Meet the L Graduate – Debbie Morrison

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Debbie Morrison has earned her USDF Bronze and Silver Medals. She has competed at Dressage at Devon, Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships, and the competitive Wellington Dressage show season. She had an Oldenburg GOV breeding program for almost ten years and often went to Europe to scout out talented sport horses. Currently, Debbie lives in Oxford, PA, at her farm, Transitions Farm, with her son Max where they have eight horses, three dogs, and two sphynx cats. She is also president and co-owner of Horses 4 Your Consideration (H4YC). H4YC is a Sport Horse Marketplace and Services web app. Debbie loves connecting buyers and sellers with horses through H4YC. She does interviews with professional equestrians, adult amateurs, and equine companies on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Debbie enjoys being an advocate for the equine community and the sport! 

How long have you been involved in the sport?

I have been riding since I was seven years old. I remember my mom taking me to the track and I was like “WOW look at the horses!” In the next few weeks, I was taking lessons. I lived at the barn. I loved it and rode any horse or pony I could get my hands on. I really became involved in just dressage in the early 90s. I bought my first warmblood, a Trakehner named Cadance, in 1994. In 1995, I competed at Dressage at Devon in the breed show, and I was hooked.

How long have you been a USDF member?

I have been a USDF member since 1995.

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

I was competing and had students competing. I really wanted to know what the judges were looking for when I was riding in the competitions and how to train all the horses correctly in the basics. I would scribe at horse shows and I was fascinated by the judging.  

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

I was in the 2007  USDF L Education Program put on by Delaware Valley Combined Training Association. The DVCTA has always been big on education. I was in it for about a year and a half and completed the program in 2008.

Do you plan to further your dressage education and to continue to apply what you learned in the program to become a licensed official?

The plan was to progress to the USEF/USDF “r” Training Program, but I got pregnant in 2009 with my son. I knew what a big commitment the L Education Program was and that I couldn’t juggle the farm and being a mom with all the travel. I think about it from time to time, especially when I am judging!

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

In 2019, I judged 14 schooling shows and in 2020, I judged 7 shows. I judge dressage schooling shows, starter (eventing) horse trials, Pony Club, and 4-H shows. 

What impact did the program have on your dressage knowledge? 

It had a HUGE impact on the way I show. Reading about and watching the positioning of the horse in the different movements helped the way I trained mine and my students’ horses. Knowing the footfalls- when I would go to purchase horses, it made my eye sharper looking at the conformation and movement of the horses. The information I acquired in the L Education Program is invaluable. I also made forever dressage friends!

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

1) Educate yourself in the general principles of biomechanics in the gaits and the movements. Having knowledge of biomechanics improves your skills as riders, trainers, and judges. 

2) Work on your vocabulary. Know the meaning of the words and how to properly use them when you are teaching.   

3)Volunteer and SCRIBE. The best time I had in the program (and for the last 12 years) is when I sat or scribed for USEF or FEI judges. Nothing is better than learning from people who have been there and done that. And you meet some interesting people along the way!

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

Being an L Graduate, we have to do continuing education. I have been to Gladstone, NJ, for the judges’ forum, attended the USDF Sport Horse Seminar, and the Adequan/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference in Florida.

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.

In 2012 I went to the Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention in New Orleans as a PM delegate because somebody couldn’t go, and I was next in line at the last minute. It was a blast!

Tell us about your horse(s)

At the moment, I have 3:

Sarotti (Sandro Hit/Rubinstein) Nickname “BIG”- 15-year-old 17.3 hand Oldenburg GOV imported gelding. We have shown to Intermediate 1. He is now doing the Jr/YRs and teaching the locals dressage. He is my heart horse and loves to work. 

Solist (Sandro Hit/Hohenstein) Three-year-old Hanoverian gelding. I picked him out of the Hanoverian auction when he was four months old. He is a very talented horse. His half-brother is Beltano, an approved breeding stallion, now gelded and ridden by Guenter Seidel. They have the same dam.

Finest Hour P (Fidertanz/Romanov) three-year-old American Hanoverian gelding bred by Andrea Hayden in Florida. He is small (I like big horses) but has the heart of Sarotti and is a blast to ride!  

Phone: (610) 368-1677                                                                                  

Email: transfarm@zoominternet.net

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