Dressage Rider Training Reviews
Read these dressage rider fitness program reviews and testimonials below. These are from riders just like you who have completed the program and then sent me these photos and comments.
I have had horses all my life, but it is a long time ago I have had youngsters. I will turn 50 before my youngster is ready to be ridden next year, and that made me conclude that I need to improve my physical abilities well in advance.
I came across Dressage Rider Training 8 months ago and I am deeply amazed! I am ready to start DRT3 and I have enjoyed every lesson so far.
I have improved massively and can really feel the difference when riding horses and in my everyday life. I am grateful and I am sure the horses are too.
As a vet I know how important it is to disturb the horses as little as possible, and we all owe our horse friends to stay or become fit and balanced.
Here you see one of my horse friends – the fjord horse breeding stallion Fjellkaisar from Denmark 💛 We highly recommend Nicola’s Dressage Rider Training programs.
Thank you, Nicola, for the DRT equestrian fitness programs! I have completed DRT1 and DRT2 and I am seeing continual improvement in not only my strength but in making my left and right sides more balanced in strength. I am stronger on my left and did not realize it until these programs. This is why I tend to twist and lean to one side in the saddle! The awareness I have gained lets me consciously correct this twist while riding and the strength I have gained makes this correction possible.
I have successfully used other fitness programs, but I now prefer DRT because it is aimed at riders and I benefit when you connect the lesson to how it will affect my position on the horse.
Here I am with Dibs after finishing a 10 mile intro to Endurance ride in the rolling hills of Fair Hill, MD. It was positively pouring rain, wind was 20mph, pelting the rain into my face and my horse’s face! Thankfully, the thunder and lightening had stopped right before we were to begin. I am so proud that I felt strong enough in the saddle to be confident enough to go ahead with this ride. This is a huge step forward for me! I will be signing up for DRT3.
DRT 3 has been my favorite for so many reasons. Almost all of the routines have received “stars” in my journal. I do that so I know which ones to repeat after I’m done with the twelve weeks. I enjoy the 4X reps in the core and fitness segments. I get better each time through, and my heart rate is really up when I’m finished! Your modifications are perfect for me. Since I’m 72, I need to use them especially the jumping ones, but I will say that by week 12, I was able to do small jumps without so much sounding like an elelphant landing. I didn’t care for the yoga when I started DRT1. Now, I cant imagine doing without it.
The conditioning routines are fabulous. I have downloaded them so that I can do them in the lounge at the barn where the wifi doesn’t work. I audited a clinic last week and by the end of the day, my shoulders were screaming from sitting on bleachers. I did conditioning #1, and the pain went away. Thank you!
I so enjoy your program. The organization and the ability to do it at home is perfect for me. I know that it has helped my riding, and I’m so grateful to be still able to ride. I have to say too that the way you present yourself on camera with your little dog and horses makes me feel that I actually know you. The birds singing when we’re in the middle of a gastly winter in midwest USA is sooooo wonderful.
Well done and thank you! Carol Howard
If you ride, you should do this course! DRT was on my radar for quite a while before I finally committed and signed up. I hesitated as I wasn’t sure if I would benefit. I’m 57, I am not a dressage rider, I don’t compete but I do enjoy riding my horse in a variety of disciplines. I already did Pilates, worked on my core and did hip flexor exercises to help my lower back but finally I decided I needed some structure to my exercise plan so I signed up and I am so glad I did.
Somehow, just the 3 x 20 minute sessions a week work wonders and after just a few weeks I could feel an improvement in my seat and now am able to hold tone but remain relaxed and feel so much more part of my horse. Off the horse I have much better posture, am stronger, more flexible and am aware of where my weaknesses are so know what to work on. The sessions are enjoyable and the multiple options mean you will always be able to do it, keeping your motivation to improve.
I worked through the course in the 12 weeks but am now repeating it, working on the areas I found the hardest and with so much extra content it is very good value for money. I feel fitter and stronger than ever, thanks Nicola!
Nicola, Thank you for your first 12 week program. It helped me a huge amount with my balance and also strengthening my core.
Here are a few pictures of Harmony, my 12.5hh mare, I have her three years but she is sharp and can never sleep on her, this is the reason of joining DRT, I wanted to be stronger in my core and legs, she has a lot of thoroughbred breeding in her and has an ability to hop on all four legs and it is hard to keep my balance so need all my muscles strong, I am also taking dressage and flat work lessons so really feel the benefit of your workouts, I do a lot of running too about 40km a week and when I started your training my poor legs couldn’t run, it took me about 3wks to strengthen but now I am flying, I have been doing your later weeks of the training twice, I am currently on week 9, for the second time, I feel I get more from them the second time but I love it, so much stronger and leaner, I am very interested in doing the DRT2 training course, so please send me any info on it!!
Background: I’m 62 and have been learning how to ride for 8 years. I have an old recurring hamstring injury and lower back pain and as a result quite unbalanced/sore. I dont own a horse but ride once or twice a week at a school. My ambition is to do a pony club cross country and ultimately a hunt!
I am so pleased I signed up for this course. 3 x 20 minute workouts and homework are totally achievable. I really appreciate that Nicola shows 2 to 3 different ways of doing each exercise depending on your fitness level.
I hadn’t done yoga before and found it challenging. Really appreciated the beginners sessions.
As a result of completing the 12 week course I feel a lot more balanced and relaxed while riding. Now enjoy riding without stirrups – best canters! And I’ve been riding a lot of different horses/sizes feeling confident and calm.
4 hour farm ride with awesome gallops/ canters on the weekend and no stops. Did yoga work out and roller for next 2 days after – no worries! 😁😁🐎
Nicola this course has been SO GOOD for me. I was so hesitant about pushing my exercises because everything hurt and i thought I was going to break something. But your program was so encouraging and achievable. I’ve repeated many of the lessons. I can mow lawns. Vacuum clean without having to wear a girdle belt support. Just feel really good and a lot less pain in my life. And of course achieving so much more when riding!
Still cant kneel on the swiss ball yet🤣🤣🤣 might let some air out …!!!
Thank you. Also I really like that you are a kiwi girl doing everything on your land with Lucy and your wee dog a part of it all . Love it.
I have recently completed your DRT course.
I am a total novice in horse riding sport and had felt very unbalanced in the saddle before the course. Also felt that the horse got frustrated when I was applying the aids incorrectly or clumsily.
Even though I had some set backs (horse got ill and work was crazy due to staff sickness) during the course, I enjoyed the lectures and I intend to repeat the course now to maintain and further improve the skills I learnt.
Since the horse, Penny, is sound again and work back to usual level of intensity, I very much look forward to repeating all the homework that I couldn’t do whilst I wasn’t riding.
Having completed the course, I feel a lot more stable in the saddle, lot more flexible and therefore in deeper connection with my horse. She seems to listen better and we have become a better team.
Far from perfection but we celebrate ‘the tiny gains ‘ which happen every day.
Thank you very much a very much look forward to further course work.
With Best Wishes
I held off on signing up for the DRT program because I assumed the exercises would be too difficult for me at 70 years old. My horse, Willis, who was 4 years old when I bought him is now 16, and I want us both to be riding together for many more years. Happily, I was proved wrong. Though some of the workouts were hard, I found I could modify them to suit my pace, while others were easier and could be made harder. Additionally, Nicola’s weekly emails are encouraging, informative, and inspiring. I definitely feel more balanced and comfortable in the saddle as well as more aware of how my movements affect my horse. Though I just finished the DRT program, I plan to continue with the workouts and explore others on the website.
The DRT 1 program was perfect for any rider! It definitely improved my balance and core strength, which was very helpful after my hip replacement surgery. Straightforward exercises in a manageable amount of time!
I’ve enjoyed the program so much and have felt the benefits in so many areas of my riding and training on my young Spanish gelding. Small old injuries and middle age interrupted my program with you but it’s great that I can drop back a week and redo weeks .I especially enjoyed the Swiss ball work and it was a game changer for me. The program was challenging without being torture.
I’m a 40-year-old, once a week rider with an office job. In my weekly lesson, I was always struggling to keep myself from leaning forward. I also had weak legs and couldn’t use them independently. After just a couple session of the DRT program, both my riding instructor and I noticed a difference! I was so surprised and pleased with how quickly I saw results, more so because most of the workouts didn’t seem difficult. I love the gradual build up, and I definitely feel stronger, more stable, and my posture is much better! The no-stirrups work really helped as well, and I can sit much better in the saddle and use my legs more effectively. Thanks so much for putting this program together! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wanted to improve their riding.
I have one more workout to complete my 12 weeks of DRT 1. I can hardly believe the changes I am feeling physically since the start of this work in January. I didn’t think that 3 short workouts each week could have this kind of impact, but wow, this has blown my mind! My body feels strong, balanced, and I can do things that I could barely handle a fraction of and that shift is profoundly rewarding. Your kind voice, amazing support, authentic and genuine videos, and lovely laughter made me happy to hop on the computer, roll my mat out, and get to work. It also made such a difference remembering I am doing this for my Fleur. Anything to become a better rider with greater balance and softer aids! This program was hardly “anything” though. I sure hope I can continue with the next round soon! I am now diving into many of the recipes (nutrient dense beef stroganoff is in the crock pot as I write this, and I downed a green GREEN smoothie today as well). Thank you for the thoughtful and effective program you have created. I LOVED IT!!
Missoula, Montana, USA
Late last year, my horse injured himself and as a result, I found myself having to (lucky enough to) ride a variety of other horses. I’ve ridden for over 23 years, but in all that time never really considered myself an ‘athlete’, even though I was a competitor. Now at age 40 and riding new horses all the time who weren’t moulded to my body as my regular horse was, I found myself with a real need to fitness up, balance up, and strengthen up.
In addition to being a rider, a mum of two, and a business owner, I also own and operate a 20+ horse riding school. So, my time is at a premium every day of the week! The DRT program has been a genuine life and game-changer for me. I never missed a workout in three months because it was so easy to fit the time in, and because I felt the results of the program in my body and in the saddle basically immediately. It felt so good to have carved out time, just for me. And my body has thanked me in so many ways the last 12 weeks, and I think my horses have too.
I had it all wrong in my 20+ years of riding – I HAVE to be a fit athlete along with my horse in order to give them the best of me. I’ll keep up my workouts with Nicola indefinitely. Can’t wait for DRT 2. Thank you Nicola!
I returned to riding at 50 yo and have tight, stiff, locked hips. My only wish is that I had joined the DRT 12 week Program a year ago rather than waiting. I have found Nicola’s program amazing and exactly what I needed. Not only has my flexibility and suppleness improved, this program works! I have also been able to establish a deeper seat and improve my balance, stability and riding in so many ways. The 20 minute sessions are easy to fit into my schedule but have high impact, I would do it at night and always felt and slept better after my work outs. If I was stiff and sore doing a workout would make this go away. I loved the weekly homework and can now ride with out stirrups better despite the first time doing it feeling a lot of pain however I am so much better now. The extra information Nicola gives you such as how each exercise helps you on the horse, how to use your breathing, having a positive mindset, aiming for 1% improvements each time and putting in the work which will all add up to improvements in the long term, have all been gold to me. I have learnt so much and use this each time I ride now, I loved every workout and I have come a long way. I will continue this program indefinitely it is so valuable. Thank you Nicola I am so glad that I found you and your RDT program. Highly recommend to everyone and just loved it. It will be part of my weekly routine from now on. My beautiful pony Gussy is very thankful to Nicola as well I have no doubt 😊
Thank you so much for all that you give Nicola.
I have very much enjoyed and appreciated your program. I have been looking for a rider-specific program for years and yours fit the bill perfectly. I am able to manage three-four twenty minute sessions each week. Your program has made me stronger and I feel much more confident in the saddle. DRT has enabled be to be an effective rider at 65.
To be honest, I need more Swiss ball balancing practice-I cannot yet kneel on the ball, but I plan to master that! I also want to repeat the last four weeks and better include the homework in my daily riding before I begin DRT2.
Thank you for developing this work. It is a pleasure to workout with you. I love your smile and your cheer.
Hi this is Majic. I have just completed the 12 week course, and loved it. When i first started i thought i would really struggle as some of the moves i found really hard, but with practice, and perseverance, i completed it, even the kneeling on the swiss ball. I now feel i am sitting deeper in the saddle, and more secure. I definitely would recommend this course . Thanks Nicola x
I am a 67 Year old FEI rider with 2 hip replacements. Each year I try to do something to advance my riding career. The DRT program was one of the best things I have ever done. Nicole takes a simple core-yoga-rider strength program and builds awareness between you, your horse and Dressage. I went though the 12 weeks using some of the modifications she offered to the exercises and ended up a better rider. Stronger and more balanced with a deeper understanding to the basics. If I rated myself 1-6 going though this program, I started at, core-3, yoga-1, rider strength-2. Now my rating would be core-4.5, yoga-3.5 and rider strength-4.5. I am very happy with my improvements and will continue to repeat this program. It is simple, well designed and not time consuming so it fit into my busy life-style. All you have to do, is to do it!! Best money I have spent on my Dressage career!!!
This program has done so much for both of us. I truly loved the program and was eager to get my email with the sessions each week It’s pretty incredible how quickly I improved in my strength, flexibility and balance. Your instructions made the connection for me between the exercise we were doing and how it pertained to how I was communicating with my horse Rabbi. Our connection is stronger, my riding has improved and I have a lot more confidence in the saddle. Can’t wait for DRT 2😊.
Nicola’s DRT program is amazing! I wish I’d found it earlier. I don’t own my own horse, nor do I compete, but I do have weekly lessons, love horses and want to get the most out of my riding. It’s hard to get better when you don’t ride all the time, and you’re beginning something new as an older person, however DRTs regular, targeted program has helped to build upon my existing fitness regime, improved my strength, stamina, and balance. Overall I feel fitter, more flexible and more confident with my riding. DRT is definitely challenging, however Nicola offers great encouragement throughout the program. It’s like working out with a friend. Nicola’s program has helped my riding improve dramatically. I can’t wait for DRT3.
I started DRT after graduating 6 months of physical therapy. PT helped me regain coordination after major abdominal surgery the year before, but I was still feeling weak and off balance in the saddle. The timing was terrible: my new dressage partner Fern is young, 17.1H, and moves more expressively than I had experience riding. (Fortunately she also has a heart of gold and is incredibly patient!) DRT has been an amazing investment in our partnership: I’ve gotten much stronger, more confident, and am able to mostly stay out of Fern’s way now by being supple and not bracing on her. Thanks to DRT, I no longer feel like I’m going to be the limiting factor in our partnership, and we’re starting to have moments of harmony that make me so excited for what’s to come as we progress up the levels!
Hi Nicola, thanks. I remain a fan of DRT, I finish on Wednesday as I’ve done 2 of the weeks two times. So many things come together in my body awareness and reaction times have improved, stamina is better, suppleness is better. My riding is better. I have also just been certified as an equine ergonomist from Saddlefit4 life and this knowledge and learning experience have also helped me in my riding as I now finally have perfectly fitted saddles for me and my horses. I do other of your programs 2, sooo happy.
Greetings from Washington, DC, USA!
During DRT 4, I started noticing the most significant differences in my riding that I have seen in the course of my DRT journey. Back in DRT 1, I quickly noticed changes in how I went about my barn work. For example, I could squat to do hoof care or put on bell boots. Along the way, I have noticed little changes around the house, such as the ability to carry heavier items with one hand, and the fact that I stumble and trip less. But in DRT 4, I noticed big changes in the way I sit in the saddle- particularly mobility and straightness. DRT 4- or the cumulative DRT program- opened my hips in the saddle. I find I can follow with my hips at the walk and canter much better than before. My pesky left seat bone finally can get deep into the saddle and “scoop” my horse up into a lively, jumping canter. After years of having limited success aligning my hips, shoulders, eyes, and elbows around circles in both directions, I find myself much more able to maintain my own body straightness now, with great benefits for the horse.
DRT 4 is definitely a challenge, but it is a reasonable step up from DRT 3, and anyone who has completed DRT 3 can approach it with confidence. I did find myself taking some options, particularly in the side planks, so I have plenty of homework to return to. I will most likely repeat DRT 4 slowly this year. I’ve also decided to run a marathon next year- my fifth ever and my first since 2015- and will be interspersing my DRT work with much more cardio.
Have a happy holiday season, and thanks for a great program.
Hi Nicola, I LOVE IT. Without your programme, your structure and mindset, I wouldn’t regularly take myself off to the gym I also wouldn’t be as strong and balanced in my riding as I am now. By doing your workout 3 x a week it gives me structure to the beginning of my day! I’m eternally grateful to you! Thank you!
DRT continues to be an important part of my training, working through the full range of the body’s motion while gradually working on improving strength. DRT 5 provides the same excellent quality found in the previous DRT chapters, but with a new set of workouts that stimulate the entire body in one session. My balance and stability continues to improve noticeably in the saddle. I’m starting DRT 5 again, but hoping there will one day be a DRT 6!
DRT 5 has been my favorite and most impactful DRT series yet. The other versions prepare your body for the increased demands at DRT 5, but the work is productive, fun, and very effective. I was reluctant to sign up for the first round because I lost my upper level horse just as it was beginning. Nicola assured me that DRT 5 would keep me riding-fit despite time out of the saddle. Since that time, I have been riding many diverse other horses (upper level dressage, eventing, jumpers, etc) and have felt great in the saddle despite all the differences. I credit DRT 5 and the whole program for keeping me ready to ride as sporadic as that might be!
Thank you Nicola for such a well planned, excellent program that improves overall strength and balance but is most appropriate for the unique needs of a dressage rider!
Many Many Thanks!
This is my lovely share horse Mai , a 17 year-old Welsh Cob. This was taken in September this year and whilst we did not achieve a win, we actually ended up with a 64% score that day – the best ever achieved so far.
My dressage instructor recommended you after she completed the programme herself. It really helped improving issues related to my back pain (spinal stenosis), which also affected the horse’s way of going . Mai – also a middle-aged girl – has osteoarthritis in her hocks: we really needed some TLC! Over the past year, we have been working so hard at changing ourselves to improve our musculoskeletal health and be able to work together in better harmony. I can’t believe how much stronger my core is! I also surprised myself being able to balance on one leg and hold a warrior 3 pose. The back pain slightly improved and your DRT yoga worked better than the physio exercises alone. I am recommending you to all my friends, riders and non-riders alike. Can’t wait for DRT2!! Thank you very much for what you do!
Hi Nicola, I am a 55 year old low level eventer (beginner novice). I discovered a lot of muscles I did not know I could utilize for riding. This is a picture just cross country schooling in 32 degree weather. Patriot and I still have a lot of work ahead at that sitting trot. We are grateful that I am slowly building strength.
Great program I utilized to get back into riding. I had taken a couple of years off waiting on my two young horses to get started and lack of funds to take lessons, because of money I was pouring into getting my horses started. Needless to say, I was out of riding shape. The program not only is easy to do at home, but targeted towards making you a more secure rider. Here’s me on one of my Friesians after a lunge lesson. Thank you for the excellent program! FYI, my company’s insurance paid for this program. No excuses! Vicky
DRT 5 got to the level of fitness training I had been at via other classes and activities. What I have appreciated about all the DRT programs are the rider specific exercises and the explanations about what is important for a rider to support their horse(s). DRT 1 challenged/reminded me to do much more no stirrup work, which was great as I was rehabbing my horse at that time so it gave us direction for that work. DRT 3, with the emphasis on fascia, was my favorite so far, especially the yoga. DRT 5 adds the level of challenge in the program that will be one I use again and again. Thank you so much for making the program available, Nicola!
Hi Nicola, I have attached a photo of my lovely school horse Finn. He is a dressage horse and a wonderful teacher. I have struggled to understand how to communicate with him and find that all I have learnt in DRT 1 is invaluable, particularly the independent leg control on the left rein. DRT 1 is an excellent foundation course for all riding disciplines.
Hi Nicola, I have absolutely loved the program! It has helped me gain more confidence and get fitter and stronger in the process! I feel that it is only fair that I am as fit and strong as possible considering I expect my horse to be fit and strong. I am looking forward to continuing this exercise journey. Thank you so much. It is fun, easy to understand and easy to process to higher levels.
Hi Nicola, thankyou so much for your fabulous programs.
It has enable me to build my strength and confidence to getting back to eventing as a 56 year old, and I can see my self being able to be still riding at 80 which is my aim.
The new strength has saved my quite few times when my young horse has jump awkwardly and or shied.
I would love to be able to continue with DRT 3, when it is available.
PS I did not think I would master the Swiss ball but I have !!!
DRT 2 definitely improved my core, arm & leg strength. Also my balance. Having Nicola guide the sessions, including repetitions of the sets, alongside me is motivating. Her positive attitude makes it enjoyable & clear description of the exercises makes it easy to follow along. I always looked forward to the next workout session, be it the Yoga, Core or Rider Strength. The concise length of the sessions was key to me being able to complete the program. I also appreciated the availability of the sessions for a time after the initial 12 weeks so I could repeat some of them to maintain my fitness. DRT 2 is a winner in my books!
I really loved DRT3. I spend most of my day at a desk, and the workouts really benefited my posture and a sense of stretching and strength in my back. I could feel a real difference in the way I sat and how I felt. If I missed a couple of days of my workout, my body told me that I needed to do the next session. I enjoyed the homework exercises too. I had found some of the kneeling a little too much for me in previous programs, but there was less of this in DRT3. I also had to take a couple of months break during DRT3, but found I could easily restart. I was thrilled that I could balance on the ball in the last phases of the program – even though I’d not done that since (or practiced much) since DRT2. The strength and core workouts were often deceptively simple. Often I’d see the images and think ‘this looks easy’ but by the final round, I could really feel muscles working, and know that there was a definite benefit. The simplicity of the routines was great. I wasn’t sure about the ‘timer’ approach at first, but found it motivating. I really like your calm, relaxed and encouraging style. I always come away from a session feeling energised. Overall, another great program, and I’ve just started DRT4, despite having only seen 2 horses (from a distance) and ridden none since I started DRT. I’m thrilled with how the programs have encouraged me to improve my health, fitness and mindfulness, and I can see and feel the results (and others can too). Thank you Nicola and Ben!
I have really enjoyed all of the DRT programs and I especially look forward to the yoga. I have completed all the programs but probably enjoyed DRT 3 best of all because after the first round you knew what to expect for the rest of the 20 mins. I never look forward to the rider strength part but in DRT3 it wasn’t so bad. I would love to go on to DRT4 but feel I was struggling with motivation in the last one although I never missed any but it was becoming hard to commit. Possibly because of the time of year (winter) and work stress. I am now repeating DRT3 and will be ready to go on to DRT4 next time. It has definitely helped my balance and ability to stay on my horses big shys. As he is getting up the levels and is getting more athletic he has interesting moves too! But in life in general I feel so much more flexible and strong so my working life on the farm is so much easier.
Thank you so much for such a neat program and great friendly network.
Thank you for following up for my review of my progress on DRT1. My horse is a 20-something rescue, who I have had for a year. My rider training, other than “self taught” youthful once in a blue moon opportunities, was limited to a few years of weekly school horse lessons in my mid 20’s, then family life took my financial, emotional, and timetable priorities until now.
My best-guess as to the background of my horse, rounded up in a small feral herd, is that he probably did a great deal of trail-string work who was treated kindly. He is an unsophisticated ride, good for an older “confident novice” but it became obvious after a few months that my aging physical limitations were contributing to poor communication and probably his discomfort as well.
So I signed up for DRT1. I am no stranger to yoga/pilates but what makes this program different is the focus on the muscles, joints, movements, and strength specific to riding. I had to restart part way thru to recover from rib fractures (another story for another day) and I have not been as diligent in finishing the whole program yet, but I am very pleased to finally feel secure, balanced, and supple in my seat. Just a couple days ago, while my horse was feeling peppy in a collected trot down a steep, loose gravel switchback, I marvelled how relaxed and balanced I felt, with no desire to check him for being too eager – whereas a few months ago I would have been holding him tight and chattering “whoa, walk, whoa, walk” and interfering with the line he wanted to take! Did i mention I trailride in an old AP english saddle?
Someday, I’ll take up dressage. In the meantime, I am so grateful to have signed up for DRT (will take DRT2 next round) as it truly benefits all riding disciplines. My horse seems happier with my more confident seat, less interference, and being more tuned in to my horse because I can feel him so much better.
He’s still a straight forward trail horse and likely we will never get much suppleness, rhythm, collection and compulsion from my kind old boy’s short, somewhat swayed back. But every time I dismount and say “thanks buddy, that was a great ride again!” it’s got something to do with what I’ve learned from DRT.
Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
I’ve nearly finished DRT 2. What a difference it had made to my riding, I’m so much stronger, balanced and have lots more stamina. An old shoulder injury has also got better!
I have started doing intro dressage with my 6 year Highland mare. I’m looking forward to what the next year brings. Thank you so much Nicola
Hi, I have completed DRT2 and so grateful as I have a young 4 year old horse who tests his boundaries at times. I am 67 years young but I was close to selling him on at one stage. Now I have had him 1 year and having done DRT 1 & 2 in that time has been invaluable to me. It has increased my strength and confidence so much that now our relationship is really wonderful. I shall continue my DRT training which I really look forward to knowing how much my whole being and life benefits.
Hi, Please find attached, a picture of Wally, my 15.1 New Forest G and me. We are heading into our 7th month together, him at 7 years, and me at 62 years, lol!!
You have helped me tremendously with balance, posture and stability in the saddle. I did get the Swiss ball and tube and can’t believe I can balance on the ball!
Patience and Wally
Once again I cannot say enough good things about DRT2 as it picked up right where DRT1 left off and continues to help me improve my strength and fitness but also helps me to be more conscious of my body when I am riding. I find I am more in tune to what my horse is telling me and more able to control my body so as to not interfere!!
Its also great when my athletic baby horse decides to demonstrate just how athletic she is and I have the confidence of knowing I am better equipped to hold on.
The baby horses’ first event (Miss Something Special) Thanks so much and I look forward to the next DRT program! Jacquie Kelton
Nicola and Ben,
DRT 4 challenged me to the core in a healthy way. The yoga was especially beneficial in stretching those tight spots of the body after working at a desk all day. I also, must comment to the fact that all three of these routines (core, yoga and rider strength) have strengthened my weak shoulder . I had been in physical therapy for over a year prior to COVID-19 due to a frozen shoulder. These routines in DRT 4 have led to more release of my shoulder giving me more mobility. It was subtle but after completing the entire program I realized my shoulder rotation had improved. I lift weights and my trainer (who is a pro) noticed my core strength was stronger and this was all due to this program. She also commented how she thought this program had improved my strength. It clearly has improved my riding and connection with my horses.
You have such a natural ability to lead and motivate with some humor as you are leading us. This is a must program for any rider whether dressage, western pleasure, hunter jumper or just hacking around the pastures.
Thank you both for making this gym available for us around the world. I am grateful you both are using your talents to aid others.
Here you have a picture of me and my girl.
This program helped me to establish a good routine of weekly training that I really want to keep doing!
Thank you so much!
This program has truly helped me with all aspects of my riding, especially dressage. Even with a busy schedule of school and competing, the 3 workouts a week helped me regain my strength and balance and I truly see and feel the difference in both my dressage results which will further help me become stronger as the eventing season gets closer. I am so thankful that I found Dressage Rider Training and the dedication Nicola puts into these workouts really shows through in the results.
Hello Nicola, I love every DRT. Each one has somethings particular and specific, but DRT 4 is, for now, my favourite. I like strong workout, but DRT 4 has something that i can’t explain well with words. Something about confidence and compliance. While i did it, i’d found my self more confident, not only in body, but in my mind. I know better what i do (sometimes, we only do and with time we under stand what we are doing it). I hope my little thought have a little sense. Thank you and i’m waiting for DRT 5 and its surprise.
I am so pleased to share feedback about DRT3. This program has been, for me, the best of the three sequences. First of all, the focus on fascia offered me new insights into my body that helped me with my mobility, balance, and comfort. The stretches in particular helped me overcome some nighttime discomfort that had been bothering me for quite some time. Second, the format — four cycles of five exercises – in the core and strength/ fitness sessions was quite helpful for me psychologically. I was recovering from surgery and trying to rebuild fitness lost in a long illness, and I found that thinking in terms of one minute at a time rather than 20 minutes at a time enabled me to fire up my motivation better. I also think that this format helped me with a new mindset I’m trying to develop in my dressage and jumping– riding in the moment I’m in .
Although I am still working to get back to my pre-illness weight, the thing I find most remarkable after doing all three programs is my balance. I have always been a somewhat clumsy person, but I now have the best balance of my life. I also have improved my upper body and arm strength. The other day my husband and I were putting away some groceries and without thinking of it, I put an 8 pack of seltzer cans into the refrigerator with one hand. My husband remarked that I had very good hand strength and it occurred to me that all of the down dog and related exercises has changed my strength.
Finally, I will say that your reminding me not to grimace has made me aware of that both during the routines and on horseback, and it’s really helping with my relaxation.
In terms of future programs, I would really love to see a DRT sequence that explicitly incorporates the exercises with the mindset of relaxation and focus. I think it would be particularly great to have some video routines that require us to experience exertion, focus, and calm relaxation for an interval similar to a dressage test or cross country course (4-7 minutes) .
I look forward to DRT4 and hope this note adequately expresses my gratitude for your program.
As with so many others, I have physical limitations – in my case, I suffered brain trauma six years ago that left me with a sensory integration disorder and issues with proprioception on the left side of my body. A year into my recovery, and as part of my rehabilitation, I resumed riding. My childhood passion was rekindled and I realized that I wanted to own my own horse again. Meet my equine partner, Oliver, a 2013 KWPN/TB Gelding. Together, we are learning classical dressage, reshaping both our bodies one centimeter at a time. His injury was really devastating at first, as I care deeply about his well-being, but once we had his treatment sorted, I then worried about the negative impact of months out of the saddle. After recovering myself from several weeks of COVID, I was able to begin DRT1 and am now on Week 5. I do a lot of body work and have tried many programs, always thinking about ways that exercises can be organized to improve my riding. DRT does this for us in an accessible and digestible way. The flexibility provided by the on-line format is the only way I can fit the routines into my schedule and the thorough research and related articles are interesting and informative. Last week I began to tack-walk Oliver at the walk. Even though I had not ridden in 10 weeks, I was able to hop back on with open hips and a firm(ing) core. I’m hooked and looking forward to finishing all the DRT programs!
DRT4 was the culmination of a year of training unlike anything I have done before. I realize now (thanks to the educational material) that I had not been approaching my fitness as an athlete in a specific sport. General, all-round fitness will not get you to higher marks in a dressage test. Adding a few extra crunches is not enough to turn it into “sport specific training” either! The DRT series is possibly unique, I certainly can’t find anything that is similar to it for dressage.
All the DRT programmes provide a holistic system of training, everything supporting everything else, and it is very professionally constructed. In DRT4 everything we had been working up to in previous programmes kicked in – and it was hard! But going through the previous three programmes had prepared me. I’ve done HIIT training before, as well as yoga and weight-lifting, but not systematically and not with a complete end-to-end vision either. If you trust in the process of DRT then the results will come. Personally, over the last year I have raised my average test score by about 5%, and received comments from my trainer and even people I hardly know about the improvements in my seat. Riding feels different, I feel quicker and I never get tired (I’m 52 and ride my 178cm warmblood six days a week).
DRT4 is a definite step-up from DRT3, particularly in the core workouts. Maybe that’s just me, of course! As usual, being able to adjust the exercises was very useful, but I still ended up sweaty and gasping for breath at the end. of the core and strength workouts, much more so than in DRT1-3. For the first time ever I had to take the simpler options in many cases. But of course, now I can go through the programme again and try to increase the difficulty level.
I wouldn’t feel I could manage a DRT5 yet though! One more time around with DRT4 first. Thanks Nicola for creating a major building block in how I approach my sport, it has made a massive difference.
I was never good at sticking to an exercise routine, but that changed with Dressage Rider Training. Three 20-minute sessions a week are so easy to fit into my schedule and the results are transformational. I’m just finishing DRT2 and will repeat it before moving on to DRT3. I’m hooked.
Before starting the program, I’d fallen from my new horse several times and my confidence was shot. I work with a dressage instructor and now a dressage-riding sport psychologist, but needed to work on my physical abilities, too. A friend told me about DRT. During a recent lesson, my horse spooked and then threw in a little buck. I stayed on! I absolutely credit DRT for a stronger core, stronger overall position, and faster reaction. My instructor cheered, “Your seat never left the saddle!”
One thing I love about Nicola is her calm, positive, encouraging tone–and her smile–as we go through the exercises (as opposed to overly-excited, shouting exercise gurus). Nicola explains how the exercises are geared to what we need as riders. We use muscles no other sport does, after all.
As a bonus, I get to brag to whoever will listen that this 66-yr-old can kneel on an exercise ball while lifting a 5-pound weight!
(My horse has headshaking syndrome. The lycra mask he’s wearing in the photo seems to help.)
I am a 60 year old rider that started riding again 8 years ago after a 30 plus year break. I have always maintained a good level of fitness through running, cycling and a variety of outdoor activities. However, as I began my journey of learning to ride correctly, it became clear that some of my core muscles were long neglected. DRT 1 and 2 really targeted my weak areas and I immediately became more straight, balanced and effective in the saddle. Both of my horses became much calmer and more willing as my cues became much more clear and concise. We all say thank you very much!