Kiersten Vroman is a USDF Certified Instructor at Training-First Level. Along with her husband, she owns and operates three horse boarding/lesson and training facilities in Washington County, New York. About seven years ago, Kiersten shifted her main discipline from eventing to dressage. She says although she still loves jumping a stadium course or galloping cross country, learning the discipline and art of dressage has become her primary goal and focus.
How I got started in dressage: Seven years ago, I bought an untrained three-year-old off a truckload of horses heading to Unadilla auction. I had plans to make an eventer out of him, but my plans burned when Sterling made it clear he did not want to jump. I got him through Beginner Novice eventing and decided it was unfair to both of us to continue eventing. So, it was either sell him or do what he loved… dressage. And that was where my interest in dressage began.
I wanted to get certified because: I decided to attempt the certification process in 2019 when a good friend mentioned that the USDF Instructor/Trainer Program workshops would be somewhat local. I figured it was worth a try and at the least, I would learn more. I completed the workshops in 2019 and was scheduled to test Spring of 2020 when Covid hit. Our testing was rescheduled indefinitely and ended up being in September 2021.
What surprised me the most about the certification process: The process was a bit harder and more involved than I expected. I was impressed with the amount of information covered in the workshops. My teaching and my training have evolved and grown since starting this process and I yet again realize how much more there is to learn.
My horses: I currently have four horses; Sterling, who has competed through Second Level and teaches lessons, Joey, my eventer who just got back from being shown at the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships by a student, TaSuil, a homebred five-year-old ISH, and Chapman, my seventeen-year-old Dutch cross who is helping me get my USDF Bronze Medal while we learn Third Level together. I am lucky to have a super group of horses in training that help me learn every day.
Tip: Do the reading! Whether you want to get certified or just learn, having the theory and reasons behind why we do what we do is immensely helpful. And practice! If you’re going through the certification process, ride, lunge, teach, and clinic as much as you possibly can!