Page 1


APRIL 2019

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

IT’S SHOW SEASON! Ready to Try “Recognized”?

What to Know Before You Show (p. 32)

Adult Amateur’s Guide to CDIs

CDIAm competitor Jessica Howington and Quinto

Dressage Coaches’ Gymnastic Exercises: Top Trainers Conference Takeaways (p. 22)

Lebanon Junction, KY Permit # 559



The Horse That Matters to You Matters to Us ®

Challenge: Sore muscles


Elevate® Natural Vitamin E • Maintains healthy muscles, reducing soreness and stiffness • Supports faster recovery after intense exercise • Sustains a robust immune system Satisfaction Guaranteed

KPPusa.com, 859-873-2974

Simple Solutions, Scientifically Proven® USDF 2019-04


winning partnership...

“My saddle is one of the proudest achievements of my career. I believe we have created the perfect seat for you and unprecedented comfort for your horse.” Isabell Werth The deep seat in the Isabell Saddle is unique sitting you in a central and balanced position, and with the Adjustable Ergonomic Stirrup Bar, correct alignment is effortless. The CAIR Cushion System and EASY-CHANGE Fit Solution offer the greatest flexibility in achieving a customised fit and fluid cushioning ensuring your horse’s absolute comfort and your peace of mind. Experience the ultimate connection with your horse and become a winning partnership in a Bates Isabell Saddle.

For more information visit batessaddles.com








Trainers Conference features the national dressage coaches By Jennifer O. Bryant



(Almost) everything you need to know before you compete (or volunteer!) at a “recognized” show By Kim F. Miller



For successful FEI-level riders, an international competition may be a doable goal By Natalie DeFee Mendik

4 INSIDE USDF More Recognition Opportunities for Adult Amateurs

6 RINGSIDE Road Map to the Show Ring

By Peggy Klump

By Jennifer O. Bryant

12 CLINIC Sequential Schooling of the Dressage Horse

By Hilda Gurney

20 HISTORICAL CONNECTION American Dressage Legends: Edgar Hotz 48 THE TAIL END Confessions of a Serial Volunteer

By Penny Hawes



8 21 44 46 46 47


ON OUR COVER The horse inspection is a key part of CDI competition. Jessica Howington, Wellington, Florida, jogs her eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Quinto (Quaterback – Gorklintgards Keira, Sunny-boy), before a CDIAm at the 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. Photo by SusanJStickle.com.

Volume 20, Number 10


April 2019


inside usdf



USDF’s All-Breeds awards program now includes an AA freestyle category By Peggy Klump, Awards Committee Chair


ecently several USDF members have expressed a desire for more opportunities to earn freestyle awards. I’m pleased to report that, in addition to USDF’s established freestyle awards, a significant initiative has been implemented to expand the number of All-Breeds freestyle awards available to adult amateurs. First, a quick summary. The USDF offers three general categories of freestyle awards: 1. The USDF gold, silver, and bronze freestyle bars are part of the USDF’s stable of rider awards. Along with the USDF gold, silver, and bronze rider medals, the freestyle bars are part of a “lifetime achievement” system in which eligible scores may be earned over time, not just in a single competition year. Both USDF group members (GMs) and participating members (PMs) are eligible to earn rider awards. 2. The Adequan®/USDF year-end awards program includes Musical Freestyle, Adult Amateur Musical Freestyle, and Musical Freestyle Challenge awards, from First Level through Grand Prix. For Musical Freestyle and Adult Amateur Musical Freestyle awards, eligible horses are ranked according to median scores earned at the respective freestyle levels during the competition year. Musical Freestyle Challenge awards recognize achievement in both freestyle and non-freestyle classes. 3. The Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds awards program is a separate and distinct part of the year-end awards program. Breed registries choose not only whether to participate in the All-Breeds awards program, but also which awards categories to offer.

All-Breeds participating organizations have long had the option of offering awards in the Musical Freestyle category. In 2018, the All-Breeds freestyle awards were expanded to include a separate Adult Amateur Musical Freestyle category. Of the 67 All-Breeds participating organizations in 2018, 51 offered Musical Freestyle awards and 43 offered Adult Amateur Musical Freestyle awards. The USDF has contacted the 2019 roster of All-Breeds participating organizations to encourage them to offer both categories of freestyle awards. Participating registries may add awards for the 2019 competition year until June 1. The only expense a registry will incur in offering the additional awards category will be for any awards earned by eligible horses and riders. If you are an adult amateur whose horse is declared for an All-Breeds participating registry that does not yet offer Adult Amateur Freestyle awards, consider contacting the registry to encourage it to do so. The USDF Awards Committee is committed to supporting and recognizing the adult-amateur dressage rider and competitor. We are working with GMO presidents, USDF staff, and other USDF committees to ensure that you are informed to the maximum extent possible. Learn more about USDF’s freestyle awards at usdf. org, and follow USDF on social media to keep up with the latest news. s

4 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

19 Daisy Lane, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022 (216) 406-5475 • president@usdf.org VICE PRESIDENT


2535 Fordyce Road, Ojai, CA 93023 (805) 890-7399 • vicepresident@usdf.org SECRETARY

MARGARET FREEMAN 200 Aurora Lane, Tryon, NC 28782 (828) 859-6723 • secretary@usdf.org TREASURER

LORRAINE MUSSELMAN 7538 NC 39 Hwy, Zebulon, NC 27497 (919) 218-6802 • treasurer@usdf.org



8246 Open Gate Road, Gordonsville, VA 22942 (540) 832-7611 • region1dir@usdf.org REGION 2 IL, IN, KY, MI, OH, WV, WI


7011 cobblestone Lane, Mentor, OH 44060 (908) 892-5335 • region2dir@usdf.org REGION 3 AL, FL, GA, SC, TN


1024 Grand Prix Drive, Beech Island, SC 29842 (803) 295-2525 • region3dir@usdf.org REGION 4 IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD


1942 Clifford Street, Dubuque, IA 52002 (563) 580-0510 • region4dir@usdf.org REGION 5 AZ, CO, E. MT, NM, UT, W. TX, WY


22750 County Road 37, Elbert, CO 80106 (303) 648-3164 • region5dir@usdf.org REGION 6 AK, ID, W. MT, OR, WA


1501 Cyrene Drive NW, Olympia, WA 98502 (206) 200-3522 • region6dir@usdf.org REGION 7 CA, HI, NV


31895 Nicolas Road, Temecula, CA 92591 (714) 514-5606 • region7dir@usdf.org REGION 8 CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT


160 Woods Way Drive, Southbury, CT 06488 (203) 264-2148 • region8dir@usdf.org REGION 9 AR, LA, MS, OK, TX


18216 S. 397th East Avenue, Porter, OK 74454 (918) 640-1204 • region9dir@usdf.org



9508 Bridlewood Trail, Dayton, OH 45458 (937) 272-9068 • ald-activities@usdf.org ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL


PO Box 248, Dexter, MI 48130 (734) 426-2111 • ald-administrative@usdf.org TECHNICAL COUNCIL


6 Whitehaven Lane, Worcester, MA 01609 (508) 459-9209 • ald-technical@usdf.org


More Recognition Opportunities for Adult Amateurs


Brend 413, Sport

Tjalbert 460

Brandus 345, Sport/Preferent x Doeke 287

Beart 411, Sport/Preferent x Ulke 338 Sport

Ulbert 390, Sport Sierk 326 x Leffert 306, Sport/Preferent

Teade 392, Sport Anton 343, Sport/Preferent x Pike 316

Breeding. Sales. Outstanding dressage Friesians.

ironspringfarm.com Pennsylvania • Florida 610.383.4717 (8–5 EST) info@ironspringfarm.com

The American Advantage

© 2019 Iron Spring Farm, Inc., all rights reserved; Iron Spring Farm, ISF and Iron Spring Farm logo are trademarks of Iron Spring Farm, Inc. Photos by Terri Miller and Stacy Lynne


Road Map to the Show Ring At the intersection of dressage competition and training


hen he became US national dressage technical advisor in 2013, Robert Dover unveiled his plan for international success, which he dubbed his “roadmap to the podiums.” As complex as that (ultimately successful) plan was, to some dressage competitors nothing could be more convoluted than getting from entering a show to entering at A. To the rescue: “Dressage Showing from A to X” (p. 32), in which freelance writer Kim Miller guides the first-time “recognized show” competitor through the processes of show entry, test memorization, packing, and more, with tips from show-management staffers and center-line veterans. Even to the seasoned national-level competitor, international dressage shows (CDIs) are a brave new world. Some CDIs are working to drum up interest in the division known as the CDI-Amateur, or CDIAm. Many eligible riders don’t seem to know about the CDIAm, or to understand whom it’s actually for (you don’t have to be an “amateur” per US Equestrian’s definition). We asked freelance writer Natalie DeFee Mendik to demystify the process—and it is a process—of entering a CDI in “The Adult Amateur’s Guide to CDIs” (p. 38). Find out why some riders have embraced the CDIAm as an excellent way of kicking their competitive chops up a notch. The other proven method of kicking your dressage up a notch is to watch the best in action—learning by osmosis, as Olympian Lendon Gray put it during the 2019 Adequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference in January. There was a lot of osmotic learning going on at the conference, which featured the latest lineup of US national dressage coaches: Debbie McDonald, Charlotte Bredahl, Christine Traurig, and George Williams. Watching the coaches work with the

demonstration pairs was both aspirational and inspirational. As Lendon remarked, after we watch excellent riders and horses, when we get back in the saddle we sit a little taller and can better benchmark our own performances. Best of all, the trainers in attendance get to take their learnings home to their own mounts and students. For some of my favorite educational takeaways, check out “Power to the Pipeline” on page 22. Competing in dressage has made me a better rider and trainer—more detailoriented and with higher standards. At the same time, I find showing to be draining, of both energy and pocketbook. It’s not for everybody, and it’s not for every horse. Small wonder that some dressage enthusiasts eschew recognized shows entirely in favor of schooling shows, or not showing at all. Those who fall into the latter category may wonder whether material pertaining to competition has any bearing on you, your horse, and your own dressage journey. I believe it does. The tests and the rule books are their own road maps through the levels, complete with gymnastic exercises, training progressions, and well-defined standards that any rider can use to assess correctness and to identify basics that need to be addressed. Even if you never wish to ride down center line, use these resources to help point the way forward (forward and straight, that is).

USDF CONNECTION The Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Stephan Hienzsch 859/271-7887 • stephh1enz@usdf.org

——— Editorial——— EDITOR

Jennifer O. Bryant 610/344-0116 • jbryant@usdf.org CONTRIBUTING EDITOR


Melissa Creswick (CA) Margaret Freeman (NC) Anne Gribbons (FL) Roberta Willliams (FL) Terry Wilson (CA)


Janine Malone Lisa Gorretta • Elisabeth Williams


Emily Koenig 859/271-7883 • ekoenig@usdf.org


Katie Lewis 859/271-7881 • klewis@usdf.org


Danielle Titland 720/300-2266 • dtitland@usdf.org

USDF Connection is published by the United States Dressage Federation, 4051 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511. Phone: 859/971-2277. Fax: 859/971-7722. E-mail: usdressage@usdf.org, Web site: www.usdf.org. USDF members receive USDF Connection as a membership benefit, paid by membership dues. Copyright © 2019 USDF. All rights reserved. Reproduction of articles requires permission from USDF. Other text may be reproduced with credit given to USDF Connection. USDF reserves the right to refuse any advertising or copy that is deemed unsuitable for USDF and its policies. Excluding advertisements, all photos with mounted riders must have safety head gear or USEF-approved competition hat. USDF assumes no responsibility for the claims made in advertisements. Statements of fact and opinion are those of the experts consulted and authors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the policy of USDF. The publishers reserve the right to reject any advertising deemed unsuitable for USDF, as well as the right to reject or edit any manuscripts received for publication. USDF assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. All materials must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Questions about your subscription or change in address? Contact USDF Membership Department, 859/971-2277, or usdressage@usdf.org.

Jennifer O. Bryant, Editor @JenniferOBryant

6 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO: USDF, 4051 IRON WORKS PARKWAY, LEXINGTON, KY 40511. Canadian Agreement No. 1741527. Canada return address: Station A, P.O. Box 54, Windsor, Ontario N9A 6J5.



ARE YOU READY FOR FLY SEASON? Get ready with great deals, smart tips, and innovative problem-solvers, inspired by riders like you. Get started at SmartPak.com/FlySolutions

1-800-461-8898 | SmartPak.com

Fly Stoppers

OutSmart ® Fly Spray

SmartBug-Off ® Pellets


Your Dressage World This Month



Dressage Joins IEA Program Roster

ressage joins the hunter-seat and Western disciplines as an Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) program beginning in the 2019-2020 season, the IEA announced in February.  Dressage has been an IEA pilot program for the past three years, during which time participation has tripled, according to IEA communications coordinator Kimber Whanger. In 2018-2019, there were more than 300 active dressage participants and nearly 100 teams. IEA riders are middle- and highschool students with a minimum of one year of riding experience. Public- and

private-school students, as well as barn teams, may participate. Horses and tack are supplied, so horse ownership is not necessary. IEA dressage competition includes both dressage tests and dressage-seat equitation. The second annual IEA Dressage Finale will be held April 13-14 at Otterbein University in Ohio. In future seasons, the IEA plans to hold a Dressage National Finals event similar to its existing Hunt Seat and Western National Finals, according to Whanger. Registration for the 2019-2010 season begins June 1. Learn more at RideIEA.org.

IT’S ACADEMIC: Sophie Kane of the Grier School, Tyrone, Pennsylvania, competes at the 2018 IEA Dressage Finale at Otterbein University in Ohio


ince he stepped down last fall as the US national dressage advisor, Olympian Robert Dover has been busy with a new venture. At a launch party in Wellington, Florida, in February, he and partner Robert Ross unveiled their line of luxury handcrafted vegan tack and apparel, called Robert Squared (RobertSquared.com). Items include bridles, saddles, riding boots,

girths, halters, dog collars, and more. Dubbed by the duo as “ethically elegant equestrian ware,” the goods are made of a blend of eco-friendly materials. Any rubber comes from recycled tires, and plastic is sourced from debris harvested from the ocean, Dover and Ross said. The products are easily cleaned with water and an occasional swiping with soap, they said.

“If we can give people the option to be in something or have something that looks and feels exactly like the finest leather but will wear better, last longer, clean easier, not stretch, not dry, not crack, be better for the environment, and not one animal will die in this production,” said Dover, “maybe that will resonate with our community.” —Sue Weakley

STAR POWER: Ross and Dover at the Robert Squared launch party; a dressage bridle made of the line’s “vegan leather”

8 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION



Robert Dover Co-Launches Vegan Tack Line


Chad Compton, USDF’s IT Guru



ob title: Contract information-technology worker though my company, Chad Compton Designs, Winchester, Kentucky (chadcompton. com) What I do: I write all the programs that the USDF office uses. Everything is customized. I learn the details of SOFT TOUCH: Compton and friend somebody’s job; then I make a program to do all the tedious things to free up their time to do other things. For the Competitions Department, I write the programs that get all the data out to [determine] awards. I’m also the founder of Knit It Forward (knititforward.org), a nonprofit organization that produces, collects, and distributes hand-knitted and -crocheted items to residents of homeless shelters, nursing homes, and other facilities. How I got started: I started out on staff with the USDF as its web designer. I got promoted to head programmer and then to IT director. Then I went to live in the Philippines for eight years, during which time I continued working for the USDF but relinquished my title and became an independent contractor. I’m back in Kentucky now, and I still do the same job—but I don’t have to go to meetings and I don’t have a title. Best thing about my job: I like the flow of data. Worst thing about my job: There’s not enough of me. My horses: I’m allergic to horses. For me, horses are just numbers. Tip: Make sure that your information on the USDF website is up to date. —Katherine Walcott


Study: Laminitis Is as Common as Colic


aminitis may affect one in 10 equines a year, putting the foot ailment on par with colic as a health threat, a British study found. Laminitis, characterized by painful inflammation of the soft tissues (laminae) inside the hoof, can occur any time of year and may not always present as acute foot pain, researchers from the UK-based Animal Health Trust, Royal Veterinary College, and Rossdales Equine Hospital found. In more than 70 percent of cases, symptoms were such mild signs as difficulty turning, a short or stilted gait, or lameness at the walk. A bounding digital pulse is a common clinical sign of laminitis, but

many horse owners do not check for this sign, especially if a horse is not displaying classic laminitic symptoms. Learning to locate and assess a horse’s digital pulse could help owners to identify possible laminitis cases and to summon veterinary help before the affected foot suffers long-term damage, researchers advised. Digital Edition Bonus Content

Watch Horse Side Vet Guide’s video on how to take a horse’s digital pulse.


Equitana USA to Return to Kentucky


quitana, which bills itself as the World’s Fair of equestrian sports, has for more than 25 years been a biennial fixture in Germany. The 2019 event ran for nine days in March and was projected to be the world’s largest indoor equine trade fair, with 200,000 visitors, 750 tradefair exhibitors, 750 horses, and a slew of star equestrians. There have been Equitana events in other countries, including the US. Equitana USA had a brief run in Louisville, Kentucky, in the late 1990s, but for nearly two decades the event went on hiatus in this country. The Equitana model of indoor and “open air” fairs was revived in the US beginning in 2017. In the fall of 2020, the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington will host a three-day Equitana USA, event producer Reed Exhibitions announced in March. Exact dates of the three-day exposition had not been announced at press time. Learn more at equitanausa.com or kyhorsepark.com.

STAR-STUDDED: German Olympic dressage gold medalist Nicole Uphoff-Selke leads a “dressage hour” at Equitana 2017 in Germany


April 2019




Gregory L. Sushko


regory L. Sushko, of Dubuque, Iowa, husband of USDF Region 4 director Anne Sushko and father of USDF Region 5 director and dressage-competition organizer Heather Petersen, died December 19, 2018. He was 72.

USDF FAMILY: Gregory Sushko (left) during a family vacation in 2017, with wife Anne Sushko (front) and daughter Heather Petersen (back)

Born in New York state, Mr. Sushko was a US Army veteran and was retired from Flexsteel Industries in Dubuque. “He was not really involved in dressage,” said Petersen, “other than being the biggest supporter to my mom and me growing up, and helping us get the truck and trailer and things we needed to show and supporting us.”

Get more from USDF Connection magazine.

Go online and login to access bonus features.


Amanda Perkowski, Cream Ridge, NJ


manda Perkowski is USDF bronze and silver medalist, a USDF-certified instructor at Training and First Levels, a 2018 Dressage4Kids Winter Intensive Training program participant, and a working student for Olympian Allison Brock in Wellington, Florida. How I got started in dressage: I have always been horse-obsessed and was lucky enough to have dressage in my family. I was given weekly lessons at age seven and haven’t looked back! I wanted to become certified because: This ON TRACK: Perkowski competing at Intermediate II program is rooted in classical principles with on the 2018 NAYC Region 1 YR team emphasis on correct basics. and spent the winter competing at I saw it as an excellent way to test and Intermediate II. expand my knowledge. Training tip: Make sure that after What I learned during the process: you use an aid and achieve a result, The program made me more aware you have a soft, “neutral” position to of how I articulate myself during easily return to. teaching. Clarity and word choice Contact me: apdressage21@gmail. mean everything. com or (732) 534-2903. My horses: I am currently leasing a —Jamie Humphries horse owned by Dressage4Kids. I rode


Even the Wall Street Journal Knows Dressage Riders Need Fitness


eattle-area adult-amateur dressage rider Petra Hilleberg’s fitness regimen was featured in the January 12 “What’s Your Workout?” WSJ column. To hone her fitness to train and compete her FEI-level Dutch Warmblood gelding, Boogie Woogie, three days a week Hilleberg, 43, does 60 to 90 minutes of circuit training

10 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

with a focus on core strength, balance, and stability, she told the WSJ. Her home gym includes such equipment as battle ropes, a balance board, and medicine and stability balls. (It helps that husband Stuart Craig is a certified personal trainer.) Hilleberg, a member of the USDF GMO Equestrians’ Institute, rides four days a week, she said.



Your Dressage World This Month


Equine Nonprofits: Apply for USA Equestrian Trust Grants


SA Equestrian Trust, Lexington, Kentucky (trusthorses.org), is accepting applications from IRS-registered equine nonprofit organizations for its 2019 grants program. The trust awards need-based grants in support of initiatives, especially those that extend across several national-level discipline or breed boundaries. USDF group-member organizations (GMOs) are among past grant recipients. The 2019 application deadline is April 24. Direct questions to grants@trusthorses.org.



What you need to know this month

USDF Launches New Publication Website: YourDressage CREATED AS AN EXPANSION of USDF’s publication offerings, YourDressage delivers exclusive dressage stories, editorial, and education, relevant to all dressage enthusiasts! Watch for daily features and weekly highlights. See our ad on page 43 for more information.

Old Scores Still Have Value! IF YOU OR YOUR HORSE EARNED SCORES LAST YEAR, you can still apply for a USDF rider award or a Horse Performance Certificate. Apply online via the USDF website under Awards. See the USDF Member Guide for complete award requirements.

Dressage Seat Equitation Rider Awards SCORES EARNED BY ADULT AMATEURS, professionals, juniors, and young riders are eligible for USDF Dressage Seat Equitation rider awards. Award recipients will each receive a certificate and lapel pin and will be recognized on the USDF website. See the USDF Member Guide for complete award requirements.

Nominations Due for USDF Volunteer of the Year DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE who deserves national recognition for their outstanding service to the sport? The annual USDF Volunteer of the Year award recognizes a USDF member who, through consistent and cumulative volunteer activities, has demonstrated exceptional commitment toward the fulfillment of USDF’s mission. Visit the USDF website for more information. Nomination deadline is May 1.


April 2019





Sequential Schooling of the Dressage Horse

Seventh in a series. This month: Turns on the haunches and pirouettes. By Hilda Gurney Photographs by S. Gail Miller


he turn on the haunches is required in dressage competition at Second Level. This deceptively simple-appearing movement takes most horses many months to learn to perform adequately, maintaining activity, bend, and rhythm without the turn being outrageously large. Turn on the haunches provides the basis on which the walk and canter pirouettes are developed.

FIGURE 1. A half-circle at half-pass is an effective introductory exercise for turn on the haunches.

An active medium walk with the horse moving into a light, steady contact must be well established before lateral movements can be correctly performed. At the walk, a common fault is for horses to hang back behind the rider’s leg aids, not marching into the contact. Frequently when such horses are urged Adapted from a series published in Dressage & CT, September 1978-October 1979. Reprinted by permission of the estate of Ivan I. Bezugloff Jr.

forward into the contact, breaking of gait into a jog will occur. In such cases, the horse should be corrected with either a half-halt or a full halt and again urged to march forward into the contact. Caution must be used to keep the tempo from becoming too quick when the horse is urged forward. The neck is positioned lower at walk than at trot or canter. Too high of a neck carriage may result in pacing, ambling, or irregular or too-short steps. At the walk, the rein contact used is usually lighter than at other gaits. Elastic hands must allow for the slight nodding movement of the horse’s head. Set hands will frequently cause the horse to nod behind the vertical with each step. Half-pass at the walk is preparatory for turn on the haunches. The horse must be kept moving into the bit during the half-pass. The half-pass should be of good quality with the horse well bent around the rider’s inside leg. A small half-circle at half-pass (also called small half-circle in haunches-in) can be exercised from the half-pass (Figure 1). Following the half-circle, the horse may be moved forward in a straight line or returned to the rail, still in half-pass. Care must be taken during the half-circle to continue to move the horse into the bit, retain the bend around the rider’s inside leg, and keep the haunches moving away from the rider’s outside leg, as well as to keep the horse’s shoulders moving around the turn with longer steps than the hind legs. An approximate threemeter diameter half-circle is usually about right for this initial half-turn. The aids for this turn at half-pass are as follows: both hands toward the

12 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

inside to lead the shoulders around; the outside leg active behind the girth to move the haunches in; and the inside leg at the girth to move the horse forward into the bit, control the horse’s inside shoulder from falling in, and maintain the bend to the inside of the turn as well as the activity of the horse’s inside hind leg. The shoulders should be turned at a rate in which the horse best maintains the regularity of his footfalls (Figure 2). The rider’s weight must be maintained on the seat bone and stirrup on the side to the inside of the bend. Hips and shoulders of the rider must turn with those of the horse.

FIGURE 2. Aids for turn on the haunches include inside leg at the girth used to maintain bend, rhythm, and activity, and outside leg behind the girth to control the haunches.

During the half-turn, the horse takes large steps sideways with his forelegs, crossing them over in front of each other. He takes smaller steps with his hind legs without crossing. The bend in his body is toward the turn. In cases when the horse steps against the rider’s outside leg with the haunches, he should be corrected with the outside leg. If this problem persists, the rider may correct the horse by moving him away from the rider’s outside leg using haunches-in or, in extreme cases, turn on the forehand. If the haunches are pushed ahead of the forehand, the turn will continue to get larger and larger since the horse will be unable to swing his shoulders around

to complete the turn when in this “tail first” condition. The cure for this ungraceful problem is to use more inside leg and less outside leg and to swing the shoulders around ahead of the haunches by moving both hands to the inside. Losing the bend and performing the turn in leg-yield rather than half-pass is another common fault. If this happens, move the horse forward out of the turn, reestablish the correct bend, and again resume the turn, using a more active inside leg to maintain the bend. Both hands may have to be moved slightly toward the outside of the bend in order to slow the shoulder down and help prevent it from falling inward. Forward movement must be maintained or the horse is likely to step on himself instead of crossing over. He may step on himself a few times regardless, as it takes most horses (as well as riders) several months to learn to coordinate themselves to perform a correct turn on the haunches—more the reason to keep the turns large at first. A young horse commonly sticks with his hind legs if he still lacks the coordination to swing his forehand, cross his forelegs, maintain activity with his hind legs, and keep the rhythm of the walk while maintaining the bend in his body. As the turns develop, they can next be schooled off the track without the preparatory half-pass. The horse is prepared for the turn by positioning him in “shoulder-fore.” A shoulder-fore has the bending of a shoulder-in, but less angle (Figure 3). Positioning the horse in shoulder-fore prevents him from learning the habit of throwing his haunches inward before the turn. If the horse begins a turn with his haunches in, he will have a difficult time swinging his shoulders around his haunches, and the turn will be too large. As the horse’s coordination develops, the rider increases the amount of swinging of the horse’s shoulders during the turn. The horse’s energetic forward stride is shortened slightly with a mild half-halt; then his shoulders are swung around and his forward steps are transposed into sideways steps with very little energy loss. During the first step


• ‘Low Sugar - Low Starch’ • All-Natural Forage-Based Treats • Resealable Bags for Freshness • Horses Love the Taste! DISCOVER THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOUR HORSE OR FIND A STANDLEE DEALER AT



Proud sponsor of:




FIGURE 3. Shoulder-fore: an exercise similar to shoulder-in, but with less angle. This exercise is used for positioning a horse in preparation for turns on the haunches and pirouettes.

in of the horse’s shoulders, the rider’s outside leg prevents the haunches from swinging outward. During the remaining steps of the turn, the rider’s outside leg must actually move the haunches slightly inward. However, at this stage of schooling, the hind legs must step


slightly inward, remaining under the horse’s body. Large steps sideways with the hind legs should be discouraged, since they result in very large, unengaged turns. If your horse has this problem, it can be corrected by improving the collection of the walk and by getting the horse more solidly on the bit both before and during the turn, using the outside leg further forward, using more inside leg, or, if none of the above corrections works, alternating a step or two of turn on the haunches with a step or two of turn on the forehand. This exercise will make the horse more attentive to the rider’s controlling inside leg and is effective as a correction if used whenever the horse steps a “giant step” inward with his hind legs. The horse’s motivation both to stick with his hind legs and to swing outward with his haunches, totally avoiding the turn, increases as the size of the turn is tightened. If he swings his haunches outward, a correction with the outside whip or spur is in order. This correction is relaxed as soon as the horse

14 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

moves away from the leg. Larger turns are again schooled until any tendency to swing the haunches out against the rider’s outside leg is gone. Stuck steps are a common problem as the turns are tightened up. The smaller the turn, the more tempting it is for the horse to just stand there without moving his hind legs. The rider helps to maintain the rhythm of the steps by using his or her legs alternately in rhythm with the horse’s steps. A person on the ground is very helpful in order to tell the rider if the horse sticks. Frequently a horse will shift his weight from one hind leg to another without actually picking the leg up. This shifting motion can fool the rider into thinking that the horse is stepping when he isn’t. If the sticking problem persists, the rider should make sure that he or she isn’t pulling back on the reins instead of using the hand aids to swing the horse’s shoulders. A quick tap with the whip whenever the horse sticks is an effective correction. Another correction is to return to schooling larger turns, emphasizing activity. Some horses fall on their inside shoulders, losing the rhythm of the walk on a turn by spinning around. This habit is easily corrected by the rider’s using his or her inside leg and shifting both hands to the outside, thereby stopping the shoulders completely. When the horse recovers from the shock of having his clever resistance foiled, the rider may ask him to again swing his shoulders, but at the rider’s turning rate. Another common fault is for the horse to walk forward during the turn instead of remaining on a small circle with his hind legs (Figure 4). Because the hind legs describe a small arc in the half-turn on the haunches, the horse’s body will be a hoofprint’s width or so off the original line of travel when he completes the 180-degree turn. Do not follow the turn on the haunches with a step or two of half-pass to return to the line, as this will be penalized. When you finish the 180-degree turn, simply walk

FIGURE 4. An incomplete turn, a commonly observed fault. The horse moves forward before completing the 180-degree turn.

straight forward on an almost imperceptible angle to return to the line. When the turn on the haunches is performed successfully almost in place, it is now called a half-pirouette. Half-pirouettes are required in tests above Third Level.

Canter Pirouettes Half-pass at the canter should be balanced and effortless, with the horse moving well into the bit, before work with canter pirouettes is started. If the horse is falling on his inside shoulder and losing impulsion or lacking bend, these faults need to be corrected before pirouettes are attempted. Canter pirouettes, like walk pirouettes, are half-passes performed in a very small circle. A poor half-pass means a poor pirouette. Distinct, balanced half-halts should also be mastered before beginning pirouette work. The canter stride should be able to be significantly shortened, with the horse remaining on the bit, round in the neck as well as the strides, maintaining three beats, straight, active, engaged, and free of resistance. Half-halts should only be held for three or four strides before moving the horse actively forward again in order to prevent him from losing activity, and to avoid overstressing the joints of the hindquarters. I school canter half-halts daily with my horses as soon as they have a fairly

Long Island Dressage Association

SUMMER CLASSIC July 28, 2019


Setauket, NY

Prize List & Info at lidressage.com USDF CONNECTION • April 2019




FIGURE 5. Performing quarter-pirouettes on a square is another effective method for introducing pirouettes.

This horse is shown in a canter pirouette, well-bent around the rider’s inside leg with well-engaged haunches.

As can be seen here, the stress on a horse’s haunches is tremendous in a correctly performed canter pirouette.

nice Third Level-quality collected canter. Most half-halt work is schooled on the large circle. When the horse is proficient on the circle, the canter half-halts should be practiced as part of other figures, especially the changes of rein and center lines, in order to prepare him for downward transitions and pirouettes. Medium canters should be interspersed between the collected canters from time to time. Alternating medium canter, collected canter, and half-halts will serve to increase impulsion, keep the horse moving into the bit, and increase attentiveness to the aids. There are several ways to introduce canter pirouettes, and one will work better for a certain horse than another. One method is similar to that used for schooling turns on the haunches. A large half-pirouette is asked from the half-pass. The horse’s shoulders swing around for the pirouette with the half-circle large enough to allow the horse to continue forward movement into the bit. Following the turn, it is best to move the horse forward in a straight line in order to maintain or regain impulsion. A disadvantage of this schooling method is that horses tend to get into the habit of leading into the turn with their

haunches. This can cause the problem of the turn being too large or the horse being crooked before starting the turn. A more active inside leg can correct this problem. Another method useful for introducing pirouettes is with quarter-pirouettes on the square (Figure 5). The rider gives a half-halt before asking the shoulders to swing around in the pirouette. This pattern has the advantage of helping the horse maintain forward movement up to and directly following the pirouette. Care must be taken that the horse stays on the bit through both the half-halt and the pirouette. If the horse resists the halfhalt, they should be practiced before going into the pirouette. The haunches must not fall in or out before or during the pirouette. Shoulder-in is a good correction for haunches falling in. Haunches-in or simply halting and moving the haunches inward away from the leg will help correct haunches falling out. Sometimes short taps with the whip behind the rider’s outside leg, used during the pirouette, will prevent the horse from falling outward with his haunches as well as helping to maintain the rhythm, activity, and engagement of the canter. The rider’s aids for canter pirou-

16 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

ettes are basically the same as for walk pirouettes. At first, many riders will have difficulty keeping their bodies in alignment during the turning action of the pirouette. The rider’s shoulders and hips must turn at the same rate as the horse’s, never lagging behind or ahead. Although a horse must maintain a recognizable canter stride, the pirouette does not have a moment of suspension because his hind legs carry the weight behind throughout the movement. The footfalls of the diagonal pair of legs are not simultaneous as they are in a more forward canter. At first, the rider should be pleased if the horse remains in canter without any walk steps during the pirouette. If a few walk steps slip in, the rider should be able to drive the horse easily back into canter. In cases where the horse falls into trot, he is probably not yet engaged or on the aids enough to begin pirouettes. Canter pirouettes may be alternated with walk pirouettes on the square in order to help the horse’s understanding of this movement. Another method of schooling pirouettes is on the large circle (Figure 6). A small circle is made inside the larger circle. This small circle can then be practiced with the haunches in. The haunches are moved inward as the horse begins the smaller circle. The horse must not be allowed to anticipate by moving the haunches inward before the rider tells him to. Care must be taken that the horse never sucks behind the rider’s

FIGURE 6. A small circle in haunches-in, tangent to a large circle, is useful for correcting horses that tend to fall outward with their haunches.

leg, wheeling around with inactive haunches and a hollow back. Too small a turn, performed before the horse has developed enough strength in his haunches, may result in the horse hopping around with both hind legs together or in switching leads behind. Correct these faults by making the turn bigger for a time and keeping the horse moving in front of the leg during the turn. Only when the horse is consistently on the aids and maintaining the proper bend around the rider’s inside leg should the turn be made smaller again. Falling on the inside shoulder is another common fault. An effective correction is to return to practicing a larger circle with the haunches in, making sure to maintain the bend with the inside leg aids. The rider’s weight falling to the outside stirrup can unbalance the horse enough to cause this fault. Pirouettes are extremely demanding on the horse’s haunches. Avoid doing too many on a given day. In order to score well in a test, a pirouette must be quite small. Tightening up the pirouettes should be done carefully in order to avoid spoiling the quality of the movement. Horses tend to lose activity if only small pirouettes are practiced, so it is wise to practice larger pirouettes from time to time, interspersed between or as a warm-up for the smaller ones. [ USDF CONNECTION • April 2019




FIGURE 7. Spiraling into the pirouette, a result of an ineffective half-halt before the turn.

Straightness in the canter for at least two or three strides both before and after the pirouette is an important criterion in the judging of the pirouette. A common fault seen in pirouettes is spiraling (Figure 7). This fault is a result of the horse not responding properly to the half-halt aids given in

preparation for the pirouette. Instead, the pirouette itself half-halts the horse, increasing the engagement, which allows the horse to tighten up the pirouette. During the pirouette, the rider needs to keep the horse moving forward slightly with an active inside leg and a stroking, supple, supportive seat aid. Supporting seat aids are important for helping the horse maintain roundness and suppleness over his back during the pirouette. Another common fault is for the horse to lower his head and carry his forelegs back under his body. Lack of balance is the culprit here. Again, the pirouette should be practiced larger, with the horse kept moving forward into the bit. Transitions, half-halts, and extensions will all help to build up the horse’s body and suppleness. Whenever the rider feels the horse drop down on his forehand during a pirouette, he or should push the horse straight ahead out of the pirouette, attempting the pirouette again whenever the horse has regained his balance.

2 DIVISIONS || Art and Photography 3 AGE GROUPS ||15 and under, 16 to 21, and Adult



The grand prize winning entry will be used as the cover art for the USDF Member Guide.

www.usdf.org (awards/other awards) for complete contest rules and entry form

18 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

Rearing around the pirouette results from a horse being above the bit and behind the leg. Such horses should be pushed into the bit and schooled on much larger pirouettes until they will remain properly on the aids. This fault is the result of the horse pushing up with his forelegs instead of carrying his weight with his haunches and hind legs during the pirouette. A correct pirouette is the result of strength, balance, and good schooling on the part of the horse as well as effective coordination of the rider’s aids. This challenging movement is an achievement that gives every rider a great deal of intrinsic satisfaction in accomplishing. s In the next issue: Piaffe, passage, and work in hand. When Hilda Gurney wrote this series for Dressage & CT magazine, it had been only two years since she had won a team bronze medal at the 1976

Olympics with her legendary Thoroughbred, Keen. Forty years later, Gurney is still going strong at her Keenridge in Moorpark, CA, where she continues to ride, train, and teach. For her contributions as a dressage professional, competitor, judge, sport-horse breeder, and more, she was inducted into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame in 2007. Keen was inducted in 1997.

“So far, I’ve had unanimous success in alleviating every problem I’ve applied the sox to.” Steve Soule, DVM

• Happy anniversary! USDF Connection turns 20 • George Williams: The USDF Connection interview • Training piaffe and passage

“This is a fantastic product!!” Erica Lacher, DVM

www.soxforhorses.com 850-907-5724

Protect feet with Vettec packages:

A custom SuperFast shoe and pour-in pad can be applied for comfort and support. US Customer Care 1.800.483.8832 EU Customer Care +41 91 6100505 www.vettec.com


“Silver Whinnys are simply the ONLY solution for scratches... They keep the scratches AWAY!!” C. Ryan, Ryan Show Horses, Inc.




Sole-Guard can be applied directly to the barefoot for protection.

Have a hoof problem? Contact us to talk it over



historical connection

“A giant among judges”


ot many dressage judges have been inducted into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame. One of the greats who was so honored was Edgar Hotz (1941-2001), inducted in 2007.

A JUDGE’S JUDGE: Hotz in an undated photo

In his induction speech, then USDF president Sam Barish called the German-born Hotz “a giant among US judges.” An FEI “I” (now 4*), AHSA (now US Equestrian) “S,” and Canadian “S” dressage judge, Hotz officiated at Olympic selection trials, FEI World Cup Dressage Finals, Olympic Festivals, FEI North American Young Riders Championships, and CDIs during his 30-year career. Competitors appreciated what Barish called Hotz’s love for the horse and compassion for the rider, which “gave him a sense of fair play that made him an immensely popular judge and a well-respected horseman.” Hotz was equally respected by fellow

judges and prospective judges, many of whom credit Hotz with furthering their own educations. Committed to judge education and to instilling the highest standards of judging excellence, Hotz was instrumental in creating the renowned USDF L Education Program. As a faculty member and through his participation in other judge-education seminars, he helped to set the standard for many respected judges. “I learned more from Edgar than any other judge I ever worked with,” said the late “S” judge Joan Humphrey. “He was a demanding, emphatic, and wonderful man. He always gave the horse and rider the same amount of attention at 8:00 a.m. as he did at 5:30 p.m. I don’t know how he did it; he was awesome.” As an educator, Hotz demanded critical thinking, which made him “the best teacher of judges,” according to Humphrey. “He didn’t let you get by with a ‘just because’ or a ‘that’s what I think.’ You really had to justify what you thought and why you thought it.” “When Edgar sensed a lack of focus to the judging process or encountered fuzzy arguments, he could get upset,” said his longtime friend and judge colleague Marianne Ludwig, who received a USDF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. “At the same time, he had a great sense of humor and a genuine fondness for the riders, and much compassion for the many problems that competitors encounter in the show ring. He was quite ready to shrug off mishaps that he considered insignificant; he knew how to reward the essential qualities of a ride. He hated sloppiness in appearance and test performance. He did not suffer fools gladly but loved quick minds’ intelligent retorts.”

20 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

A former banker and businessman in his native Germany, Hotz and his wife, Irmtraud, married in 1971 and moved to the US that same year, so that Hotz could spearhead US operations of a company owned by his wife’s family. The Hotzes, both of whom were equestrians, settled in New Jersey on their Dogwood Farm in Lebanon. Besides his work with the USDF L program, Hotz was a member of the AHSA’s Dressage Committee and Board of Directors, the USDF Judges Council (now Committee), and the German Judges Association. After Hotz’s death in 2001, dressage judge Axel Steiner, who in 1999 had established a fund at The Dressage Foundation to benefit judge education, suggested that the fund be renamed in Hotz’s memory. Among the beneficiaries of the Edgar Hotz Judges Education Fund is the USDF, which in 2005 received a grant to help launch the now-established Continuing Education in Dressage Judging Program. The Dressage Foundation continues to award grants from the Edgar Hotz fund to USDF group-member organizations (GMOs), USDF regions, and other approved organizations that wish to host continuing-education program modules. The New Jerseybased Eastern States Dressage and Combined Training Association hosts an annual Edgar Hotz Memorial Judges Roundtable. s

Nominate Now


ominations for The Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame, Lifetime Achievement, and Member of Distinction Awards are due May 1, 2019. Nominations may be filled out and submitted on the USDF website via The Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame portal. If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact the Historical Recognition Committee liaison in the USDF office.


American Dressage Legends: Edgar Hotz


Thank You for Supporting USDF

The Official Joint Therapy Sponsor of USDF

Official Equine Insurance Provider of USDF

Title Sponsor

Title Sponsor

AdequanÂŽ/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference Annual Convention and Awards

Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships

Official Supplement Feeding System of USDF Presenting Sponsor

Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships

Supporting Sponsor

Supporting Sponsor

US Dressage Finals

Presenting Sponsor

US Dressage Finals

US Dressage Finals

Official Supplier

Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championship Jackets

800-458-0163 www.adequan.com

800-461-8898 www.smartpakequine.com

800-553-2400 www.platinumperformance.com

800-303-7849 www.dressageextensions.com

800-942-4258 dietrich-insurance.com

402-434-8585 www.dressagefoundation.org

800-611-6109 www.dressagearena.net

Power to the Pipeline Trainers Conference features the national dressage coaches STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY JENNIFER O. BRYANT

UNITED FRONT: Trainers Conference presenters George Williams (US national youth coach), Christine Traurig (young-horse coach), Debbie McDonald (technical advisor), and Charlotte Bredahl (development coach)


he current US national dressage coaches are a tight-knit group, and they were eager to demonstrate their solidarity at the 2019 Adequan®/ USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference, with contributing sponsorship from Merrill Lynch wealth-management advisor Gardy Bloemers. All four coaches are familiar faces, with two moving up the ladder since technical advisor Robert Dover stepped down last fall. Former development coach Debbie McDonald has assumed Dover’s position. Charlotte Bredahl, for-

22 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

merly assistant youth coach, has taken McDonald’s old slot. Retaining their titles are youth coach (and immediate past USDF president) George Williams and young-horse coach Christine Traurig. The conference “showed the support we have for each other, and the camaraderie,” Bredahl said afterward. “I think that’s important for everybody to see because we want to be role models in that department. We’re already known for that worldwide—that our [US dressage team] riders are team players. We want to show that, as coaches, we are a

team and we work together. We’ve all known each other for probably 20 years, and we really trust each other.” The Trainers Conference brought the four coaches to Mary Anne McPhail’s High Meadow Farm in Loxahatchee, Florida, January 21-22. The coaches each worked with two horse/rider demonstration pairs per day, chosen to typify the segments of the dressage “pipeline” they focus on.

Why a Trainers Conference? In the 1970s, America was largely a dressage desert, with only pockets of access to quality instruction, when a forwardthinking, self-taught rider and trainer named Violet Hopkins decided to establish a seminar for dressage instructors at her Michigan farm. The USDF/Hopkins seminars brought European masters together with dressage professionals from around the country, who learned training and riding techniques that they could take home to horses and students. The Hopkins seminars eventually morphed into the USDF Trainers Conference model. Still aimed primarily at qualified dressage professionals, conferences focus on correct “through the levels” training techniques, with wellknown presenters both domestic and imported sharing their methods and training tools.

A Solid Foundation for Youth Children learning to ride dressage need to hone their awareness of the details, not only to produce accurate tests but to learn how to influence their mounts, said George Williams. Williams had Tori Belles, 15, of Bethel, Pennsylvania, count strides in rising trot aboard her ten-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, Romulus (by Blue Hors Hotline). “How many strides are in a quarter-circle?” Williams asked. If the rider doesn’t know, then she can’t ensure that every stride matches, he explained. And riders must count strides in order to time the aids for a flying change such that it will be executed exactly at the letter, he said: “We need to count strides just as much as the jumpers.” On a 20-meter circle in working trot, Williams asked Belles to feel for the moment in the trot stride when her inside knee lowered. This corresponds with the moment that the horse’s inside foreleg is on the ground, he explained, and because the horse trots in diagonal pairs, “if you half-halt when your inside knee goes down, you influence the horse’s outside hind leg.” Williams had Belles demonstrate one of his favorite exercises to teach correct timing of the aids. “Enlarge. Two. Three” is one of the “kindergarten exercises” taught to Williams by his mentor, Spanish Riding School alumnus Karl Mikolka (“Clinic: Refine Your Riding,” July/August 2016).

FEELING AND TIMING: When the rider’s inside knee lowers in the trot, Williams told Tori Belles on Romulus, the horse’s inside foreleg is on the ground—the correct moment to half-halt to influence the outside hind leg

Trotting on a 20-meter circle, Belles was to close her inside calf to ask for three sequential steps of leg-yield out, timing the “Enlarge. Two. Three” leg aid with the moment Romulus’s inside hind leg was in the air. Williams uses a lot of 1-2-3 sequencing in his instruction. Coaching Belles in riding a smooth and balanced canter-trot transition, he told her to “sit tall; taller; tallest” in preparation. “You want correct responses to correctly placed aids,” said Williams. He guided Belles through the warm-up process, not merely as a muscle-loosening phase but as a chance to assess the horse’s attentiveness to the aids. “Test the horse’s reaction to a touch with the whip,” he said. “There should be a forward reaction.” And “in your warm-up, can you use a leading rein? Can you flex your horse left and right?” Williams stressed the importance of developing quality simple changes (canter-walk-canter transitions with no trot steps). “How do you make transitions start to build collection? The simple change is an excellent tool.” The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has stressed the importance of the simple change as a training building block by including them in the Children’s, Pony, and Junior tests, Williams said. The FEI Junior test also emphasizes the importance of correct equitation by including a release of the reins while in sitting trot, to “test the rider’s balance without hanging on the reins.” Riders of all ages must learn when to change the subject during a training session. Schooling the simple changes, Romulus began to show signs of frustration and got “nappy” to Belles’ driving aids. Williams promptly moved to some forward canter lines followed by flying changes, which refreshed Romulus in both body and mind. [ USDF CONNECTION • April 2019


DEVELOPING SUPPLENESS: Young rider Sophia Schults and Samour M in renvers (haunches-out)

In dressage, the basics precede brilliance, Williams said. “Start with a very solid foundation, and focus on riding a consistent test,” he said. “Then we can work on making things better” and aiming for more power and expression, for higher marks. The rider should have the feeling that the horse wants to go forward at all times, Williams told demo rider Sophia Schults, 18, of Wellington, Florida. As Schults rode the eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Samour M (by San Amour), that she co-owns with Concord

Ridge Equestrian Center, Williams challenged: “In halfpass, could you ride straight forward at any time?” He had Schults alternate between steps of trot half-pass and steps of shoulder-in “to make sure the outside hind leg continues to push forward and the horse isn’t falling sideways.” Schults hopes to qualify for this year’s FEI North American Youth Championships and other Young Rider events. Accordingly, Williams had her school some increasingly so-

Tips from Top Trainers’ Toolboxes • There are three types of aids: driving aids, yielding aids, and bending aids. –Christine Traurig • Rule of thumb to use in finding the correct stirrup length: I was taught that the angle of the [rider’s lower] leg should be such that the horse’s hind leg steps under the stirrup. –George Williams • The half-halt is not a punishment. It is a call to attention—a quick moment of boundary-setting. And a half-halt is not just hands: In order to have an effective half-halt, you first need to create a condition where the horse is forward to the leg. –CT • Mouth and tongue problems are usually a throughness issue. I address it with transitions and throughness, and usually it sorts itself out. –Debbie McDonald

24 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

THE RIGHT LENGTH: Demonstrating with Tori Belles on Romulus, George Williams shows how correct stirrup length angles the rider’s lower leg such that it points to the spot where the horse’s hind leg will step

GUARDING AIDS: On the outside of a circle, the rider’s outside aids “guard” and channel the horse’s energy. Michael Bragdell rides SenSation HW while Christine Traurig looks on.

phisticated suppling exercises as well as a clever preparatory figure for more advanced work. He began with a combination that appears in the Third Level tests: shoulder-in to ren-

vers (haunches-out), a deceptively simple exercise requiring complete control over the horse’s forehand while changing the flexion and bend from inside to outside. Then in canter

• Greater wet spot coverage means GREATER Odor Control • Smaller particles means FASTER Ammonia Capture • Powder delivers OPTIMAL Effectiveness and SUPERIOR Value

#1 Stall Deodorizer, 35 Years & Counting.

Also available in

For more info and a dealer near you: 800.367.1534 / www.sweetpdz.com

GRANULAR 25 lb. & 40 lb.



half-pass, he had Schults alternate between correct alignment (shoulders leading) and travers (haunches leading), in order to gain better control over Samour M’s hindquarters and avoid the common problem of the haunches lagging in the latter part of the half-pass. It’s drilled into dressage riders to make circles, not ovals, but the oval is a useful schooling figure. Williams had Schults trot and canter 24-meter ovals touching the rail at R and V. Ovals require tighter turns, and a gradual decrease in the size of the oval in canter is a good preparation for the half-pirouette, Williams explained.

Horses for the Future

“THE MOTHER OF ALL GOOD THINGS”: That’s what Traurig calls the shoulder-in, as demonstrated by Bragdell and SenSation HW

Christine Traurig doesn’t hide her excitement when she sees a promising young dressage horse. “I melt away when I watch this horse,” she said of SenSation HW, a six-year-old Westfalen gelding by Sunday. Owned by Carol McPhee and ridden by Michael Bragdell, Colora, Maryland, SenSation was last year’s Markel/USEF Young Horse Five-Year-Old national champion. Traurig’s admiration didn’t preclude her from finding things to improve. She instructed Bragdell to hone his use of the outside leg and rein on the circle. “Everyone says ‘inside leg to outside hand,’” Traurig said. “But until the horse understands the outside leg and rein aids in keeping the shape of the circle, you can’t use the

Questions and Answers


s she’s done at past Trainers Conferences, Olympian Lendon Gray not only oversaw the volunteer contributions of Dressage4Kids Winter Intensive Training program participants; she also screened audience questions for the clinicians. A selection: Q: Which is better for warm-up, trot-canter transitions or walk-canter transitions? George Williams: It depends on the horse’s balance. If you need the horse to push and carry for better balance, then I’ll use walk-canter. Trot-canter transitions are better for loosening the horse’s back. Q: What causes a horse to tilt his head when you’re trying to bend him? Christine Traurig: Tilting is the result of not being supple around the rider’s inside leg.

MODERATOR: Olympian Lendon Gray fielded audience questions to the Trainers Conference presenters

Q: What’s the difference between the horse that is “uphill” and one that is “climbing”? CT: It has to do with the bridge between the hindquarters and the topline. Climbing feels like the horse only wants to raise his neck and front legs; the bridge is not involved. Q: How do you address the horse that “plaits” (takes overlapping steps behind) in the piaffe? Debbie McDonald: I use quarter-turns—just a little—to make them step away.

26 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

inside leg because it contradicts the inside rein.” She later elaborated to the audience: “Before you create sensitivity to the aids, you need to crease sensibility—understanding. I see it all the time—people kicking the horse off the leg before the horse has the understanding.” Correct bend is essential in developing engagement and power, Traurig said. “Inside bend—the horse giving through its ribcage—gives a place for the inside hind leg to step under,” she explained. As Bragdell worked, Traurig chanted, “Ribcage. Ribcage. Inside leg, bend, and flexion into your outside guarding aids.” In a moment when SenSation became short in the neck with his profile behind the vertical: “It was lack of suppleness to your inside leg that caused him to collapse in the poll.” “You can’t do enough trot-canter transitions on a 20-meter circle,” Traurig told Ali Potasky, Versailles, Kentucky, on Irintha, a five-year-old KWPN mare by Everdale and owned by Kathy Priest. “We’re working to create fluent, effortless canter-trot transitions with no loss of rhythm, maintaining the nose out with stretch to the bit.” These transitions help to loosen the horse’s sacroiliac and lumbar areas, Traurig said. “If the horse is tight in the back, the hind legs don’t work properly. Without that suppleness, the horse will never develop proper impulsion,

FLYING-CHANGE EXERCISE: If the horse has trouble with the change in one direction, perform that change to the outside on a circle. Jami Kment shows how it’s done aboard Gatino Van Hof Olympia.

which is power and thrust, not speed.” Traurig showers her highest praise on the shoulder-in, calling the movement “the mother of all good things.” She recalled a favorite saying of one of her own trainers, German Olympic gold medalist and former US dressage-team coach Klaus Balkenhol: “Mobilize the hind leg.” Traurig had

Try One! A two week trial is free 2300 US Patented



FORWARD IN THE HALF-PASS: Could you change from half-pass to shoulder-in at any moment? Melissa Taylor shows good ground cover aboard Ansgar.

Bragdell mobilize SenSation’s hind legs by “mak[ing] the space between his hind legs a little narrower”—by using shoulder-in, of course.

Developing Excellence Development coach Charlotte Bredahl ended up working with three horse-rider combinations. Jami Kment and Ga-

tino Van Hof Olympia were unable to return the second day because the horse had developed a slight fever, the audience was told. Rider Michael Bragdell pinch-hit with the Hilltop Farm-owned stallion Sternlicht, a nine-year-old Hanoverian by Soliman de Hus. Suppleness to the rider’s inside leg, a topic that Traurig had emphasized, remained a theme in Bredahl’s sessions. It is an important component of straightness, Bredahl told Kment, of Palmyra, Nebraska, as she coached the rider in obtaining better straightness in walk-canter transitions aboard her seven-year-old KWPN gelding (by Apache): “Ride slight shoulder-fore in preparation for the walk-canter transition so the haunches don’t come in.” “Even if a horse didn’t have a problem,” Bredahl said after the conference, “I like to show what I do if this and this happens—to show what exercises I like to use to improve the horse.” Here are a few that she shared: For the horse whose canter can become lateral or crouphigh: Starting on the quarter line, leg-yield to the wall, finishing in a slight shoulder-fore position. For the horse that gets tight in one direction in the flying changes: On a 20-meter circle, ask for the more difficult change to the outside of the circle (i.e., if the left-to-right change is the problem, circle on the left rein and ride the flying change to the right so that the horse lands in right lead counter-canter). Bredahl had Kment place the change approximately over the center line, on the open end of the circle instead of against the rail. For the horse that gets crooked in the flying changes: Ride the changes a foot or two off the rail along the long side of the arena, with the crooked side next to the rail.

LEG-YIELD TO CHANGE: Michael Bragdell briefly leg-yields Sternlicht toward the new outside aids in left-lead canter (left). The increased engagement and connection produce a clean, expressive flying change to the right lead (right).

28 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

SHARPENED: Made even more attentive to Kerrigan Gluch’s aids, Bolero CXLVII adds power to his passage while Debbie McDonald looks on

CHANNELED ENERGY: Chris Hickey and Contento Sogno in piaffe

“What walk are you doing?” Bredahl challenged Melissa Taylor, of Wellington, Florida, on Nicole Polaski’s 14-year-old KWPN gelding, Ansgar (by Formateur). “Extended? Medium? Collected?” Ride the walk with purpose, Bredahl said. Bredahl worked to sharpen Ansgar’s responses, for

crisper transitions off the lightest of aids. “The transition from medium to collected trot—boom! If it’s not clear, tactfully walk a step. Then think it [walk] but don’t do it.” In schooling tempi changes, Bredahl advised Taylor to abandon the line if the quality of the gait begins to deteriorate.

2019 US Dressage Tests

Custom-Fit Boots Made in the U.S.A

I n t r o d u c t o r y

For over a century, the Dehner name has been proudly worn by young and old alike.

ts age Tes l S Dy re– sFso u r t h L e v e e Tests r 201r 9o d U ag o ss u c t 19 US Dre 20 u c t o r y – F o u r t h L e v e l I n t I n t r o d 2019 US Dressage Tests I n t r o d u c t o r y – F o u r t h L e v e l 2019 US Dre ssage Te s I n t r o d 2u 0c t1o9r yU– F o u r t h L e st S Dressagv e l I n t r o d u c t o r e Tests y – F o u r t

Feel for yourself the comfort and fit that have made us one of the most sought-after boots in the business!


EF) ration (US an Fede Equestri ed States an Federation (USEF) and Unit United States Equestri and (USDF)United . on Dressage n ©2018 (USDF) law. States rved (USDF) andorUnited States Equestrian Federation (USEF) lication Federati d byFederation pub ts erese ibite e Federatio Dressag reserved s in .theAll rights rights ssion All©2018 DressagUnited StatesAll righ ission is proh law. reserved. ed by omi United prohibit orpermissi ion or ed States©2018 Dressag on isStates ner. rsReproduction out perm ction e Federat s in without without ionpublicat ized man is the prohibited (USDF omission by) and law. United ©2018 Unit orpermission for any erro ction with Reprodu thor ©2018 unaunor for anyiserrors bleUSEF States Equestr Reprodu F is responsible USEF Neither Unit USDF manner. inis an responsi responsible for any rized errorsAll or rights omissions ed in the publication erial or ian Federation (USEF) unautho nor State reserved USE in an USDF mat Reproduction s Dressage . for theted usematerial of its copyrighted copyrigh USDF nor Neither righted in anwithout unauthorized Neither manner. Federatio USDFmaterial ion nis (US Neither the use of its copyfor the use of its nor USEF is respons permiss prohibi DF)ted law. for ible for any errors andbyUnit for the use of its All righor Repr States Equ oduc Neithercopyrig hted ns ed ts omissio in the materia reser ved. tion with publicaestri USDF nor . l in an tionan Inc outunauthorized orFederatio tion, . for the use USEF is responsipermission ismanner n (USEF) Inc. 40511ation, of its copy ble for any prohibited by age Federaton,age ess KY Feder Dr righ .org erro Dress States tes sdf 40511 ing d States Inc. ted material in an rs or omissionlaw. w.u LexUnited • wwDressage gton, KYFederation, s in the publ United StarksUnite 22 Lexin unauthor ay, Parkway, -77Works Parkw s971 4051 Iron sdf.org ication or ized man Parkway, Lexington, United State Work • www.u ner. s DressKY 40511 971-7722 1 Iron Wo4051 Iron: (859)

Log-on today to view our full line of boots and shoes.

Fax age 405 Federation, Inc. • Fax: (859) 4051 (859) 77 • Phone: • Fax: 971-7722 Iron(859) • www.usdf.org Work 971-22 : (859) 971-2277 971-2277 s Parkw 9)Phone Un ay, Lexington, Phone: (859) 971-2 ited Sta Phone: (85 tes essa KY 40511 277 • 405 ge Federa n Wo(859)Dr 971-7722 Phone: (851 IroFax: tion usdf.o , Incrg. 9) 971-22 rks Parkway, Lex• www. ing 77 • Fax : (859) 971 ton, KY 40511 -7722 • ww w.usdf.org




vem ough No 2018 thr

:43 18 2:33


gh November 30,

ber 1, 2018 throu

Effective Decem

Tel: (402) 342-7788 * Fax: (402) 342-5444 2019 Test

2019 Test booklet 2-3 2-32019dcover.indd 2-3 r.indd cover.ind Test booklet booklet cove Test cover.indd 2-3 2019 booklet 2019 Test booklet cover.ind

d 2-3

Cover phot o

L e v e l

US DRESSAGE TESTS BOOKLET The 2019 US Dressage Tests booklet contains all of the USDF and USEF tests (Intro-Fourth Level) in one convenient guide - handy for carrying at shows, in your vehicle, or at home. The 2019 US Dressage Tests are effective December 1, 2018 through November 30, 2022.




18 2:33:43 PM

10/17/20 Effective December 1, 2018 through November 30, 2022

ht t p s : / / s to re. u s d f. o rg /

Cover photo ©Susan JStickle


F o u r t h


ber 30, 202

Stickle to ©SusanJ ©SusanJStickle Cover pho Cover photo Cover photo ©SusanJStickle

L e v e l

©SusanJ Stickle

Effective Dece

mber 1, 2018 throu


10/17/2018 2:33:43 PM

gh November


30, 2022

1, 2018 thr ough No 10/17/2018 2:33:43 PM vember 30, 2022


18 2:33 :43




“Don’t keep going,” she said. “That’s what I call setting the horse up to fail instead of setting him up for success.” With Bragdell and Sternlicht, Bredahl repeated the canter exercise she’d used with Kment and Gatino Van Hof Olympia: from the quarter line, a few steps of leg-yield toward the wall, finishing in shoulder-fore. Later, shoulder-fore positioning before and after steps of half-pass helped to keep Sternlicht correctly forward and bent around the rider’s inside leg. “The rider’s outside hip down in the half-pass helps to keep the haunches connected,” Bredahl added. For better hind-leg engagement and connection to the new outside aids in flying changes, “try a little leg-yield— just a foot or so—before the change,” she advised Bragdell. The work produced a visible difference in Sternlicht’s activity, power, and expression. “There are more gears in there,” Bredahl said of the stallion.

Aiming for the Big Ring Although she was suffering from an acute flare-up of back pain during the conference, US dressage technical advisor Debbie McDonald never wavered in her focus on the two Grand Prix-level demonstration pairs. Hampton Green Farm’s 15-year-old PRE stallion Bolero CXLVII (by Utrerano VII) is a hot horse—which is a desirable trait in a Grand Prix dressage horse, but sometimes that go-go mentality made him prone to jigging in the walk. “You need to train him to accept your leg,” McDonald told rider Kerrigan Gluch, of Wellington, Florida. “At this level,” McDonald said, “you need to have both ends sharp”—meaning that the horse must be equally responsive to “go” and “whoa” aids. “There shouldn’t be much pushing involved. You need to have their hind legs. You need to be very quick—quick to sharpen, quick to pet him, quick to half-halt. Never hold. At this level, the horse needs to be responsible for his own balance and not rely on your hands. You should be able to make a horse hot to the leg and pet him in the same moment.” The horse must always think forward in the lateral work, McDonald said—the same message we’d heard from the previous three coaches. As McDonald put it, “In the halfpass, you should feel as if the horse is taking you in the direction you’re looking.” “This one’s a little hot,” McDonald observed of the 12-yearold Dutch Warmblood gelding Contento Sogno (by Florencio I), owned by Cecelia Stewart and ridden by Christopher Hickey, of Wellington, Florida. Training a hot horse entails “learning to manage their brain a little bit. You can’t just throw the rein away so he gets distracted.” To get and keep the hot horse’s focus, “I like a lot of tempo changes,” she said.

30 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thanks to those who were instrumental in making the 2019 conference a success: High Meadow Farm owner Mary Anne McPhail; presenters Charlotte Bredahl, George Williams, and Christine Traurig; Lilo Fore; Dressage4Kids’ Lendon Gray; USDF staffers Stephan Hienzsch and Kathie Robertson; and USDF FEIcertified instructor Melissa Allen

Grand Prix-level movements may seem challenging, but McDonald helped horses and riders to understand that they are syntheses of basic skills. In developing the canter pirouette, for instance, “riding travers in or out helps fix the tendency to have the hind legs close or to hop behind,” she told Hickey. And when Contento Sogno became a bit crooked and tense in the passage, “go medium for a step. Show him it’s just a trot.”

The Long View “It was really nice to show how we all work together, and how each program feeds into the other,” Bredahl said at the conference’s conclusion. “We say things differently, but we share the same philosophy.” The two days of training approaches and exercises from the four coaches “should give trainers a lot of different ways to do things,” she said. “Each of us has our own way of expressing certain things, and I think it’s good for [the audience] to hear the different ways,” said Williams. “What I like is, all four have emphasized suppleness, and we’ve all discussed half-halts. A lot of the time, those are the two things that are not understood and confirmed enough in horses.” In dressage training, “the horse should improve in its natural ability and beauty, and in the gaits,” said Traurig, who wants riders to think of the process as the development of the equine athlete. Often the focus becomes the execution of the test pattern, “and the training falls by the wayside, instead of taking the pattern as a message of what needs to be developed and demonstrated.” Williams wants trainers of youth riders to understand “how important it is at that age to instill fundamental skills: an understanding of the basics and what is required, and the ability to do those basics. The role of the ‘bottom tiers of the pyramid’ and how that has to be established before we can think about some of the other things, but how it all ties in.” “It’s so important for the kids to get a picture in their mind

SUPPLENESS IS FUNDAMENTAL: Ali Potasky rides travers (haunches-in) aboard Irintha

of what they would like their riding to be like,” said Olympian Lendon Gray, who with her Dressage4Kids program had many young attendees at the conference. She does, however, have to mediate the occasional post-conference frustration, she said, when an attendee is “so inspired, and then they go home and they get back to the real world, riding their funky whatever that’s never been on the bit in its life, or had some bad training. They’ve been given some lovely exercises to go in that direction, but sometimes it’s hard for everybody—not just the kids—to relate what I call the real world as opposed to what we’ve presented here to them.” Asked about her goals for the conference, McDonald said: “I would hope we could get a few of these trainers to think seriously about certification.” “We have way too many trainers out there that really don’t know deep enough either how, or have produced enough, to know [how to bring a horse up through the levels],” said McDonald, a USDF Honorary Instructor. “One Grand Prix horse and a U25 rider, and then they open a business—I can’t even fathom that because I don’t know how many years [I’ve been in the sport], and I still keep learning every day.” s Jennifer Bryant is the editor of USDF Connection.




Dressage Showing

from A to X (Almost) everything you need to know before you compete (or volunteer!) at a “recognized” show

WILL THIS BE YOUR YEAR? For many dressage riders, competing in a recognized show is an attainable goal

32 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION




JUNE 15-16, 2019


hinking about your first US Equestrian-licensed/ USDF-recognized dressage competition is exciting—and daunting. Beyond the necessary training, there are the non-riding challenges: learning the show-entry process, untangling the membership requirements, memorizing the tests, and packing the right stuff for yourself and your horse, to name a few of the biggies. Or perhaps you’re interested in volunteering but worry that you don’t know enough about dressage to be able to contribute. We’re here to help make your first recognized-show experience, either as a competitor or as a volunteer, a positive one. Read on for a head start.

Know Before You Go: Rules and Prize Lists Spend some quality time reading the United States Equestrian Federation’s (US Equestrian) dressage rules and the prize list for the show you plan to enter. Rules. The entire US Equestrian Rule Book is huge, but the dressage section is manageable. It contains explanations of movements and other dressage terminology, which will help to clarify what the judges are looking for and to guide your training (useful even if you don’t plan to show). From the US Equestrian website (usef.org), navigate to Compete, Rules & Regulations, Rule Book. The dressage-division rules are in section DR. Prize list. You’ll find this document posted online—often on the competition organizer’s or host organization’s website—at least six weeks before the competition. (Need help finding a show to enter? Visit your USDF region’s website, or check USDF’s competition calendar at usdf.org.) Judges and other key positions, from competition manager and official d. Free Walk. The free walk is a pace of relaxation in which the horse is allowed complete freedom to lower and stretch out his head and neck. The degree of ground cover and length of strides, with hind feet stepping clearly veterinarian to the show photographer and videographer, in front of the footprints of the front feet, are essential to the quality of the free walk. e. Stretching on a long exercise gives a clear impression of the “throughness” of the horse and proves all are namedrein.inThisthe prize list. Note the opening and closits balance, suppleness, obedience and relaxation. In order to execute the exercise “stretching on a long rein” correctly, the rider allows the horse to take the reins gradually and smoothly as he stretches his neck forward and downward. As the neck stretches forwards and downwards, the mouth should reach more or less to the horizontal line corresponding with the point of the shoulder. An elastic and consistent contact with the rider’s hands must be maintained. The gait must maintain its rhythm, and the horse should remain light in the shoulders with the hindlegs well engaged. During the retake of the reins the horse must accept the contact without resistance in


the mouth or poll.

The walk is a gait in four-beat rhythm with eight phases (numbers in circles indicate the beat).

MORE THAN JUST RULES: The dressage section of the US Equestrian © USEF 2019 449 Rule Book contains detailed descriptions and diagrams to aid your training

Virginia Summer Dressage HITS Commonwealth Park, Culpeper, VA

“Official Qualifying Competition for the 2019 Adequan FEI North American Youth Championships presented by Gotham North; the 2019 Children Dressage National Championship; the 2019 USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship; 2019 USEF Junior and Young Rider Dressage National Championships; and the 2019 USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today. Official Qualifying Competition for the 2019 Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage Championships. Official Qualifying Competition for the 2019 FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in Dressage (Five, Six, and Seven Year Olds).”

Qualifying Event for 2019 USDF Breeders Championship East Coast Series MANAGER Janine Malone Ph: 919-269-7307 Cell at show: 919-602-6203 jemrph@aol.com SECRETARY Dianne Boyd 18782 Harmony Church Road Leesburg, VA 20175 Ph: 703-777-4846 greyhorse11@gmail.com Show Phone: 703-850-9704 or 919-602-6203 WEBSITE: www.rosinburg-events.com COMPETITION LICENSEE: Rosinburg Events, LLC, Janine Malone, Pres.

JUDGES Michael Osinski (OR) “S” Sandy Osborn (GA) “S” Elizabeth Lewis (VA) “S” Anne Moss (PA) “r” & DSHB “r” Robin Birk (PA) “r” Others TBA TECHNICAL DELEGATE Camille Kopcik (NY) “R” VETERINARIAN ON CALL Keswick Equine Clinic 540-832-5360 FARRIER ON CALL: TBA EMT: On Grounds; Dan Prescott, EMT NIGHTWATCH: Kat Parkinson 336-432-1234

S SA AT TU UR RD DA AY Y,, JJu un ne e1 15 5,, 2 20 01 19 9

10. *Opportunity USDF Introductory Test A 11. *Opportunity USDF Introductory Test B 12. *USDF Introductory Test C 13. *Opportunity Training Level Test I 14. *Opportunity Training Level Test 2 101. Training Level Test 1 102. Training Level Test 2 103. Training Level Test 3 111. First Level Test 1 112. First Level Test 2 113. First Level Test 3 121. Second Level Test 1 122. Second Level Test 2 123. Second Level Test 3 131. Third Level Test 1 132. Third Level Test 2 133. Third Level Test 3 141. Fourth Level Test 1 142. Fourth Level Test 2 143. Fourth Level Test 3 150. FEI Children Team Test 151. FEI Pony Team Test 152. FEI Junior Team Test 153. FEI Young Rider Team Test 155. FEI Five-Year-Old Preliminary Test 156. FEI Six-Year-Old Preliminary Test 157. FEI Seven-Year-Old Preliminary Test 158. +USEF & FEI Young Horse Test of Choice 159. USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Test (2019 ed.) 160. USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test (2019 ed.)


TYPICAL PRIZE LIST: Page 1 of the prize list for a June 2019 US Equestrian-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competition, also recognized by a USDF GMO. Lots of info is crammed into this page, including location, opening and closing dates, qualifiers offered, officials and contact information, and some classes offered.

ing dates (the first and last days entries are accepted) and the show secretary’s name and contact information, as well. Prize lists include important facility information—driving directions, stabling details, arena types and footing, nearby hotels, how to order hay and bedding, whether dogs are permitted, food availability, and so on. And, of course, they list the classes offered, with dates, divisions (e.g., adult amateur, open, junior/young rider), and entry and other fees.

All About Entries As the competitor, it’s your responsibility to complete the entry form correctly, including furnishing all necessary membership numbers, signatures, and documentation (examples: a horse vaccination record is required; proof of having earned prerequisite scores must accompany most freestyle entries), and paying all required fees. For some riders, dealing with this red tape is the single worst aspect of dressage competition. If you’re confused, don’t be shy about contacting the show secretary with questions. “Most secretaries are more than happy to help,” says Meaghan Mallory, secretary for the southern-Californiabased Cornerstone Dressage shows. “A show is for exhibitors, and we want to make it as exhibitor-friendly as possible.” ☞ Tip: Ask your entry-related questions in advance and you’ll help avoid the dreaded check-in bottleneck at the show office, caused by incomplete or incorrect entry submissions. Today, although show entries can still be submitted by snail mail, most organizers offer the speed and convenience of online entry (see the prize list for details). You may be charged a small fee for entering online and paying by credit card, but many competitors feel it’s worth it for the automatic fee calculations, the auto-fill of information from the USDF CONNECTION • April 2019


trainer, or as parent or guardian of a junior exhibitor. I am fully aware and acknowledge that horse sports and the Competition involve inherent dangerous risks of accident, loss, and serious bodily injury including broken bones, head injuries, trauma, pain, suffering, or death. (“Harm”). I AGREE to hold harmless and release the Federation and the Competition from all claims for money damages or otherwise for any Harm to me or my horse and for any Harm of any nature caused by me or my horse to others, even if the Harm arises or results, directly or indirectly, from the negligence of the Federation or the Competition. I AGREE to expressly assume all risks of Harm to me or my horse, including Harm resulting from the negligence of the Federation or the Competition. I AGREE to indemnify (that is, to pay any losses, damages, or costs incurred by) the Federation and the Competition and to hold them harmless with respect to claims for Harm to me or my horse, and for claims made by others for any Harm caused by me or my horse while at the Competition. I have read the Federation Rules about protective equipment, including GR801 and, if applicable, EV114, and I understand that I am entitled to wear protective equipment without penalty, and I acknowledge that the Federation strongly encourages me to do so while WARNING that no protective equipment can guard against all injuries. If I am a parent or guardian of a junior exhibitor, I consent to the child’s participation and AGREE to all of the above provisions and AGREE to assume all of the obligations of this Release on the child’s behalf I represent that I have the requisite training, coaching and abilities to safely compete in this competition. I AGREE that if I am injured at this competition, the medical personnel treating my injuries may provide information on my injury and treatment to the Federation on the official USEF accident/injury report form. BY SIGNING BELOW, I AGREE to be bound by all applicable Federation Rules and all terms and provisions of this entry blank and all terms and provisions of this Prize List. If I am signing and submitting this Agreement electronically, I acknowledge that my electronic signature shall have the same validity, force and effect as if I affixed my signature by my own hand.

*RIDER/HANDLER (mandatory)

*OWNER / AGENT (mandatory)

*TRAINER (mandatory)



Signature (must be 18 or older):






PARENT/GUARDIAN (Required if rider/handler is a minor, i.e. under 18) Signature:


COACH (If applicable)

(Home/Parent) Emergency Contact Is RIDER a U.S. citizen? (mandatory) Phone # YES ________

NO ________

* No entry is valid without original signatures from the above individuals; Photocopied signatures or writing “same” are NOT acceptable. STABLING / CAMPER HOOK-UP RESERVATION FORM (Refer to Prize List for Specifications) ENTRY PREPARATION CHECKLIST

Contact NAME and NUMBER for Rider Emergency: ____________________/______________________

Contact NAME and NUMBER for Horse Emergency: __________________/_______________________

___________________________________________ Name of Lodgings Where Rider or Responsible Party Will be Staying During the Competition

_________________________________________ Hotel Number at the Competition (For Emergency Contact Purposes)

Stall Occupant



Check Stall Days/Nights Desired (see prize list directives) Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun

Horse Name

Before Mailing, Be Sure You Have:

___Completed Both Sides of Entry Form ___All Original Required Signatures ___ Enclosed a Copy of the Current Negative Coggins (EIA) Certificate (Refer to Show Specifications for Date Validity Requirements. Copy must be legible.) ___ Supplied all Required Ass’n Numbers ___ Enclosed Copies of Applicable USEF

and/or USDF Cards or Documents SIGN HERE: All recognized-show entries must bear___signatures of the Completed the Stabling / Camper ___ Vaccination Certificate Tack n/a rider/handler, the owner/agent, and the trainer, even if all three are ___ Enclosed a Check / Money Order for the all Applicable Fees. ___Attached photocopyfor of Test(s) same person. signatures for the coach if applicable and averifying parent Approx. Time of Arrival: Add __________________ Approx. Time of Departure: __________________ USDF & FEI Freestyle Test eligibility Requests*: (ex. for exempt classes) ____________________________________________________________________ orSpecial guardian if the competitor is under 18. Mail this Entry Form, Supplemental If accompanied by NON-COMPETING HORSE, must complete separate entry form and pay all applicable fees.

_______________________________________________________________________________________ *Provide name of individual with whom you desire to be stabled

(if part of a group, make sure you all name the same person) ______________________________________________________

Documents, and Fees to the Competition (Entry) Secretary Identified on the Prize List. EMERGENCY CELL CONTACT # OF SOMEONE WITH YOU /YOUR GROUP AT THIS SHOW WHO IS NOT LISTED ELSEWHERE ON THIS ENTRY FORM

US Equestrian and USDF databases, and the peace of mind knowing that the entry was received immediately. Even if you’re entering online, read the prompts carefulName on Card: _____________________________________ Credit Card #:__________-___________-___________-___________ Expiration Date: _______ / ________time,  Visa  Discover Card  Other __________as CCVentering #: _________ lySignature: and ____________________________ take your toMasterCard help avoid such goofs Billing Address: _____________________________________Zip Code: __________ the wrong class or division, failing to ensure that your score will count as a qualifier for a championship or other goal, or over- or underpaying. Signatures. Entry-form signatures are a critical yet often misunderstood step. US Equestrian requires three separate signatures—from the rider, the horse owner, and the trainer—even if all three are the same person. “Trainer” means the adult responsible for the horse while it’s on the show grounds. If the exhibitor is a minor, then the trainer must be a parent or other adult. A fourth signature blank, for “coach,” is only required if that person is paid to instruct you at the show. ☞ Tip: Don’t procrastinate! Popular shows can fill well before the closing date, so enter early. Stabling fees: ___________stalls for ___________nights @ $ _________ per night = __________________

Camper fees _____hook-ups @ $______ea (flat rate) OR _____nights @ $ _______ per night = _________ TOTAL STABLING / CAMPER HOOK-UP FEES: _________________


FILL OUT ONLY IF THE COMPETITION YOU ENTER ON THIS ENTRY FORM OFFERS CERTAIN USE OF CHARGECARDS!! (Check in the prize list or individual competition requirements)


Memberships and Horse Registrations With the exception of certain no-memberships-required classes, all dressage-show entries require proof of your membership in whatever organizations, and at whatever categories, are required for the classes you’re entering. At the 2019 California Dressage Society Annual Meeting in January, an entire education session was devoted to a discussion of memberships and registrations—and most of the attentive attendees were not dressage-show newbies. CDS executive secretary Paula Langan lamented the number of disappointed veterans who didn’t have the year-end qualifications they expected because all was not in order with their show entries. Read on for an overview of what’s required for the lower levels of recognized dressage competition. Be aware that, as you progress toward regional and national goals or have a horse pursuing certain breed distinctions, these requirements get more complex. Find the complete membership-requirement rundown in the USDF Member Guide and on usdf.org.

34 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

☞ Tip: Check your USDF and US Equestrian memberships and horse registrations at eqverification.org, where you can print a “master verification” card listing all the memberships to include with your entry or supply if the show office requests. Before you send in your membership dollars, “my number-one tip is for the rider to identify their goals,” says Mallory. “Are you just looking for the experience [of showing], or do you want to try to qualify for a year-end competition or award? Otherwise, you can spend more money than needed or get a great score that won’t count for the right thing.” Membership choices for humans: To compete in a US Equestrian-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competition, you’ll need either to be a member of both US Equestrian and the USDF, or to pay the per-show nonmember fees ($45 and $35, respectively). Unless you plan to be a oneshow wonder, it’s cheaper to join the organizations. US Equestrian membership is pretty straightforward. In order to participate in US Equestrian activities, both the competitor and the horse owner (if not the same person) need a “competing” membership of the appropriate age group, senior or junior. USDF membership is trickier because there are multiple membership categories. Pick one or more to suit your competitive objectives. If your goals are limited to participating in recognized dressage competition and to earn USDF rider awards, group membership (membership in a USDF-affiliated dressage club, known as a group-member organization or GMO) is sufficient. But if you want to be eligible for Adequan®/USDF yearend awards or to qualify for Great American Insurance Group/ USDF Regional Championships, you’ll need to join the USDF directly—what’s known as participating membership. Many USDF members hold both group and participating memberships, to avail themselves of GMO offerings as well as to strive for USDF year-end awards and other recognition.

Safe Sport Requirement


ew “Safe Sport” rules effective January 1, 2019, add a new layer of mandatory compliance. All amateur sports organizations are required by law to comply with US Olympic Committee Safe Sport regulations, developed to safeguard participants—especially minors—from sexual, mental, and physical abuse. All US Equestrian adult members with “competing” memberships must complete Safe Sport training in order to be eligible to participate in US Equestrian activities. Learn more at usef.org.

Membership (registration) choices for horses: For many types of dressage classes, horses are not required to be registered (“recorded”) with US Equestrian. However, to qualify for Great American/USDF Regional Championships or to participate in many US Equestrian dressage programs, horses must have US Equestrian annual or lifetime recording. USDF does require a form of horse registration. The entry-level option is the USDF Horse Identification Number, or HID, with which scores will count toward USDF rider awards (including rider medals). If you want your scores to count toward year-end awards and championships, spring for USDF lifetime horse registration. ☞ Tip: If your horse is USDF lifetime-registered, he doesn’t need a USDF Horse Identification Number (HID).


How to Memorize Your Dressage Tests Even Olympians have been known to struggle to remember their tests, but first-timer nerves can make it especially hard. Happily, there are plenty of tools and tricks; it’s just a matter of finding the ones that work best for you. The tech option. The USDF’s Dressage TestPro app debuted last fall and is available for iOS devices now, with Android compatibility expected this summer. The app gives users access to the 2019 USDF and US Equestrian dressage tests (Introductory to Fourth Level), even without wi-fi or cellular service. You can listen to an audio transcription of each test movement, review step-by-step movement diagrams, or draw the test pattern yourself, with corrections from the app as needed. Visualize your ride. Some riders learn best by visualizing riding the test as if they were watching themselves on video. Or watch actual video: Look for videos of well-ridden, highscoring tests on YouTube. USDF’s new On the Levels series of DVDs or streaming videos shows how to ride the tests, complete with expert commentary and training tips. Others like to trace the pattern on paper or in the air with a finger. Still others “ride” the test on foot in a marked-out “arena” in a back yard or a parking lot. Take comfort in knowing that most competitors ride off course at one time or another. If it happens to you, try to shake it off and focus on riding the rest of the test well, advises New Jersey-based IDRESSAGE: With the USDF Dressage TestPro app, you can study trainer and FEI-level comthe tests on your mobile device petitor Amy Howard.

RIDER’S HELPER: In some cases, having your test read can soothe show nerves

“Don’t ruin the whole test by dwelling on one mistake,” she says. If a student is clearly nervous in the warm-up or struggling to manage an unruly horse, Howard may advise having someone read or “call” the test. A reader is permitted at recognized shows with the exception of championship classes (check the prize list). “If you’re having to focus on something else, like a spook, it can be really hard to remember the test,” says Howard, who adds that competitors still should endeavor to memorize their tests. Using a reader “should never become a crutch,” she says.

Your Show Packing List Dr. Susanne “Suzi” Lanini says that it took her about two years of regular showing to arrive at the right list of what she needed when hauling her 19-year-old Arabian, Just in Kayce, to a dressage competition. The small-animal veterinarian from Rancho Cucamonga, California, who hopes to move “Justin” up to Prix St. Georges this year, shared her list with USDF Connection. Use “Dr. Suzi’s” list as a starting point for creating your own packing list, which you may wish to modify depending on your needs and the weather. Your veterinarian may be able to suggest additional items to pack in a portable equine first-aid kit. • Hose and large water bucket • Smaller bucket for water at trailer if hauling in • Hay net and grain bucket or grain pan • Mounting hardware, double-ended snaps, bucket hooks, etc., if stabling overnight • “Ugly” halter and lead to leave on the stall door (nice ones may “walk away”) • Step stool USDF CONNECTION • April 2019


HOPE I BROUGHT EVERYTHING: Showing takes careful planning, packing, and time management to ensure the best possible trip down center line

How to Plan the Ride-Time Countdown No competitor likes to feel rushed in the crucial minutes just before riding down center line. Lanini calculates how much time she’ll need for each show-prep step, then works backward from her ride time to determine when she needs to pull in to the show grounds for a one-day show out of her trailer. She allots time for the following steps (modify as needed if you’re stabling overnight): • Check in at the show office; get competitor packet and number • Unload horse • Groom • Braid • Change into show clothes with cover-up on top • Tack up horse • Shed cover-up, mount, walk to warm-up, and check in with ring steward • Warm up • Walk from warm-up to on-deck area just prior to ride time.

36 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

CARDIO OPTION: Test runners don’t actually run, but you’ll probably meet your 10,000-step goal with little difficulty

Volunteering 101 If you’d like to experience a recognized dressage show but you’re not ready or able to compete, volunteering may be just the ticket. There are opportunities for enthusiasts of all experience levels—even non-horsey friends or family members looking to keep busy between their loved ones’ rides. You’ll learn a lot about what it takes to compete in dressage, and you’ll meet other like-minded people, as well. Volunteers frequently receive perks ranging from complimentary meals, t-shirts, and “swag bags” to credits from GMOs that count toward awards eligibility or admission to other shows or club events. Shows depend on volunteers to help keep a lid on costs, says Carol Tice. The current USDF Region 7 director, Tice, of Temecula, California, is also the volunteer coordinator for the Del Mar National Horse Show and for the Great American/USDF Region 7 Championships and California Dressage Society Championship Show. “If we have to start hiring these positions, the costs will go up,” Tice says. We asked Tice to explain the most common dressageshow volunteer positions, from least to most experience required. Setup and tear-down. No experience required; just bring your muscles to help set up and take down the dressage arena, and to place and remove the letter markers and any decorative elements. Runner. No experience required. This volunteer runs (briskly walks, actually) completed test sheets from the judge’s booth to the show office. Runners also relay infor-


• Emergency contact info for horse and rider. If stabling, bring something that can be taped to the stall door. • Duct tape  • Grooming supplies: brushes, clippers, hoof oil, fly spray, fly roll-on for ears • Show saddle pad, extra pads • Leather conditioner • Saddle, bridle, and girth • Portable saddle rack • Show clothing (with spares if available); scrubs, skirt, or apron to keep show clothes clean • Helmet, white gloves, riding boots, spurs, and whip • Copies of dressage tests, including large-print versions for test callers • Proof of vaccinations for horses and any dogs traveling to the show • Copy of horse registration papers and all membership cards.


SOUGHT-AFTER POSITION: Scribes (center) and e-scribes (left) get to sit with the judge—but notice that the only person watching the test is judge Hilda Gurney

mation and requests among judges, scribes, management, and the show’s volunteer coordinator; and may deliver coffee, water, and snacks to judges and scribes. The amount of walking involved depends on the size and layout of the show grounds. At some large venues, golf carts are provided. Awards. These volunteers work in the show office and may also help out during awards presentations in the arena. Awards volunteers distribute competitors’ test sheets, ribbons, and prizes. Those who assist with awards presentations need to know safe practices around sometimes-antsy equines. Ring steward. Stationed at the warm-up entrance with show schedule in hand, the ring steward keeps track of competitors and provides riders with schedule updates and “you’re on deck” notifications, to help keep the show running smoothly and on time. Usually equipped with a walkietalkie, the ring steward communicates as needed with the show office or the technical delegate in the event of competitor scratches, no-shows, rules-related issues, or accidents. Although ring stewards don’t need extensive dressage knowledge, many enthusiasts enjoy this volunteer position because of the opportunity afforded to watch horses and riders at all levels warming up. In southern California, Tice says, it’s common to see Olympians Steffen Peters, Guenter Seidel, and others. Scorer. Mad math skills are not required for the job of tallying individual movement scores on the test sheet to calculate the final percentage. But it helps to be quick on a 10-key calculator, as “you don’t want to be hunting and pecking,” according to Tice. Larger shows may use two scorers to help ensure accuracy, pairing experienced volunteers with first-timers to teach the rudimentary rules knowledge required, such as ensuring that every box on the test sheet contains a mark and how to account for errors. Scribe. “Eighty percent of new volunteers I get want to scribe,” says Tice, “on the premise that they get to watch the

ride and hear words of wisdom from the judge.” But some new scribes are disappointed when they discover that their front-row seats don’t afford extensive spectating. “Often, you only lift your head up from the test sheet to check that the exhibitor’s number matches the one on the test sheet.” Scribing is neither an opportunity to befriend the judge—“you only chat when the judge wants to chat,” says Tice—nor a “sit with the judge” education session. “You are not there to learn; you are the judge’s secretary for the day,” she explains. Nevertheless, it’s virtually impossible not to learn something about what judges seek after spending several hours in the judge’s booth. Traditional scribes write the judge’s marks and comments in the designated boxes on the test sheet. Neat handwriting and familiarity with common scribing abbreviations are musts (if you don’t abbreviate, you may not be able to keep up with the dictation). Some larger shows also use escribes, who enter numeric scores in the show’s electronic scoring system.

Additional Resources Whether your goal is to ride down center line in a recognized show or to help out from the sidelines, you’ll find plenty of information on the USDF website (usdf.org). The USDF Member Guide contains the most popular current USDF, US Equestrian, and FEI dressage tests as well as membership guidelines and awards- and championshipprogram rules. The online USDF Guide for Scribes is an encyclopedia of procedures, tips, and standard abbreviations. The US Equestrian website (usef.org) houses all of the rules that apply to USEF-licensed dressage competitions. Besides the extensive descriptions of gaits and movements, the dressage section (DR) contains the latest lists of permitted bits, bridles, and other equipment, along with illustrations and photos. Every recognized dressage competition has a rules expert known as a technical delegate on the grounds. See “Mythbusters, TD Edition” (March) to learn more about the TD’s role. If you are a member of a USDF GMO, check to see if your club offers benefits and awards for volunteering. Many GMOs offer periodic training sessions for scribes and other skilled volunteers. To learn more about volunteering, contact your GMO or the show’s volunteer coordinator. Enjoy the show! s Kim F. Miller is the editor of California Riding Magazine and a freelance writer and photographer. She lives in southern California and can be reached at kimfmiller1@mac.com. USDF CONNECTION • April 2019


The Adult Amateur’s Guide to CDIs For successful FEI-level riders, an international competition may be a doable goal

GOAL ATTAINED: CDI and FEI-level competitor Barbie Asplundh is happy with her performance at the 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival aboard her 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding, Gorgeous (Charmeur x Special D)

38 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION




ho doesn’t dream of someday dancing with their horse on the big stage? That reality is one step closer for many riders with the Fédération Equestre Internationale’s (FEI) CDI-Amateur (CDIAm) division, rolled out in the US in 2015 at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival in Florida. If you’re competing in FEI-level classes at national-level shows and scoring well, taking part in an international competition may be more within your reach than you realized. Here’s what you need to know before you take the leap.

Welcome to the Big Leagues International dressage competitions, which are governed by the FEI, are known as Concours de Dressage Internationale (CDI). CDIs offer competition at the FEI levels, ranging from the FEI Children’s test through Grand Prix. Divisions may include Young Horse, Pony, Children, Junior, Young Rider, Under 25 (U25), Amateur, Small Tour (Prix St. Georges, Intermediate I, and Intermediate I Freestyle), Medium Tour (Intermediate A, Intermediate B, Intermediate II, Medium Tour Freestyle), and Big Tour (Intermediate II, Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special, and Grand Prix Freestyle). CDI competitions are categorized using a “star” rating system, from 1* (more relaxed criteria regarding appointment of officials and other requirements, and with competition up to Intermediate I/I-I Freestyle) to 5* (highest level of competition, with strictest requirements). The CDIAm division offers Small Tour, Medium Tour, and Big Tour competition options, the latter without the Grand Prix Special or the GP Freestyle. Classes must have a minimum of three FEI-licensed judges, but most CDIAm classes have the full ground-jury panel of five. In the US, many CDIs are held as part of large US Equestrian-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competitions. The CDI operates under FEI rules while the national-level classes are run according to US Equestrian rules (see “A New Set of Rules to Learn” on page 42).


When an Amateur Maybe Isn’t an Amateur The “Amateur” part of the CDIAm name confuses many dressage enthusiasts in the US, who are accustomed to the US Equestrian definition of amateur and therefore wonder whether some professional riders are trying to pull a fast one when they enter a CDIAm. In fact, the FEI’s definition of amateur has nothing to do with the US Equestrian criterion of whether the rider

WHAT’S IT SAY? Floratina, a Hanoverian mare (by Fidertanz) owned by Chloe Gasiorowski and ridden by Lindsay Kellock of Canada, appears to be reviewing her passport at the 2019 Palm Beach Dressage Derby I-I CDI 1* horse inspection

is compensated for riding, teaching, or training. FEI rules state that an amateur in dressage is any athlete aged 26 and up who is not ranked on the FEI Dressage World Ranking List at the time he or she enters the competition. In other words, any non-ranked rider over 26 may compete in a CDIAm even if he or she rides professionally.

Why CDI? Barbie Asplundh, of Loxahatchee, Florida, competes in the CDIAm division and most recently campaigned in the Small Tour with her 2006 KWPN gelding, Bittersweet (Dutch Dormella DDH – Jintha, Ulft). She believes that the CDIAm is a great way for a rider to make the transition from the national FEI-level classes to the CDI ranks. “I would definitely urge [competitors] to seek out a show that is providing the CDI-Amateur classes,” Asplundh says, “because the CDI-Amateur is quite different from competing in the open [CDI classes]. This division has been intentionally put there as a stepping-stone, to make it easier to go into a CDI. You compete against your peers instead of Olympians, so it’s less intimidating. You still ride in the same arenas with the same good judges. It’s the same test in the same sandbox. Go into it with the idea that you have earned the right to be there and you are going to enjoy yourUSDF CONNECTION • April 2019


self and show off your lovely horse. There is a real camaraderie, where people become friends and cheer each other on as they see each other throughout the season.” One note of caution: “I would advise riders to be quite comfortable with the level they are planning to show,” Asplundh advises. “If you go in the Prix St. Georges, you may also have to go in the Intermediate I. In some shows, you have to declare for either the Intermediate I or the Intermediate I Freestyle. Or you can do all three: Prix St. Georges, Intermediate I, and Intermediate I Freestyle. It depends on the show.” With the added stress of the “big-time show” demands and the knowledge that you’re being scrutinized by a panel of judges who “don’t miss a trick,” the last thing you need is to feel iffy about your horse’s readiness to compete at the level, she says. That additional rigor, however, is precisely what excites some riders about competing in CDIs. “CDIs are much more formal, and you are judged much tougher,” says Tiffany Mahoney, of Rancho Santa Fe, California, a CDIAm Small Tour competitor with her 2007 Westfalen gelding, Rey Del Mundo (Rock Forever – Fiona, Ferragamo). “I’m very competitive, so I enjoy that. I like having five judges: Being judged more stringently really shows you how you compare. You’re getting the same [judges and level of critique] as open riders doing a CDI.”

The CDI Entry Process If you’d like to compete in a CDI, start the process well in advance to allow time for the red tape, particularly for your horse. You may be able to get the required horse documen-

CRITICAL DOCUMENT: 2012 London Olympics veterinary services manager Dr. Jenny Hall displays the FEI passport of the Brazilian dressage horse Pastor during a press tour. Shown are the horse’s pedigree and other identifying information as well as diagrams depicting its markings.

tation turned around within a couple of weeks if you’re willing to pay hefty expedited-processing fees and for nextday shipping, but “a more standard and cost-effective time frame is approximately four to six weeks,” says Coloradobased competition organizer and USDF Region 5 director Heather Petersen. (However, some CDI first-timers have found even that window too tight, and recommend starting

All About “the Jog”

40 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

DRESSED TO IMPRESS: CDI competitor P.J. Rizvi prepares to jog Breaking Dawn at a 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival horse inspection



f you’ve watched the horse inspection at the famous Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, you were treated not only to top-notch horses, but also to a fashion show. “The jog” in FEI dressage competition “is a little more downplayed,” says Heather Petersen of competition-management company 2 White Feet Inc., “but we do encourage a ‘best turnout’ award at almost all of the competitions across the country.” Horses are presented for the CDI jog just as they would be for competition: show-ready grooming, hooves with only clear finish (no coloration per FEI rules), mane braided, and forelock braided or unbraided. A snaffle bridle is customary, but a handler with safety concerns may use a double bridle or a snaffle bridle with a stud chain, Petersen says. The fashion-show part of the jog is the handlers’ attire. Spectators enjoy viewing (and dishing about) the parade of outfits, which may range from tidy boots and breeches to slacks, skirts, or suits and ties. Whatever the handler chooses to wear, safe and running-friendly footwear is a must.

three or even six months prior to the show’s closing date if you don’t yet have any of the required horse paperwork.) Here’s what you’ll need for yourself and your horse. Your first step is to get an FEI rider number through your national equestrian federation, which for US citizens is the United States Equestrian Federation (usef.org). Applicants must be US Equestrian members. (Download the FEI Rider/Trainer Registration Form and other forms listed in this section on the US Equestrian website under Compete / Resources and Forms.) Your horse will need to be registered with the FEI with his own FEI number, as well, which you also obtain through US Equestrian. He will also need a horse passport, either national (USEF national passport) or international (FEI horse passport). If you plan to enter a CDI in other than your home country, you need the FEI version. Both are obtained through US Equestrian. The national passport, Petersen explains, is sufficient if you intend only to compete in CDIs in the United States. It’s also less expensive than an FEI passport. But “if you are truly going to be looking at competing in CDIs in the future, I would strongly suggest just getting the FEI passport for the long run.” Be aware that US Equestrian requires competitors to have begun the passport-application process before applying for FEI horse registration. Horses must be US Equestrian-recorded, microchipped, and compliant with FEI vaccination requirements before initial FEI registration will be granted. Working with a veterinarian familiar with FEI procedures may help streamline the paperwork. Make sure that you and your horse meet the FEI age requirements for the intended division. Be aware that FEI rider age definitions run by calendar year, not by actual birthday. Horses also have age parameters; for example, Small Tour horses must be seven years of age or older. Entering a CDI is a two-step process, says Petersen, whose show-management company, 2 White Feet Inc.,

SHOW READY: Grand Prix-level CDIAm competitor Janne Rumbough of Florida at the jog with her PRE gelding, Armas Zumbel (by Escarzo)

has organized several CDIs, including the Adequan® West Coast Dressage Festival series. Step 1: Because FEI rules state that national federations, not individual competitors, must enter horses and riders in FEI competitions, US Equestrian maintains an FEI entry portal on its website. On or before the FEI “definite entry” deadline, log in to your account on usef.org and click on the Athlete Dashboard link under “My USEF” to access the portal; then follow


Don’t Go It Alone


groom, coach, or other helper can be invaluable in easing stress and getting you and your horse ready for the increased demands of a CDI, says experienced competitor Barbie Asplundh. “It’s always nice to have someone with you,” she says. “If you can’t take a coach or trainer, bring even a non-horsey friend for support, even if it’s just to take your whip at the in-gate.” Pressures aside, it’s nice to have a companion to take in the experience with you. “These are big shows; they are fun. It’s good to have someone to share it with,” Asplundh says.

HELPING HAND: Especially at a CDI, an extra pair of hands can be a welcome resource



the instructions. US Equestrian will then process the entries into the FEI’s own entry system, and the CDI organizer must accept the entry into the competition in order for the horse to be allowed to take part. There is no additional fee for this process. Contact US Equestrian with any questions. Step 2: Using the show’s designated online entry system or other method as directed in the prize list, enter the show and pay the necessary fees before the closing date as you normally would.

Before and at the Show: What to Expect You’re probably familiar with the national-level show-entry process, in which competitors receive ride times in advance. That’s not how a CDI works, explains Petersen: After the closing date, you’ll be notified of the time frame during which your class will be held, but you won’t receive an exact ride time until you arrive at the show, when a random draw will be held to determine the starting order (more on that in a minute). A CDI is conducted under greater security and scrutiny than a national-level dressage competition. CDI entrants are stabled apart from other horses on the show grounds, and the first order of business is an arrival inspection, Petersen says. During the inspection, the show’s FEI veterinarian compares the horse to its FEI or national passport to ensure that it’s indeed the correct animal, scans the horse’s microchip, and takes the horse’s temperature as an indicator of the animal’s general health and fitness to be presented for competition.

A New Set of Rules to Learn


ou wouldn’t enter a national-level dressage show without learning the rules regarding tack, attire, prohibited substances, and procedures. So be sure to bone up on the FEI rules—which can differ from those of the national federations— before you enter a CDI. Find the FEI’s general rules, dressage rules, and equine anti-doping rules on inside.fei.org under the Rules drop-down menu. FEI competitions also abide by human Clean Sport rules as established by the World Anti-Doping Agency; human athletes, like horses, are subject to random drug testing. US Equestrian recommends that FEI competitors familiarize themselves with the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s website at usada.org. Learn more at inside.fei.org/fei/cleansport/humans.

42 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

Next comes a much-anticipated part of a CDI competition: the horse inspection. In “the jog,” as it’s often called, FEI veterinary officials and the ground-jury members watch each horse walk and trot in hand, to determine what the FEI calls the horse’s fitness to compete (see “All About ‘the Jog’” on page 40 for more). After the conclusion of the horse inspection, security in stabling is locked down and officials draw for ride times for the first class. The horse’s passport is held until the end of the competition. Entrance to the CDI stabling and warmup areas is limited to those with official passes, namely the rider, a groom, a trainer, and one to two owners as listed on the horse’s passport. A mounted awards ceremony is held after each CDI class, and attendance is mandatory for those lucky enough to be in the ribbons. Competitors are free to leave once their division is completed. “Everything is much more regimented” in CDI competition, says Asplundh, “but it’s all laid out in the prize list, and people are very happy to help. The people in the [show] office are your best guide as to where you should go, what you should do, and when you should do it. They are very helpful, and I would always turn to them.”

The CDI for Riders with “Regular Jobs” Asplundh says she’s been surprised at the small size of the CDIAm classes in the Florida winter “Welly World” shows—in part “because the majority of the people riding in the open [CDI] classes actually would be qualified to ride in the amateur, the way the rules are currently written”—but notes happily that “the good part is, this leaves the amateur division for the people with ‘regular jobs’ who really aren’t professional riders.” But the division is growing slowly, Asplundh says. “New things take some time to take off. I think over time it will get larger. I think a lot depends on how much encouragement there is from the management.” As a show manager, Petersen says she’s doing her part. “I think it’s important to support the international competitions in our country as much as possible,” Petersen says. “The CDI-Amateur is a great place for that support and growth to occur. The CDIAm is taking off a lot more on the East Coast than on the West Coast, but we’re starting to get more competitors overall everywhere.” Petersen points out that CDIs, despite their reputation as elite high-performance competitions, actually help to grow the sport.

“Without the international competitions, we don’t have the basis for growth, from Children and Ponies up through the top levels,” she says. “International competitions give us the opportunity to put ourselves on par with countries around the world.” “It’s a great experience; it ups your level of riding,” Mahoney says of the CDIAm. She adds that “you have to be OK with criticism, and you might not get the scores you’re used to. If you’re open to that, try it. I think more amateurs should get out there and do it. I would like to see more people because I’d hate to see [shows] not offering the classes.” As a competitor, she enjoys “the pomp and circumstance. The jogs

are fun. The awards are great. I love the camaraderie.” So are you ready to kick your competitive aspirations up a notch? “When you register for your FEI number, you sign a USEF Code of Conduct to exemplify sportsmanship, horsemanship, and citizenship, as you will be a representative of the US in international competition,” says Petersen. “I think this is a huge honor that more folks should take advantage of.” s Natalie DeFee Mendik is an award-winning writer specializing in equestrian journalism. Visit her online at MendikMedia.com.



Created as an expansion of USDF’s publication offerings, YourDressage delivers exclusive dressage stories, editorial, and education, relevant to ALL dressage enthusiasts!

www.yourdressage.org USDF CONNECTION • April 2019


Your one-stop shop for products and services for the sport of dressage.


apparel & accessories

RidingWarehouse.com “Your One-Stop Online Tack Shop”


horse bedding


T ay l o r S e l e c T

Sporthorse Cruise -Alaska-Alaska-

June 15-22, 2019

Sailing round trip from Seattle

-Guest SpeakersAxel Steiner Terri Miller-Steiner Join us and Relax.Learn.Explore.



HorSe Bedding Mention this ad and receive $100 off of your first semi load


Mortality Major Medical Farmowners Equine Liability

S elect the BeSt 815.601.3002

www.taylorselect.com call / text / email SHIPPING NATIONWIDE

sale horses

bluebridle.com Blue Bridle Insurance Agency, Inc P.O. Box 27, Pittstown, NJ 08867



USDF Vintage Tee – $24.95 USDF Stadium Blanket – $39.95 USDF Dog Bandana – $5.95

order online at


To make sure we provide our members with the most up-todate deadlines and events, the USDF Calendar has moved online.

Visit www.usdf.org/calendar for • • • • • •

USEF licensed/USDF recognized competitions Breeders’ Championships Regional Championships USDF sponsored events USDF University accredited programs All the important deadlines and dates you might need

46 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

W W W. U S D F. O R G

MARCH 2010

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation


NEW TRAINING SERIES: What Other Disciplines Can Teach Dressage Riders Basics of Freestyle Creation





For specific staff contacts visit the USDF Web site.

Make the connection

Lebanon Junction, KY Permit # 559


Phone: (859) 971-2277, Fax: (859) 971-7722, E-mail: usdressage@usdf.org Accounting....................................................................... (859) 271-7891..................accounting@usdf.org Address and E-mail Updates............................................. (859) 971-2277...................... changes@usdf.org Adult Education Programs ............................................... (859) 971-7317....................education@usdf.org All-Breeds Awards ............................................................ (859) 971-7361..................... allbreeds@usdf.org Applications Submitted at Competitions............................ (859) 271-7880.....................affidavits@usdf.org Breeder Championship Series............................................ (859) 271-7894...................sporthorse@usdf.org Demographics and Statistics............................................. (859) 271-7083............................stats@usdf.org Donations......................................................................... (859) 971-7826........................donate@usdf.org Group Membership........................................................... (859) 971-7048............................gmo@usdf.org Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards................ (859) 271-7894.................. halloffame@usdf.org Horse Performance Certificates.......................................... (859) 971-7361.......horseperformance@usdf.org Horse Registration............................................................. (859) 271-7880......... horseregistration@usdf.org Human Resources/Career Opportunities............................. (859) 271-7885............................... hr@usdf.org Instructor Certification...................................................... (859) 271-7877.. instructorcertification@usdf.org Insurance Certificates for Competitions............................. (859) 271-7886......................compins@usdf.org Junior/Young Rider Clinics................................................. (859) 971-7360.....................jryrclinics@usdf.org L Education and Continuing Education.............................. (859) 971-7039.....................lprogram@usdf.org Licensed Official Education................................................ (859)-271-7877.................loeducation@usdf.org Mailing Lists..................................................................... (859) 971-7038................... mailinglist@usdf.org Musical Freestyle............................................................... (859) 971-7039...........musicalfreestyle@usdf.org NAYC Criteria and Procedures............................................ (859) 971-7360............................nayc@usdf.org National Education Initiative............................................. (859) 971-7317....................education@usdf.org Nominations – Delegates, Regional Directors..................... (859) 271-7897................nominations@usdf.org Participating and Business Memberships........................... (859) 271-7871................membership@usdf.org Prize List Questions........................................................... (859) 271-7896....................... prizelist@usdf.org Regional Championships Program..................................... (859) 271-7886..................regchamps@usdf.org Rider Awards.................................................................... (859) 971-7361.................riderawards@usdf.org Safe Sport......................................................................... (859)-271-7894.....................safesport@usdf.org Score Corrections.............................................................. (859) 271-7895.......... scorecorrections@usdf.org Secretary/Manager Services .............................................. (859) 271-7895...............competitions@usdf.org Show Results.................................................................... (859) 271-7895.........................results@usdf.org Sponsorship Opportunities................................................ (859) 271-7887................ sponsorship@usdf.org Sport Horse Education and Programs................................ (859) 271-7894...................sporthorse@usdf.org Store Merchandise............................................................ (859) 971-7828............... merchandise@usdf.org University Accreditation and Credit Check.......................... (859) 971-7317.................... university@usdf.org USDFScores.com............................................................... (859) 271-7878........................reports@usdf.org USEF/USDF Dressage Seat Medal Program & Semi-Finals.... (859)-971-7360..........................youth@usdf.org Year-End Awards............................................................... (859) 971-7361........................awards@usdf.org Young Rider Graduate Program......................................... (859) 971-7360..........................youth@usdf.org Youth Education and Programs......................................... (859) 971-7360..........................youth@usdf.org

Connection wants YOU to be a contributor. Here’s how.

air Your Views USDF Connection welcomes letters to the editor. Please send your digital submission by e-mail to jbryant@usdf. org. Please include your hometown, state, and daytime telephone number. We’ll publish letters as space allows; all submissions are subject to editing. Unsigned letters will not be considered, although writers may request that their names be withheld. All letters become the property of USDF.

ask a Question Do you have a dressage- or USDFrelated question? Send it to “FAQ” and you may get an expert response in a future issue of USDF Connection. Send your question, along with your full name, hometown, state, and daytime telephone number to editorial@usdf.org. Include “FAQ” in the subject line of your message.

Share Your Story... …or your views on a topic pertaining to dressage or USDF in “The Tail End,” USDF Connection’s member-written “back page.” Share your dressage discoveries, “aha” moments, challenges, and oberservations. Short “guest editorial” essays are also considered. All “Tail End” columns are the opinions of the writers and not necessarily those of the editors or USDF. Submissions accepted by e-mail only. Send submissions, along with your full name, hometown, state and daytime telephone number to jbryant@usdf.org, subject line should read “The Tail End.” Please be prepared to supply a clear color digital photograph of yourself if your piece is accepted. Simultaneous submissions will not be accepted.

ADVERTISING INDEX Auburn Laboratories, Inc. ......................auburnlabs.com............................................................ 17 Bates Saddles/Saddlery Brands Intl. ......batessaddles.com........................................................... 1 Dechra Veterinary, Osphos......................dechra-us.com................................................. back cover The Dehner Company..............................dehner.com.................................................................... 29 EQ Saddle Science....................................eqsaddlescience.com.................................................... 27 Great American Insurance Group............. greatamericaninsurancegroup.com......inside back cover Iron Spring Farm......................................ironspringfarm.com........................................................ 5 Kentucky Performance Products............kppusa.com......................................... inside front cover Long Island Dressage Association..........lidressage.com.............................................................. 15 PDZ Company, LLC...................................sweetpdz.com............................................................... 25 Ramm Fence.............................................rammfence.com............................................................ 14 Rein Aid....................................................rein-aid.com.................................................................. 18 SmartPak Equine.....................................smartpakequine.com...................................................... 7 Sox For Horses.........................................soxforhorses.com ......................................................... 19 Standlee...................................................standleehay.com........................................................... 13 Terri Gamboa, Realty One Group................................................................................................... 15 United States Lipizzan Federation..........uslipizzan.org ............................................................... 18 USDF Arts Contest............................................................................................................................... 18 Convention................................................................................................................................. 31 Dressage Seat Equitation............................................................................................................ 2 Store Merchandise..................................................................................................................... 45 US Dressage Tests...................................................................................................................... 29 YourDressage............................................................................................................................. 43 Vettec.......................................................vettec.com..................................................................... 19




the tail end


For me, volunteering is its own reward. For others, some incentives may be in order. By Penny Hawes


’m one of those people who always says yes. I call it Golden Retriever Puppy Syndrome. If something needs to be done, I volunteer. As a kid in Connecticut, I volunteered with 4-H. In high school, I created and managed a horse show as a fundraiser for our church. Later, I joined the board of the Connecticut Dressage Association and scribed at shows all over Connecticut and Massachusetts.

you, and where did you come from?” My willingness to arrive early and stay late had not gone unnoticed. Not long after that show, Dianne Boyd, manager of the VADA shows and of Dressage at Devon (DAD) in Pennsylvania, asked me if I’d be interested in becoming the DAD volunteer coordinator. “Sure, I’d love to!” I replied, despite the fact that I had never been to Devon and had never been a volunteer coordinator before.

PRICELESS: The writer (right) and fellow volunteer extraordinaire Karen Rife of North Carolina at Dressage at Devon 2017

When I moved to Virginia with my family in 2005, I wasn’t showing, so I began volunteering. The Virginia Horse Center, where most Virginia Dressage Association (VADA) events are held, is just 40 miles from our home. After my first time as a VADA show volunteer, VADA president Bettina Longaker asked, “Who are

That first year at DAD was a bit of a blur. With 125 volunteers, a three-day breed show, and a four-day performance show, the experience was both exhilarating and exhausting. Despite being sick the entire time (I was diagnosed with pneumonia after returning home), I couldn’t wait for the following year. Becoming a volunteer coordinator

48 April 2019 • USDF CONNECTION

Penny Hawes is a lifelong horse lover and freelance writer who blogs at TheHorseyLife.com. She lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and various quadrupeds. She volunteered to write this essay about the importance of volunteering in dressage.


Confessions of a Serial Volunteer

made me realize just how vital these good people are to the existence of our sport, and how challenging it can be to fill the necessary positions. (Don’t get me started on the current rule requiring the gate at A to be opened and closed for each competitor in Great American/USDF Regional Championship classes. At the 2018 Region 1 show, there were four championship rings, each requiring two people to work the gate. The show came right on the heels of a hurricane, which left many volunteers unable to attend. Thanks to begging e-mails and announcements over the show’s PA system, we filled all of the slots, but not without recruiting parents, spouses, and innocent bystanders into running test sheets or manning gates.) Many USDF group-member organizations (GMOs), including VADA, require members to volunteer in order to be eligible for year-end awards; however, that’s not the case for non-GMO-affiliated shows. As more shows are having to use “paid volunteers,” it drives up costs, which are then passed along to competitors. The USDF has a unique opportunity—perhaps even a responsibility—to encourage volunteer participation so that our sport remains within reach, for amateurs and professionals alike. I’m in favor of the USDF’s instituting a volunteer-recognition program similar to the bronze, silver, and gold rider medals. Such a program won’t completely fix the problem, but offering some sort of recognition might encourage people to consider volunteering for the first time. Obviously, setting up a program like this would take a lot of ground work, but I happen to know someone…. s

INTEGRITY Photo: Sharon Packer











www.GreatAmericanInsuranceGroup.com | 4414 SW College Rd, Suite 1422, Ocala, Florida 34474

Policies are underwritten by Great American Assurance Company, an authorized insurer in all 50 states and the D.C. ©2015 Great American Insurance Company

OSPHOS® (clodronate injection) Bisphosphonate For use in horses only. Brief Summary (For Full Prescribing Information, see package insert) CAUTION: Federal (USA) law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. DESCRIPTION: Clodronate disodium is a non-amino, chlorocontaining bisphosphonate. Chemically, clodronate disodium is (dichloromethylene) diphosphonic acid disodium salt and is manufactured from the tetrahydrate form. INDICATION: For the control of clinical signs associated with navicular syndrome in horses. CONTRAINDICATIONS: Horses with hypersensitivity to clodronate disodium should not receive OSPHOS.

controls the clinical signs associated with

NAVICULAR SYNDROME Easily Administered via intramuscular injection

Well Tolerated* in clinical trials

Proven Efficacy* at 6 months post treatment

No Reconstitution Required

Learn more online

WARNINGS: Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. HUMAN WARNINGS: Not for human use. Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children. Consult a physician in case of accidental human exposure. PRECAUTIONS: As a class, bisphosphonates may be associated with gastrointestinal and renal toxicity. Sensitivity to drug associated adverse reactions varies with the individual patient. Renal and gastrointestinal adverse reactions may be associated with plasma concentrations of the drug. Bisphosphonates are excreted by the kidney; therefore, conditions causing renal impairment may increase plasma bisphosphonate concentrations resulting in an increased risk for adverse reactions. Concurrent administration of other potentially nephrotoxic drugs should be approached with caution and renal function should be monitored. Use of bisphosphonates in patients with conditions or diseases affecting renal function is not recommended. Administration of bisphosphonates has been associated with abdominal pain (colic), discomfort, and agitation in horses. Clinical signs usually occur shortly after drug administration and may be associated with alterations in intestinal motility. In horses treated with OSPHOS these clinical signs usually began within 2 hours of treatment. Horses should be monitored for at least 2 hours following administration of OSPHOS. Bisphosphonates affect plasma concentrations of some minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, immediately post-treatment, with effects lasting up to several hours. Caution should be used when administering bisphosphonates to horses with conditions affecting mineral or electrolyte homeostasis (e.g. hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, hypocalcemia, etc.). The safe use of OSPHOS has not been evaluated in horses less than 4 years of age. The effect of bisphosphonates on the skeleton of growing horses has not been studied; however, bisphosphonates inhibit osteoclast activity which impacts bone turnover and may affect bone growth. Bisphosphonates should not be used in pregnant or lactating mares, or mares intended for breeding. The safe use of OSPHOS has not been evaluated in breeding horses or pregnant or lactating mares. Bisphosphonates are incorporated into the bone matrix, from where they are gradually released over periods of months to years. The extent of bisphosphonate incorporation into adult bone, and hence, the amount available for release back into the systemic circulation, is directly related to the total dose and duration of bisphosphonate use. Bisphosphonates have been shown to cause fetal developmental abnormalities in laboratory animals. The uptake of bisphosphonates into fetal bone may be greater than into maternal bone creating a possible risk for skeletal or other abnormalities in the fetus. Many drugs, including bisphosphonates, may be excreted in milk and may be absorbed by nursing animals. Increased bone fragility has been observed in animals treated with bisphosphonates at high doses or for long periods of time. Bisphosphonates inhibit bone resorption and decrease bone turnover which may lead to an inability to repair micro damage within the bone. In humans, atypical femur fractures have been reported in patients on long term bisphosphonate therapy; however, a causal relationship has not been established. ADVERSE REACTIONS: The most common adverse reactions reported in the field study were clinical signs of discomfort or nervousness, colic and/or pawing. Other signs reported were lip licking, yawning, head shaking, injection site swelling, and hives/pruritus.

www.dechra-us.com www.osphos.com

As with all drugs, side effects may occur. In field studies, the most common side effects reported were signs of discomfort or nervousness, colic, and/or pawing. OSPHOS should not be used in pregnant or lactating mares, or mares intended for breeding. Use of OSPHOS in patients with conditions affecting renal function or mineral or electrolyte homeostasis is not recommended. Refer to the prescribing information for complete details or visit www.dechra-us.com or call 866.933.2472.

CAUTION: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of licensed veterinarian. * Freedom of Information Summary, Original New Animal Drug Application, NADA 141-427, for OSPHOS. April 28, 2014. Dechra Veterinary Products US and the Dechra D logo are registered trademarks of Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC. © 2016 Dechra Ltd.

Distributed by: Dechra Veterinary Products 7015 College Boulevard, Suite 525 Overland Park, KS 66211 866-933-2472 © 2016 Dechra Ltd. OSPHOS is a registered trademark of Dechra Ltd. All rights reserved. NADA 141-427, Approved by FDA

Profile for USDF Publications

April 2019 USDF Connection  

United States Dressage Federation Official Publication

April 2019 USDF Connection  

United States Dressage Federation Official Publication

Profile for usdf2

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded