How to find a good dressage instructor in my area?
How do you generally go about finding a good dressage/eventing instructor?
I'm on the dressage team at college but am an intro-level rider in IDA. Never rode dressage before, was a hunter/jumper for 2 years back in 8th and 9th grade, but then stopped for marching band (a decision I will NEVER repeat!). But anyway, when I go home for the summer, I'd like to keep riding and working on dressage. The goal is to get into eventing sometime after graduating from college. And also I hope to move far away from home after graduating as well. So in general, how would you go about finding a dressage instructor?
Well it's helpful to visit nearby barns (or call them up) and ask if they know of any dressage trainers in the area. You want someone experienced, that works well with your learning style, that has been in and around the show world, has experience with training.
I found mine by asking a boarder at my barn (she looked so amazing on her horse so I had to find out who was training her! BEST decision ever..)
But you can also check online.
The important thing is once you find a potential trainer, sit in during a lesson. Ask them about their experience, see how they ride their horse and whatnot. A good dressage coach is so vital.
Find your local area dressage group (usually a Google search does the trick, if not go to USDF and use the "Find your local GMO" link under membership) and try to find local shows or clinics and just go watch. Observe who you like best and then approach them.
If there are no upcoming events then emailing someone on the executive of the club will often yeild some results.
Some websites even have a list of local coaches.
Wonderful suggestion with checking with USDF - I just e-mailed someone from there, thanks!
I don't mean this to be rude - I'm simply curious. How exactly can you be on the school dressage team if you are only an Intro Level rider? I would have thought you would have to meet some kind of qualifications to be on the team in the first place. Most schools require that you have met certain riding criteria in the discipline which you will be representing the school.
Also, I'm not attending an equestrian college. We don't have an equine major - only an animal sciences major with an equine minor. We're just a regular state school. So the number of super high level riders is lower at our school than it would be at an equestrian college. Although we do still have some!
Oh, it's also worth noting that IDA levels don't go past Level 1. Level 2-4 aren't offered at IDA shows - if upper-level riders want to show, they either do it outside of college, or they just show at Level 1.
Saddlesandskis- I don't know where you're at, if you're close to U-park or wherever your home region may be, but the easiest way to find a dressage trainer is online, check the boards at tack shops or attend dressage shows and check out who the trainers are and where they hail from.
thanks So much Anabell!!
I'm so thrilled that i can haul my horse there for lessons. there is a dressage university but it's 6 hrs away....
thanks,for the tip!!
How far this guy is from you: Phillip Dutton Eventing ? I've seen him riding at the big eventing competition in MD and he did lovely lovely test in dressage arena (and just seemed to be a nice person overall). My trainer has a great respect for him.
But overall if you want to learn more of dressage (and you have to anyway since it's one step in eventing) I'd go with dressage instructor, and may be eventing instructor in addition to that or later on.
When I was looking for dressage instructor and later on for eventing one I asked people on local forums for recommendations. Mind you recommendations may be great but the trainer won't work out for you :wink: (that's happened to me several times), but I have to say both trainers I work with now I found with the forum people help. Also I may be wrong, but I had a feeling there is a local equine newspaper in PA with trainers and ads (I remember seeing something like that at the PA Expo). May be also a good place to look.
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