The Little GMO that Could… And Did!
by Joanne Coy

littlegmo8x10Just like the little engine that could, our GMO has chugged up some major hills these past few years to accomplish some pretty big tasks. In the fall of 2012, Glass-Ed hosted Part 1 of the USDF Learner Judging Program, also known as the L Program. This consisted of three separate two-day educational seminars in the classroom, coupled with live riding demonstrations at Mystic Marsh Farm. It was a pretty big order, with 35 participants in attendance, many of whom flew or drove in from various parts of the country. We not only provided the venues, but also provided lunch, snacks, technology assistance and numerous volunteers who helped out in countless ways. The participants and instructors were very impressed with how well organized we were, and we were asked by many when we would be putting on Part 2 of the program.

We laughed when we heard this question, of course, because we knew that putting on Part 2 of the program would be even more intense than Part 1. Although Part 2 only allows ten students in the program at a time, it requires a classroom setting, as well as a live dressage show with classes from training through second level to host the program.

The L Program is designed to educate, evaluate and certify those who wish to become dressage schooling show judges. Requirements for candidates include successful scores through second level, and participation in all of the Part 1 (A, B, and C) classes before advancing to Part 2. Part 2 (termed D, E, and the final exam) must be done at a live horse show so that the candidates can gain practical judging experience. The final exam involves oral judging with two examiners (who are USDF L Faculty members) as well as judging complete tests with a scribe. Candidates must also pass an intense written exam, which tests the candidate’s knowledge of USDF AND USEF rules, as well as the practical knowledge needed to perform the duties of a dressage judge. Another requirement that must be fulfilled by the candidates includes 10 hours of “sitting” with recognized judges at approved horse shows, as well as 12 hours of scribing with recognized judges. Suffice it to say, the program definitely prepares the candidates to become qualified schooling show judges.

Glass-Ed hosted Part 2 sessions D and E (in other words, two separate weekends) at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, just outside Cleveland, this past April and June. The final exam took place at the Hoosier Horse Park near Indianapolis, Indiana, in August (in 98 degree weather, I might add). Each of these venues for Part 2 were approximately a 5 hour drive from West Michigan, but our volunteers gave up their time to help out for the “good of the cause”. When your Glass-Ed board talked about putting on this program way back in 2011, I’m sure they had no idea how much work it would involve, but, like the little engine that could, the board members said, “I think we can,” and chugged on up the hill.

Glass-Ed President Janice Smith, Board Member, Bernadette Radke, and Glass-Ed Secretary, Joanne Coy are proud to say that they are L Program Graduates. They know firsthand how much work went into putting on the program, because they saw it, and benefited from it. They saw our volunteers going the distance (literally) to help out. They saw Ashley Smith, our main organizer for Part 2, running out to make copies of tests at midnight in Cleveland at the local Kinko’s, which was just one of the many many things she did to make sure the program ran smoothly. We are convinced she could supplement her income by being a wedding planner, as this was a comparable task! If we could please have Ashley stand, along with all the volunteers who made Part 1 and Part 2 of our L Program possible, please, so everyone can see who helped to make this program possible. Thank you, everyone, for being part of the engine that drives this organization.

Although our GMO is small, we are mighty. We provide educational opportunities, horse show opportunities, and host USDF programs that are attended by dressage enthusiasts from all over the country. We are the “little GMO that could”–and did.

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