Cathy Eaton recently returned from the U.S. Dressage Federation's Annual Conference in Portland where she received several national awards for 2002.

By year's end Cathy and her horse, Sophia Maria, won nine national and two regional awards. On the regional level of five states, they received first place at Training Level and second place at First Level from the USA Equestrian (formerly American Horse Shows Association - AHSA). Nationally, they also received second place at Training Level and third place at First Level from the Performance Horse Registry (PHR) in the adult amateur division.

In the US Dressage Federation's National All-Breeds Awards, Eaton and Sophia won first place at Training Level among adult amateurs and second place at First Level, an award sponsored by the American Warmblood Society. In the open division, Eaton competed against professionals, juniors and adult amateurs nationally and placed first at Training Level and fifth at First Level. As an adult amateur rider, she was awarded fifth place in the nation at Training Level by the US Dressage Federation at the annual conference in December.

Eaton said it is quite a challenge living in Wallowa County and traveling, training and competing away from home. Last year, the average show she attended was seven hours driving time away, but she thinks it's worth it.

"The people in our county have been so supportive," she said. So have the folks in La Grande where she helps bring in clinicians such as Kathy Casey of Bend to educate riders in Wallowa and Union counties.

The local dressage club is headed up by Connie Dunham of Enterprise. Eaton is program director and Karen Hasel of La Grande is treasurer. Members include Carole Novitski of Elgin, a professional dressage rider who has competed at the Grand Prix level.

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