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TDF's Founding Family: The Boomers

The Boomer Family

The Dressage Foundation (TDF) was established by sport visionary Lowell Boomer in 1989. As a founder of the United States Dressage Federation in 1973, he saw the need for funding support for that organization, its members, and the growing sport of dressage. Therefore, TDF came to be.

As the leadership of TDF eventually transferred from Lowell to his son, John, the Boomer family’s increasing organizational and financial leadership shaped the Foundation into what it is today.

The following story was written by John Boomer in 2012, as he looked back and celebrated the Boomer family’s impact on the sport through TDF.

A Family Affair by John F. Boomer

My father, Lowell Boomer, died on November 20, 2011, after having celebrated his 100th birthday on October 12, 2011. During his long life, he became a giant in the equestrian world. He would not have thought of himself as a giant; he used the pronoun “we” much more often than “I.”

He founded the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) in 1973 and served as its Chief Executive Officer for the first 16 years of its life, before stepping down. My mother, Gladys, was at his side every step of the way during USDF’s formative years, using her superior shorthand skills to record the essence of what dressage people wanted their new organization to do and not do, to be and not be.

Lowell then established The Dressage Foundation (TDF) in 1989, and I had the privilege of serving as its Chief Executive Officer for almost 15 of my “retirement” years. My wife, Lynn, was at my side every step of those years, serving as Administrative Director of The Dressage Foundation. The two of us were the sole employee staff during all of that time.

During recent years of my father’s declining health, I served as his main conduit to the equestrian world. I regularly read equestrian magazines to him, showed him DVDs, and mainly just talked “horse.” He was so excited about the progress of TDF and wanted to hear more and more about its growing family of Funds, its expanding array of grants, who was receiving them, for what purposes, and details about their horses.

In 2001, Lowell established a $500,000 Charitable Remainder Unitrust with TDF designated as “Charitable Remainderman.” This was again a family decision discussed and agreed to by my father, brother, and me. Now, since his recent death, with his estate being settled, my brother and I will not receive $250,000 each through inheritance from this piece of his estate; it is instead irrevocably secured to come to TDF upon our deaths, to be used “where needed most,” as determined by the Board of Directors, based on staff recommendations. So, this $500,000 is a Boomer Family gift.

As my father grew closer to the end of his life, it became apparent to me that he looked upon his equestrian accomplishments as a Family Affair—a “Boomer Family Affair,” if you will. My father’s vision has produced two premier dressage organizations, structured and operating as separate entities—one focused on education, the other on funding. I know he was happy about this and took pride in these accomplishments. I know he felt good about having had his family’s support and help in making these achievements possible. We, his family, feel good, too.