Evelyn Pfoutz has been doing dressage since age 14, as an eventer. She competed in eventing, hunters, jumpers, western pleasure, and started focusing on more advanced dressage in college. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Equestrian Studies from Lake Erie College and is a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medalist, having also received her Bronze, Silver, and Gold Freestyle Bars. Evelyn trains and gives lessons at her home in Westminster, MD (Cool Breeze Dressage) as well as traveling to lessons and clinics, and has helped numerous students to earn their USDF medals, as well.
How long have you been involved in the sport?
I started focusing specifically on dressage in college, in 1986, after watching the video “Riding for America”. However, being an eventer, I already understood the importance of dressage and its benefits for all disciplines and all breeds of horses.
How long have you been a USDF member?
Since 1986 when I started competing in recognized dressage shows.
What made you decide to participate in the USDF L Education Program?
One of my college professors told me I had a “good eye”, to see the problem and what to do to fix it. She suggested I look into becoming a judge and I took her advice. The benefits have been great in many areas and I have been able to provide better information and instruction to my students.
How long did it take to complete the program, start to finish?
It took about a year to complete the program that I attended in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2002.
Do you plan to further your dressage education and to continue to apply what you learned in the program to become a licensed official?
At the moment I am quite happy doing what I do, providing education and encouragement, and don’t plan on becoming a licensed official in the near future. I continue my education constantly by attending yearly judges’ forums, scribing for judges at recognized shows, and participating in other educational programs.
Do you serve as a judge for schooling shows in your capacity as an L Graduate? If so, on average, how many per year?
Yes, I judge about 15-18 schooling shows per year. I also do “Fix a Test” clinics several times a year which I find most rewarding.
What impact did the program have on your dressage knowledge?
USDF’s L Education Program opened a whole new level in my teaching and training of others. I see things from the judge’s perspective, then am able to fix them from the trainer’s perspective. I feel like I have so much more to offer now.
Name three things you took away from the program that you think every rider should know.
Accuracy is important because it shows that the horse is on your aids and doing what you ask.
What a judge sees and what the rider feels are not always the same.
There are pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters in judging. As a rider you should focus on the dimes and quarters, (like connection, balance, submission). If those happen then the pennies and nickels will fall into place (like accuracy).
Have you participated in or completed other USDF programs? Describe.
Through continuing education I earned my USDF University Certificate in 2003 and my USDF University Diploma in 2017.
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 the past I was a board member for the Potomac Valley Dressage Association (PVDA), President of the International Equestrian Organization (IEO), and President of the New Market Chapter of the PVDA. I also served many years as secretary and treasurer of the IEO and New Market Chapter of the PVDA.
Tell us about your horse(s).
I’ve had some amazing horses in my life that I am eternally grateful for. Pictured is my late Grand Prix horse, Fillipe, who was a Dutch warmblood. He taught me more than any person ever could. My current horse, Beste Inspiration (aka Rosie), has been a joy. She is an 18-hand Hanoverian/Thoroughbred that I started as a 3-year-old. We started out winning the Bengt Ljungquist Memorial Championships at Training Level and First Level Musical Freestyle in 2014 and 2015. Then, with on and off lameness issues (for both of us), we’ve not been able to get out as much as we would have liked. We did show at Prix St. Georges (PSG) last summer and were ready to come out PSG/Intermediate I this spring, but a torn collateral ligament and suspensory branch has put that on hold for a while longer.