The USDF Youth Dressage Rider Recognition Pin Program was created with the goal of involving and educating students in grades 6-12 in the sport of dressage. Upon completion of the program’s required number of volunteer hours and education credits, riders receive a pin and certificate recognizing their accomplishment. Participants must be a USDF Participating or Group Member, and earn volunteer hours, education hours, and qualifying scores at local (unrecognized) or USDF/USEF recognized competitions. To be eligible for this award, participants must also maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA.
In 2022, there were sixteen pin recipients from all areas of the United States. In Region 7, three siblings decided to participate in the program for the first time. Through hard work and perseverance, all three were able to achieve their first year pins. Keep reading to see what each had to say about the program.
Earning the Recognition Pin was fun! We did lots of volunteering at shows, and it was very nice to watch all of the different horses warm up. It was fun to help people get their horses ready before doing their test. We gave the riders East Bay Chapter pins and stickers. It was sometimes very cold though, so we had heating chairs to warm us up.
My favorite part was being a runner, running tests from the judge to the show admin. I got to watch some parts of the tests, and I liked that. I enjoyed organizing all the colorful ribbons with my sisters to hang them up for collection.
I also liked meeting Amelia Newcomb in the Suppleness clinic. She gave all of us helpful tips for training our horses.
This year we attended the New Test Symposium for our education hours, but we haven’t been to any shows yet because our footing at home has been quite bad with the storms, making it difficult to school enough to go to shows yet. But that is okay, because I am getting lots of time to do groundwork and build a partnership by taking care of my horse. He loves hot mashes when it is wet and windy outside.
My favorite part of the USDF Dressage Rider Recognition Pin Program was volunteering at the shows. I loved watching all the horses in the warm-up ring, and I like helping with a quick boot polish or wiping the horses legs down before they went in the show ring, because I enjoy grooming horses.
At one show, in a large plastic tote with all the volunteer supplies, we found a box containing plaques for riders who got scores of 60% or more in their tests. We asked permission to send them out to the riders. Our CDS Chapter Board was happy for us to do this, so we have been writing to and emailing the addresses we have on file to try to get these awards distributed.
Most of these have turned out to be old addresses though, so when we locate the rider and get a current address, we write and send a congratulations card for their success, enclose their plaque, and add in a CDS East Bay sticker or pin from the Chapter Board.
I also enjoyed all my time with my horse!
I was very excited to begin earning this Rider Recognition Pin! My favorite part was the education hours. For my education hours, I attended Starwood’s First Aid Kit webinar and really enjoyed it. I learned that in the physical exam, some common mistakes are allowing the horse to sniff at your hand while you’re measuring respiration rate, and not regularly practicing on your horse to know what is normal.
During the webinar I also learned that when a horse is colicking, you remove all food, don’t exhaust them, and check their heart rate. After a colic, give your horse slow feed changes, a lot of forage and water, and mashes for a few days. I learned a lot, and now it’s easier to recognize when my horse isn’t feeling well.
I also participated in Amelia Newcomb’s groundwork course. The exercises I really wanted to learn were leg yielding and turn on the forehand. I got to work on those exercises, and I really enjoyed it. Additionally, I practiced lunging with my pony, and it improved her transitions on the line.
Volunteering was just as fun. One of the shows I volunteered at, I passed out ribbons and small prizes to people. It was really fun because I got to watch people ride their horses, since I was near the arena.