By Linzy Closs, Cazenovia College
The USDF/IDA Quiz Challenge is a wonderful way to not only learn about the sport, and the theory and rules behind it, but also to meet new people we might not have spoken with otherwise. The hats given to us by the USDF at the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) National Championships act like a symbol, a honing beacon that identifies other Quiz Challenge participants. Members of different IDA teams across the country, who understand the triumph of coming out of the test after studying as much as you can. And suddenly, instead of sticking to the people we know, we’re seeking connections with those we don’t know but that took the same quiz alongside us. In my opinion, this camaraderie among the Quiz Challenge participants is the true meaning of Intercollegiate Dressage – fostering lifelong connections between collegiate riders who love this beautiful sport.
Some of my fondest memories from being a participant in the USDF/IDA Quiz Challenge occurred through studying. Elise Sund, a First Level rider and one of the captains of the Cazenovia College Equestrian Team in the dressage discipline, and I, a Lower Training rider, studied the rulebook and eTrak as much as we possibly could on top of our regular classes. At times, this entailed studying in what might be considered the most random places: before our Consumer Behavior class started, always leaving the poor professor slightly confused, in the Dining Hall where a college employee commented about how often he saw us leaning over books instead of actually eating, in our Coach’s office, where some of our biggest debates on terminology took place, in the car, at the mall, and at social events that have nothing to do with dressage, or even horses in general. I’m sure that some, like our teammates and our friends that know nothing about the sport or riding, must be relieved now that it’s over. Maybe we’ll finally talk about something else instead of subsections in the rulebook or the difference between Shoulder-In, Travers, and Renvers (spoiler alert: we won’t, but it’s the thought that counts right?). Because the best part of the Quiz Challenge was creating those memories, I will always remember that DR122.4.a states that “blind and visually impaired riders are required to wear a red arm band…” because we talked about this specific rule sitting in our Coach’s office before practice one day. I will always remember our poor ‘non-horsey’ friends who just sigh in fond exasperation when Elise or I brought up something in the rulebook in the middle of watching Netflix’s Queer Eye and suddenly, instead of watching, we’re fully immersed in a conversation that they don’t understand, but are going to listen anyway, and then ask us later to explain it in layman’s terms so they do.
It is these small moments that made this experience so amazing. Elise and I are thankful for the opportunity to create these memories provided to us by the USDF, IDA, and the Cazenovia College Equestrian Team.