Interview with Kem Barbosa, USEF S Dressage Judge

Kem Barbosa riding Greta’s Figaro at The Horse Park of New Jersey

Hi guys! I like to introduce to you Kem Barbosa, USEF S Dressage judge. I was very fortunate, when going through the L Program for the USDF, to sit with Kem. She was positive, encouraging, and a wealth of information. She can be found around the US judging rated dressage show, especially in the Mid Atlantic region and down to Florida. Below you can read about Kem and a look at the road to becoming a judge. Enjoy!

Tell us about becoming a Dressage Judge:

I am a USEF S Dressage judge from Princeton, New Jersey. It’s been a long and fascinating road to this point. I judge approximately 30 shows a year all over the United States and am qualified to judge through Grand Prix. The training program for judges is arduous. You have to start with a L training program. Then you progress from “r” to “R” to S judge. Each level requires a lot of courses, apprenticing, and riding scores. S judges need Grand Prix scores to judge that level. ( For more info on becoming a judge, consult the USDF website  and the USEF website ) Normally, I fly out of Newark, New Jersey on a Friday night and return home on Sunday night(when traveling to judge).

What do you look for when you are judging?

I judge what I see at that given moment, converting the image into a numerical value and comment. The amount of numbers given for the average dressage test is 22. You multiply that by 60 rides and you are making a lot of decisions. It’s a huge responsibility because you are evaluating a person’s work, the quality of the horse, and giving direction to the sport.

How did you start riding? When did you get your judges card?

I started riding when I was 11 years old at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, New York. Shirley Watt (Hugo Vidal) was training for the 1956 Olympics in Stockholm and had come to Sleepy to train with Mike Miller, a very knowledgeable horseman. I saw her Olympic tryout on Connecticut Yankee and I was hooked. I knew exactly what I wanted to do – be a
Dressage Rider! I rode any horse that was offered to me, quarter horses, Tennessee walkers, 5 gained saddle horses. I learned from all of them and It was all wonderful.

When I married, I moved to Rio de Janeiro Brazil. Karl Mikolka and his wife Cindy were there to assemble and train an Olympic team. I had the good fortune to ride with him for a period of time and that knowledge I gained was priceless and forms the basics I carry to this day. While in Brazil, I got my FEI Dressage Judges Card and essentially began my judging career.

Do you compete currently?

I still compete( smaller shows) and have a lovely Belgian sport horse, U Passepartout.
I love my work and feel blessed that I can do it.

Thanks Kem for giving  the interview! We feel blessed that you are a positive role model in our sport!!!

#H4YC #dressagejudge #USDF #USEF #equestrianlife

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