By Elizabeth Kness
Since joining IDA in 2019, the world of collegiate dressage has opened a wealth of opportunities for me to build on my knowledge, and ability as a rider. One of the most significant opportunities available was the USDF/IDA Quiz Challenge. Both the quiz itself, and the amazing grand prize, were invaluable; preparing for the quizzes prompted my interest in learning easily overlooked technicalities of dressage.
Spending a weekend in Florida, immersed in the dressage community as last year’s winner, was an additional and momentous perk. The entire experience was accessible and informative, and the quizzes prioritized knowledge of the basics of the sport. Completing USDF University courses, and studying the rulebook, were things I wouldn’t have known to spend a lot of time on otherwise, but I realize now how valuable these resources are. To potential participants, I recommend embracing study materials as a supplement to what you learn in riding lessons and dressage shows—they are complementary, and you might be surprised how much you already know from experience.
The highlights of participating in Quiz Challenge for me were the final round at IDA Nationals, and going to the USDF/USEF Young Rider Graduate Program (YRGP) as the grand prize winner. Over the course of two days at the YRGP, top professionals from a variety of fields presented on topics ranging from equine law, to being a working student, to marketing your brand. I believe the speakers’ expertise and perspectives were useful, no matter what goals each of the attendees are pursuing.
As a participant in the YRGP, I was also eligible to attend the FEI-Level Trainers Conference the following two days. Observing incredible riders and horses under the instruction of Lilo Fore, Linda Zang, Henk van Bergen, and David Hunt took my knowledge of dressage to the next level. Beyond being an especially fun weekend full of my favorite topic, the YRGP and the Adequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference also represented an opportunity for me to begin the transition from collegiate rider to adult amateur pursuing my riding goals out in the wild, and this was all possible because of the Quiz Challenge!
Thank you to USDF, USEF, and TDF for making these programs available, to all the presenters at YRGP and the Adequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference for sharing your wisdom, and to my Rutgers dressage coach and teammates for making the process so much fun!