Meet the Certified Instructor – Dolly Hannon

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Dolly Hannon is a USDF Certified Instructor through Fourth Level, member of the USDF Instructor/Trainer Program Faculty, a USEF ‘S’ Dressage Judge, and currently serving as USDF Freestyle Committee Chair. Dolly enjoys educating riders to better communicate with their horses, improve their basics, and establish strong relationships with their horses so that they live long and healthy lives. She travels all over the US, teaching, hosting symposia and clinics, and judging dressage shows.

How did you get started in dressage?

I was a student at Colorado State University and took some riding classes for gym credit, where I met my first dressage instructor, Melinda Weatherford, and was forever hooked.

Why did you decide to become a USDF Certified Instructor?

I wanted to get certified because I feel that credentials are very important, and I wanted to improve my teaching and training skills. Also, because my trainer Lindy was working on becoming certified, as well. We were both very involved in USDF’s Instructor/Trainer Program and attended all the first workshops offered in Colorado, with Major Anders Lindgren. I was surprised that Maj Lindgren could take a group of riders and horses of different levels and have them perform an intricate quadrille pattern after two sessions. I started at the beginning of the certification program and am proud to be a part of its development and growth. I am now apprenticing to be a member of the USDF L Program Faculty.

What do you feel is the most valuable thing you learned from the certification program?

I learned how to have a lesson plan, teach a group lesson, how to long line and lunge a rider properly , and how to have a professional demeanor and attitude. 

Tell us about your horses.

I have had many horses and several wonderful schoolmasters over the years, including Firmus, who I was long listed for the Olympic Sports Festival on. My horse Electra is a very special Dutch Warmblood mare, who challenges me to be more aware of my balance, and is so sensitive. It is all about my equitation being correct to keep her happy. Electra and I have shown successfully together and hope to show again next year in a musical freestyle.

Do you have any tips for young riders or those interested in becoming USDF Certified Instructors?

Young trainers need to have guidance to develop their teaching skills, and the program definitely helps refine this important part of teaching dressage concepts correctly. 

Teaching is the most rewarding, and can be the most challenging, part of the profession.

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