USDF “L” Program – Session B

Marilyn Heath, was our presenter for Session B. Heath is a “S” Dressage judge and Chairman of the USDF “L” Education Program. She has competed through Grand Prix, earning her Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals. She also competed in the CDI at the World Championships in Ontario, Canada in 1986.

The lecture section started at 8:00 am Saturday morning with a review of the homework assigned to participants. Pens flew furiously as the presenter covered each answer given. Marilyn then dove into the meat of the content, covering the evaluation of the quality of the gaits. The focus being on rhythm, tempo, suppleness, and elasticity of the gaits.

Hillary Clayton helped provide information into biomechanics of gaits and how structure and ligaments allowed for freedom of movement.

After lunch, participants and auditors made the short trip to Mystic Marsh Equestrian Center to watch live demonstrations of movements and tests. These demonstrations were generously provided by 18 horse/rider combinations.

Each level (Training through Second) started with a small group of riders who demonstrated several key movements within the level. The L Program participants were then asked to score and comment on the individual movement. The focus was on giving riders a concise comment that could help the rider achieve the goals of the level. After the group ride, one rider would ride Test 3 for that level. The participants scored and evaluated each movement and determine a final score. After the test, the participants then were asked to share their marks and give reasons for each mark.

Sunday followed the same format, with lecture in the morning followed by demo rides in the afternoon. There was a wealth of information shoved into two full days.

Overall, Session B was an information packed event. I would highly recommend attending the L program even if you never aspire to be a judge. The information, discussions, and demonstrations of correct/incorrect movements, were not only interesting but will hone your eye for seeing the true underlying issues.

Lecture portions:
Session A was biomechanics of gaits

Session B is quality of the gaits. Evaluation of the quality of the gaits

Stay tuned for Session C in November.

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