As the eventing community hunkers down to weather out the pandemic, everyone has been looking for ways to keep busy. FEI Level II and USEF “R” Eventing Judge Amanda Miller was feeling discouraged after three of her next judging gigs had been canceled due to the coronavirus. “I was supposed to judge three FEI events in a row over the next three weekends - Carolina, Stable View, and The Fork – all of which had to cancel. Feeling devastated and lost, I was searching for an answer.”
“Every morning I was waking up thinking this was all just a bad dream,” Miller said. “Until you logged into social media or turned on the news. Just like a lot of people I’m a person who plans everything, but no one could have ever planned this.”
Miller explained that an idea for how she could give back to the community struck her last weekend. The North Carolina State University dressage team was planning to go to a show, but it was canceled. “They were going to their home farm to ride through the tests they worked so hard on and I asked one of the girls, ‘Do you have someone to judge it?’ I said I would be happy to! One of the girls was a senior and this was her last ride for IDA and she was dressed and braided, her family was there to support her, and I was so glad I was sitting at C for that moment.”
“I went home and thought how can I help others who have worked so hard for an upcoming event? How can I offer a glimpse of hope? That is when I thought of offering for you to still ride your test at home recorded from C and I would be happy to judge it! Seemed like a win-win!”
So, Miller put out a statement on Facebook inviting riders to send in videos of their dressage tests, filmed from C, and she would judge the test and provide her feedback in return. “I know these times are tough and I was thinking of ways to keep everyone motivated and pressing forward,” she said in her post.
“Judging is my absolute passion,” Miller explained. “My fellow officials have truly become my family. We all love what we do and lead the same sort of path in life. I have been so lucky to judge with some amazing people. The best part is making positive influences in riders lives, one ride at a time!”
“This is such an uncertain time. I’m truly trying to find the silver lining and using this time to get to some things I haven’t gotten to in a while. I’m not really good at relaxing but I might try that sometime as well. Hopefully everyone can find something that could improve someone’s outlook on the situation and bring light!”
Miller said she’s already received a few tests to judge in just over a day. “If anyone is interested I’m happy to judge! Since video files can be large to send via email, please upload to YouTube, Google Drive, or send over Whatsapp. Email any questions to [email protected] or Facebook messenger!”
Is there something you’re doing to give back to the equestrian community? We want to hear from you! Send your stories to [email protected] for the opportunity to be featured.
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