Debbie began riding at 8 years of age. She took her first horse, a leopard Appaloosa named Dot to Dot, successfully through Training Level. At 15, she acquired a fox hunter named Wild Bill Cody.  They competed together through Intermediate.

During those years Debbie was a member of the Covered Bridge Pony Club where she competed numerous times at the Pony Club National Championships.  She received the "Calvary Award" for the highest placing Pony Clubber at Radnor in 1998. She is still very active with the Pony Club and administers many of their testings locally every year.

In 1997 she began training with Torrance Watkins in Middleburg, Virginia.  During her early days with Torrance she did her first CDCTA CCI* in Middleburg placing 10th.

In October 1998, she finished 10th out of 60 at Radnor in the CIC**. The next year was spent working at Torrance's Morning Field Farm in Massachusetts.  

In July 1999, Debbie finished 10th individually and 3rd in team competition at the North American Young Riders Championships CCI**.

In 2001 Debbie and her newly purchased off the track thoroughbred, Amiano, competed successfully from Beginner Novice through Intermediate.  They began to train with the renowned Ralph Hill in 2003 and successfully completed two CCI*'s before his career was cut short in September 2008. His Career Highlights included:
  • Second Place
    FENCE HT - Intermediate/Preliminary IP
  • Ninth Place
    The Fork HT - Preliminary
  • Seventh Place
    Poplar Place Farm HT - Intermediate
  • Fifth Place
    Hunter's Run HT - Intermediate
  • Ninth Place
    Kentucky Classique HT - Intermediate

Debbie's horse Maxfli came from Second Stride in early 2009. They are well on the way to forging a successful show career and are currently competing at the Intermediate Level and are aiming for their first CCI2** in 2014. Debbie is also competing at the Novice level with her young mare, Fancee Schmancee

Debbie has ridden with many world-renowned trainers including: Buck Davidson, Jan Bynny, Jimmy Wofford, Jim Graham, Alex Gerding, Leslie Law, Mark Combs, Lynn Coates-Holmes, Missy Ransenhousen, Denny Emerson, Phillip Dutton, Lucinda Green, Michelle Gibson, Peter Grey, Jennifer Hollings and Dorothy Crowell.

Eventing Instruction and Training

Debbie's eventing instruction centers around setting attainable goals while maintaining equal progress in all three phases of eventing.

Dressage Instruction and Training
Debbie centers much of her instruction around the classical German Training Scale which consists of six building blocks. The six steps in order are:

1- Rhythm: It is the result of mental and physical relaxation. When the horse is relaxed, he is able to step into the natural rhythm of the four natural gaits: walk, trot, canter, and the rein-back.

2- Suppleness: A dressage horse is ultimately an athlete, and every athlete requires a certain degree of flexibility. Suppleness is the looseness and flexibility of the horse’s body.

3- Contact: When the horse is accepting the rider’s hands, seat, and legs, it is said that he is offering good contact. Good contact is when the horse accepts and responds to seat and leg aids while maintaining a round outline with a mouth that is relaxed and accepting the bit.

4- Impulsion: Free-flowing energy initiated by the rider, causing the horse’s back to swing, his quarters to engage, and his forelegs to articulate is impulsion. Good impulsion is mirrored through a horse that appears to have an innate desire to go forward with active, lively steps.

5- Straightness: Horses are naturally crooked, so straightening them is the job of the rider/trainer. For example, many horses canter with their quarters slightly in. Crookedness is caused by uneven lateral suppleness, i.e. one side stiffer than the other, and a weaker hind leg. Good training focuses on developing both sides and hind legs of the horse equally, which eventually leads to absolute straightness.

6- Collection: The pinnacle of the Training Pyramid, collection is the ultimate goal for the dressage horse. Collection involves the lowering of the croup, lightness of the forehand, and shorter and higher steps.

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