Meet the L Graduate – Cindy Thaxton


Cindy Thaxton gained an interest in dressage after riding a jumper in 1980. When she turned professional in 1985, she decided to start learning dressage as an adjunctive learning experience to her hunter/equitation program. Cindy kept training in a dual program until her business could no longer do both. She chose dressage. Cindy is currently a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist and only needs two scores to earn her USDF Gold Medal.  

How long have you been involved in the sport?

I have been involved with dressage since 1986.

How long have you been a USDF member?

I have been a USDF member since the 90s.

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

I had, unfortunately, put it off far too long. The idea of sitting still for an entire weekend never settled with me. So, I gave the program to myself, for my 50th birthday. 

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

The process was 2 years because our group was so large.

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. I judge schooling shows between 6-10 times per year.

What impact did the program have on your dressage knowledge?

I had judged only twice prior to the L Education Program. I had no system, no habits. I only had performance anxiety. I loved using my bio mechanical background and subscribing a system of numbers to it. 

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

The goal of the program is to support competitors. They are the CUSTOMER. Without competitors, there is no competition. So be constructive.  Judging isn’t training. 

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

I have participated in the USDF Instructor/Trainer Program and am certified through Second Level. I am a HUGE fan. There is so much knowledge and support in that program. 

Tell us about your horse(s).

My competition horses are in their 20’s and now giving back to select riders to learn how to create things from minimum aids. I’m also blessed to be able to train clients’ horses to keep them tuned or improve their knowledge on the owners’ behalf. I spent my career with that being my specialty- to teach how to communicate better between the two parties. 

Related Links:

Meet the L Graduate – Heather Dostal

L Education Program information

5 Reasons to Audit a USDF L Education Program Part 1

Dressage4Kids Team Building

USDF Education Programs and Events


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