Meet the L Graduate – Susan Nelson Thibault

(Kimerlee Curyl Photography)

Susan Nelson Thibault lives in Tehachapi, CA with her husband and owns and operates 3L Ranch. She has earned her USDF Bronze Medal. Susan applies horse psychology to every interaction she has with horses. She starts and develops all her horses and clients’ horses in a productive and non-confrontational manner with the main goal being that the horse truly understands what is asked of them. Susan is a lifetime horse lover and competitor. She strives to be an elegant yet effective rider and is, according to her husband, a fanatic about proper biomechanics!

How long have you been involved in the sport?

I have been involved with the sport of dressage for 7 years – horses for 35 years!

How long have you been a USDF member?

I have been a USDF member for 7 years.

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

I wanted more!  I wanted more education, more information, and more guidance on what they are looking for in the show ring. 

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

Nine months over a four-year period but in reality, I studied that entire time, and I still am!  I did Part A, B, C of the L Program in 2014 over a three-month period.  I did D1, D2, and Final Exam in 2018 over a six-month period. Once I started the D sessions, that six-month period was filled with continuous and serious studying!  

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 absolutely want to further my dressage education; but I am not sure yet if I will continue to 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 have not judged a schooling show – yet!

What impact did the program have on your dressage knowledge?

Where do I even begin? The program was phenomenal! It brought an understanding to my dressage education like no other! Part 1 of the program is a fantastic education; but if you really want to see if you truly know it, participate in Part 2 where you get put under pressure and are being judged on your judging!  It was intense pressure but so worth it!

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

Judges want to see two front legs and a smile as you halt at X.

If you mess up a movement and score a 4, don’t let it drag you down, your next movement could be a 10! It happens! 

Riding tactfully is always the best choice to make. 

Tell us about your horse(s).

My horse’s name is Royal Fashion. He is a 10-year-old Hanoverian that I purchased at 2.5 years old.  He is not everyone’s dream horse, but he is MY dream horse, and I am so grateful every time I swing my leg over his back. I started him and have done all the training, and we are getting ready to enter the FEI realms!  We have a partnership like no other!  

Phone: (818) 720-5819


Related Links:

5 Things To Know About USDF’s NEW Virtual Education Series

5 Reasons to Audit a USDF L Education Program Part 1

5 Facts About L Education Program

L Education Program information

USDF Education Programs and Events

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