Meet the L Graduate – Karen Mahaffey


My name is Karen Mahaffey. I live in Sanford, North Carolina with my husband Mark and daughter Rebecca. Together we run a small private barn that offers lessons and training. I have a B.S. in Animal Science from Clemson University and have competed through the CCI *** and Fourth Level dressage, as well as earned my Bronze Medal.

How long have you been involved in the sport?

I have been involved in the sport for at least thirty years.

How long have you been a USDF member?

For as long as I can remember!

What made you decide to participate in the USDF L Education Program?

I wanted to learn more and become a judge. And give back to the sport.

How long did it take to complete the program, start to finish?

It took about two years to complete the 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?

Yes! I am working on the rest of my scores at Fourth level.

Do you serve as a judge for schooling shows in your capacity as an L Graduate? If so, on average, how many per year?

Yes, I judge at about 4-5 schooling shows a year.

What impact did the program have on your dressage knowledge?

The L Education Program greatly improved my teaching, confidence, and knowledge of biomechanics. It improved my knowledge in so many areas!

Name three things you took away from the program that you think every rider should know.

READ the directives on the test; judges are there to encourage, not discourage; use your tests to help improve your riding.

Have you participated in or completed other USDF programs? Describe.

I have participated in Musical Freestyle seminars, audited Instructor/Trainer Program Workshops and many online further education videos. USDF is wonderful about providing many opportunities for further education!

Have you served in any other official capacity with USDF (council/committee member, council/committee chair, PM/GM delegate, board member/Regional Director, etc.)? Please describe.

I have been a Board Member of North Carolina Dressage & Combined Training Association for about seven years.

Phone: (919) 499-3734


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