Kristin Chasnis

L Dressage program Oct 13-14, 2023

As a recipient of an Educational scholarship from the All Dressage Association I used the funds to attend Session(s) A & B of the USDF L program. This was hosted in Hudsonville, MI and organized by another local GMO GLASS-ED.

The program was hosted in 2 locations each day to have a classroom setting to go over all necessary information, and at a local facility to watch demo horses & riders in real time. The main ideas of session A were as follows:

  • How to assess the Gaits, elasticity, connection, and suppleness.
  • Learning the meaning of the Marks (or scores 0-10)
  • Creating a system for what comments you would want to use to describe the movements and match the score given.

Within the duration of the program we kept referring to the USDF Glossary of Judging Terms to supplement the comments and scores given for each movement.

Session B was spent going through 1st and 2nd level movements and tests while reflecting back on the Basics and Fundamentals discussed in Session A.

I would recommend this program for all dressage riders to audit or attend even if you don’t plan on pursuing judging. The thoroughness of the program and the emphasis put on the basics and biomechanics of the horse sets each participant/auditor up to create the desired development through the lower levels of dressage.

Jennifer Hope

L Dressage program Oct 13-14, 2023

Although I have loved horses since I was born, I did not arrive at adulthood with any real horse experience … a few trips to my cousin’s farms, a few miscellaneous rides including a terrifying trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on a mule but I would not have considered myself a horsewoman. It wasn’t until I was an empty nester about ten years ago that I officially began my equestrian journey. I passed a large barn on my way to and from work and I thought I would just take one or two lessons. Many lessons, clinics, and other various horse related purchases later, including four different horses, I still feel like a complete rookie some days. I am forever searching for knowledge to fill many gaps. Attending the L Dressage program was one of those attempts. I attended as an auditor so I do not have the desire, skills or experience to obtain the L judge certification.

By watching videos and listening to the instructor, I learned the basics of the three gaits, what judges look for, explanations of basic terms such as suppleness, contact, bend, overtrack, lengthenings and impulsion. (In other words, all those things that you hear and it’s assumed that you know what they mean).

I own and ride a smaller American Paint who is never going to be a big mover. I noted this: “For horses that don’t have big gaits, work on obedience”. We can do that!

With regards to impulsion, the instructor explained very clearly the importance of impulsion and what happens when the cycle of energy is inadvertently shut down.

Other topics that I found interesting: Anatomical terms such as the nuchal ligament – the 3d vertebrae on the next should be the highest point. The thoracic sling needs to contract and be engaged to raise the withers to create the uphill. I took pages of notes that I review from time to time.

Recommended book: Dressage Guidelines for Judging, by Stephen Clark ~$75
I very much enjoyed the weekend – I was able to spend two days away from work and home fully immersed in “horse” knowledge and “horse people”! Most of all, I wish to put into practice the concepts I learned to better ride my beloved horse, Jag. Hopefully I’ll be riding for many years to come. But by the time I do retire from riding, I hope to be that horsewoman that I’ve always dreamed of being.

Thank you for the ADA Scholarship to offset the cost of this program.