Breeding Amateur Friendly Sport Horses
After a successful career in amateur hunters, Donna moved to dressage in 1987. Her first dressage horse was an Appendix Quarter horse that, with Hilda Gurney’s help, she took to all the way to Grand Prix. Her second dressage horse was, Astaire, a three year old warmblood purchased from Jo Hinneman.
Astaire and Donna eventually rose to the California Dressage Society, USDF national Prix St. Georges and Intermediate I championships. When an injury ended Astaire’s career just short of Grand Prix, she purchased Jazzman, another three year old warmblood. Donna also decided to compete in the open division and to start teaching professionally.
Jazzman was Donna's horse of a lifetime, earning USDF National Championships at first, second, fourth, and Intermediate levels. Donna and Jazzman represented the U.S.A. at the 1999 Pan American Games, earning team gold and individual sixth. After a year overcoming colic surgery, Jazzman went on to the Grand Prix, competing in the final U.S. selection trials for both the World Cup and the Olympics. He retired sound and lived at Donna's farm until his recent death at age 29.
Since then, Donna has trained several other horses to Grand Prix level. She has much recent experience with Lusitanos, winning CDS Championships against warmbloods. Donna wished that she had been able to travel to Europe for some extensive training, but other than the four months she spent with Jo Hinneman in Germany, it was never financially possible for her, as she had to work as an emergency room physician to support her horses. Nevertheless, Donna won over 18 California Dressage Society year end championships and over 21 USDF National Championships. She holds bronze, silver, and gold USDF medals as well as all the corresponding freestyle medals.
Donna's students have also been successful, with Katy Barglow winning the CDS Amateur Futurity, the CDS Intermediate II Championship, and the USDF national Amateur Grand Prix Championship. Skyler Evans earned a silver medal at the Young Riders Championships. Amalia Boyles won the National Fourth Level Freestyle Championship at Lexington, KY on Donna's horse Welt Erbe. Donna has also coached three professionals, Sandra Hansen, Jaime Amian, and Ryan Bell to their gold medals on Donna's horse Mondeo. Donna's lower level students Shirley Rogozienski and Beth Shafer have won San Diego Championships and Regional Adult Amateur Championships.
Donna is currently a USEF S dressage judge as well as a USDF R western dressage judge.
Donna has written articles for Dressage Today, lectured on “The Mid Life Equestrian” at the CDS Convention, and taught the CDS Adult Amateur Clinic series. Additionally, she has organized USDF L and r programs and been a demo rider in clinics with Lisa Wilcox and Klaus Balkenhol.
Donna Richardson aboard Jazzman, winners of dressage Grand Prix Freestyle at Pebble Beach