That's a wrap! I passed my USDF L Program final exam and am officially an L Graduate! I missed graduating 'with distinction' by a pesky little 0.5% so I'll have to bump my score a bit if I want to go on to the 'r' judges training but this has been a mega-educational year!
Some of what I've learned: judging is hard! It takes a really educated eye, quick decisions and consistent methodology. It's not glamorous (none of this is...) but judges have a huge responsibility to the horse and to the sport and it's one of the most important jobs in dressage. They want to give you good scores, and they mean EVERY word and score on your test. Make sure you read all your comments, and learn how to interpret your tests to get the most benefit from the feedback. Thanks to NWDA and USDF Region 4 for the financial support, and to NEDA for hosting a fabulous Part 2 with great USDF faculty and examiners. I was so happy to meet some great new friends and colleagues through the program. I'm looking forward to staying in touch with them!
It's always a good show when there's champagne involved! Great job at Otter Creek Farm this weekend everyone! Brigid and Rhumba finished off Brigid's BRONZE medal in just four shows! Alex and her young mares had good experiences in the ring and some great scores! Leah rode USA in his Int 1 debut, getting more confident as the weekend progressed and qualifying to ride a freestyle later this year. Teresa and Ava got a qualifier in their Third Level Freestyle and had a great debut at Fourth Level, getting very close to some Silver Medal scores and showing off all the homework they've done over the winter. Kate and Ali had a good time back in the ring together, earning Kate some scores toward her Bronze Medal at First Level. Always a fun time at Otter Creek with great food, hospitality and entertainment!
We had a great 2017 Show Season! Some highlights:
Brio made his Third Level debut and did his first freestyle ever! He qualified for Regionals at Third Level and Third Level Freestyle and qualified for US Dressage Finals with his freestyle.
Ava and Teresa showed their very first freestyle (which Teresa designed and did the music for) and qualified for Regionals, placing 5th out of the Adult Amateurs at Regional Championships. Ava was a seasoned professional at her very first Regional Championships!
Brigid and Rhumba earned 2/3 of her USDF Bronze Medal in just three shows (Brigid's first three shows ever!) Brigid also took her mare, Tare to her first dressage show. They performed beautiful tests at Training Level.
Leah rode Eliot ("Time Square") in his very first horse show ever, just a few months after arriving. He did Training Level for 70-74%, showing his exemplary character and super work ethic through rain, storms, puddles, wind and cold at Silverwood Farm.
Sarah and Rhumba rode in a clinic with Lendon Gray, and learned a lot out at First Level, earning her First Level scores towards her Bronze Medal.
Kate Hinz had a great year on Finley, who has grown up tremendously. Her other horse Ali, was well ridden by Jess Amundson, becoming a very steady little mare! Jess also had a great year with MHARF foster horse project, Nash.
Alex had a great year, getting Ciacci fit and show-ready and taking him to his first show in years! They did great at First Level. She also rode USA, owned by Spring Hill Farm in his first show in years. They did great and completed her First Level scores towards her USDF Bronze Medal.
USA did his FEI debut with Leah at Prix St. George, settling back into the show ring with a 68% at PSG!
Congratulations to everyone on a successful and hard working summer. Onward to a winter of homework and training. I can't wait for 2018!
Leah had a fantastic time at Starwest Stables owned by Martin and Kate Kuhn for a Education Day for Certified Instructors led by Susanne von Dietze. Susanne is an internationally celebrated author, human physiotherapist, and FEI dressage rider and trainer. She is an absolute genius when it comes to rider seat and position. This was an immensely valuable educational opportunity. Thank you to Martin and Kate for hosting, Susanne for all the insight and to USDF for creating these special educational opportunities especially for Certified Instructors.
Leah and Rhumba were the 2016 The Dressage Foundation Two Tempi Challenge Regional Reserve Champions! Thanks to all who contributed!
Read the press release here:
I'm so excited to announce my new relationships with Custom Saddlery and Coach House Equestrian!
I can't wait for my new Custom saddle to arrive. Stay tuned for exciting gear updates and please ask me about these excellent companies anytime! Many thanks to both Custom Saddlery and Coach House Equestiran. My horses and I will greatly appreciate your support into the future!
What an amazing time at the USDF Convention with all these ladies! Huge Congratulations to Teresa Kolar and her Ava, and Amy Miller and her Sebastian on their USDF BRONZE MEDALS! Each of them have their own very special stories and journeys to this achievement and each deserves every moment of this celebration! Glad Sarah Chiodi could be here to experience this with us, and of course John and Steve. It's their medal too.
Leah and Rubinstar had a great time riding with Paul Belasik at the Leatherdale Equine Center. We got some really useful help improving the piaffe and canter pirouettes for the Grand Prix. Mr. Belasik is a master, and Rubinstar is a wonder horse! Thanks to CSDEA for hosting, and to Sarah Chiodi for grooming!