My blood runs cold when I hear the phrase “leadline dressage.” The worst judging experience I ever had involved a leadline dressage class. Recently, I was working on the program for Lendon Gray’s Youth Dressage Festival, which takes place in New York, and there is a leadline test printed there. I try hard to skip right past that page…
I judged a rail-type leadline class once at a recognized dressage show that was quite large and had a big audience. I recall a clear moment of panic on my part. I asked each child a question that I thought would be easy and fun for them to answer while they were lined up at the end.
One little girl looked me straight in the eye and wouldn’t answer. I asked her pony’s color. Nothing. I asked her pony’s favorite treat. Nothing. I asked what the strap was called that she was holding. Nothing. I asked her pony’s name. Nothing. Finally, I asked her to pet her pony, which she did right away. The applause was thunderous.
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