Most Eventers hate to hear it, even when they know it's true... it's the basis of everything. If you want to jump well, you need to get to the fence well.
I've been fortunate to train with some of the best dressage trainers in the world, largely through Hanoverian connections. I've taken what I learned from these trainers and added to it.
I've ridden at PSG level and trained horses a little beyond that so I'm comfortable teaching a dressage rider to that PSG level, however most of my students are competing mid-level.
As you may have read on the Training page, there is a definite focus on engaging and moving forward properly and a systematic approach with comprehension as a critical goal.
As I did in the past, I expect to be competing in dressage more than most Event riders, so you know I'm not going to gloss over it to get to the jumps.
Years ago I competed heavily in the jumpers, but it became apparent that raw horse-power is critical and no amount of training and skillful riding can out-perform a horse that can jump a foot higher than yours. But, having slower, less scopey, horses caused me to find other ways to get into the second jump-off... insanely tight turns, rapid acceleration and braking, and developing exercises to encourage the horse to be fully tuned into the round.
Sadly, there are some all-too-common practices that I will not use. I'm fine with a horse taking a rail rather than any abuse, especially when there are other things that could be fixed first.
So, I'm happy helping jumper riders learn how to get their horses to the fence properly, how to ride in a manner that is not detrimental to the horse's jump, how to jump a solid first round, and how to cause people to double-take at the clock after a jump-off.
This is obviously our focal point. The same factors detailed in the previous sections apply here, but now we add cross-country and more fitness.
The sport has changed significantly, but I hold onto traditionally important values:
1. a solid dressage foundation for all phases, based on more than a fancy moving horse and the latest riding jacket,
2. tactful, sensible riding over fences,
3. a thorough understanding of the questions being asked and risks involved, and
4. being prepared for the test, especially in regard to fitness.
While I may teach a particular lesson over and over, I always teach each rider what they specifically need to focus on and do. I don't do "one-size fits all" generic lessons. Neither do I regurgitate what some other person has said with all the buzz-words and false authority to impress how much I know and you don't.
You can always ask me why we're doing something, and I'll always have a good answer, and I won't stop explaining until you fully understand. You should do something because it makes sense to you, not because anyone said so.
I'm not possessive over business, so I encourage riders to get help from other people. But I also encourage them to stand up for themselves and their horse.
Jeannie once told me that a big factor that causes craziness in this business is that people have emotions tied up in their horses. Unfortunately, in some situations it can cause otherwise very rational and intelligent people to act like lemmings.... and often more so if the twit leading the lemmings has an accent. My point is, your horse relies on you being smart.
For Dressage, I generally prefer the private format. This is because there is typically fleeting teachable moments that are often missed if the attention is on another rider. That said, there are situations where groups can work, especially in clinic situations when much of what I'm teaching can be so new yet very fundamental, and more can be covered in a longer group session.
Private or smaller group lessons work well for show jumping / stadium. Having a few riders can provide the opportunity to rest while someone else rides. When a rider has taken numerous lessons from me, the private format usually works better as we get into the weeds and can become very specific.
Most often, cross-country is in group format, but sometimes a rider doesn't fit into a group or needs some very specific attention. As is typical, I cover much of cross-country in a stadium like setting, addressing questions such as accuracy, angles, distances, and stride qualities. Actual XC fences are schooled after the appropriate skills and understanding are established using more forgiving fences.
Use the contact page to let me know what you want and we'll set up something.
Note: Bear in mind, that what you tell me you want, is sometimes different to what your horse is going to tell me you need.