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U S D F. O R G

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USDF CONNECTION Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

ANNUAL SHOW ISSUE Adapt Your Training to Your Horse’s Needs (p. 14) How to Look Your Show Ring Best (p. 36)

Judging Panels: Advice for Competitors and Judges By Jayne Ayers (p. 28)

USDF Store Spring Catalog See page 9

Lebanon Junction, KY Permit # 559


Doug Payne on Vandiver

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The USDF Circle of Friends is essential to the mission of USDF. Your tax deductible gift will have a significant impact in helping USDF provide quality dressage education and programs. Visit USDF’s secure online giving site at www.usdf.org, or call us at 859-971-7826 to make your contribution.





28 36 42

THE VIEW FROM C (AND B, AND...) Perspectives on panel-judging for competitors and judges By Jayne Ayers

4 INSIDE USDF SafeSport: Not Just a Buzzword By Kathie Robertson

6 RINGSIDE Agents for Change By Jennifer O. Bryant

BEST FACE FORWARD Stylish advice for riders who want to look good—and maybe do good while they’re at it By L.A. Sokolowski

PRIMED FOR SUCCESS Follow the journey of a horse from the USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum to the US Dressage Finals By Stacy Durham

14 CLINIC Training and Showing Different Horses and Breeds By Amber Clark

22 HISTORICAL CONNECTION American Dressage Legends: Judith Noone 24 ALL-BREEDS CONNECTION Breed of the Month: Royal Dutch Sport Horse 46 RIDER’S MARKET Time for a Revolution


52 THE TAIL END Salty and Sweet By Tracy Durham

IN EVERY ISSUE 8 45 48 50 50 51


ON OUR COVER Photo by SusanJStickle.com.

Volume 20, Number 1


May 2018


inside usdf




USDF plays a role in helping to keep equestrian athletes safe from abuse By Kathie Robertson, USDF Education Department Manager


n 2016, the USDF adopted the US Equestrian SafeSport policies and initiatives toward promoting the safety and welfare of our members. The SafeSport program was created by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Movements in 2012 to improve athlete safety across the US Olympic Committee’s (USOC) 47 sport national governing bodies (NGBs). To further those efforts, in March 2017 the USOC created the US Center for SafeSport to help ensure a safe and respectful sporting environment that is free of abuse and harassment. The US Olympic Committee has entrusted the US Center for SafeSport with the authority to respond to reports of misconduct in a professional manner, emphasizing responsiveness, fairness, and confidentiality. Senate Bill 534, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and SafeSport Authorization Act of 2017, was introduced in March 2017 and became law on February 14, 2018. The bill amends two federal statutes: the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990, and the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. (Read the bill’s fact sheet on the US Equestrian website at bit.ly/2IzeUI7.) As equestrian sports’ USA NGB, US Equestrian has partnered with the US Center for SafeSport. Likewise, the USDF, which is the US Equestrian dressage affiliate organization, is making efforts to ensure that members, especially youth, can pursue their passion in an environment free from misconduct. The intent of the USDF SafeSport Initiative is to provide information, resources, and a protocol so that all members of the equestrian community have awareness, tools, and a support structure to ensure a safe and positive environment for


equestrians to develop their skills. SafeSport training has been created to help educate, to raise awareness, and to teach recognition of the signs of abuse in order to prevent abuse before it occurs. The training consists of three online education modules: Sexual Misconduct Awareness, Mandatory Reporting, and Emotional and Physical Misconduct. The training is intended for everyone—instructors, coaches, parents, youth, and dressage enthusiasts of all ages. The USDF requires all certified instructor/trainers and L program graduates and graduates with distinction to complete SafeSport training in order to maintain “current” status with the organization. In addition, members of designated USDF committees and program faculties, as well as Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships (formerly the NAJYRC) chefs d’équipe and identified coaches, must complete SafeSport training. Raising awareness, providing education, and promoting the safety of equestrians of all ages are important for the growth and health of our sport. For more information on SafeSport and SafeSport resources, visit the websites of the USDF (usdf. org), US Equestrian (usequestrian. org), and the US Center for SafeSport (safesport.org). The USDF depends on members’ eyes and ears to keep our sport safe. We encourage all members to complete SafeSport training. It is free to everyone! ▲


LISA GORRETTA 18120 Snyder Road, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023 (216) 406-5475 • vicepresident@usdf.org SECRETARY

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

STEVEN SCHUBERT 79 Jewett Street, Georgetown, MA 01833 (978) 360-6441 • treasurer@usdf.org


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

KEN LEVY 330 North Mill Creek Road, Noblesville, IN 46062 (317) 773-4532 • region2dir@usdf.org REGION 3 AL, FL, GA, SC, TN

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

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

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

CAROLYNN BUNCH 18430 111th Place SE, Snohomish, WA 98290 (360) 577-6201 • region6dir@usdf.org REGION 7 CA, HI, NV

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

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

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


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

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

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


SafeSport: Not Just a Buzzword

421 Park Forest Way, Wellington, FL 33414 (937) 603-9134 • Fax: (740) 362-5539 president@usdf.org

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Agents for Change Help USDF’s GMOs offer the dressage educational opportunities you want


The Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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

——— Editorial——— eTRAK online educational database is amazingly rich in content— and underutilized by members, according to USDF executive director Stephan Hienzsch. With the Adult Clinic Series business model failing, the USDF knew it needed to make a change. Enter the USDF National Education Initiative and its accompanying grant program, unveiled late last year, for GMOs offering dressage educational opportunities. The hope is that, by allowing the clubs to select the types of events members want instead of imposing a boilerplate format, the events will generate greater interest and the NEI grants will encourage participation by making attendance affordable. The NEI model is built around the GMOs. Some dressage enthusiasts don’t like their GMOs, feel that their GMOs don’t adequately serve their locales, or have given up on GMO membership entirely. Which brings us back to the “get involved” point. Democracy can be messy. You can’t, as the song goes, always get what you want. But if you would like to have a say in how your GMO spends your membership dollars, voice your opinion. Offer suggestions. If you and at least 25 like-minded dressage enthusiasts believe that your area needs its own GMO, you can start one (find out how at usdf. org). Then you can look into using the USDF NEI to help make the kinds of educational events you want a reality.

Jennifer O. Bryant, Editor @JenniferOBryant


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


Melissa Creswick (CA) Margaret Freeman (NC) Lisa Gorretta (OH) Anne Gribbons (FL) Terry Wilson (CA) TECHNICAL ADVISORS

Janine Malone Lisa Gorretta • Elisabeth Williams


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

Karl Lawrence 859/271-7881 • klawrence@usdf.org


Danielle Titland 720/300-2266 • dtitland@usdf.org USDF Connection is published ten times a year 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 © 2018 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. 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.



f there is a silver lining to our nation’s current political divide, it’s the fact that citizens are realizing that We the People must be part of the change we want to see. If you don’t like the status quo, you must act. If you do nothing, you cede power to those who do. The relationship among the USDF, its group-member organizations (GMOs), and its adult-amateur members sometimes reminds me of the political push-pull. Some AAs believe that the USDF, their GMOs, or both don’t do enough for them. Many complaints focus on a perceived lack of AA-friendly dressage educational opportunities and on the costs involved in attending. Unfortunately, some event organizers find themselves caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. For some years the USDF produced an Adult Clinic Series. That program eventually was canceled because of low attendance. Here’s part of the rub: If an event is held on a weekday, people say they can’t take time off work to attend. If it’s held on a weekend, people say they don’t want to give up riding days. That leaves…zero days for holding an educational event aimed at the adult amateur. As for the cost factor, clinicians charge fees plus travel expenses. Insurance and other costs drive up facilityuse expenses. Dressage enthusiasts who reside in remote rural locations get the shortest straw because of long travel distances. The public educational events that succeed tend to be held in areas densely populated by riders who live within driving distance of the venue. The USDF Adult Programs Committee and others who grapple with the problem point to online-learning opportunities as a partial solution, but the technology isn’t embraced by all. According to a 2016 FCC report, 39 percent of rural Americans lack highspeed Internet access. The USDF’s own





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Little-Known Genetic Disorder Shakes up Breeding World


or years it has been known that genetic disorders exist in some horse breeds. But until recently many sport-horse enthusiasts were not aware of a disorder that affects warmbloods. Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS) is an inherited systemic connective-tissue disorder. According

STAR PERFORMER: Before being identified as a carrier of Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome, the Hanoverian stallion Sternlicht Hilltop (shown winning the Third Level Open championship at the 2016 US Dressage Finals) had established a successful career in both sport-horse breeding and dressage performance

to an April 5 press release issued by the Maryland-based sport-horse facility and stallion station Hilltop Farm, affected foals “can have extreme skin fragility that lacks tensile strength and is often characterized by tearing or ulceration from normal contact with surroundings.

Limb joints are extremely lax, affected foals cannot stand normally, and they must be euthanized soon after birth.” According to the Hilltop release, an owner’s request to breed a mare that was a known WFFS carrier prompted the facility to test its own stallions. One, the 2010 Hanoverian Sternlicht Hilltop (Soliman de Hus x Rascalino), tested positive as a carrier of WFFS. As the Hilltop release explained, “with recessive genetic disorders like WFFS, two copies of a recessive gene must be present for the horse to exhibit signs of the recessive defect. Horses with only one copy of the defective gene are considered carriers and do not have any symptoms associated with WFFS. A foal can only be affected with symptoms if it inherits the disease from both parents, and in four years of breeding Sternlicht we know of no cases of WFFS-affected foals. Current estimates are that between 6 percent and 11 percent of the warmblood population are carriers of WFFS, but testing is not common and to

date there has been an overall lack of discussion about the disease or testing.” Hilltop Farm has “chosen to remove Sternlicht from this year’s stallion roster as we investigate the ramifications of this and other similar situations related to recessive traits and genetic testing.” Warmblood registries have begun to address the issue of WFFS. At press time, the Royal Dutch Warmblood Association of North America (KWPN-NA) and the American Hanoverian Society (AHS) had issued statements that they are researching the issue. Both registries encourage the testing of breeding stallions and mares “to identify carriers and avoid risky matings which may cause WFFS,” as the KWPN-NA put it. In the US currently only one company, Animal Genetics (animalgenetics.us), offers a commercially available test for the WFFS gene, but the University of California – Davis is developing its own test, according to the AHS.

Digital Edition Bonus Content

Learn more about warmblood fragile-foal syndrome (WFFS) by reading two articles recommended by the KWPN-NA as educational resources. “Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome” from Animal Genetics “First Case of HERDA-Like Disease in Warmbloods Identified” from TheHorse.com


When: November 8-11 Where: Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington KY Prize money: Has increased to $100,000! Travel grants: Riders from the eligible states (WA, OR, CA, HI, AK, MT, ID, AZ, NV, UT, WY, NM, CO) may apply. Judges: Janet Foy, Anne Gribbons, Gary Rockwell, Kristi Wysocki, William Warren, Sue Curry Shaffer, Joan Darnell, Janet Hannon, Elizabeth Kane, Kari McClain, Kathy Rowse, Dorie Vlatten-Schmitz.


Prize list available: June 1 How to qualify: Based on placing or attainment of a wild-card score in any 2018 open or adult-amateur Great American/USDF Regional Championship class Opening date for declarations: July 1 Opening date for nominations: September 6 More information: USDressageFinals.com.


Fast Facts: 2018 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®


USDF Members Speak out for Gun Control


he equestrian community is known for supporting causes it believes in. Two USDF members engaged in the recent renewed gun-control debate in high-profile ways. Fourth Level USDF-certified instructor Eliza Sydnor Romm, Chapel Hill, NC, published an opinion piece in the April 5 New York Times entitled “This Gun Maker Wanted Safe Guns.” Romm, who says she is a descendant of Daniel B. Wesson, co-founder of the gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson, wrote that Wesson helped to develop a “more child-safe revolver” after hearing of an accidental shooting. Believing that Wesson would have reacted in “horror and disbelief at the weapons created by the brand still bearing his name,” Romm challenged “the parent company of Smith & Wesson,

MAN OF ACTION: Dover sports the March for Our Lives #Enough hashtag; a Washington, DC, marcher’s sign

American Outdoor Brands Corporation, to push for gun-violence research.” Olympian and current US national dressage chef d’équipe and technical advisor Robert Dover, Wellington, FL, was among the thousands who

took part in the nationwide March for Our Lives events on March 24. Dover and his partner, Robert Ross, flew to Washington, DC, where they and the Maryland-based hunter/jumper judge R. Scot Evans took part in the march to the National Mall, Dover said.


Louise Leatherdale, Sport-Horse Breeder and Owner



ob title: Owner and founder (with her late husband, Douglas Leatherdale), Leatherdale Farms, Long Lake, MN (leatherdalefarms.com) What I do: Other than one broodmare in Germany, we stopped breeding about five years ago. We wanted to concentrate on the competition horses. My special time is after everyone has left, [when] I go to the barn and snuggle with all the horses. How I got started: My husband did, actually. I didn’t know the front end from the back end of a horse when we got married in 1988. I had to learn rapidly because he was becoming chairman of a major international insurance company. The first month he was gone [on business], I had to hot-pack a horse that was being gelded.

Best thing about my job: Other than the horses, the people I’ve been involved with. Worst thing about my job: Losing a horse. My horses: I haven’t counted in a long time. I’m guessing sixty, perhaps sixty-five, but I don’t ride. I started too late in life and I wasn’t an athlete to begin with, so it was better for me to be on the ground. I loved the science of [breeding], and it was a great fit because I’d wanted to be a vet as a young woman. I just wasn’t going to get through organic chemistry with the premed majors. Tip: If you are going to start a breeding farm, do your homework before you start. —Katherine Walcott

SNUGGLY: Leatherdale with her Grand Prix-level Danish Warmblood gelding Chevris Christo (Lavallo x Matador)


May 2018





Jessica Fay, Colora, MD


students could learn. My horses: I have several horses in training at the moment, ranging from backing to the FEI levels. Highlight of the Instructor/ Trainer Program: What surprised me most was how great a networking opportunity the program was. I have forged new relationships with professionals I may not have had the opportunity to meet were it not for this program. Training tip: Be adaptable in your training. Contact me: jess@hilltopfarminc.com or (410) 658-9898. CONNECTED: Fay and the 2012 Hanoverian mare Quinzy HTF (Qredit – EM Comtesse, Cordoba), owned by Hilltop Farm


—Jamie Humphries

Yearbook Corrections


he following are corrections to awards listings published in the 2017 yearbook issue of USDF Connection (February 2018).

In the All-Breeds awards listings, the photo of Octane, owned by Wendy Luscombe (NY) and ridden by Koryn Doolittle (CT), the Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry’s Third Level Open champion, was accidentally omitted. The photo appears here. John Borys Photography was not correctly credited for the images of Sir Earl Gray (p. 153) and Corondo (p. 177). USDF Connection regrets the omissions.



essica Fay holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in kinesiology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a USDF bronze and silver medalist and a USDF-certified instructor at Training and First Levels who’s currently the assistant trainer at Hilltop Farm Inc., Colora, MD. How I got started in dressage: As a former event rider, I gained my start in dressage when my homebred mare, Veraki, showed no real aptitude for jumping. I wanted to become certified because: I felt it was important for there to be a universal framework from which my




What you need to know this month Participate in Regional Adult Amateur Equitation A USDF ADULT AMATEUR EQUITATION REGIONAL FINAL class will be held at each of the nine Great American/USDF Regional Championships competitions. Qualify to participate by earning a score of 70 percent or better in any applicable dressage-seat equitation class at a USEF/USDF dressage competition during the qualifying period, or by qualifying at any level (excluding freestyles) for the Regional Championships.

Submit Annual Change of Region Requests Online PLANNING TO COMPETE in the 2018 Great American Insurance Group/ USDF Regional Dressage Championships? USDF presumes that qualified horse/rider combinations will compete in the region in which the rider resides (as determined by the address associated with the membership information on file as of July 1). If you wish to compete in a region other than your region of residence, you must submit a Change of Region form and fee. Submit the form online via the Great American/USDF Regional Championship Competitors page on the USDF website.

Is Your Horse Declared for the All-Breeds Awards? DECLARE YOUR HORSE for 2018 and future awards years by submitting a copy of his breed- or performance-registry papers and a completed All-Breeds Awards declaration form (on the USDF website under Awards/ Forms and Documents) to USDF no later than August 1.

Duplicate and Replacement Awards Available USDF offers duplicate and replacement All-Breeds medals, rider award medals, and rider and horse performance certificates for a nominal fee. If you’ve lost yours, or if you’d like to give your trainer a duplicate All-Breeds medal, contact the USDF office for assistance.



he FEI North American Childrens, Junior and Young Rider Championships (NACJYRC) have been rebranded the Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships presented by Gotham North (NAYC), US Equestrian announced in April. The 2018 eventing NAYC will be held in conjunction with The Event

L Program Accepting Faculty Applications The USDF L Education Program is accepting applications for new faculty members. Applicants must meet the following requirements: • US Equestrian “S” dressage judge for two or more years • Experience teaching in a classroom or lecture environment • Willing to serve on the USDF L Education Program Committee and to assist in working toward the committee’s goals. Deadline for applications is November 15. For an application and more information, contact the USDF office.

Register for the Youth Breeders Seminar THE 2018 USDF Dressage Sport Horse Youth/Young Adult Breeders Seminar, for ages 14 to 27, will be held June 22-24 at Oak Hill Ranch, Folsom, LA. Topics will include mare and stallion management and the handling and training of young horses. Attendees will have the opportunity to observe an Oldenburg Horse Breeders’ Society NA Division of GOV inspection.

NACJYRC Gets New Name at Rebecca Farm, Kalispell, MT, July 18-22. The jumping and dressage NAYC will be held at Old Salem Farm, North Salem, NY, August 1-5. US Equestrian called the rebranding “a collective effort to revitalize these championships and increase youth equestrian-sport participation.” To that end, the jumping divisions will


offer prize money for the first time; all competition will be live-streamed on the USEF Network and on FEI TV; Hippodata will provide live scoring for dressage and jumping for the first time; and social-media efforts are being beefed up. Connect with @FEINAYC on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #FEINAYC).

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

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.).

via intramuscular injection

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.

Well Tolerated*

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.

in clinical trials

Proven Efficacy* at 6 months post treatment

No Reconstitution Required

Learn more online

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



How one pro manages and how it may help you By Amber Clark A slightly different version of this article, published in the Rocky Mountain Dressage Society’s newsletter, The Centaur, won first place in the 2017 USDF GMO Newsletter Awards contest in the general-interest category for group-member organizations (GMOs) with memberships over 500. Enjoy this award-winning entry from one of our talented USDF group members.


ver the years I have been lucky enough to ride, train, and show horses of various shapes and sizes. I have enjoyed them all, but I also recognize their differ-

ences in training and how they must be shown for success. Throughout the show season, a number of people asked me how I make the transition between such different types of horses but still help them all achieve their goals. I hadn’t ever really thought about this and broken it down. I have consistently had success on difficult and “nontraditional” horses throughout my career, so I think I do many things habitually. Thinking about it now, I want to share some of my methods with you here. Perhaps it will help you when setting goals for your horse this show season.

ADAPTABLE: The writer aboard one of the varying types of horses she trains and shows, the Zweibrucker gelding Carlos CWF, owned by Lesley Whittle



Showing Is Something Horses Learn to Be Good At First, I sat down and examined each horse’s style and quirks. One year, I had three very different horses in the show ring who were all either showing for their first real season or working through past negative showing experiences. Showing is something horses learn to be good at. We must make show horses, not just expect that they are born knowing what showing is about. When you are examining a horse’s way of going and your strategy for showing him successfully, take into account their experience in the show arena. I had one horse that lacked confidence but has immense heart and natural ability. He has struggled a little bit in the flying changes, so I had to make a point to have a good canter and to set up the changes in each test well. I know from my experience training him that, if he makes a mistake, he will unravel quickly because he beats himself up. I also know that I must be careful in the trot work not to get too aggressive with the forward energy, or I will end up with him hurried and frazzled. This is a horse that I must always take a breath before riding. I cannot ride him with hyped or excited energy in my body. I have to get my mind right before I ride this horse, or else things will implode in the arena. Another horse requires me to be more of a micromanaging rider. I must always be focused on the rhythm and the obedience on the right rein. Lateral suppleness is something this horse struggles with, and it must be addressed in every warm-up. There is no daydreaming in the warm-up with this one! I must be there 110 percent at every moment. One quirky thing with this horse comes in my renvers and travers in the arena. I know that, in one direction, I must set it up a certain way and sit lightly in the movement. Otherwise he becomes too bent, loses forward energy, and things implode quickly. I set up a reminder with the owner so that she always knows as I walk in the warm-


Training and Showing Different Horses and Breeds

up and in the show ring to give me the renvers/travers heads-up. For me, this method works great. Last, I had a horse that would score well even when it didn’t feel the best. I find these horses the hardest to ride. This horse requires that you ride each test movement individually because that’s how you are being judged. Judges want to give this horse a good score. I have to fight getting bogged down in my pursuit of perfection and just continue on even if I know it’s not the best we can do. I found if I became too nitpicky in the arena with him that it didn’t help the scoring, and it made him defensive. This horse also requires a slower rhythm in the arena. He can easily look rushed or hurried, so I always have to keep that in mind when showing him. The strengths and weaknesses of both horse and rider come into play when making your warm-up and show-ring plan.

are showing one horse, then you have all day to primp him and can take your time getting ready. But if you have anywhere from three to 10 horses at one show, then scheduling can become crazy. The first way you deal with this is to schedule down to the minute and stick to it. I prefer not to have everything done for me. That is just my preference. It is not a judgment on what is correct or incorrect. It is imperative for me to have people I trust

on my team to assist me when things get tight, though. No one can do it by themselves! I prefer to saddle each horse myself. If ride times are tight, I saddle them early and tie them in their stalls with hay. Before I put each horse’s bridle on, I learn my test. I memorize tests as patterns as opposed to the way they are written. I think this is fairly common amongst professionals who are memorizing multiple tests per day. This method makes everyone around me very

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Warm-up Strategies A typical warm-up system doesn’t work for everyone. I trained a horse to FEI years ago that decided at a certain point that warm-up was stupid. He wanted to get to the show arena, do his thing, get the applause, and go home. Talk about having to think outside the box to create a warm-up program! For two years, I would get on this horse early in the morning before the show and school him. Then when it was time for his class I would get on, go for a walk, walk around the warmup ring once, pick him up, and canter down the center line. People thought I was nuts! The horse was happy, and he won many times with that warm-up. Every horse is an individual. If they need something nontraditional to help them be a success, then do it.

Three to 10 Horses at One Show Can Make Scheduling Crazy Now that I have given you some insight into how I assess each horse and what it needs in warm-up and showing, let’s talk about prep. If you


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nervous! If you ever come by my stalls when I’m telling my test to someone, you will be entertained: That person will have a look of utter confusion and fear, no matter how many times they have been through this with me. I always recommend, even if you are showing just one horse, that you write down an exact schedule so that you have a plan. It’s easy to let time get away from you. Each night, I write out a schedule on a dry-erase board. When you are showing multiple horses, a key to success when time is tight is to delegate and trust. This can be a hard thing, but you must surround yourself with people you trust so that you can focus on what you need to do, which is to ride and show well. Perhaps the hardest thing about showing one horse or multiple horses is learning how to set goals and assess success. Each horse must have individual goals, and often those change from show to show. Do we all want goal number one to be winning? Yes, of course, but that isn’t always

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realistic. Sometimes goals are things like consistent rhythm throughout the canter work, not overriding the left half-pass, regularity in the walk, a spook-free test, staying in the ring (sometimes it’s that small a goal), the horse not taking over in the show arena, riding for an “8â€? gaits score, achieving a certain final score, improving one particular place in the test where you’ve consistently had trouble‌the list goes on and on! As much as anyone, I want to win and score high, but sometimes I have to be happy with other accomplishments. If I have a horse that has consistently made a flying change in the countercanter and I have a test where I am able to correct that, then I am happy. Being able to make a correction in the ring can serve you well for years to come. Sometimes you get a golden moment in the ring but the rest is bronze. Focus on the golden moment and build from there. If you have a horse that has consistently gotten behind the leg and stuck in the first walk pirouette, but

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hard on ourselves. It’s even OK to let it upset you for a moment or two; then walk away from the situation. Pet your horse. Apologize to him for riding like an Oompa-Loompa. Get a hug. Then move on with your life. It doesn’t do you or your horse any good to ruminate on a bad ride. Use your mistakes and disappointment as a driving force for success next time you go down center line. Let your mistakes create energy and focus as opposed to distracting you. Never, ever count yourself out! I have trotted into the arena on any number of renegades and nontraditional horses. Always be proud of the horse you are sitting on, and be ready to present him in the best way possible given his strengths and weaknesses. Showing many horses for success is tricky, and it takes planning, especially when they are very different; but many of the same tools can apply to showing one horse. Writing this article, I tried to put into words a lot of things that I do out of habit. I think I have learned by writing this. I hope this small glimpse into my thinking gives you some new ways to plan your own show success. ▲

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this time you were able to march right down to that pirouette and get an 8, even if the rest of the test was just OK, focus on that pirouette! Some horses will never earn a score of 75 percent, no matter how hard they try and how good they are. Set a score goal for yourself and the horse that is reasonable, and be happy if you achieve that. I don’t expect a horse to be flawless its first time down the center line, and neither should you. This is a process. Be realistic while challenging yourself and your horse. Don’t expect to be able to ride like a professional your third time down the center line. I hear repeatedly, “It looks so easy when So-and-So does it.” They’ve been down the center line 500 times, and you have been down the center line five times. There is craftiness involved in showing and scoring well. I go over the goals for my horses and riders before each show and before each test so we are all very clear on what needs to be achieved each time we enter the arena. For my horses, my students, and me, this has proven to be a great method. Finally, I think one of the toughest things about horse showing is taking care of ourselves. We make the horses our main focus and oftentimes forget ourselves. You must eat during the show day, and I don’t mean candy corn and chili fries. I find that the grazing method works best for my students and me. Small snacks filled with protein or vitamins and minerals give you energy and satisfy your hunger without giving you a full-stomach, sleepy feeling. Everyone is different, and if you have a method that works, stick with it. Stress can be hard on your stomach. Combine that with new, heavy foods and it’s a showing disaster waiting to happen. Liquids are of utmost importance when showing; put someone in charge of your liquid intake if you are too distracted to remember. Dehydration is no joking matter. Conscientiousness is also very important. Have we all had a test where we come out and the disappointment in ourselves is all over our faces? Of course! It’s OK to be disappointed or

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American Dressage Legends: Judith Noone Extraordinary USDF volunteer will be best remembered for her contributions to youth in dressage


f you or your children have participated in any sort of US dressage program for youth—from USDF’s clinics for juniors and young riders, to national and FEI Jr/YR competition, and even to 4-H and US Pony Clubs offerings—it’s likely that you have Judith Noone to thank for the opportunity. You may not have heard of Noone, who died March 20 at the age of 79. And that would be a shame, for she was honored in 2010 with USDF’s Lifetime Achievement Award in

Blazing a Trail for Youth in Dressage Noone was known for two passions: dressage and children (son Tom Noone is a well-known FEI-level competitor). “It is an absolute joy doing anything for kids,” Noone told USDF Connection in 2003. Like many parents, Noone wanted to create more and better opportunities for children. The Abington, MA,-based mom started

GROUNDBREAKING: The late Judith Noone’s seminal efforts on behalf of the USDF were honored in 2010 when she received the USDF Lifetime Achievement Award from USDF president George Williams

recognition of her many volunteer contributions. In the November 2003 issue of USDF Connection celebrating USDF’s 30th anniversary, then-USDF president Sam Barish named Noone one of the organization’s 20 most influential members.


locally, in 1978 proposing a program for juniors and young riders to the New England Dressage Association (NEDA), her USDF group-member organization (GMO). Noone’s efforts caught the attention of USDF founder Lowell Boomer, and in 1983, she



recalled, Boomer called “and asked if I would lead the USDF junior/young rider program.” Encouraged by what she saw as the USDF’s “warm, caring, nonpolitical values,” Noone said yes to Boomer’s request. She became the inaugural chair of the USDF Junior/Young Rider Programs Committee (a group that’s since been split into what are now known as the Youth Programs Committee and the FEI Junior/Young Rider Committee), serving from 1983 to 1994. Noone’s tenure as committee chair encompassed numerous significant firsts. She established the USDF’s policy of including youth governance representation, in what’s now called the USDF Youth Programs Advisory Subcommittee; began regional Jr/YR training sessions (now the Jr/YR Clinics and, most recently, the Youth Outreach Clinics); founded the Junior/Young Rider Regional Team Championships; and saw USDF’s youth membership triple in numbers. Noone’s youth-focused efforts didn’t end with the USDF. In the early 1990s she created Just for Juniors, a three-part educational video series on dressage. Copies went to Pony Clubs and 4-H clubs as well as to each USDF region. As she recounted to USDF Connection, she did the video editing in the hours when studios didn’t charge usage fees—from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Why did Noone work so hard and give so much of herself for the cause? Because, to hear her tell it, she saw dressage as much more than a fun pastime for children. “I view dressage as more than a sport, which is why it is important to young people. It is an example of true ideals, beauty, grace, and can touch your soul,” she said.

“A Magnificent Obsession” Some movers and shakers have their hands in so many proverbial pies that it’s practically impossible to imagine how they find the time to do it all. Noone was one of these go-getters. In the 1970s Noone began managing dressage shows, from local to national.


historical connection

FAMILY VALUES: Embracing what she saw as the value of dressage and the USDF, Noone (at an early USDF convention in an undated photo) threw her support behind the organization

According to The Dressage Foundation (TDF), Lincoln, NE, of which Noone served as a board member (and later treasurer) since the organization’s inception in 1990, the competition now known as the US Dressage Festival of Champions was her concept, and she helped to organize the first two events. Noone organized the first CDIs (FEI-recognized dressage competitions) in New England, wrote a business plan for the USDF Regional Championships, and also created (and, for 30 years, produced) NEDA’s widely emulated Omnibus Prize List of competitions, according to TDF. For adult amateurs, Noone developed USDF Adult Camps and the East Coast Riders Cup competition. She gave lectures on how to create musical freestyles—from experience including her work designing the choreography and the music for son Tom’s freestyle at the

Nominate a Visionary



nnual nominations for the Roemer Foundation/ USDF Hall of Fame, the USDF Lifetime Achievement Award, and the USDF Member of Distinction award are due May 1. Read about past honorees, find awards criteria, and download nomination forms at usdf.org/ halloffame.

2001 FEI Dressage World Cup Final. Judge education was another cause Noone championed. According to TDF, she created and organized an early “Sit with the Judges” program that was a forerunner to the USDF L Education Program. Olympian Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids organization honored Noone in 2009 with its Braley Gray award for extraordinary achievements in dressage. That same year, she was named USDF’s Region 8 Volunteer of the Year. Noone’s national-scale contributions were recognized with the USDF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. As she accepted the award at the 2010 USDF convention, Noone quipped that “I’ve been a member for so long, my member number is 147.” Turning more serious, she reflected on the sport that she’d made her life’s work. “It’s a magnificent obsession, isn’t it?” she said. It is indeed—and all of us in the American dressage community are the better for it, and for Noone’s passion. ▲

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all-breeds connection

The choice of champions for riders of all ages and abilities


ith the perfect combination of talent and temperament, the Royal Dutch Sport Horse (commonly known as the Dutch Warmblood) is beloved by equestrians around the world. Originally bred as farm workhorses, the breed’s practical function has long since been replaced through generations of careful breeding to now possess the ability to excite audiences around the world with breathtaking performances in the international sporting arena. Produced under the umbrella of the Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands (KWPN), the Royal Dutch Sport Horse is an elite equine athlete. In addition to dressage, it excels in a wide variety of disciplines,

DUTCH MASTER: Adult-amateur rider Catherine Malone (FL) is enjoying success at the FEI levels aboard the Dutch-bred KWPN mare Dilona (Lord Leatherdale – Vajda, Kennedy), owned by Iron Spring Farm (PA)


from para-equestrian and driving to jumping and vaulting, and with equestrians of all ages and abilities. For decades, the Royal Dutch Sport Horse has been developed into three distinct breeding directions: the Riding type (RP), the Gelders type (GP), and the Harness type (TP). The Riding types are further split into Dressage (DP) and Jumper (SP) types, with a third designation, Hunter type (HP), available for foals in North America. Dutch Warmbloods you might know: With owner/rider Laura Graves (FL), Verdades (Florett AS – Liwilarda, Goya) won team bronze at the 2016 Olympics, finished second at the 2017 FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Omaha, and was named the 2017 Adequan®/USDF Grand Prix Dressage Horse of the Year. Warsteiner (Riverman ISF – Welona, Roemer) has claimed Grand Prix Open and Grand Prix Musical Freestyle All-Breeds titles and several US Dressage Finals honors for owner/ rider Heather Mason (NJ). Rider Rebekah Mingari (IN) has achieved success with the US-bred dam-daughter duo of Allure S (Rousseau – Sizarma H, Farrington) and Elzarma TF (by UB 40). Dilona (pictured) carried Catherine Malone (FL) to the Prix St. Georges and Intermediate I Adult Amateur USDF All-Breeds championship titles last year. The KWPN and the KWPN of North America: The KWPN, one of the world’s largest sport-horse studbooks, has for years been top-ranked by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses. Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2018, the Royal Dutch Warmblood Association of North America (KWPN-NA) is the official North American branch of


the KWPN. With more than 1,300 members and an average of more than 420 registered foals annually over the last decade, the KWPN-NA has become one of the continent’s largest warmblood organizations. The KWPN-NA maintains an extensive database of breed-registration information, inspection and performance results, and ownership transfers and sales for all registered KWPN horses in North America. It disseminates educational and informational data pertaining to the breeding, raising, and approval of KWPN horses. The organization schedules and conducts inspections with its annual North American keuring tour. All-Breeds awards offered: First five places in all categories and levels offered by the USDF. How to participate: At least one owner must be a current KWPN-NA member. The horse must be registered in the owner’s name with the KWPNNA. Learn more: kwpn-na.org or (859) 225-5331. ▲

A Celebration of Breeds


he “All-Breeds Connection” column spotlights a USDF All-Breeds awards program participating organization and the breed it represents. Information and photos are furnished by the registries. The USDF does not endorse or promote any breed or registry over another. The USDF All-Breeds awards program is designed to reward the accomplishments of specific breeds in dressage, with recognition offered at the USDF Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet, and in the annual yearbook issue of USDF Connection. For eligibility requirements and a list of current participating organizations, visit usdf.org / Awards / All-Breeds.


Breed of the Month: Royal Dutch Sport Horse


USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum October 20-21, 2018 Jgff]fZ]j_Û=YjeÛÝÛJ`]jogg\•ÛFI

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Photo courtesy of Rebecca Blake, Auburn, WA.

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USDF Sport Spo Horse Education something for everyone

Offering a total of over $180,000 in prize money, the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships provide a showcase for achievement and feature qualified riders competing in open, adult amateur, and junior/young rider divisions for regional honors.


Š John Borys Photography

These championships also serve as the qualifiers for the 2018 US Dressage Finals presented by AdequanÂŽ.

Great American Insurance Group/USDF

Regional Dressage Championships

© John Borys Photography

© Kathleen Bryan

2018 Dates and Locations Region 1

Region 4

Region 7

October 11-14, 2018 Lexington, VA

September 6-9, 2018 Mason City, IA

September 27-30, 2018 Burbank, CA

Region 2

Region 5

Region 8

October 11-14, 2018 Lexington, KY

October 5-7, 2018 Scottsdale, AZ

September 20-23, 2018 Saugerties, NY

Region 3

Region 6

Region 9

October 12-14, 2018 Conyers, GA

September 20-23, 2018 Auburn, WA

October 4-7, 2018 Katy, TX

Regional Championships are qualifying competitions for the US Dressage Finals See the calendar at www.usdf.org for the most current dates, locations, and competition contact information. Title Sponsor of the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships Great American is one of the world’s leading providers of equine mortality insurance and related coverages in addition to offering a full line of property and casualty products for the equestrian community through its equine farm center. To learn more about Great American Insurance, visit www.greatamericaninsurancegroup.com. Presenting Sponsor of the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships The patented SmartPak supplement feeding system gives horse owners peace of mind with its premeasured dosages for each horse. To learn more about SmartPak or to shop their products, visit www.smartpak.com. Supporting Sponsor of the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships Since 1996 the team at Platinum Performance has been focused on researching the role of nutrition in equine health and developing formulas to help improve the health and performance of the horse. To learn more about Platinum Performance visit www.platinumperformance.com. Contributing Sponsor of the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) is the global leader in equine health care, dedicated to providing technologically-advanced products for the treatment and prevention of disease in horses. The breadth and depth of BI brands and services means access to complete equine care solutions that keep horses healthy and allows them to reach their full potential. www.unbridleyourpotential.com

The View from C Perspectives on panel-judging BY JAYNE

HOW DOES IT LOOK FROM HERE? A dressage judge’s position on a panel affects the visibility of various aspects of the test movements


t most dressage shows in the United States, there is only one judge per arena, even for the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) tests. Most of the feedback competitors get about their tests is based only on the view from C. Then, at Great American/USDF Regional Championships, US Dressage Finals, or other championships, the view from the long side is added because these competitions use judging panels (multiple judges, each seated at a different location around the perimeter of the arena). Sometimes the added perspective reveals things not as visible from C, for better or worse in terms of the final score. In addition, the judges in a panel don’t always seem to agree on what the score should be for some movements. Why might this be?


By exploring the differences in what the judge is able to see from C versus the long side (E or B), we can begin to understand those differences. And we can look at the things riders need to keep in mind to achieve greater success when they are competing in front of a panel of judges.

Common Discrepancies Although the judge’s vantage point can affect the mark for any movement, certain test elements are especially likely to result in significant scoring differences. Here are a few examples. Halt on the center line. At all levels, the judge at C is perfectly positioned to assess the horse’s straightness, immobility, and steadiness of contact in the entry and final halt. However, from C it is often very difficult to determine whether the horse is truly standing square, especially if the

(and B, and…) for competitors and judges



hind legs are completely hidden by the front legs. From C it is also difficult to see whether the horse is actually at X. In contrast, the judge on the side (at E or B) has a perfect view of all four legs and of the location of the halt. Both judges can see the clarity of the transition—whether the horse took trot steps coming from canter to halt at Fourth Level, for example, or walked before trotting forward after the entry halt at First Level. But a straight halt with clean transitions that looks like an 8 from C could look like a 6 from the side if it was not at X and not square. Other faults that affect the score, such as dropping the poll or opening the mouth, also are more noticeable from the side and so often receive a heavier penalty from the judge at E or B. Shoulder-in. The shoulder-in is performed on the long side of the arena in the majority of dressage tests. When

done there, both judges can see the most important components of the movement, but not to the same degree. Angle and bend are easier to see from C, while engagement and uphill balance are clearer from the side view. If a horse is especially correct or deficient in one of these aspects, the judge who can see it more clearly is likely to give the greater credit or penalty. If there is any doubt in the judge’s mind— perhaps about the horse’s being truly on three tracks when judging from the side view—the competitor gets the benefit of the doubt. The judge at C will be more sure of the tracking and therefore more strict if there is a fault. Half-pass. Another movement that often receives differences in scores is the half-pass. One of the requirements of this movement is that the horse takes weight on its hind legs and shows an uphill balance. Certain horses regularly receive USDF CONNECTION

May 2018


A Third Perspective

higher half-pass marks from judges on the short side and lower marks from the long side—typically, horses that show correct bend and good contact, and that have high-set necks and a lot of front-leg activity. With such horses, the picture from the front is quite pleasing. But if the horse also is hollow in the back, lacks engagement, or trails the hindquarters, the judge on the long side would be expected to score more harshly. Lack of self-carriage and contact problems are usually more noticeable from the side. Half- or full-point deductions can add up throughout a test so that the score from the side judge is several percentage points lower in the end. This can also be the case for problems with regularity, especially if they involve a slightly shorter or higher step with one leg in the trot work, with no hitching of the topline. The judge on the side may see it clearly and give a score of “insufficient” (4 or less). The judge at C may have some doubt about the severity of the problem and so may score in the “sufficient” or better range. This happens frequently. Accuracy of figures is another aspect that earns quite different assessments from different places around the arena. I have been seated in the side box to judge Training Level Test 3 at several recent Regional Championships. The 20-meter circles between E and B have a huge effect on the overall score. I am always amazed when the majority of riders ride them to L and I, making them 20 x 24 ovals! So many circles that could have earned marks of 7, 8, or 9 had points deducted simply because of rider inattention. The judge at C often gives the high score for this figure because the shape of the circle is not easy to see from that vantage point. In other cases, the judge at C has to be the one to assess the accuracy and correctness of the exercises, such as shoulder-in on the center line or the left/right balance of the half-pass zigzags. From the side, the score for these movements might reflect the balance, fluidity, harmony, and selfcarriage more than the accuracy.


Why Have Five- and Seven-Judge Panels? CDIs (FEI-recognized dressage competitions) and other big competitions have five-judge panels (with judges at E, H, C, M, and B). Major championships, such as Olympics and World Equestrian Games, are even larger, with seven judges (with the two additional judges at K and F). Here’s why. Five- and seven-judge panels allow for a good balance between what can be seen clearly and what is difficult to see. For instance, all aspects of a trot extension on the diagonal, except perhaps straightness, can be seen well by one of the corner judges. The judge directly in front of or behind the horse can score only what he or she can actually see, but can assess straightness very easily.


OBSCURED VIEW: If the horse’s hind legs are completely hidden by its front legs in the halt on center line, it will be difficult for the judge at C to determine whether the halt is truly square

What about the judge in the corner (at H or M) when there are three judges on a panel? The corner is most judges’ least favorite spot because there is so much that is truly not visible and so easily missed. Judges take great pride in being able to view and assess correctly what takes place in a test. It is not comfortable to be judging from a location where your colleagues might notice something that greatly affects a score and you were not able to see it. Here are some examples of test elements that are difficult to assess from a corner position. When a horse does a very good trot extension across the HXF diagonal, it can be seen clearly from C and from the side, but not from H. It takes a lot of practice judging from that position to assess balance and scope, and even then the judge at H is likely to give a conservative score. He or she might be unsure whether there were problems not visible from that vantage point. Important things, such as contact and swinging in the back, can be very difficult to discern. The score for a high-quality trot extension might be only 7.5 from the judge at H, while the others can feel comfortable giving scores of 8 or 9. From M, it is hard to tell whether a circle of eight or 10 meters at E is the correct size. The M judge can be very sure if the tracking of a shoulder-in or travers down the long side M-F is correct, but from this position the judge has a great deal of difficulty assessing the horse’s degree of engagement. To do so the judge must rely on other clues, such as position of the poll, steadiness and lightness of the contact, cadence, and energy. When sitting at a corner position, the judge’s eye and scoring system must operate rather differently from when seated at other positions. As a result, different components of the performance end up being emphasized.

TWO VIEWS OF TWO HALF-PASSES: The pair of photos above shows J.J. Tate (SC) riding Joseph Tate’s Hanoverian mare, Summersby (Sir Donnerhall x Rosentau), in the trot half-pass left B-G from the Prix St. Georges test. From the side, the horse’s throughness and balance are satisfactory, and she carries the bit and her tail well. For an even higher score, the bend around the rider’s inside leg could be a bit better. All of these elements look quite similar when viewed from near C.


The photo pair below shows the same rider, this time in the Grand Prix trot half-pass right K-B on the Danish Warmblood gelding Cayman V (Come Back II x Lobster), owned by Joseph Tate. In both photos, the horse shows a nice bend. Viewed from C, the crossing of the legs is good, although he might stretch to the bit more clearly. He looks more uphill from C than from B, but the engagement or lack thereof would be easier to see and thus more convincing from E or M than from B or H.

At the Grand Prix level, correct judging of piaffe and passage is very important for placing horses in the right order in the class. Some of the serious faults in these movements, such as crossing the legs or certain types of swaying, are not easily seen from the side. Contact, balance, and self-carriage need to be correct and consistent for a high-quality performance. Having five or seven judges assures that in all of the movements of the test, the horse receives credit for what is done well but is penalized for any shortcomings.

Objective: Covering the Bases It is clear that differences in the scores from judges on a panel can easily stem from which aspects of the performance can best be seen from each judge’s position. Naturally, there are other reasons that might come into play. For instance, while most judges give scores within an accepted international standard, one may have a very slightly lower or higher scale than others on the panel. This is acceptable if it is consistent.  USDF CONNECTION

May 2018


TWO VIEWS OF MEDIUM TROT: Teresa Butta (MD) rides the RPSI gelding Grand Grayson (by Grande Sovereign), owned by Joan Watt, in the FEI Five-Year-Old test. From the front, this attractive horse looks to be in a more uphill balance than from the side. This might be because he is clearly built higher in front than behind. The reach of the front legs appears to be more when viewed from the front, as well. The horse’s head and neck positioning are more easily assessed from the side. It is likely that the judge at C would give a slightly higher mark than the judge at B or E.

Then there is the difference in scores for individual movements because a judge “missed something.” A sneeze or a spilled drink can cause momentary inattention. What about that line of tempi changes with scores that ranged from 3 to 7? Did I give the 7 because it was a magnificent Friesian with flying feathers and a huge tail and I was sitting directly behind him at H, looking straight into the setting sun, whereas the judge on the side could see that the horse was late behind twice and had his mouth open during the whole diagonal? Oops! Conditions are rarely optimal to enable every judge to see all elements of a performance equally well from all boxes. These kinds of situations are why the FEI instituted the use of a Judges Supervisory Panel at international championships. According to the FEI, the JSP has the authority to lower marks (if a judge has missed a clear mistake) but also to raise marks (if the JSP is sure that a rider has been punished for a mistake that did not happen) if there are a minimum of two marks difference between the judges. The JSP can only correct clear, definite technical mistakes and counting errors; it cannot interfere with a judge’s assessment of the quality of a movement.

Advice for Judges Who Are New to Panels Many of our national-level (US Equestrian) judges do nearly all their judging alone from C. The lack of opportunity to practice judging in a panel means that many are not comfortable making assessments from the side or the corner. When these judges do serve on panels, some try to comment on what they “think” they would see from C rather than switching gears and focusing on the aspects of performance better


viewed from where they actually are seated. This can result in less-than-optimal assessments. I have done a lot of training and testing of US Equestrian judge candidates moving from “r” (recorded) to “R” (Registered) levels and from “R” to “S” (Senior), and I have found the reluctance to change perspective, to focus on what can be seen well, to be a common shortcoming. For example, seated at the side and watching a shoulder-in that is ground-bound and downhill, some judges will comment that the movement “needs a bit more bend.” However, bend is one of the hardest things to see from the side unless it is very incorrect. In such instances, candidates would be better off evaluating what they are able to see, such as the quality and regularity of the gaits, the degree of engagement, the energy and cadence, the self-carriage, and the smooth flow into and out of the movement. There are too few opportunities at our recognized shows for national-level judges to develop what is actually a separate judging skill. Learning to assess a ride correctly and to make useful comments while sitting in an unfamiliar location around the ring takes continued practice. A new FEI judge will typically require several years of serving on fivejudge panels at CDIs before becoming confident and consistent in all positions.

Advice for Competitors: Preparing for a Panel Riders who want to compete successfully at Regional Championships and US Dressage Finals need to prepare

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and so persuades the others! This interesting and instructional meeting of colleagues allows all judges to continue to learn from one another. This is something that US Equestrian might do well to emulate, to improve the judging of all those who are lucky enough to serve on a panel of judges. ▲ Jayne Ayers is an FEI 4* dressage judge, a US Equestrian and FEI Young Horse judge, and a US Equestrian dressage sporthorse breeding and dressage-seat equitation judge. She is a faculty member of the USDF L program and a past chair of the US Equestrian Dressage Committee. She teaches dressage riders at all levels and coaches for competition. The editor thanks 2017 Dressage at Devon photographers Sue Stickle and Stacy Wendkos for collaborating on the “front and side view” photos for this article.


their tests keeping in mind that there will be a judge on the side and perhaps one in a corner, who will see things in a different way from the judge at C. Having a knowledgeable person stand in various locations around the arena during test-preparation sessions can help the rider to get a more complete picture of what to work on. Then at the competition, if the judges’ scores differ by a significant amount, competitors would do well to study the comments in order to determine what the various judges are noting. Keep in mind the differences in what can be seen from which box. Even given the varying viewpoints, scores from the judges on a panel should be in the same range for each test. At a CDI with five judges per arena, the FEI strongly encourages the panel to schedule a meeting after the class to discuss any tests that had a large difference in the scores. These occasions are rare and do not happen at most competitions, but I have been at a few of these meetings over the years. The amazing thing is that on almost all occasions, the judges treat one another with the utmost respect. The judge who gave the scores most different from the others is not put on the “hot seat.” Occasionally the person admits to not judging well or to being distracted, but more often he or she gives a good, clear reason for being “odd person out.” It has even happened that the dissenting judge was in the best location to see a problem

Podcast Alert

Listen to Marilyn Heath explain panel judging on episode 180 at usdf.podbean.com.


Stylish advice for riders who want to look good—and maybe do good while they’re at it BY L.A. SOKOLOWSKI





F e c o a r w F a t


hat do you have in common with dressage stars like Laura Graves or Lisa Wilcox? More than you might think. Because when it comes to good grooming, we know how to devote hours before a show to assuring that our horses look their very best, from their button braids to their gleaming coats. But what these and other award-winning equestrians understands is how presenting a finished appearance isn’t just about the horse: It’s about putting her best face forward, too. “We make sure our ponies are well groomed and braided. We spend hours cleaning tack and shining our boots.… Why not finish the total look with a little color and a big smile?” says Southeast Virginia Dressage Association member Cheryl Gaylord, Virginia Beach, VA, owner/rider of Isabella WVF, the 2017 US Equestrian Horse of the Year Friesian Dressage National Champion. The right products can add a polished look coming down center line, protect skin from the sun’s damaging effects, and (bonus!) even help some good causes. We asked our fashion-forward dressage riders to share their favorites— which range from inexpensive drugstore brands to highend specialty cosmetics—as well as a few tips and tricks.

WELL PROTECTED: Like many riders, Olympian Laura Graves reaches first for sunscreen to keep her skin healthy and looking good. Tasteful, understated makeup completes her show-ring prep.


First and Foremost: Sunscreen Start by taking care of the skin you’re in, advises 2016 US Olympic dressage team bronze medalist and current topranked US dressage rider Laura Graves. “I never used to pay attention to sunscreen,” admits Graves, 30, a former hairstylist who grew up in Vermont but now calls Geneva, FL, home, “but my number-one priority as I’ve become wiser—as well as older—is to be religious about using it daily.” Graves chooses sunscreen with SPF 60 or, when she wants a more evenly toned, made-up look, a BB cream with an SPF of 30. “Physicians Formula is simple and foolproof,” she says of a favorite brand. “I have sensitive skin, and other products irritate my skin and make it break out. I’ve used this for years, and it’s improved my skin’s condition. “My boyfriend laughs at me because I put makeup on for the barn, but I take pride in caring for myself,” Graves continues. The tinted BB cream helps Graves protect her skin and look pulled together without a big time investment: She can go “from the bed to out the door in half an hour.” At night, as most skin-care pros recommend, Graves removes her makeup before retiring. (If she doesn’t, she quips, “I scare myself when I wake up!”) Another good skin-care habit Graves recommends: “Wash the liner in your helmet regularly.” Graves simply un-

TIMELESS BEAUTY: Olympian Lisa Wilcox is known for her attention to detail—and that extends to her skin-care and beauty regimen

snaps the liner in her Samshield and tosses it in the laundry. Many other equestrians also swear by sun protection as the first and most important step in their skin-care and beauty regimens. The 50-something Gaylord, for one, prefers Clarins Sunscreen Spray SPF 30. “I don’t experiment,” says 2004 US Olympic team bronze medalist and occasional equestrian-fashion model Lisa Wilcox, 51, of Wellington, FL. “Once I find something I like, I stay with it.” For a decade, that’s meant La Mer products. “As riders, we spend a lot of time outside and in the sun. We need to moisturize.” Wilcox likes La Mer moisturizers, which purport to calm redness, to ease dryness, and to energize the skin. The company’s sunscreen line, Soleil de La Mer, includes broad-spectrum lotions and protecting fluids of SPF 30 to SPF 50. “The whole line is great stuff,” says Wilcox.  USDF CONNECTION

May 2018


PORTRAIT OF THE MAKEUP ARTIST: Beauty for Real founder and amateur dressage rider Leslie Munsell

Looking Good: Best Beauty Bets for a Show-Ring Sparkle Riding a dressage test leaves little room for distraction, especially from burning eyes or runny mascara, so waterproof products are a must. Wilcox trusts Chanel Le Volume Waterproof Mascara and Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner. “Find what works with your skin and won’t irritate or bleed through the thin skin around the lids,” she advises. “Chanel keeps my eyes happy.” Gaylord’s go-to mascara is Lancôme Hypnôse, which she says is smudgeproof and waterproof. After all, she says, “It has to hold up in rain, heat, wind, and blowing sand, as well as sweat!” Must you visit a department-store beauty counter or other high-end outlet for spendy products in order to get good lash results? Not necessarily. Graves likes Maybelline (“It’s hard to find a good applicator—theirs works!”) and Revlon. Her advice: “Buy a new mascara every three months. Fresh applies better. When I’m showing, I only use eyeliner on the top lid, never the bottom, because it can settle into the corner of your eyes. On freestyle nights, I might


Doing Good Looking good can be a pas de deux with doing good. Just ask Leslie Munsell. The 50-something Munsell is an adult-amateur rider and a USDF bronze and silver medalist. In her professional life, she’s a makeup artist whose client list includes both celebrities (Mariah Carey, Serena and Venus Williams) and fashion houses (Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavallie, Zac Posen). In 2010 she launched her own line of high-performance, cruelty-free cosmetics, Beauty for Real. “Beauty for Real is a curated collection of products that women can use every day to effortlessly look their best,” says Munsell, whose love of horses and riding are behind her latest two endeavors: Mr. Big, her new four year-old KWPN dressage prospect by Don Schufro; and BFR’s Lip Revival Tinted Lip Balms, which she calls a “bridge between beauty and philanthropy.” Munsell has pledged to donate 20 percent of sales proceeds to Brooke USA.


READY TO FACE THE JUDGE: Flawless turnout on the part of both horse (the Friesian Isabella WVF) and rider (her owner, adult amateur Cheryl Gaylord)

add extra lashes to my natural ones,” she says, referring to the popular “Friday Night Lights” series at the wintertime Adequan® Global Dressage Festival—and to any other evening classes held under lights. “I’m also big into bronzers,” adds Graves. “If I want to look tanner for an evening class, I put bronzer on my lids just under my eyebrows.” Before she goes down center line on her Friesian, Gaylord opts for Dior eye shadows and liners and Nars blush. She finishes her look with Urban Decay Chill makeup setting spray, which helps makeup last longer.

PRETTY WITH A PURPOSE: Each of Beauty for Real’s nine Lip Revival Tinted Lip Balms is named for a prominent equestrian and Brooke USA ambassador (like US dressage Olympian Allison “Ali” Brock, pictured with her signature shade). A portion of sales proceeds benefits the global equine charity.

The charitable organization’s mission is to “significantly improve the welfare of working horses, donkeys, and mules and the people they serve throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.” Its ambassadors, many

of whom are well-known riders, strive to raise awareness and funds for that mission. The creation of each of the nine plant-oil-based Lip Revival lip balms was a collaborative effort between Munsell and their namesake Brooke USA ambassadors: dressage Olympians Allison “Ali” Brock (warm beige nude), Kasey Perry-Glass (clear rose), and Debbie McDonald (soft pink nude); international eventing competitors Sinead Halpin (sheer red) and Allison Springer (coral pink); Olympic jumping team gold medalist Laura Kraut (tawny rose shimmer); Dutch dressage trainer Kerensa Muller (bronze shimmer); jumper rider and model Hannah Selleck (sheer terra cotta); and FEI-level dressage trainer and competitor Jessica Jo “JJ” Tate (pink shimmer). These women, Munsell says, were chosen because “They exude confidence, athleticism, and an unwavering commitment to that global mission.”

Don’t Sweat It: Cosmetics That Can Take the Heat Philanthropic intentions are admirable but not of much use if the products don’t perform. Munsell says she created her Beauty for Real products to stand up to the heat and humidity of her home city, Miami—and so they’ll stay put during a dressage test, as well. Products such as blush and eye

Hold It: Cosmetics Totes That Do Good



f horses get tack boxes and grooming kits, shouldn’t riders get a convenient way to organize their show cosmetics? California-based Frankie Thieriot Stutes, creator of Frankie Cameron (handbags, diaper and makeup bags, clutches and accessories with zip-out washable liners) sees it that way. The bags are handcrafted from cowhide and leather, and Stutes believes in limiting waste by using the entire hide for her line; as a result, each bag and tote is unique in color and texture, she says. A portion of the proceeds from every Frankie Cameron bag sold goes to Project Night Night, an award-winning nonprofit in California meeting the needs of homeless or low-income Bay Area children. Each year, 35,000 Night Night Packages, containing a blanket, book, and stuffed animal in a tote bag, are donated to children in need. “Riders shouldn’t have to choose between fashion and function,” says Stutes, who’s an accomplished eventing and dressage competitor and a US Equestrian/NBC Sports broadcaster. (Stutes was also featured in “Baby on Board,” USDF Connection’s December 2017/January 2018 look at dressage-riding moms.) When she saddles up, she says, she loves Sweat Cosmetics products with their brush-only ease, Coola lip balms, and Marc Jacobs mascara.

BAGS WITH A HEART: Frankie Cameron bags (like this Hide Clutch and leather Cognac Braid Bag) are unique pieces for toting cosmetics and gear. A portion of sales proceeds benefits disadvantaged children.


May 2018


Product Finder


ere’s how to find the riders’ recommendations mentioned in this article.

Beauty for Real (beautyforreal.com) Chanel (chanel.com) Clarins (clarinsusa.com) Coola (coolasuncare.com) Dior (dior.com) Frankie Cameron (frankiecameron.com) La Mer (cremedelamer.com) Lancôme (lancome-usa.com) Marc Jacobs (marcjacobsbeauty.com) Maybelline (maybelline.com) Nars (narscosmetics.com) Physicians Formula (physiciansformula.com) Sweat Cosmetics (sweatcosmetics.com) Revlon (revlon.com)


Urban Decay (urbandecay.com)

shadows come in easy-to-transport, easy-to-apply creamto-powder sticks for simple, no-fuss application, she says. Munsell isn’t the only one in the beauty biz to recognize the previously unfulfilled need for quality, thoughtfully sourced cosmetics that can stand up to the lifestyles of active women. Aptly named Sweat Cosmetics are milkthistle-based, sweat-resistant, hypoallergenic, and crueltyfree, with SPF protection, according to chief strategy officer Lindsay Tarpley, of Madison, WI. “We understand the need for SPF protection while riders are training and competing. We’ve created high-performance makeup designed to protect and enhance beauty while enduring a woman’s on-the-go life,” says Tarpley, a two-time US Olympic soccer gold medalist who grew up around American Saddlebreds. “While we were playing, we wanted a product like Sweat,” Tarpley says, referring to the four fellow female soccer players-turned-entrepreneurs who round out the Sweat founding team. “We saw this gap in the market and realized we could create exactly what we wanted. We have a Mineral Foundation Twist-Brush in five shades that has an SPF 30 for 80 minutes, and a completely sheer Translucent Twist-

2018 USDF Arts Contest 2 Divisions Art and Photography 3 Age Groups 15 and under, 16 to 21, and Adult


HAVE EARNED CONFIDENCE WITH PROVEN PERFORMANCE. Who is this world famous horse wearing our socks to protect his legs? If you know, you can recieve 20% off a set (4) Silver Whinnys. Hint: Four riders have achieved their USDF Gold Medals on him. You must call to order and name this horse to qualify for the discount. Offer not available on line and expires June 1, 2018




ENTRY DEADLINE JULY 1 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

Brush with an SPF 30 for 60 minutes that we recommend for coverage, SPF protection, and convenience before entering the ring.”

All the Pretty Horses (and Riders)

Shop the USDF Online Store Gear for dressage enthusiasts...

The quality of a dressage test still rests in the hands, seat, and legs of a rider. But it can’t hurt to put one’s best face forward, too. Fortunately, the stylish needs of today’s female athletes—equestrian and otherwise—are not going unnoticed. “This sport is rough and messy enough, so there’s no point in overdoing makeup,” says Gaylord. The look, like the discipline itself, is supposed to appear effortless. “And to get that, the products have to be proven winners.” ▲ L.A. Sokolowski, Albany, NY, is the recipient of the 2017 American Horse Publications Chris Brune Spirit Award and the 2016 Syracuse Press Club sportswriting award. She is a four-time AHP Media Awards winner for excellence in equestrian sports journalism and the original equinista (fashionista + equestrienne).

Training and Reference Books and DVDs

Check the USDF Store website for more USDF merchandise.

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May 2018


SOLID FOUNDATION: F.J. Ramzes, a 2014 USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum demonstration horse, is now making his mark in the competition arena. He’s pictured winning the Third Level Open championship at the 2017 US Dressage Finals with rider Lehua Custer.

Primed for Success Follow the journey of a horse from the USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum to the US Dressage Finals


n 2014, California-based dressage pro Lehua Custer was selected to ride in the USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum. Her partner: the then four-yearold Dutch Warmblood gelding F.J. Ramzes (Juventus x Rampal), owned by her student Wendy Sasser. Three short years later, Custer and F.J. Ramzes had already begun making their mark on the American dressage scene, capping consecutive Regional Championships titles with the Third Level Open tricolor at the 2017 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®. The talented pair has a promising future, and Custer says she’s grateful for the solid foundation the USDF forum helped her give the horse. As we look forward to the 2018 forum with presenters Scott Hassler and Michael Bragdell (meet them on page 44), USDF Connection asked Custer to talk about her journey with F.J. Ramzes.

Bicoastal Beginnings Sasser, an amateur dressage rider from southern California, bought “Ramzes”—who was bred by Cornell University’s (NY) Equine Park program—as a yearling through an


online sale. Hoping that the youngster would mature into her dream dressage horse, Sasser decided to send him to Keenridge, Olympian Hilda Gurney’s Moorpark, CA, facility, to grow up, where he would have access to turnout. Keenridge-based trainer Tracey Young started Ramzes under saddle, and when he was three he returned to Sasser. Custer, who trains with Gurney, picked Ramzes’ training back up when the gelding was four. The women’s original plan was for Custer to do much of Ramzes’ early training and competition so that Sasser could successfully take over the ride later on—a goal that’s since been revised as Ramzes’ high-performance talents have emerged. Custer was impressed by the gelding’s talent and work ethic; but she knew that Ramzes, like all young horses, would benefit from exposure to new venues and situations. “We saw that the USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum would be held at the prestigious KWPN breeding farm DG Bar Ranch [in Hanford, CA],” says Custer, “so we applied on a whim.” She and Ramzes were accepted to ride as one of the event’s demonstration pairs. “This was our first big event together, and I was quite ner-



vous,” Custer recalls. “The riders and horses at DG Bar are topclass, so we knew we’d have to really step up our game. I remember telling Wendy that I didn’t want to be the bad example!”


Valuable Lessons Each rider in the forum works mainly with one of the two clinicians. Custer found herself paired with sport-horse expert Scott Hassler, whom she calls “such a sympathetic teacher.” In the forum, Custer says, “The number-one thing I learned was to help the horse find peace and confidence in the work. [Hassler] repeated to every rider [that the role of the rider is] to be the horse’s coach. I loved that way of thinking. We must help our horses to understand the demands.” Custer learned things from Hassler that she still uses in her riding and training, she says. For instance, “Scott had us work in the canter on a circle, and we worked on bigger and smaller steps. Eventually you are riding a very collected canter without the horse getting slow behind or stalling out. I use it every single day. I learned to ‘grow’ a canter instead of run, [which has resulted in] higher scores in the mediums and extensions.”

posted the information on Facebook just to show my support. The response was crazy. Around two hundred people encouraged us to open a GoFundMe [account] to raise the money. I’ve never done such a thing before, so I brushed it off as too extravagant and expensive. Eventually everyone wore us down, and we did it. People began donating so quickly, it was shocking. We managed to raise all of the funds, and we entered our first US Dressage Finals!”

An Exciting Career Trajectory

Flying High

Encouraged by Hassler’s admiration of Ramzes, trainer and owner were “excited to go to a few shows the following season,” says Custer. They ended a “wonderful season” at First Level by claiming the California Dressage Society’s First Level Open Horse of the Year title. From there, it’s been onward and upward. With Custer in the irons, Ramzes won the Second Level Open championship at the 2016 Great American/USDF Region 7 Championships. They kicked off the 2017 season by serving as a demonstration pair for another high-profile educational event: an April symposium with British Olympian Carl Hester in Del Mar, CA. “Carl liked him so much and said that he will be a Grand Prix horse one day!” Custer says. Training trumped showing for the first part of 2017. Custer explains: “I wanted to focus on training, as we hadn’t ever really taken many lessons with my coach, Hilda, the previous seasons.” Even though Custer and Ramzes got a late start to the show season, they quickly made up for lost time. At the 2017 Great American/USDF Region 7 Championships, they won the Third Level Open title, and Ramzes was the show’s KWPN high-point champion. The 2017 US Dressage Finals hadn’t been on Custer’s and Sasser’s radar, but Ramzes’ winning performance at the Regionals earned him a wild-card invitation to Kentucky. “We had not planned to attend,” Custer says, “but I

Team Ramzes decided to fly the horse to Kentucky instead of hauling the long distance. “Our trip was pretty incredible,” says Custer. “I’ve never flown with a horse before, so it was great to experience. Ramzes traveled like a champ, and I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to fly.” (One trick she learned: flavor the horse’s water with apple juice to encourage him to drink unfamiliar water.) “The Kentucky Horse Park was bigger and grander than I had imagined,” Custer says. “It was huge! There was so much activity and so many horses everywhere. I train out of the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in California, and I was amazed at how much bigger the Kentucky Horse Park is.” One challenge: the weather. Both rider and horse struggled to adapt from mild southern California to chilly Lexington, which experienced below-normal temperatures during the show last November. “The temperature on show day was a bit frigid, so I probably didn’t ride as well as I could have. I knew we’d done pretty well, and we got to see our scores immediately following the ride, which was neat. I had very stiff competition in my division, so I was not very confident that our score would hold.” Custer and Sasser waited out the remainder of the Third Level Open championship class in the indoor Alltech Arena while Ramzes relaxed in his heated stall. Their lead held, and “Once we found out we were champions, we all started jumping up and down. It was so fun!” Custer says. 

WINNING TEAM: F.J. Ramzes with rider Lehua Custer and owner Wendy Sasser


May 2018


Connections, Human and Equine

Stacy Durham is a USDF senior education coordinator.


“I really enjoyed meeting people from across the country and seeing fabulous horses” at the Finals, says Custer. “I’ve never ridden in a show of this scale before, so I was a little bit intimidated until I sat in the saddle. I really like that we have a national competition, and I hope to participate again one day.” In 2018 and beyond, Custer says, her goal is to improve Ramzes’ FEI-level work, which can involve managing the horse’s over-the-top work ethic. “Ramzes is so willing and tries so hard that things can be a challenge. He always wants bigger and more in his gaits. I’m working to have more control over his enthusiasm.”

Like other riders who realize they have a gifted horse, Custer has started to dream big. “I think he will make a great FEI horse. He’s already showing ability for Grand Prix work, so it’s my job to just keep him happy and healthy. It would be so exciting to compete in CDIs and to ride in the [US Equestrian Dressage] Festival of Champions one day, too.” ▲

Podcast Alert

Listen to our Sport Horse special episode 155 at usdf.podbean.com.


n instructor/trainer and his former student and assistant trainer—both now among the nation’s leading sport-horse experts—will reunite to present the 2018 USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum, October 20-21 at Sonnenberg Farm in Sherwood, OR. Scott Hassler was the director and head trainer at Hilltop Farm in Colora, MD, when a young Swede named Michael Bragdell came to work and learn. Hassler had made a name for himself as an expert in sport-horse breeding and training: For a decade he served as US Equestrian’s inaugural national dressage young-horse coach. Under Hassler’s tutelage, Bragdell became Hilltop’s young-horse trainer and learned to show sport horses in hand, handling Hilltop-owned and -bred horses to numerous wins. When Hassler left Hilltop to spearhead Hassler Dressage at Riveredge in Chesapeake City, MD, Bragdell moved into the head trainer’s position. In addition to his extensive experience with young horses, Bragdell has become a successful dressage trainer and competitor through the Grand Prix level. He is also a USDFcertified instructor/trainer through Fourth Level. The 2018 forum will be Bragdell’s second as a clinician. He says he looks forward to sharing his “experience through the handling and ground work that I put in to the education of the young horse,” which is “so important and beneficial in their early life. I always feel that a horse with good ground manners makes for a good horse to train and ride. I also prefer to develop my own horses from a young age up through the levels; I feel this builds a trust between the horse and me, and it is really exciting to experience how each horse learns and progresses through the training program.”


“I chaired the USDF Sport Horse Committee for many years,” says Hassler, “and my last goal was to create and implement the USDF Sport Horse Development Program. Our country had matured in its young-horse training through the Markel/ USEF Young Horse Program, but we didn’t have any national focus on starting horses under saddle and putting on the correct foundation to prepare them for the USEF program.” THE EXPERTS: Scott Hassler The USDF Sport Horse (top) and Michael Bragdell Prospect Development Forum shows trainers, riders, breeders, and owners how to establish a solid foundation for a dressage prospect’s under-saddle training. A key factor in each forum’s success, Hassler says, is selecting the right mix of riders and horses to serve as demonstration pairs. “We look for various issues to demonstrate training, such as a very sensitive horse, a horse lacking balance, a horse with a lack of straightness, et cetera. We also like to have a progression: lungeing, ground work, starting under saddle, riding a three-year-old, to a mature four- and sometimes fiveyear-old. These varying stages enable great discussion and clear progress to the training scale.” For information about the 2018 USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum, including how to apply to be a demonstration rider, visit usdf.org.


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rider’s market

Time for a Revolution New products to help solve old problems

Helmet Takes Protection to the Next Level As more is learned about concussion and traumatic brain injuries, innovations in protective headgear appear. New on the equestrian scene is the EQ3 from Trauma Void.

share with the trail, endurance, and pleasure saddles from sister company ReactorPanel. The panels attach to the saddle individually for a custom fit and gullet width, then flex for free shoulder movement. Shock absorption is provided by the Sorbothane rubber discs that attach with hookand-loop mounts for nearly infinite positioning and accommodation of any horse or rider asymmetries. The flaps themselves are detachable, so you can ride flapless or with a traditional flap for competition. Learn more: EQSaddleScience.com.

For Total GI Health The EQ3 features the MultiDirectional Impact Protection (MIPS) System. The MIPS technology, developed by Swedish researchers, is designed to reduce rotational motion transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head. The MIPS system, a helmet-integrated, low-friction layer, offers better protection against rotational motion than a helmet without MIPS, according to the manufacturer. The EQ3 comes in smooth-shell and microfiber (pictured) models. All feature a removable and washable Coolmax lining, excellent ventilation, and a durable PU leather chin strap. Learn more: TraumaVoid.com.

Less Is More EQ Saddle Science upends conventional saddle construction with its new flapless dressage saddles. The bones of the EQ Saddle Science system are the EQ Flex Panel System, which the dressage saddles

The new Platinum Performance GI is a comprehensive, veterinarydeveloped prebiotic, probiotic, and wellness supplement formula for a gastrointestinal-focused approach to total equine health.

Platinum Performance GI incorporates omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and trace minerals with powerful gut-specific prebiotics, live probiotics, and glutamine to nourish the beneficial “good bacteria” in the gut and to support digestion, nutrient absorption, and efficient utilization of calories. It may be used for horses that have trouble maintaining weight, have loose stools or occasional bouts of diarrhea, are in training or competition, or are on any type of antibiotic or NSAID treatment. Learn more: PlatinumPerformance.com.



Instant Feedback Is your horse’s profile properly on or slightly in front of the vertical as you ride? Especially if you school without “eyes on the ground” or lack access to mirrors, it can be difficult to tell whether he’s ducked behind the vertical, a common fault. It can also be difficult to tell from feel exactly how fast the horse is traveling.

Technology to the rescue: Equinebiomechanics expert and FEI-level dressage competitor Dr. Hilary Clayton developed the Vert, a smart device that attaches to the bridle crownpiece. Paired with your smartphone using the accompanying free app, Vert measures the horse’s head angle or pace. Set the desired range of angle, and Vert will give instantaneous feedback as you ride with a light that changes colors to indicate whether you’re in the desired zone (green), ahead of the vertical (blue), or behind the vertical (red). In Pace mode, set the desired rate of speed and Vert will indicate whether you’re right on or need to speed up or slow down. Eventers, take note: You can record your rides with GPS to measure both speed and distance. Learn more: Equ.la.

Make a Statement If you’d rather be riding in something unique, comfortable, and perhaps with a little extra color or edge, then check out Buckwild Breeches.

The equestrian-owned company has expanded its line to offer new colors and patterns so you can express your individual style, in and out of the saddle. Buckwild offers Signature breeches for ladies and kids, winter breeches, and riding tights as well as t-shirts and polo shirts. Choose from Signature Riding and Curvy Mare fits in breech styles to get the perfect fit for your body type. Learn more: BuckwildBreeches. com.

for elbow relief; it’s designed with a wide, contoured, padded stiff center section to protect the horse’s sternum and delicate connections of the true ribs from excess pressure while offering comfortable support. The Sternum Relief Girth has large roller buckles, strong elastic webbing on both sides, and rolled edges to help prevent rubbing. It comes in black leather, with brown available by special order. Learn more: TotaComfortSystem. com.

A Colorful Way to Banish Insects

Float Like a Butterfly

According to the folks at Horseware Ireland, insects can’t perceive the colors aqua or orange. Maybe the new Amigo Evolution fly sheet won’t render your horse 100 percent invisible to insect pests, but the vivid aqua background with the orange accents will add another element of protection to the Amigo’s list of features, which include a soft polyester knit, silky lining, neck cover, extended tail flap, and full belly coverage. Learn more: Horseware.com.

Not Just Another Anatomical Girth The Tota Comfort System Sternum Relief Dressage Girth isn’t just shaped

From the German maker Design & Technik Saddlery comes the innovative line of Butterfly saddles, featuring a unique saddle-tree system that eliminates the traditional gullet plate at the pommel for enhanced freedom of movement and adaptability to a large number of horses. When the saddle is positioned correctly on the horse’s back, the Butterfly’s set-back head iron and four hinges eliminate wither and shoulder pressure and allow free range of movement. The design enables the saddles to fit a wide range of horses without the need for flocking adjustments. There are nine dressage saddles in the current lineup (pictured: the Uta Gräf model), including specialty designs for baroque and gaited horses and for petite and young riders. Learn more: DT-Saddlery.de/en.

A New Way to Hold It Say goodbye to gapping waistbands and bulky belt buckles that spoil the smooth line of an untucked, closefitting shirt (or dressage show coat). Say hello to the Unbelt, an adjustable stretch-elastic belt with sleek metal clasp that moves with you and can

even go in the washing machine—no removal from belt loops required. The Unbelt is adjustable from sizes 0 to 24X. It’s 1.5 inches wide and comes in a rainbow of colors. Learn more: Unbelts. com.

Support for Horses’ Gastric Health Purina Animal Nutrition has a new product line formulated to support gastric health in horses. They’re based on the new Outlast Gastric Support Supplement, which contains a proprietary seaweedderived blend of natural and bioavailable calcium and magnesium in a unique honeycomb structure that allows for a greater buffering capacity to support gastric health and proper pH. Outlast Supplement can be fed in the daily ration or as a snack. Or choose Purina’s new Race Ready GT or Ultium Gastric Care horse feeds, which contain full rations of Outlast Supplement when fed as directed. Learn more: FeedOutlast.com. ▲

“Rider’s Market” contains notices of new products judged to be of potential interest to USDF members. Information and images are supplied by manufacturers. Inclusion of an item does not constitute an endorsement or a product review. USDF CONNECTION

May 2018


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May 2018


the tail end


A rider remembers the hot-tempered mare that put her on the dressage map By Tracy Durham


ate last year, I said goodbye to an old friend. I met Honey Mint and her owner, Therese Wood, in 1990, when Honey was four years old. Honey—a 15.1-hand, liver chestnut mustang/ Thoroughbred cross mare—was Therese’s homebred love child. I was a 24-year-old veterinary student with stars in my eyes. Honey had a temper, and I had a talent for working with challenging prospects. Honey didn’t

the 1992 US Olympic dressage team bronze medalist Carol Lavell, said, “Only for you, Tracy, will I work with this horse,” after the mare kicked a hole in her arena wall. We persevered because at the end of every tantrum came a flash of beautiful work and a horse that was suddenly calm and cooperative. We adopted the eventers’ motto, “Kick on!” At 10 years of age, Honey was competing at Prix St. Georges and

IN CHARGE: Honey Mint at 27, still winning with (from left) the writer, rider Belinda Messersmith, and owner Therese Wood

look much like a suitable dressage mount, but Therese wanted to see what she could do, and I didn’t understand the word impossible. Honey’s temper soon surfaced. Such simple requests as “please canter a 20-meter circle” could be grounds for a meltdown. My longtime mentor,

had discovered the value of hard work. She became a fierce competitor and acquitted herself well in distinguished company. We spent several years at Prix St. Georges, Intermediate I, and I-II because her flat canter made developing the one-time changes challenging. Her


Dr. Tracy Durham is a small-animal and exotics veterinarian in Vestal, NY. A horse-crazy youth, she earned her spurs competing in hunter-seat, saddle-seat, and stock-seat classes. She met Carol Lavell in the late 1970s and fell in love with dressage. Carol and Tracy have worked together ever since, developing several FEI horses over four decades. Their latest collaboration, the Lusitano stallion Drake Interagro, will make his FEI debut this year.


Salty and Sweet

Spanish Colonial heritage gifted her with piaffe and passage, and surprisingly good canter pirouettes. Honey made her Grand Prix debut at the age of 18 and performed her final FEI tests when she was 22, having helped me earn my USDF silver and gold medals and my gold freestyle bar. Therese and I tried to retire Honey at 23 years of age, but she would kick the walls and scream when the other horses left the farm. So the hot little redhead became a horse-show schoolmaster for a couple of my friends, earning some of their first blue ribbons. I remained responsible for Honey’s schooling ride the day before the competitions because, even at age 28, she loved to spook and leap before settling in. Once she was braided and headed to the warm-up, she was committed to the task at hand. All she asked was that her riders refrain from back-seat driving, as she knew what she was doing and did not require their input. Therese passed away in 2014. Honey retired from the show ring, and I became her legal guardian. She enjoyed a bucolic retirement with an occasional trail ride and, as always, made her own decisions at the very end. Honey took Therese and me on a wild ride up the levels of dressage. Therese was a staunch supporter of my academic and equestrian pursuits, and Honey gave 300 percent, earning her the title “The Little Mustang That Could.” I miss them both, and I will forever cherish what they taught me. Kick on, my friends, kick on. ▲



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May 2018 USDF Connection  

United States Dressage Federation Official Publication

May 2018 USDF Connection  

United States Dressage Federation Official Publication

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