Okay so this may be a little lengthy, but I really could use your help/opinions on a trainer named Craig Steven who owns a riding academy in Washington State. The academy is called The National School of Academic Equitation. Thanks to everyone that reads the whole thing.
I am considering going to do a committed 1 year work study and I want to know what you guys think/ have heard about him. His methods, and whether or not its worth so much time and dedication.
First off, is there anyone who has met, worked with or knows anyone that has worked with him?
I was Yard and Groom.com and saw an add for this seemingly amazing one year program of intense horse training and riding. I'll post the link to his website at the bottom.
So before you can even be considered for this program, you have to attend a complete a 5 to 14 day course they call and "Intensive". Its really busy time where your attending 2 to 3 riding sessions a day and the time you have to breathe is for observing and studying other students. I liked that in the reading material they say that they don't want you to commit to this program until you've worked with Craig himself. I think its important to meet whoever is going to be your main trainer before you commit to something this big. When you have completed this course, if they think your capable of doing well in their program, you turn in a lengthy application and if accepted are in for what seems like a whirlwind year! Riding classes all day, cleaning stalls, building fences in all kinds of weather. Working hard and riding in the rain, sleet and snow and eventually, when your Craig and your other teachers think you're ready you teach your own classes! You start out teaching your peers, but eventually you teach riding to real clients, which is part of how you pay for your training.
I have not seen a downside yet, because if all this is legit it seems right up my alley. His site says that Craig has 45 years of experience in the art of classical riding. He teaches clinics all over the world an has a massive following in Sweden and New Zealand. He seems to focus a lot on perfecting your seat and being able to tell your horse what you want without force, but with your mind and body. He also is very horse oriented which is what I like to hear. I can't stand trainers who abuse their horses and call it training. He says several places the safety of the horse is first on his list of priorities when training.
Several of the testimonials I read are pretty amazing, with 3 or 4 of them going on to teach their own clinics and train professionally. And one of their students now works at the academy.
One question I have is after you graduate, do you have any standing in the horse world? I don't think its a degree, but so man students have gone on to train with great success, so it must worth something, right?
Well that's about all I can think of to tell, you can read for yourself here. The Riding Academy at NSAE
I really appreciate any info you can give me and please don't hesitate to be honest if you have information that might not be the best. I want to know everything I can and make and informed decision about whether or not to move forward with this.
Tanks a bunch!