Sarah Silva is a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medalist based in northern Nevada. Sarah enjoys teaching adults and children of all levels, with a focus on helping each student achieve their riding goals. Sarah loves working with all types of horses and specializes in optimizing each horse’s strengths and improving their natural movement. She is currently showing her home-bred gelding Micah at Prix St. Georges and is excited to move up to Intermediate II in the 2021 show season!
How long have you been involved in the sport?
I have been involved in the dressage for 21 years beginning with a year-long internship at the age of 18.
How long have you been a USDF member?
I have been a USDF member for 21 years.
What made you decide to participate in the USDF L Education Program?
I decided to participate in the USDF L Education Program to improve my teaching eye and to pursue the goal of becoming a USEF-Licensed Dressage judge.
How long did it take to complete the program, start to finish?
It took me three years to complete the L Education Program.
Do you plan to further your dressage education and to continue to apply what you learned in the program to become a licensed official?
I do plan to pursue becoming a licensed official.
Do you serve as a judge for schooling shows in your capacity as an L Graduate? If so, on average, how many per year?
I generally judge 2-3 schooling shows per year.
What impact did the program have on your dressage knowledge?
The L Education Program impacted my teaching a great deal. Not only did it give me a much better eye, but it also gave me a much better idea of what to actually look at to determine basics. It also improved my ability to dissect a test and look at the directives to figure out how to best ride a movement.
Name three things you took away from the program that you think every rider should know.
I think every rider should look at the purpose of the level and the directives of each movement to understand what the judge is looking for. It helps immensely in understanding the training process if you look at what each level requires. Another takeaway is how to use your horse’s strengths in a test. If you have a very obedient horse who maybe doesn’t have extravagant gaits, you can show that off by nailing the center lines, halts, rein backs, and transitions. A third takeaway is to read the judge’s final comments and look over the entire test to understand the whole theme of what you need to work on. It isn’t just about small mistakes; try to see the bigger picture to really impact your training.
Tell us about your horse(s).
I am currently riding and competing on my gelding Micah. He is an American Warmblood/Hanoverian cross that I bred, out of my Grand Prix American Warmblood mare. Micah is an energetic, eager to please guy, who is a pleasure to ride and train. I am currently showing him Prix St. Georges in order to get the scores I need to move on in the judging program. He is schooling all of the Grand Prix movements with a special aptitude for passage.