By Stacy Gormley
For Dani Judy, success will be a normal feeling throughout her lifetime. The 21 year old senior at San Diego State University in California has a lot to look forward to. Dani was born in San Diego and has lived there all of her life. She started riding at age 8 and has been addicted ever since. Dani’s father is a vet, so she spent most of her childhood riding in the truck with him to make farm calls. Dani began her riding career on paint horses and converted to dressage at the age of 13. It wasn’t until April of 2001 that she rode and owned a warm blood for the first time.
Dani saw Anteaus, at the time a 7 year old first level horse on a video and knew immediately that she had to have him. Anteaus is now an 11 year old 17 hand high bay Oldenburg gelding by Akzent II. She bought him off the video and got right to work. She soon discovered that “Anty” has some significant confidence issues. Dani remembers needing to have a person on the ground lead him around the dressage arena everyday.
The Classical Way to Reach a Goal
Anty seemed to be scared of his own shadow, but that didn’t stop Dani. She took the next four years carefully working him up the levels with her trainer, Debbie Robinson. “I love Debbie because she is a perfectionist. She always puts the horses’ concerns first and she truly loves her horses. Another thing that I really respect about her is her efforts to continue her education. There is always something new that you can learn about horses!”
The three took their time and trained classically and correctly, and it paid off big time. On their resume so far, the pair boasts 2 Region 7 Championships at 2nd level and at 4th level along with the USDF 3rd Level Horse of the Year Championship for Young Riders. In 2004, they made the Region 7 NAYRC Team and took home a Team Gold Medal along with a 5th place overall finish on their first year.
Improving Her Standing
Going into this competition of the 2005 North American Young Riders’ Championships, Dani wanted to improve her standing. “I wanted to ride clean tests and be a little more polished than last year.” Dani gained important experience as a veteran of the highly charged competition which is for many, the pinnacle goal of their Young Rider career. The difference between earning a medal is based on not only quality of horse and rider, but keeping your cool by presenting a clean and accurate test, to the best of one’s ability.
As the tightly contested positions for the medal standings came down to the wire, it was a cool calm yet brilliant Freestyle which solidified her Silver Medal, earning a spot on the podium during closing ceremonies.
It is so encouraging to see top young riders who bring their horses up to through the levels and are rewarded for their efforts. This has been a long term project for Dani and Anteaus, and the victory is so sweet for them!