Meet the L Graduate – Ginger Henderson

Ginger Henderson (Sara Tromba Photography)

Ginger Henderson, an L Graduate with Distinction, currently serves as the president of the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA), an association that provides competition and educational opportunities for collegiate dressage riders across the country. She works as a faculty member, department chair, and dressage coach at Averett University in the Equestrian Studies Department.

How long have you been involved in the sport?

I have been involved in dressage since the 1990’s.

How long have you been a USDF member?

I have been a USDF member for over 20 years.

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

I have a good friend, who is also an IDA coach, that was registered to attend a Part 1. I had been thinking about participating in a program for years, but just kept letting things stop me. Her encouragement helped me take the plunge. I signed up for the same Part 1 and planned to stop there. Before it was finished, I was hooked and looking for a Part 2 to attend.

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

I started in November and took my final exam in September almost 2 years later. My Part 1 was spread out over more months than some, so it can be done more quickly. However, I was glad to have time to study and process between sessions. Part 2 is especially time intensive with the scribing and sitting hours. It may seem like a long time and a big time commitment but you need every ounce of the time, the instruction, and the time spent ringside.

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 would love to eventually become 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 had only recently completed the program when COVID hit. I look forward to being able to judge more in the future.

What impact did the program have on your dressage knowledge?

The program had a tremendous impact on my knowledge. From gaining a better understanding of biomechanics, to developing a clearer way of evaluating collective marks, it was all impactful. Having the opportunity to learn under so many experienced judges was priceless. There is just no substitute for watching many horse/rider combinations and training your eye under expert tutelage.

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

-Judges want to help you and your horse by providing meaningful and accurate comments;

-Basics, basics, basics…. Know and pay attention to the USDF Pyramid of Training;

-Understand the collective marks, it goes back to basics, the movements can only be as good as the collective marks.

-And an additional – Attend a Part 1 no matter who you are, the education is so good!

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

I have attended the Adequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference, many regional clinics, and have been a host for several USDF Instructor/Trainer Program workshops and exams, all of which have been high quality and excellent continuing education opportunities.

Tell us about your horse(s).

I currently have 4 horses. Lilly is a 24-year-old Warmblood cross broodmare and I still own her first born, Pops. He is a 16-year-old Westphalian gelding who now is a school horse in Averett University’s dressage program. I have a nine-year-old Swedish gelding named Felix who is schooling First-Second Level when not dealing with complications of Lyme disease. My current riding horse is Pearl, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare.

Phone: (434) 441-6448


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