What will I learn in a dressage clinic?
I love working with new horses and riders, helping them connect and form a better partnership. I believe that almost 90% of all difficulties are related to the rider. Whether that is due to a lack of balance, timing of the aids, fear or negative emotions, or the ability to correctly read the horse. That final 10% is usually related to discomfort in the horse, physical issues that create resistance, poor saddle fit, and previous negative training. At the beginning of every lesson I ask the rider questions related to their riding experience, difficulties they have had and where they feel stuck in their riding. At the same time I evaluate the way the horse moves, the "vibe" I am getting from both horse and rider as a team, and allowing myself to follow my instincts and look for the root of the problem. I allow the rider to warm-up the same way they do at home and then ease into making changes. I start first with rider position, is the rider properly aligned shoulder/hip/heel? Are they gripping or tight in the seat/hips/thighs? Are they ahead or behind the motion of the horse? How is their contact? Are their elbows elastic and following? Once I have gone over the rider's position I will blend training exercises and movements into the ride, always keeping an eye on the rider's position and how their aids are affecting the horse. At the end of the lesson I will recap with the rider, answer questions, and make sure that the session ends positively for both horse and rider.
What is required to host or participate in a clinic?
To host a clinic I ask that there be a minimum of 6 riders and a maximum of 9. Each lesson is scheduled in 1 hour sessions and I recommend setting aside a half hour before the first rider so I can introduce myself, quickly run through the content I will be covering in each lesson and let everyone know that they can ask questions during the clinic to help educate their eye. I also enjoy doing a Q & A after or during a lunch break to answer questions that may be related to the previous lessons or other topics like bitless dressage and trick training. So a typical clinic day would look like this: 7:30-8:00 Intro Lecture, 8:00-12:00 lessons, 12:00-12:30 Lunch Break, 12:30-1:00 Q & A session, 1:00-5:00 lessons. However I am flexible with the start times, lectures, etc. and will work directly with the clinic host to set up the best option for everyone. Please send me an email to email@example.com or connect with me on Facebook to inquire about current rates. I give a discount to facilities within 150 miles from my home in Dover-Foxcroft, ME and I also try to co-ordinate with other facilities to combine travel expenses. I am willing to travel anywhere in the world to teach but the plane expense will be included in the clinic price.
What skill level is required of the horse and rider to participate?
I encourage anyone to participate! Whether you are just starting out in dressage at Introductory level (walk & trot) or working towards Grand Prix I am happy to help you improve. It is so important to start out with correct basics so I actually prefer working with lower level riders because I feel that I can help them greatly improve their riding and continue on the right track rather than getting stuck at Training level for 10 years. I also enjoy working with ALL BREEDS, particularly the baroque type horses (Andalusians, Friesians, Lusitanos, Lipizzans, Morgans). My teaching and training style is well suited to the emotionally sensitive horses and I have ridden these types of horses for over 19 years. Many of my clients also ride Quarter Horses, draft horses, ponies, Gypsies, Arabs, Thoroughbreds, Halfingers....you name it! Every horse is a unique puzzle and EVERY horse can be improved with correct dressage work no matter what breed they are. I also work with western riders that are interested in learning western dressage, trail riders who want better balance, and event riders that want to improve their dressage scores.
Can I take a private lesson without riding in a clinic?
Yes! I regularly teach riders within an hour's driving distance from my home in Dover-Foxcroft, ME. I can also take trailer-in's at Elysium Sport Ponies in Atkinson, ME. I try my best to accomodate my clients but I have a busy schedule and usually ask if they have 2-3 friends that may want a lesson as well. I usually teach individual, local lessons during the week Monday-Friday and save my weekends for clinics, judging and performing. Please contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Facebook to see if I have an available time to schedule a private lesson for you. I prefer to work in an indoor arena so I don't have to worry about canceling due to the weather but if you only have an outdoor arena or paddock to ride in I will try to make it work.