US Dressage Federation gold medalist Lehua Custer is to judge the dressage competition at the 2015 Special Olympic World Games, being held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in California this week.
Custer has been judging a regional show called the California Network for Equestrian Therapy, Unlimited (CALNET) show for athletes with disabilities for the last several years, and said she was honored to be chosen to judge the 2015 Special Olympic World Games.
Burbank-based Custer, who is a MVR (Most Valuable Rider) with Custom Saddlery, is an “L” level graduate and has expanded into the “r” program
She has also loaned a horse to the Games. Ramazotti 75, a 19-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Master x Baccara / Bernstein), was Reserve Champion in the Third Level Freestyle Championship for USDF Region 7, and is a veteran of Young Riders and Juniors circuits. The gelding will not be competing in the dressage portion of the Games as Custer is a judge.
“He’s a wonderful horse,” Custer said. “He’s transitioning now to be a para-equestrian horse. I have a rider who is riding him who has limited use of her hands and lower legs. He’s great dealing with the wheelchair and mounting and dismounting.”
Custer competes nationally with her FEI horse in the Small Tour and hopes to move up to Grand Prix in 2016. She has trained several horses up through the levels to FEI, and worked as Hilda Gurney’s assistant for 10 years. Custer rides all her horses, including Ramazotti 75 and her Small Tour horse, in a Custom Saddle.
“It’s the only thing that fits every horse in my barn, and almost every rider in my barn has one,” she said.
“We’re very proud at Custom Saddlery to sponsor Lehua,” said Sarah Boothe, Custom Saddlery’s Senior Saddle Fitter. “And we’re excited that she’s received the honor of being selected as a dressage judge for the 2015 Special Olympic World Games.”
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) recently named Custom saddles as the Official Saddle of the US Dressage Team through the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.