Wellington, FL (May 3, 2018) – Among a busy season of dressage competitions and achieving her riding goals, Amy Speck-Kern of Loxahatchee, Florida nailed down another milestone: in early 2018 she was awarded her USEF ‘r’ judging certification, which qualifies her to officiate at nationally recognized dressage shows through Second Level. Approved in January by the USEF during its Licensed Officials Meeting, the certification marks another milestone towards Speck-Kern’s ultimate goal of becoming an FEI judge.
Certification as an FEI judge involves not only written tests and hours of practice in the judge’s booth, but also includes high scoring performances at the FEI level. After beginning her journey as a dressage judge in 2011 with her L program certification, Speck-Kern has put in countless hours both in the saddle and in the classroom preparing for the next step. Traveling all over the country to apprentice with ‘S’ and FEI level judges, Speck-Kern also must put in time in the show ring, achieving at least 5 scores over 65% at 4th Level or higher. For her next certification, the ‘R’ program, she already has the required 5 scores over 65% at Prix St. George or higher, as well as a few of her ‘S’ scores at Intermediare II and the Grand Prix.
“This certification is a huge step forward for me down the judging path,” said Speck-Kern. “I plan to continue all the way to FEI; participating in the programs has given me new insights into my own dressage education and has made me a better rider and trainer. I’m better able to help my students, as well as myself, in preparing for shows.”
As an FEI competitor, Speck-Kern closed out her 2018 winter season with successful rides on her two campaign horses, Zenanta (Krack C x Ferro) and Amadeus (Flemmingh x Welt Hit II). A and Z, as they are known around the barn, put in solid tests at the national level during the 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Zenanta began by making her Intermediare I debut just before the start of season and closing AGDF Week 12 with a personal high score at the level; she and Speck-Kern also won the Intermediare I during the Palm Beach Dressage Derby with a score of 66%. Amadeus, a gelding Speck-Kern scouted and imported from Europe as a 3-year-old, is making currently competing at Intermediare and making steady progress towards the Grand Prix.
Excel Dressage was founded by Speck-Kern in 2010 and offers training, showing, and sales of top caliber dressage horses in Loxahatchee, Florida, just minutes from Wellington’s equestrian center. After beginning her career with Olympic Bronze Medalist Michael Poulin and “S” Judge Sharon Poulin, Speck-Kern’s naturally quiet and effective riding style and training methods drew a strong client base of competitive amateurs. A successful FEI competitor, Speck-Kern was ranked top in the nation at the 2016 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships aboard the Kathryn Hoog’s KWPN mare Gerona, and has developed a base of international adult amateurs that compete through the FEI level. Excel Dressage imports a select number of exceptional sales and show prospects each year, and Speck-Kern is also an equestrian Ambassador for the Kids Cancer Foundation as a way to give back to the research and therapies that saved her life when she was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia at 18. With her sights set on eventually obtaining an international judges license, she will next pursue her ‘R’ accreditation and continues to develop her string of competition horses.