April 5, 2002 — Violet (Vi) Hopkins, former American Horse Shows Association
(now USA Equestrian) “S” judge and proponent of dressage education in the
United States passed away in her sleep at her home in Union Lake, Michigan,
April 4 at age 93.
Hopkins, who was inducted into the U.S. Dressage Federation (USDF) Hall of
Fame in 1998, started riding at an early age. She “discovered” dressage in
her late 20s or early 30s when she saw the Konyats perform a special
dressage act when the circus came to town. She became a dressage judge in
the late 1960s and established her own dressage school in Michigan in 1969.
She was a charter member of the Midwest Dressage Association as well as a
charter member of USDF.
Hopkins initiated and managed the USDF Violet Hopkins National Seminars for
Dressage Instructors that were conducted at her Tristan Oaks Farm. This
program gave birth to USDF regional workshops, the National Dressage
Symposium and the USDF Instructor Certification Program.
Riding her 15.2-hand, off-the-track Thoroughbred, Dark Warrior, Hopkins
competed through Grand Prix. She described her special horse as a “gentleman
and scholar.” She requested that her ashes be scattered over Dark Warrior’s
Her memory will live on through The Dressage Foundation’s $50,000 Violet M.
Hopkins Dressage Fund, which benefits USDF Group Member Organizations by
offering funds for running clinics and seminars. Donations can be sent to
the Violet M. Hopkins Fund, The Dressage Foundation, 130 North 10th Street,
Lincoln, NE 68508.