Meet the Committee Chair – Trenna Atkins, L Education Committee


What is your committee’s mission?

To provide a comprehensive educational program for the entire dressage community to learn about the equestrian discipline of dressage from the judge’s point of view.

How long have you been on this committee? 

Since 2003.

How long have you been the committee chair?  

I have served as Vice Chair for the L faculty since 2006 when I was Vice Chair for Marilyn Heath.  When Marilyn retired from Chairman of the L Faculty,  I continued as Vice Chair under current L Committee Chairman Lois Yukins.

How did you get involved in the sport of dressage?  

I started doing dressage first in the early 1970s, and used what I learned for eventing, but eventually found dressage the most interesting part.

How did you get involved with USDF? 

I was a part of USDF since joining Equestrians Institute in the early 1970s.  I’d always been interested in education and after becoming a USEF Senior Dressage judge, I applied to the L Faculty as soon as I could.

How did you get involved in the committee? 

During the first meeting with the faculty, I presented them with a way to move their visual presentations more into what was starting to be standard in classroom teaching.   This included using Powerpoint slides for the presentation and video clips to illustrate the points needed to best get across our ideas to help the L program become more of an education program for everyone and not just for becoming a dressage judge.

What is your favorite part of being involved with this committee? 

The other members who all have a big interest in improving and contributing to the program.

What unique qualifications made you an expert in the committee’s area? 

Many areas I had to learn, but what I brought to the program was my expertise in video editing to bring the education from overhead slideshows to interactive DVDs. Now, the biomechanics of the horse and rider have become a favorite area of mine.

What has been your committee’s greatest accomplishment, or what do you hope to accomplish during your tenure?

I feel my biggest accomplishment is working with the faculty to develop presentations through video clips, which are very well received by program participants, helping them learn by watching and re-watching, even in slow motion.   Working with the USDF staff, the website has also developed a lot of specific content that makes the L Education program much more beneficial.

Do you currently compete in dressage, or have you competed in the past? 

I competed in the past at all levels through Intermediare I.  I’ve also received two annual USDF Horse of the Year awards in Freestyles, which has always been a love of mine.

Please share a favorite dressage-related memory.

One of my most cherished dressage-related memories is the mentoring that the late Edgar Hotz would do for me, constantly challenging with questions and possibilities.   It was wonderful calling him a friend.

What horse impacted your love for the sport the most?  

There were too many but each one were my best teachers.  Learning to really listen to each horse made a big impact on me.

Trenna Atkins was recognized by USDF as USDF’s Volunteer of the Year in 2012. 

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