Secrets of the USDF Training Manual

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Chelsey Burris photo

By Suzanne Krauss

If the truth ever comes out to my husband of just how much money we have spent on horseback riding lessons, I think this emoji says it all: 😅

I’ve been told “it’s all just part of the journey, let it go!” But still, I try to justify the money spent all the time. Board is going up at least another $100 (maybe $200) in a few months. I calculate quickly in my head, that’s just a little over three (maybe six) dollars per day. That’s less than my favorite skinny vanilla latte! Of course we’ll find a way to come up with the extra money for board! 

I don’t think lessons are an option to take out of that equation. We spent (what was for us), a bundle on Olover2.0. I also can’t take training out of the picture, it’s too important for the goal – getting my USDF Bronze Medal. 

I lesson weekly with my trainer.  She is half my age, and she has double my wisdom on so many levels. I do have to say though, at her age, I had given birth to and breastfed three children. We walked different life paths, so maybe we can call it kind of even. We all have our passions! I am truly thankful that she decided to concentrate on horses; I don’t know where I would be without her. In addition to my weekly lesson, I try to ride monthly with two other trainers, who are both judges. They come to my sandbox, and for that, I am fortunate.

There are so many opportunities to learn dressage, but WHO KNEW one of the most obvious resources would be right there, available on my USDF Dashboard? That is where I ordered my USDF Training Manual.

This is the same document that is required reading for those aspiring to become USDF Certified Instructors and L Graduates. I ordered it from USDF and it came to my home in the mail. It was a spiral bound 95-page, double-sided document. A friend even says she downloaded it on her Kindle!?

The USDF Training Manual has given me the prescribed definitions of everything that may have ever confused me about riding. Seriously.

USDF has written and endorsed something that is concise and accurate. And like the tests, to the point. The manual reminded me of the simpleness of the double-sided dressage test score sheets we get to bring home from horse shows. The one we rode our hearts out with our partner. The one where a scribe quickly short hands a translation of what the judge says while they watch us ride our heart out with our partner. The page where a single person we have trusted, to not judge us personally, lets us know how we are doing with our training. That same test allows us to digest the number on a scale of 0-10, how the judge has scaled each one of our hard ridden movements.The judge then gets to sum us up on the back page for an overall score of where we are in our training. 

The USDF Training Manual feels like an abbreviated Classical Training of the Horse. It is complete with definitions, solutions, evaluations, qualities, warm ups, gymnastic purposes, aids, suppleness, USDF Pyramid of Training, engagement, common mistakes, training advice, and more. It is such a tremendous supplement to lessons.

My manual has the pages 26-31 tagged(for now). These pages contain SO much information about the walk, trot, and canter! WHO KNEW?  I didn’t. Just being honest.

Suzanne Roantree Krauss 

We can go through the levels and not know what we are aiming for. The USDF Training Manual isn’t just for those aiming to become Certified Instructors or L Graduates, it is a resource that might help us all!! 

Suzanne Roantree Krauss is an AA rider and is a Radio/TV On Air News Journalist.  Suzanne hosts with Heidi-Hauri Gill/USDF Instructor& L-Judge a Spotify Podcast for beginner dressage riders “HEIDI” Honest Educational Instructional Dressage Information. Read more about what Suzanne found on her USDF Member Dashboard in Who Knew?

Interested in picking up a copy of the USDF Training Manual?  You can purchase one here, available in hardcopy or on Kindle.

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