as some of these ideas evolve. I see by the website that committees may post their minutes. Please may be the committees be encouraged or required to do this so that we members may have the benefit of being more engaged? I trust the committees to be working in the best interests of the organization, and I trust that the committee members are expert in their assignments; I'd just like to follow their process and reasoning so that when it comes to a BOD or Ex Com meeting in which my representatives' votes are required, everyone can already have been informed and involved.

9/30/2017 6:32:08 PM
Margaret Grillet

As for the election of officers, yes, NY Law provides for either the Members OR the Board to elect officers. Either way is perfectly fine so long as the procedure is followed correctly. If the Board elects the officers, it must be done by the directors who are "duly elected and acting", NOT by the newly elected slate whose term has not yet begun. This a procedural question that is easily handled by either:

1) extending the current officers' terms to the date of the first board meeting of the newly elected Board (historically this is the second or third week in January) where they can be elected by the new sitting board whose term began on Jan 1st, or

2) having the existing board at the annual meeting elect the new officers to begin their terms on January 1st.

The slate of new directors whose terms begin on Jan 1st has no authority to elect officers (or to do anything else) before that date. This procedure and timing issue causes the ADS to essentially have no elected officers from the period of time from January 1 (after the annual meeting) until the date of the first meeting of the newly elected board. If the bylaws are not modified to allow for the members to elect the officers at the annual meeting, then the Policies and Procedures and practice of the board must be updated so that the officers are elected properly.. Its an easy fix, why not do it right?

10/4/2017 7:39:23 AM
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US Equestrian and The American Driving Society Reach Final Agreement that Reinstates Recognized Affiliate Designation to The American Driving Society

May 13, 2017 1183 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

At a special called meeting of the ADS Board of Directors held May 10, 2017, the board approved the signing of the USEF/ADS Affiliate Agreement. This agreement, having been previously approved by the USEF Board and signed by their CEO, goes into effect immediately, reinstating the ADS as the USEF Recognized Affiliate for Combined Driving and for Carriage Pleasure Driving. 

This agreement best serves the driving community as well as the needs of both USEF and ADS organizations. Driving has long been an essential part of equestrian sport and recreation; a renewed connection between our organizations is a vital part of unifying the sport, providing ample opportunity to share the joy of our unique discipline throughout the entire equestrian community. 

Some notable items from the agreement (see the agreement for the exact wording):  

The ADS is not required to drug test, though if we do decide to implement drug testing, we agree to establish terms acceptable to USEF. 

Preliminary and Intermediate may be offered as ADS or USEF in combination with Advanced or not. 

At USEF-licensed as well as joint USEF/ADS shows, the lower levels will be subject to drug testing, but if the lower levels are ADS, they will not be assessed a drug fee. 

The ADS will continue to license its own officials, but USEF will be able to issue a USEF-only license without the requirement of an ADS license. 

The ADS will continue to train all officials. 

There are various things that will need updating, such as our entry forms - with the addition of the notification of potential joint show drug testing as well as the addition of the non-discrimination clause, among others. 

Clicking these links will let you see the agreement, the joint announcement and a letter from Bill Moroney.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me directly ma@snowcamp.org or use ADS Matters so that all can see the question/concern and any responses.  

Let's get driving,
Mike Arnold
President, The American Driving Society, Inc.

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A message from the ADS Board of Directors re: USEF's recent decision revoking Affiliate status from ADS

Jan 21, 2017 1855 Views 1 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

January 20, 2017

To the Members of The American Driving Society, Inc.

The Board of Directors of The American Driving Society, Inc. (“ADS”) was saddened and dismayed Thursday night when we read the letter we received from William J. Moroney, CEO of US Equestrian(“USE”). The letter announced a precipitous decision taken by the USE Board of Directors in a closed session at their recent meeting in Lexington Kentucky. That decision was to summarily terminate the ADS’s 40-year tenure as the USE Driving Affiliate. We were not allowed an opportunity to attend the secret USE Board meeting or to speak on the matter at any time with the Board, Mr. Moroney or Mr. Kessler (USE President), on this hugely important matter.

The ADS has been the driving affiliate of USE and its several predecessor organizations for more than 40 years. During that time we have worked tirelessly to promote the sport of carriage driving in all of its forms and to ensure the highest standards of sportsmanship and ethical treatment of our equine partners. We are not aware of a single instance of an ADS member being sanctioned for drug or other violations and are proud of the record of competitive and general driving achievement and camaraderie of our members both in the United States and abroad. Indeed, at the recent USE members meeting three members of the ADS family were given major awards by the USE in recognition of their current and long term accomplishments.

The letter from Mr. Moroney states that the ADS and USE had failed to reach agreement on an affiliate agreement and that ADS had requested “exceptions” that the USE Board was not prepared to grant. We were not informed of the decision or indeed of the discussion so we are not absolutely certain we know to what the letter refers.

Some time ago, the then USEF requested that ADS craft a new affiliate agreement and that ADS provide a team to work with USEF in drafting such a document. While we were surprised to learn that no template existed, members of our Board worked many hours to bring that process to a conclusion and most recently provided USE with an outline of the major issues that had been addressed during this process. All members of the negotiating team were in agreement on all of these issues save the licensure of officials who act as judges or technical delegates at ADS only (non-USEF) competitions in Combined and Pleasure Driving. The ADS feels strongly that our unblemished record of more than 40 years of providing this function and substantially all the training for both ADS and USEF officials should continue. The discussion document noted that USEF staff had stated a strong preference for the licensure activity to be the sole purview of the USEF. At no time were any lines drawn or ultimatums given by either party, at any forum, to which we were invited by USEF.

We are baffled that the continuation of a 40-year tradition of service could somehow become an unacceptable exception to some unstated rule. We have questions about the lack of due process in this decision – we have not been informed or provided an opportunity to meet with the Board of the USE or its senior officials. Like you, we have been summarily told that we are no longer the driving affiliate.

It is our plan to ensure, to the best of our ability, that no member of the driving community is disadvantaged by this reckless behavior by the USE. We deeply regret the actions of the USE Board with respect to our status as affiliate and the several steps that they have taken today which will negatively impact our members, our organizers and the sport of driving.

We are proud of the traditions of the ADS and pledge to our members and the driving community at large that we will continue to uphold those traditions and to support the driving community with the same level of service, education, competition organization and other activities as we have for the past 40 years. Many of our current Board members have served ADS and the driving community for ALL those years and are eager to continue that service into the future.

The Board of Directors of The American Driving Society, Inc.

Documents to download

1 Comment(s)

Pat Cheatham

A good position and letter to members from our Board. Thank you for providing a link to the Chronicle's report although I didn't appreciate USE's implication that ADS wasn't adhering to affiliate responsibilities - don't believe I've ever seen them. I recommend the same letter go to the Chronicle's editors.

Pat Cheatham

Newnan, Georgia

1/21/2017 2:55:15 PM
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Introducing ADS Matters

Jul 28, 2016 1638 Views 13 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

ADS Matters is meant to provide a vehicle for communicating and receiving open feedback on items important to the ADS.  It is open for all to read and for members (once logged in) to make comments that can be seen by all.

When posting comments, please try to keep to the topic being discussed and polite. Off-topic comments may be deleted.  

Mike Arnold

13 Comment(s)

Merridy Hance

Thank you for offering this means of communication with one another. I'd like to discuss with others the issue of standards for carriages for VSEs. Are we at the point in the evolution of VSEs in combined driving that there should be standards set for track width? For distance between the back of the horse and the front of the carriage? Distance between traces? We have required measurements for large horses and ponies under Article 940, but we haven't yet defined them for VSEs.

9/14/2016 5:22:14 PM
Hardy Zantke

Even though Mike says, this might not be the most pressing topic - nevertheless, since you asked, Merrily, before we need to focus on the other measurements - like distance between carriage and horse, first just do focus on a standard track width among the VSE people. I think you'll have your hands full enough with just that. Good luck.

9/14/2016 7:23:41 PM
Merridy Hance

Hardy, you're so right that there are now other matters of greater gravity.

9/14/2016 11:52:34 PM
Larry Brinker

Logged in and oddly enough it appears to work in my world of techno-no talent

9/14/2016 5:44:19 PM
Allyn Carman

Works for me, too - now to think of a subject to start in on!

9/14/2016 6:15:33 PM

I'm in!

9/15/2016 2:42:24 PM
Mike Arnold

Just to make a point - Merridy's comment isn't so much on topic :-) ... but perhaps a 'Potential Topic' article is in order.

9/14/2016 6:21:38 PM
Natasha Grigg

The technology troglodyte has also managed to logon with the fabulous Joe Barry's help! I thought that our current topic for discussion is the ADS/USEF Affiliate relationship as it was and how to move forward. Mike, did you post the proposal?

9/14/2016 7:00:30 PM
Mike Arnold

Natasha, yes I did - it should be there.

9/15/2016 9:37:31 AM
Mary Jo Stockman

Mike: Thanks for doing ADS Matters. You have found a clear and simple means for members to discuss pressing issues. As a housekeeping matter, I would ask that anyone posting define terms before using initials only. Usually this is done at the first use of a term i.e. The American Driving Society (ADS). That way we are sure we are all talking about the same thing. I thought DSC was Darn Silly Comment until I got to the end of the article. Mary Jo Stockman

9/15/2016 11:42:30 AM
Ronda McPherson

Nice forum and should help to aid in communication. Thanks for doing this. r

9/15/2016 4:41:52 PM
Linda Bennett

I'm in without having to use a separate log-in.

9/21/2016 8:21:29 PM
Sally Armstrong

ADS Matters is an excellent addition to the website and for the members. Thank you!

11/3/2016 4:12:27 PM
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