Meet the L Graduate – Gale Wolfe

Gale riding Tequila Viola at the extended trot 2016 Cayuga (Maren Boyko Photography)

Gale Wolfe has owned and managed a riding stable for nearly 40 years.  After 30 years of working as an engineer in the environmental field while maintaining the horse stable, Gale retired to live a full-time life as an equestrian in 2008.  A lifelong fan of dressage, (starting back in the 1970’s with USPC) she entered the USDF competition world in 2009, at Fourth Level with her 1992 Friesian mare Beike fan ‘t Zand.  In 2013, Gale & Beike earned their USDF Silver Medal.  Because Beike was 22 years old, in 2015, Gale began training Tequila Viola, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, and in 2017, completed the requirements to earn her USDF Gold Medal, along with the USDF Masters Award for FEI Level.  In 2009, The American Riding Instructors Association certified Gale for six disciplines of equestrian activities, including teaching dressage through Third Level.  Gale uses the basics of dressage for all her training and lessons- dressage, huntseat, jumpers, western, and recreational.

How long have you been involved in the sport?  

Gale with her USDF Gold Medal and Master’s Challenge plaque.

I have been riding horses for nearly 60 years and have owned horses since 1969.

How long have you been a USDF member?  

I have been a member of USDF since 2001.

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

Always looking to participate in educational opportunities, the proximity of the L Program being held by Eastern New York Dressage & Combined Training Association was a perfect match to learn more about dressage training. 

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

The ENYDCTA L Education Program was conducted in one year’s time. Their “A” session was in February of 2014, and they finished the final exam during the second week of October 2014.

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 judge at least two schooling shows per year, which is pretty good for being in the rural Upstate New York area.

What impact did the program have on your dressage knowledge?  

I wholeheartedly believe that the L Education Program was the best equestrian educational activity that I have ever attended, and that’s why I continue to audit additional L Education Program sessions.  What was learned in that program, although designed around Intro through Second Levels, and the review of the importance of the basics, I have used throughout my training to earn my gold medal, and is the complete foundation upon which I have built my lesson and training program.

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

1) The importance of the Pyramid of Training for all aspects of horsemanship. 2) The importance of reading and understanding the Purpose and the Directives of each dressage test. 3) The importance of knowing the correct geometry of the dressage arena, in particular, for the movements, such as the 20-meter circle, straight lines, serpentines, and loops. Circles are circles and corners are corners. 

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

I have attended two good programs:  Janet Foy’s New Test Symposium and Riding Clinic, held at the Chesapeake Institute on April 13 & 14, 2019, and ESDCTA’s February 1, 2020 Judges Round Table held in Gladstone, NJ. With my horse Tequila Viola, I was a demo rider and audited WNYDA’s 2020 L Education Program. 

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.  

Being kept very busy with my 30-stall stable and lesson program, I’m not able to volunteer for as many functions as I would like. However, I was a GM delegate in 2013 for the Cayuga Dressage & Combined Training Association, and I currently serve on that GMO’s Board of Directors. 

Tell us about your horse(s).   

I own 20 horses which are a part of my lesson program. I lost my Friesian mare, Beike, in 2017, and remain heartbroken to this day regarding the loss of this very special horse.  However, I am training Beike’s 2006 Friesian son, Timothy fan Gale’s, and continue to ride my gold medal, 2000 Dutch Warmblood mare, Tequila Viola, using her to demonstrate to my students the movements of dressage.  Tequila is also now schooling over fences, doing so well that I love to take her to the local hunter paces. 

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