Teaching Excellence Is What She’s All About

Teaching Excellence Is What She’s All About

SEDA is very fortunate to have a lot of expertise available within our membership. We have several top-notch instructors who generously share their experience, helping us to become better riders and better people. Recently, one of those individuals was recognized by USDF Region 9 and The Dressage Foundation for her efforts to educate us equestrians.

Leslie Morris was awarded the USDF Region 9 Teaching Excellence Award for 2020. 

Region 9 developed the award because “the vast majority of prizes and awards are won at horse shows by top competitors. Occasionally a trainer/instructor can apply for and receive a scholarship or grant for continuing education purposes. It is time to recognize those who teach well.”

According to the qualification for the award, recipients of the $5,000 Region 9 Teaching Excellence Award will have many, if not all, of the following attributes:

  • A USDF Region 9 member in good standing–permanent residence in Region 9. (Required)
  • A teacher of dressage, whether it is basics–Training through 1st-2nd level, mid-range 2nd-4th levels, or FEI.
  • Adherence to sound dressage principles, such as outlined by the USDF Training Pyramid.
  • The ability to communicate these principles of training so that students develop themselves and horses in a logical, progressive and humane way up through the levels.
  • A reputation for honesty, integrity and community/regional service. 
  • A USDF Certified Instructor, encouraged, though not required.

Anyone who has known or worked with Leslie knows she definitely has ‘the right stuff’. For years, Leslie was on the Board for SEDA, giving of her time organizing shows and clinics and much more. In addition, she has judged many of our area schooling shows over the years – competitors always say she is a fair and helpful judge and are happy to ride before her practiced eye.

As an instructor, Leslie has experience going back decades. In addition to being an active competitor, she’s participated in many clinics and educational opportunities to continue to develop her eye and understanding of dressage. These opportunities help her explore ways to help her students understand both basic concepts and complex movements. She’s a kind and motivational instructor, always ready with praise for good work, but also with a challenge to make things better. Leslie doesn’t shy away from the difficult horses, is happy to work with students from beginner to advanced, and is always eager to share what she knows when asked. Anyone who’s ridden with her will find her an honest but kind teacher, ready with practical advice and a sense of humor.

If you’ve encountered Leslie at a show or stable, you’ve certainly noticed that she’s a pleasure to be around and always generous with her time and expertise. As a club, SEDA is honored to have her as a member. We know she deserves this award in spades for her hard work and dedication to sound horsemanship … and just being a really good person.

Congratulations, Leslie, on a well deserved award!

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