Trainer Craig Stevens? Help?
 
 

       The Horse Forum > Training Horses > Horse Training

Trainer Craig Stevens? Help?

This is a discussion on Trainer Craig Stevens? Help? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Craig stevens dressage trainer reviews
  • Craig stevens horse riding

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
    09-05-2010, 03:14 PM
  #1
Foal
Arrow Trainer Craig Stevens? Help?

Hi, all.

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!
     
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
    09-06-2010, 05:36 PM
  #2
Foal
Anyone? I could really use some help.
     
    09-07-2010, 05:42 PM
  #3
Foal
Bump......
     
    09-07-2010, 06:43 PM
  #4
Showing
I wish I could help you out but it's a little out of my area. I didn't read the whole link but the pictures I saw looked good. I would ask around the area to find former students that are not connected to his site and see what they thought of him, if they had anything bad to say, etc. If you like what he has to say, then give it a shot. Worst case scenario is you don't like what he is teaching and you decide to leave. Best case scenario is all the knowledge that you could gain from a person like that.
     
    09-07-2010, 07:02 PM
  #5
Foal
Thank you Smrobs. (: I have tried to get info on the net about him and his methods, but it seems so little is out there. I don't know if that is because he isn't that great or if its just very professional. He doesn't allow taping in his classes and he has only 3 videos on Youtube. Maybe I'll try and find out some of the names of former graduates and see if they talk about him. Thanks again. Still anyone with info, please feel free to post.
     
    09-08-2010, 02:08 AM
  #6
Foal
Tessa, if you really REALLY want to find out more on this guy (and yes, I do know him personally, but let's not go there) you can get on the Chronicle of the Horse forums and do a search there - one of the most impressive train-wreck threads in COTH history revolved around him.

My advice would be to take it (the advertising) with a huge grain of salt - he's not all he's cracked up to be. The reason you cannot find any real info on him and his "accomplishments" is that there isn't any - it's all his own stuff. PM for details if you care to.
     
    10-31-2010, 12:43 PM
  #7
Yearling
I rode with him

I have participated in two clinics with Craig...If you want the truth, continue reading!

(Short history of me)

I have ridden since I was 10 yrs old & took lessons when I could. I have started (backed) three horses completely by myself. Learned how to drive as a child & "broke a unridden horse to the cart, also by myself. I have competed as a child in western pleasure & timed events. Switched to "english" for the thrill of jumping, too many falls & a mare that refused to go within 20 feet of another horse caused me to try Dressage. Had a terrible trainer that kept name-dropping all the time & teling me I "wasn't ready" to canter the entire time. I got smart after attending a show or two & watching her ride.

I have competed at recognized shows, obtaining qualifying scores thru First level on a small, unregistered quarter horse. A horse I trained myself with some help from highly rated clinicians when I could afford it.

I am not an expert rider, or a professional. After a big change in my finances, I was no longer able to afford the recognized shows & kind of "dropped out". Well, I met a person while attending a clinic with a superior, very well know clinician. After talking with her, I started bringing my challenging horse out to ride at her place. She told me she was hosting a clinic with the man she trained with & invited me to attend.

So I did. What I did not do was google his name first. I just went. The first time was quite horrible. All we did was walk & he spent much of the time just standing holding my horse's reins & telling me how wonderful his program was & how bad "competative dressage" is. I have light hands, but I do ride with contact, even when I let the horse chew the reins out of my hands on a circle. I was not allowed to even hold both reins. I have riden with at least 10 different dressage clinicians over the years, and one thing they all have in common is that they want to see the horse move at all three gaits & watch you warm up your horse, BEFORE they begin to work with you. Not Craig! I was not even allowed to trot, even though I was there two days for two different lessons!

So why did I go again? Stupidity maybe? I thought well, maybe we were just having a bad day. Maybe he just wants to see if I am committed before he works with me. So I tried again. Much worse! My horse HATES walking anyway, and gets bored & impatient easily. He is not a beginer horse! I started him myself & I know him & his moods very well.

So what does Craig do? Again, walking & talking. The second day, I was yelled at for trying to lunge my own horse before the "lesson". My poor horse was going crazy being stalled for two days then just walking for maybe 15 minutes out of the 45 minute "lesson". So the first day, I am told that I am a terrible rider & my horse is a saint for putting up with me. (Please note that I rode the stew out of him before I loaded up to go to the clinic site) the next lesson the next day, when my horse is irritated & acting half crazy from inactivity, I am told that my horse is DANGEROUS & I must get a more suitable horse right away!

We were not allowed to film any part of any of his lessons, another "first" in my experience.

I left before my third lesson. I had had quite enough of the whole sorry mess. As I drove back home, I thought never again!

None of his "devoted followers" is a competitor. Only one person was allowed to go faster than a trot. Everyone was made to ride with only one rein much of the time. He was not giving anyone directions as to what to do. The ones that were better riders & not looking too horrible (besides the lack of impulsion & floppy reins) were all experienced riders & taking the initiative on their own. He just continually put down their efforts though. I never heard one "good job" or any other kind of praise. We were all hopelessly beneath his greatness! He actually got on one of the horses, which was a struggle for him, then guess what they did??? Yep, they walked! The horse was strung out & on the forehand and looked much worse than when the owner was riding.

I have seen the Spanish Riding School perform. I have studied Classical horsemanship & I can state with total certainty, that Craig does not teach any kind of Dressage, classical or otherwise.

If he claimed to be an instructor that was teaching some new method that he invented, I would not have bothered with him. But to claim that he teaches Dressage is an insult to the entire Dressage community and that is why people are so critical of him.

I feel really bad for anyone that thinks they are learning Dressage from Craig. Please do research before riding with anyone!!!

If a person can not successfully show their horses under judges, run fast in the other direction!

There are good judges & bad in every sport, but sooner or later, if you are riding correctly, in Dressage or reining or eventing, or any other sport, a judge will notice and give you a good score.

Just because a horse does a flying change, does not mean that it is correct. I have seen a huge improvement in the western events since some of these newer instructors are incorperating Dressage principals in their teaching. Those reining horses are now on the bit & doing the changes from back to front. I am speaking of the upper level riders here, not the ones at the $5 local shows that still jerk their horses around.

To answer your question, will his program set you up for a future in horse training? Ha, ha, ha!

If you want to be a working pupil, go watch at a recognized show & see who is winning & who they train with. Study them & their methods. Pick one that you admire & want to ride with and work yourself into a position. I don't care if you go to Dressage shows, Driving shows, Reining or Rodeos. But ask around at those that can prove their methods thru their actions.

Run fast away from anyone that won't allow filming, ask yourself, why do they need to hide what they are teaching? I have ridden for years & have only ONE TIME been told "no video taping". That one person was Craig!

Personally, I would not ride with Craig again if he paid me!
     
    11-10-2010, 02:47 PM
  #8
Foal
Hi, I have been to some clinics with craig, with my friend participating.. I think he has some good points such as his veiws on lightness and not pulling with the hand, however I think that someone who continues the classical philosopy better is Phillipe Karl, who also has year apprenprentiship... read up about him, (Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage is by him and I would highly reccommend this book). The problem I have with craig is that he seems to think that you can teach a horse everything from walk.. my friends horse is particularly flexible, and so his crookedness and leaning increases as the gait increases, thus for her horse who she wanted to compete w/o having to walk for a year wasnt really an option, the other horses that had been training with craig for a while were not forward in their moveemtns in trot and canter, and did not work properly across the back.. I find phillipe karl strikes a very good balance, he trained at the french school adn was a member of teh cadre noir and has set up his own classical school called l'ecole de legerete, so he is very classical, however he also competes showjumping and dressage so its practical classical rather than just walking and doing the higher airs. (piaffe/passage etc).. have a look at him Karl and see what you think, from my experience I would recommend Karl above Craig any time.. hope this helps :)
     
    11-10-2010, 03:00 PM
  #9
Foal
EDITED VERSION-- hi, I have been to some clinics with craig, with my friend participating.. I think he has some good points such as his veiws on lightness and not pulling with the hand, however I think that someone who continues the classical philosopy better is Phillipe Karl, who also has year apprenprentiship... read up about him, (Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage is by him and I would highly reccommend this book). The problem I have with craig is that he seems to think that you can teach a horse everything from walk.. my friends horse is particularly flexible, and so his crookedness and leaning increases as the gait increases, how therefore is he able to build the correct muscles and mentally accept balance at the canter if he is only allowed to walk? As my friend competes having to walk for a year wasnt really an option. The other horses that had been training with craig for a while were not forward in their moveemtns in trot and canter, and did not work properly across the back, and as anitaanne says lacked impulsion.. I find phillipe karl strikes a very good balance between correct training and actually getting to do somehting with your horse (such as trot or canter!), he trained at the french school in saumur and was a member of the cadre noir and has set up his own classical school called l'ecole de legerete, so he is very classical, however he also competes showjumping and dressage so its practical classical rather than just walking and doing the higher airs. (piaffe/passage etc).. have a look at him Karl and see what you think, from my experience I would recommend Karl above Craig any time, Craig is an introduction to lightness but he has adapted his own ideas from Baucher which I don't think even he is clear about what he is trying to say sometimes! Generally his clinics are hugely expensive and with little gain. Hope this helps :)
     
    11-10-2010, 06:04 PM
  #10
Foal
Wow, thank you guys for all your stories an input. I have decided not to do the program in WA. There are too many negative things versus good. I will hopefully be pursuing an apprenticeship at Al Marah Arabians next year!
Thank you all again. (:
     

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Craig Cameron Product Cowgal90 Horse Talk 4 02-11-2010 10:01 AM
Craig Cameron Product Cowgal90 Horse Talk 0 02-10-2010 11:06 AM
Dressage trainer or Arab trainer? knaskedov Dressage 7 01-04-2010 09:20 PM
TWH wins Craig Cameron's Extreme Cowboy Race walkinthewalk Gaited Horses 5 05-12-2009 11:03 AM
WANTED - ASSISTANT TRAINER S to NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP TRAINER Lolabydream Natural Horsemanship 0 03-23-2009 05:27 PM



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:52 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0