Meet the L Graduate – Linda Currie

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Linda Currie is a USDF Silver Medalist and L Graduate with Distinction. She has many competitive accomplishments including multiple wins at the Great American/USDF Region 8 Championships & NEDA Fall Festival, and a Championship win at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®. Originally from Ottawa, Canada, Linda worked in the video game industry for 35 years before changing careers to pursue other investments. She now resides in Holliston, Massachusetts.

How long have you been involved in the sport?

I began riding when I was 8 years old in the typical hunter/equitation type of program. In the early 90s, I purchased a young horse as a hunter prospect that just didn’t want to jump, and this led me to completely change my discipline and embrace dressage. I was 26 at the time.

How long have you been a USDF member?

I began showing in the US in 2009 (I had lived in Canada for many years) and joined to compete at the NEDA Spring Show which was my first recognized show. 

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

I had been heavily involved as an officer in a local non-profit dressage association that ran great schooling shows. As I stood on the sidelines, I always had thoughts about what I was seeing. When my time as an officer ended, I had this idea that I would participate in the L Education Program, you know, just for fun, so I could perhaps still participate in the shows they ran. I really had no idea what I was about to start!

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

The first session of Part 1 took place in October of 2013, and I took the final exam in September of 2014.

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 continue. I have been accepted into the  USEF/USDF “r” Dressage Judge Training Program and am on a waitlist for a program to start that has an available spot.

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 do like to judge for schooling shows and judge on average about four times a year.

What impact did the program have on your dressage knowledge?

I came away understanding so much more about the scores that I received when I competed and what elements in my riding I could focus on that would not only help my scores but also my horses’ training.  I do feel I had a pretty decent foundation of knowledge going into it. I’ve done a lot of reading about theory and training, spent a lot of time watching great riding, both in-person and via training videos, and in my early years of learning, I was fortunate to have some great in-depth conversations about dressage with the coach I worked with at the time. All of these things helped develop that foundation, and I feel the L Program helped bring all the pieces I had accumulated independently from these different efforts into a more cohesive level of understanding. My eye became so much better, and I could see the nuances more quickly. I gained a greater appreciation of the progression of training and why it is so critical, and the impact of biomechanics became clearer. Through this, my own riding improved. I mentioned that I started the program just for fun. That really changed as I continued through the program, and I became more motivated and determined, and as a result, got so much more out of it than I ever expected.  

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

First: Judges really do want you to do well. Even though I am not a nervous competitor, I think a part of me used to be a little afraid of those judges in the booths. I perceived that they always wanted to find something wrong. What I learned was that it is the opposite. As I scribed for many judges, it was clear that they really wanted to see movements performed well and when that was not happening, they did not enjoy giving the corresponding poor scores at all!

Second: Even if you do not plan to actually judge anything, and even if you don’t compete but just want to do the best you can training your horse, the program offers great insights.  

Third: When I started the program, I thought it would be “easy” and that judging really couldn’t be that hard. After all, I always had those thoughts from the sidelines, right? Well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth! What an eye opener it was! It is really hard work to watch tests for hours and hours in conditions that could include hot/cold/wind/rain/dust/bugs, you name it. It takes a lot of concentration, you can’t simply take a break when you feel like (careful how much coffee you drink in the morning), you have to be cognizant of time so you need to craft comments that are succinct but also useful. I gained an enormous amount of respect for the judges who have devoted so much time to their craft!

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

I have attended events like the USEF Dressage Judges Clinic and Adequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference.

Tell us about your horse(s).

I have two FEI level horses. Frost is a ten-year-old KWPN who I purchased as he was coming four. He has competed through Prix St. Georges. We took this past year off from competition as he had developed some tension issues and that decision is rewarding me in spades. Taking a step back to really focus on harmony vs. test movements has really transformed the two of us. We are currently schooling most of the Grand Prix (minus the 1s) and I am very proud of what I am accomplishing with him. I now refer to him as Frost 2.0! Zodan is a 16-year-old KWPN who I began riding when he was 10. He had a very green change at the time. I’ve competed him through Intermediate 1, and we have developed a very strong relationship. He has such “try” that he’s surprised me a little with what he is capable of. He, too, is schooling most of the Grand Prix (he doesn’t quite understand the concept of piaffe, but he sure has an impressive passage, and we are actively training the 1s which frankly blows my mind sometimes).  And finally, just this year, I’ve acquired a five-year-old Westphalian named Cadillac (because who doesn’t buy more horses in a pandemic, right?). He’s got great potential, and I’m excited to be working with him as he really has a fantastic temperament and work ethic. 

Phone: (617) 974-4441

Email: lmcjixa@gmail.com

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