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.

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Janet Peters – Monmouthshire, UK

I have thoroughly enjoyed DRT2 even though it was challenging at times, especially towards the end.
However I did manage to complete all the moves every week, which gave me a huge sense of achievement. And when my coach asked what I had been doing to improve my core so much, I was over the moon!

Vicky Hammond- Winton, New Zealand

Hi Nicola, I decided to enroll in DRT2 after having previously completed DRT1 twice. I loved the convenience of working out to the USB stick plugged into my TV at home, and being able to work through the levels at my own pace. The program has definitely helped with my flexibility and endurance in and out of the saddle, and I’m now not huffing and puffing half way through a dressage lesson as everything is just so much easier. I do still have lots to work on and improve in my workouts, so I plan to work through DRT2 again over the Winter before considering if I’m ready for DRT3. I highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to improve their strength and flexibility in any riding discipline. @retired_newzealand_eventer

Lucy Mckelvie – Wyndham, New Zealand

I came to the DRT program because I wanted to more fully embrace the two Cs I felt were lacking in my riding life: feeling control over my journey and growing my confidence in and out of the saddle. Having completed DRT1 several times I felt the time was right to move onto DRT2. I’m so thrilled to report that DRT2 has helped me to achieve those outcomes… and more!

How has it helped me to feel more in control?
I really look forward to my weekly ‘Nicola email’ which outlines the exercises and expectations each week. I like the feeling that whilst I am doing it in my own living room, there are in fact other riders in exactly the same position as me. The fact that the routines themselves are no more than 20 minutes works well as, like many, I juggle a variety of responsibilities. It feels good knowing that I can make positive changes in three twenty minute sessions. It feels entirely achievable and this helps me to feel in control. I feel empowered to take ownership… because it really is do-able.

How has my confidence increased?
As I feel more secure in the saddle, my confidence to ‘ride the horse’ has increased. Be it riding without stirrups or dealing with a spook out hacking: I’ve noticed that my balance has increased dramatically during DRT2. I honestly believe that this leads me to ‘want’ to sit up that little bit straighter… I can also feel myself breathe and smile much more! It’s affirming when your trainer notices an improvement: these extrinsic positives become big motivators, spurring me on to try a little more in my next session.

All of this has led me to feel more capable. As a plus size rider in a sport of teeny-tiny bodies, this sport can be daunting. The DRT2 program (especially) has encouraged me to think positively about the small changes we can make and then see/feel each week.

I honestly cannot recommend this program enough. If you’re on the fence about signing up: back yourself. You can do it! Because, trust me, if I can anyone can.

Stephanie Belisle – St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Canada

Hi Nicola, here are my highlights from this DRT3 program.
First : my awareness – because my body is more supple and stronger, I have improved my balance in the saddle and noticed I have additional channels of communication with the horse I ride since I can more subtle.

Second : my fluidity – in my day-to-day life as well as in my riding moments, I feel so good in how I move, how I breathe and how I stand.

And lastly : my reaction time – the different exercises involving plyometrics have paid and now I trust I can sustain an elastic posture no matter what the horse is doing, no matter how long I ride, no matter what is going on.

I am amazed with the progress I have made so far. It has been a rewarding journey. I am ready for DRT4.

Thanks a lot

Susan Everett – North Carolina, USA

Dear Nicola,

Your program has made a big improvement in my riding ability. I am 66 years old and currently riding once @ week – returning to riding after a 30+ year layoff. I quickly realized my mind remembered so much more than my body! I hoped DRT1 would help me address my biggest problems – upper body position and moving my legs independently and it did more than I hoped.

I have a significant amount of arthritis in my upper back and neck, and I haven’t kept up with my strength training since the pandemic began. After 12 weeks of DRT1, I have a much stronger upper body now due to the homework stretches and workouts. I love how you give different difficulty levels in each workout. I certainly needed extra weeks to work my way up to the more challenging options in every workout.

My second big problem was re-learning how to isolate and move different parts of my body without moving anything else! Once again, the workouts are targeted to help me in this very area.

Like many of your other participants, I have lowered my stirrups at least twice as my leg strength and balance improved. Just last week, my trainer suggested it’s time to drop them another hole! Here’s a picture of me on my favorite lesson horse Jasper before the longer stirrup length. Still working on getting my shoulders back – but they are a lot better thanks to DRT1.

These improvements have come without completing all the phases of DRT1 – yet. The DRT group has been so supportive of us who need extra time to advance through the workouts. The Facebook group and your encouragement has kept me working out every week and repeating weeks as necessary. Why? Because you tell me how this exercise or movement is going to impact my riding. To me that is the biggest key to success. I can directly apply what you have us do with my riding, and I want to be a better rider.

I ordered the thumb drive since I have lousy internet service in my rural home. Even though DRT1 has officially finished, I am still working out (core, yoga, and strength) every week… slowly working my way through the weeks as my body allows. I am more flexible, stronger, and have more stamina than I have been in years. Thank you for this wonderful program.

Heidi Wells – West Richland, USA

I have really noticed a difference in my ability to stay with the horses when they move quickly and I feel I have better independent aids. My stability and endurance are much improved. I ride 2 horses and the one that has bigger movement (Hanoverian cross) was a challenge to ride, especially sitting trot. About midway through dressage Rider Training 1, I was pleasantly surprised that I could sit her trot for more than a few steps! I am so pleased I found this program and Nicola is wonderful at encouraging me to keep going and at explaining the exercises. I am definitely planning on continuing with DRT 2! Thank you Nicola!

Jacqueline Marianna Kelton – Canada

Hi Nicola,

I started this program for two reasons:

I felt stuck in my riding ability and decided I would try to do everything I could to improve myself and my fitness to help my riding
I had just bought a baby warmblood and she is equal parts athletic and dramatic and didn’t want to get hurt in the event that we parted company
This program really helped me identify where my weakness were and helped me figure out where things were gong wrong in my riding because of those weaknesses. I feel stronger and fitter and more confident in the saddle and my ability to ride the way that I know I can.

I am an eventer from Canada and I’ve been riding for almost 20 years and I feel like this program is my secret weapon that I have going on and I am definitely going to try and get my friends at the barn involved as well!

I can’t wait for DRT2!

Paula Preschlack – Illinois, USA

Nicola, the program REALLY helped me get stronger and more balanced as a rider, but also just to have better posture and to feel more fit physically, too. It was so great to just have three 20 minute workouts each week. I loved that one was core, one yoga and one fitness. Even though I am currently riding hunters – not dressage- the workouts were tailored for riding, which is something I’ve never quite been able to do on my own. Going to the gym or running just never seemed to help my time in the saddle and I often felt frustrated at how out of shape I felt on course at a show, even though I was working out a lot. But this course was the game changer for me! Working on the specific muscles and balance that translates directly to riding, paid off. By the end of the course, I could go in the ring four rounds in a row, in the heat, and come out without gasping for breath or feeling weak. I’m so grateful for the motivation, your upbeat attitude and the nudge to prepare better for working with my horse. At the end of your course, I won a blue ribbon on my very last day in Wellington, which was a beautiful way to celebrate! Here’s me and “Cheeky”. I would recommend your courses to anyone, and I look forward to doing more! This kind of rider preparation is really lacking amongst amateurs. But for a short investment, it makes riding even more enjoyable and rewarding!

Nicola Marshall – Wellington, New Zealand

DRT 1 was fantastic, but I was a bit nervous about DRT 2. I knew we would build on the previous work, and I wondered if I could hack it. I didn’t need to worry, it just built seamlessly on, with clever exercises utilising the dynamic programme to really maximise the 20 minute routine. There is plenty of information, more about why we need strength and flexibility, and with the homework it has had an amazing impact on my riding. I am 63 and have had a long break of about 40 years. I have a fabulous coach, but to really improve, I needed to work a lot on my own strength. This programme is very safe, Nicola talks and walks us through everything, no guilt but plenty of encouragement. I aspire to ride Dressage, but just doing Riding Tests for now, and fun riding, but I get a real kick out of the Facebook group, extremely supportive too, and doing really amazing riding.

Annika Pohl – Linköping, Sweden

Dear Nicola! I have much out of all the three programs and experience that my body do the riding better in several ways. I sit better, the balance have improved and I also think my posure has changed. DRT3 was especially good with the condition routine. I also like the time-thing on core and rider strength. I then know what is happening next. My upper body has got more in this last program. The intervals are a challenge but improves the normal running and I am glad that is in the program.
I do every program about three times, so I have started my second time now. I have always, thank God, a good and kind body doing mostly what I want. But now at 61years it is even better.
I am glad to hear that you have also a DRT4. Ben has been so helpful when I have had questions. You are a good team what I can see from Sweden.

Camille Guyot – Switzerland

Hi Nicola! I really enjoyed taking part in the DRT3 Programm. As a professional rider, mother of 2 children, I do not often have the time to go to the gym on a regular basis. Being able to do my gym when I want is really a bonus. But I also appreciate your weekly emails, it makes me feel that I am not alone, and it motivates me not to miss class!

I feel DRT3 is the right continuation of the other 2 programs, and it does not feel redundant or boring, as you always find ways of changing or finding new exercises.

Thanks a lot! looking forward to DRT4 now!
Best regards,

Kestine Kenny – ACT, Australia

Thank you Nicola for sharing your program. What a difference it has made to my riding and the response from my horse.

I had returned to riding after a long stint out. I got back into the saddle thinking I could pick up from where I left. Well you all know the outcome of that thought process.

I found a fabulous 5yo Friesian X Mare to recommence my riding journey, what a shock that was! As beautiful as my Mare is, she is a very strong willed, independent, you know what! So our journey starts and to begin with it goes well….. 6 months into the journey things start to fall apart as to be expected. It was rough, I was an emotional mess and was doubting my ability and my confidence was depleted. Then I found DRT..

Nicola, this program is absolutely brilliant, and to be honest I only do the bare minimum so I can only imagine where I would be if I did the homework. I cannot explain but my attitude, fitness, strength, confidence, health (i do use your recipes and grave my daily green smoothie) mind set, balance, you name it has improved. I can ride again, we are slowly increasing our jumping height and my mare is responding to me in such a positive way.

I’m only an amateur but I love what this program has done and allowed me to experience. I am so grateful! I’ll be going onto DRT 3 and I must say the time between where I do take a break I notice my fitness decline.

Your program is second to none! Thank you for allowing me to take this journey and really enjoy my passion!! My advice to those thinking about it is JUST DO IT (am I allowed to say that 😂)

Thank you Nicola, I absolutely love DRT!!

Tracy Dalzell – Northland, NZ

I’ve really enjoyed what I have learnt from the programme and the benefits it provides in making me a stronger and more flexible rider with better balance. In the first week I had a light bulb moment through an exercise which helped me realise what one coach has tried to get through for years with regards to position. This is now something I will incorporate into every day habits in order to help both my horses and myself become a stronger team.

Darcy Hambleton – British Columbia

Hi Nicola this program has helped me immensely! My horse is a bit spooky before the program I had trouble staying in the saddle now I can sit just about anything he throws at me . I feel better have lost some weight and above all I am fitter than I have been in a long time! So thank you it’s been a godsend I am going to repeat DRT 1 again before moving on and looking forward to it!
Thanks so much!

Sharon Burt – Florida, USA

Hi Nicola, just wanted to thank you for producing and helping me through the DRT Programmes.
I completed DRT1 during lockdown and went on to DRT2 but had to stop as we moved back to UK after 20 years in USA. It was a huge and difficult move with all our worldly good and animals during the covid era, but as soon as life was on an even keel I got back on the DRT wagon.
I redid DRT1 and restarted DRT2 and I’m delighted I just finished it.
I think it’s a great programme, being mid 60s I think it is helping make me strong and flexible enough so I can keep riding. It is also great that you can stop or repeat to suit what’s happening in your life. The Facebook page is very supportive with other people going through similar things to you giving you the help and support you need to keep going.
I’m now repeating one of the yoga programmes while I wait for DRT3!

Lisa Capaldini – California, USA

I can’t praise this modular exercise program enough – it’s effective, efficient, progressive, and designed to be individualized for each student.  I do dressage lessons and trail rides and am a pretty diligent rider – I found that there were things I was trying to improve where I was just stuck.  A friend suggested Nicola’s training system and I saw results right away — so did my teacher!  I’m  honestly not sure if it gave me new/better muscles or simply better access to muscles I had but my riding feels much more balanced, relaxed, and effective.  As a 66 year-old who has never been very flexible I was a bit apprehensive about the yoga component, and his that was hard for me and exactly what I needed.  And as a bit of a control freak it was important to me that the time I was putting in generated results – that’s an undersatement – this program has been transformational for my riding, my body, and my awareness.  It has been challenging but in the best way – for each exercise I can either take it easier or push myself and that has translated into sustained improvement.  I think you and my horses thank you!!

Carol Alonso – California

The 12-week DRT program was a great Christmas present to myself. I had taken more than a year off from riding and competing in dressage due to COVID, because most of the riders in my barn are young and I’m older. When I resumed after vaccination, I found that my strength and fitness had withered away; I could not ride more than 15 minutes of dressage lessons without getting sore and tired. So I did DRT, and week by week my fitness and balance improved so that now, at the end of the 12 weeks, I am riding one, sometimes two, horses daily in normal dressage workouts. I plan to compete again this summer, starting Second Level USA. In 2017 (see photo) I celebrated my US Century Ride (sum of ages of horse and rider must exceed 100 in a judged USDF test). I am grateful that DRT is helping me to keep riding and competing in dressage even at age 80. My goal is to do a Century Ride when I’m 100!

Cindy Cavell – Haymarket, USA

Thank you so much for the exercises, homework and articles in DRT3! I finally finished it last week. Taking a week off and diving back into DRT2 for a second time on Monday.

Oddly, I found DRT3 to be a bit easier on my 67-year old body than DRT2 J Other than the sprints, which I really can’t do, as my knees are shot (I substitute an exercise bike for the running/jogging), I felt that DRT3 was more yoga-forward than DRT2, which (to me) was more strength and stamina-forward.

The exercises completely dovetail with my coach’s teaching methods (pull your lats/armpits down to stabilize yourself, bear down with your core, and quit making so much noise with your legs). I have found that DRT3 has given me the ability to utilize my “sitting surface” to sit the trot far more effectively, and keep myself upright in the saddle (at 5’4”, I’m used to riding the big guys, and was tending to get behind the vertical in the saddle to try to give myself more leverage) and stay in harmony with the horse.

The other thing that the exercises gave me was better reaction time. As an engineer, I have a bad habit of analyzing everything to death before I do it, which goes into my riding as well – I think too long about an action/reaction and don’t just “do”. These exercises helped be quicker and just do it rather than think.

You are an amazing young woman, and we think you’re the best, even when you’re killing us. Keep up the fantastic work – I’ve been doing exercises from video for nearly 30 years, and your programs are by far the best I’ve ever experienced! You clearly put an enormous amount of thought and effort in to them. Cheers to Ben as well, and all of the animals!

Nai Vanderwoude – Barmera, Australia

Dearest Nicola, thank you for your wonderful program.

Thank you for the numerous options within each exercise. Some days just getting through the 20 minutes using the gentler options was a feat for me, but it gave me something to focus on other than having a brain tumour.

I love the way, as the weeks go by, I could use different muscles independently from each other so much easier (I even came across a few muscles I never knew I had…lol).

I love how the program helped me become more aware of where I was holding tension (think shoulders up around ears!) and those times when I was holding my breath (seriously, what is with that ?)

During the last few weeks of your programme I was able to get back in the saddle and what a totally glorious moment that was! I’m going to go back over the 12 weeks and add in some of the exercises I wasn’t able to do while not being able to ride and also add in some of the harder options.

Thanks again

Mariann Jakobsen – Danmark

I have enjoyed DRT3 – and really felt the strength growing in my core. I love the variety of exercises – and the fact that the exercises can be done on different levels.

I managed to do DRT3 with a knee injury – and kept myself going (more than a year) – and the training is keeping me happy and fit – my horse love the “new me” – loads of energy and happy moments while doing the training.

For some reason the training and the articles – was like a puzzle – and along the way – the “puzzle” got finalized. So the change is overwhelming – also in relation to a stressful job.

It is a change of lifestyle – and now being able to enjoy life much more – without being so worried about what other people/do or whatever. Strongest person ever – and loving every minute with my horse – regardless of what we train.

Juliet Cayzer – Palmerston North, NZ

It feels good to have completed DRT2! I didn’t expect to accomplish that when I started DRT1, it’s amazing and encouraging to see what persistence can accomplish. Despite being in my 50’s I was even able to take on the ‘and if you want more’ options. A number of my family members (even the young ones!) have injuries-and their physios tell them they need to strengthen their gluteals or hamstrings or adductors or core muscles. When I hear that I empathise-and think thankful thoughts about the DRT program that works on all of those muscles. It’s a fabulous program for rider training (and that’s still my motivation for continuing with it) but it helps with plenty of other activities too.

Sarah Sing – Hong Kong

Thank you very much for the DRT program it has helped my riding a lot. I find that my balance and stamina is so much better now. Today I was moving some jump wings and poles (for lunge jumping) and noticed that I carried them with ease!!

Pamela Langenberg – Victoria, Australia

Hi Nicola

I loved DRT4 – I found it challenging enough that I have already started back on week one this week with the intention of doing the tougher challenges with more weight.

DRT 4 has been better that the others in that in 20 minutes I found I am really working up a sweat for the core and rider strength days and really settling into to the yoga (which I may add I was a nay sayer for yoga at the very beginning!). Now I can’t wait for the lovely relaxing stretches.

Overall I am most definitely stronger and fitter than at the beginning.

Thank you for creating these wonderful programs – cant wait for DRT5.

Amy Grahn – South Carolina, USA

Hi Nicola,

Attached is a picture of myself and Hudson 18. We showed I1 last year. Your program has helped my seat be deeper and more independent. Because my seat is now properly positioned my legs are more effective- try riding with 90% seat and leg using hands as a modifier.

I have a new I1 freestyle I plan to show this season.

Thank you for your program, I continue to use it almost every day!

All the best,

Kym Casterton – Ramarama, New Zealand

Hi Nicola and Ben, I would like to sincerely thank you for the DRT3 programme!!!

I’ve found DRT3 a great natural step up from DRT1 and DRT2. The addition of working on fascial lines, plyometrics, reaction times, strength (both core and overall) and general cardio fitness have been SO beneficial to me, and my horse Janna has really benefitted. I think she enjoys watching me with my leg up in the air etc when doing the 5min pre ride exercises!

Another benefit of DRT3 is that I now set goals with tasks – short term, medium term and long term, and doing off-horse training is now a part of my ongoing development.

My husband really enjoys doing the yoga sessions with me and gets great benefits as he works hard on the farm, and often gets sore lower back/tight hips etc.

Again, thank you so much, and also to Ben for the extra support!

Robin Felton – Georgia, USA

The program has been the most important tool to improving my riding other than actually riding! My flexibility has completely turned around and my core is stronger than ever.

DRT1 starts a great foundation to improving core strength and finding “how flexible” you are, then the exercises help expand it. DRT2 adds onto the foundation from DRT1 and further helps expand your flexibility. Whatever joint issues you have there’s always an option to participate in the workout. If you started developing good habits with DRT1 then it’s easy to keep at it as you progress – progression for me was SO obvious when I rode. I couldn’t always complete homework but I made sure I got my workouts in – even if they weren’t on an ideal schedule.

I was apprehensive to go right into DRT3 but felt like it would keep me motivated. I started repeating DRT2 between the new DRT3 workouts and felt like this was a good situation for me. I tried to keep the weeks the same because the programs work together. I think it was a good choice. I sprained my knee during DRT3 but was able to keep up with modifications. The way each DRT program “flows” together is great and doesn’t over power you.

I love the DRT program – it’s been so good for me physically and mentally. Nicola is so supportive and reassuring throughout the workouts and the extra emails, homework, etc. I find it boosts my confidence to do the pre-ride stretch so I can hold Nicola’s voice in my head and know that “we’ve done it all already”!
I also have learned a great deal about how the muscles work. This has helped a great deal with my own stuff joint issues.

Who doesn’t love when Elly or Lucy participate in the workouts?! I hope I’ve covered all the best of DRT. Other members at my barn and my trainer have all noticed how far I’ve come and plan on starting the program. I hope they do and I can’t wait to start on DRT4 – is there one? For now, it’s repeat 2 and 3 concurrently. Thanks so much!!

Karen Bahrman – Skandia, USA

Hi Nicola, I really liked this program. I am a longtime endurance rider who has recently gotten interested in dressage as well. Wish I had done so earlier as so many riders have no tools other than the bit – the horse pulls and the rider pulls back, and both enjoyment and longevity suffer. But, given where I live I do not attempt to ride in the winter (and at 65 it’s harder to get back into it every spring) and I think this program has helped me stay more flexible. I like how all the workouts are different and how you relate things back to riding. I did find pre-watching them over morning coffee to be helpful as then I knew what was coming and didn’t fall behind as much. Here is photo of my current horse and I doing an intro test at a schooling show – he is a Morgan and my first non-Arab ever.

Becky Auker – Oregon, USA

I am on the left on my horse in a parade, just after a rain. DRT1 has helped to improve my strength and balance and become more focused on my evenness while riding. I’ve completed all of the workouts but not necessarily at the highest levels. Some I could do but many I could not. I enjoyed Nicola’s enthusiasm and relating the exercises to riding even though I ride western. I plan to continue with DRT as I’ve realized how helpful it’s been for me. I’m 68 and I hope to keep riding for many years.
Thank you, Nicola.

Steph Bradley

Hi Nicola,

I haven’t completed it yet as I had covid then norovirus !!

But I can say that I can now get on my horse immediately without having to sit at the back I the saddle until my hips “give”.

I can sit deeper and don’t feel achy after riding. And I’m able to dismount easier.

Given I have advanced hip arthritis where a replacement is the only solution, I’m delighted to be delaying it by getting the muscles stronger.

There are some exercises I just cannot do – so I adapt them to what I can do or do something else.

Overall I’m pleased I did Drt 1. I shall be repeating it as I don’t think I will cope with anything harder without pain.

Best wishes,


Stephanie Park – China

The DRT Program helped me get through the recent China Covid lockdowns. I jumped out of bed in the morning to do the exercisees, because I knew I was doing something to help me improve my riding. This summer I’m hoping to get back on the horse and travel to Inner Mongolia and the Tibetan regions for some “wild riding” in a good old-fashioned Western sadde, sleeping in tents, and running free across the countryside. That’s what this program is helping me work toward, and I can’t wait!

Kathi Heiber

I was planning on just repeating DRT1 on my own -but was inspired enough by the progress I had made in following DRT1 AND reading the testimonials by others to stick my neck out and follow DRT2 to the best of my ability- What a difference it has made!! I happened to do one of the 21 day Yoga retreats in the break period- and jumped in with all enthusiasm and equipment for DRT2 – ( and for the stamina part I have been swimming on average 3 days a week) I am so pleasantly pleased with the fitness improvement- and my body awareness as it applies to my riding and my general posture/ life . And all for my 3 workouts a week – ( I confess I have not been that diligent with the homework- but perhaps NOW – as I repeat DRT2 in the coming quarter – I will add in those extra pieces). I am quite sure I was able to ride out a few bucks and spooks in the past 2 weeks- due to my new core strength and balance . I have been most impressed with how much fitness is really needed to ride dynamically – in harmony – with my horse….

Thanks very much for such a wonderful program
It has been a great winter due to this personal growth on my part to be bringing to my 21 year old riding partner .
( and I was glad to see that the average age is 55- of the participants- )

Kathi Heiber

Polina Alber – Massachusetts, USA

Hi Nicola, DRT 1 helped me a lot to stay in the saddle and ride with more confidence. My instructor noticed continuous balance and posture improvements as I was going through the program. I am progressing on keeping my boy more engaged and forward. Last week we reached major milestone in canter. I am planning to repeat DRT 1 on my own and continue with DRT2 in 3 months. Thanks, Polina

Margaret – Ottawa

Hi Nicola,

If I had a horse at this time, I would love that too! Unfortunately, my personal circumstances at age 80+, don’t allow me the infinite pleasure of having a horse of my own again. For years I was an active member of the Ottawa Valley Hunt and used to foxhunt twice a week. I’m also a certified riding coach and taught able and disabled riding for years at the local equestrian park. I still teach a friend occasionally.

It’s only at this age that I fully understand “use it or lose it”! After reading so many comments posted to the DRT FB page by women with severe health issues and severe restrictions who are determined to get back on their horses, I realize just how blessed I have been and still am. I’ve taken my good health for granted. Now I don’t…

I have been using the DRT (along with walking over the winter) to slowly improve my body’s health, strength, balance, flexibility, etc. that has been eroded over time by having insufficient physical activity. It has been and still is my hope that, by following the program (even though at this point I’m only repeating weeks 3 and 4) it will allow me to ride a friend’s horse safely at more than a walk, having a reasonable seat, and without being really afraid I’ll hurt myself in some way.

Your program is excellent. Your teaching skill and knowledge are also excellent. Because of the improvements that have already taken place in my physical capacity and mental and emotional wellbeing, my family are not only happy to see me glowing with more energy, but are also encouraging “Mom” to get back on a horse.

I hope you realize how life-changing your DRT program is! In a few weeks, when it’s more reasonable riding weather and the ground had dried up here in the Ottawa Valley region, I will get back on a horse, and I will take a photo to send to you with much gratitude.

Meanwhile, keep up the wonderful work that you are doing. I will keep on promoting it!

Most sincerely,


Glenda Hartley

Hi Nicola,
This is my new, 4 yo horse who I was having some challenges with. Over the last 3 months with the discipline of your program which has built my strength, physically, mentally and emotionally thus my confidence.
Hence our relationship has improved and moved from a horse who may need to be sold, to a horse much loved and we are moving forward with joy.
Thank you, I shall repeat the program to reinforce it.
Congratulations to you.
Glenda Hartley

Nicola Parker-Webb – Otago, New Zealand

I absolutely love DRT3…in fact all of the programmes!! I feel very fortunate to have found Foreverfit and DRT. I feel stronger, more balanced, more flexible, and fitter as a person and more effective as a rider. Workouts are challenging, fun, and easy to follow. Nicola has a great positive energy and morning workouts set the tone for the rest of the day 🙂 I am super excited to be continuing the journey and heading into DRT4 next 🙂

Thanks so much 🙂

Sue Wallace – Cooma, Australia

Just a quick word of encouragement for anyone who has just bought a big stepping horse and is now shocked that you find the stride is impossible to sit. This happened to me about a year ago when I swapped from Matilda, a 16.2hh stockhorse X WB with fairly ordinary movement to Mindy, a 17hh high stepping Clydesdale X ThB. Wow, doing sitting trot, I felt like I was a beginner all over again. Instructors kept repeating “core strength” at me. OK, I took their advice and registered in DRT. DRT 1 was great for me, and each week I felt I was making process. My ability to be more than just a sitting trot passenger on Mindy improved remarkably over the weeks of DRT1. As Mindy’s engagement improves, I now feel that I need more fitness. Consequently I have had to take DRT2 slower, often repeating some work outs and diligently following the homework in order to develop the fitness. I can’t wait to be able to jog for 5 minutes comfortably. Increasing age may prevent me ever achieving Week 12 of DRT 3, but I don’t think I will ever give up my regular DRT workouts. Thanks Nicola.

Pia Rennekamp – Schwerte, Germany

I am very happy to have found this training. It is very balanced with the different focus and homework. I will definitely review it and then consider doing DRT 2 as well. Probably not until it is available in German though, as it is easier after all.
Overall it has definitely helped my stability in the saddle, there are moments when I slide deeper into the saddle instead of out to the front during startle moments! My hands are also more independent than before! All in all, of course – if you are over 60 – it takes longer until the old patterns are overwritten. The only thing that helps is consistent training and, in the truest sense of the word, staying on the ball!

Ann Trausch – Oregon USA

I was looking for a program that would help me with my flexibility and to have a more secure seat when I ride. I knew from storing 2-1/2 tons of hay last summer it was not about the strength. The DRT program has been so much more for me and at the right time. I thoroughly enjoy the workouts and the options if you have injuries that do not allow you to bend a particular way. Nicola and Ben are incredibly supportive and the website has so many other resources to help you become a better rider. On my last dressage lesson my instructor complimented me on how much quieter and connected to my horse. Thank you DRT! Ann

Linda Dixon

Hi Nicola,
I’ve been doing DRT for several years now. I’ve done DRT 4 three times plus I’m just finishing Phase 3 of DRT 4 a fourth time. I have hip replacement surgery on February 9 so I won’t be able to do any more for a while.
I had my pre op Physio appointment last week and the PT told me I was in was in good shape and that would help me recover quickly from the surgery. I owe that to you and DRT!
Thank you for this program! It has helped me immensely! I’m going to miss not getting up in the morning and doing my workout but I’m hoping that I will be able to get back at it before too long! I might have to start back at DRT 1 but I will definitely be back!
Thank you again!
Linda Dixon

Wendy MacLean

Hi, Here is a photo of me on my horse called Trouble(very hard to get a good photo). I have completed DRT1 and started DRT2. I am determined not to miss any sessions even if I am a day or two late. I am quite addicted to this program as I have seen and felt amazing results such as being able to sit to big sideways leaps and not moving out of the saddle. I have never done any no stirrup work until DRT1 and have lowered my stirrups since. I feel very comfortable doing this now and feel so much more balanced. I highly recommend this program to anyone, rider or not. I especially love the yoga. Thanks Wendy MacLean

Fleta Sokal

Hi Nicola
I have just finished DRT2. It’s an awesome program and keeps me motivated to keep exercising. I did have to modify many poses and was not able to do many this time around but I am restarting the 12 weeks. (I did have an unplanned dismount after a cat ran right across our path while we were cantering, a gait I’m not as balanced at. So I did modify some upper body poses since I had a mild T5 compression fracture). I still found it very helpful and hope to be able to do more of the poses this time through. Still barely kneeling on the ball so those exercises will come later. At almost 67 I feel stronger and more balanced since doing DRT1 and DRT2 then ever before. I definitely would and have recommended your programs.
Fleta Sokal

Lauren Hughes – Victoria, Australia

Hi Nicola,

I have enjoyed DRT1, although I’m still working on completing weeks 9-12 including all the homework, etc. I plan to consolidate this before signing up for DRT2 in the next opening.

As for the benefits, the improvement in my riding has been great as expected, but I’ve found the benefits in my everyday life were the surprise. I ride one horse a few times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on what’s happening that week, both training and competing. I’m regaining my fitness after baby number 3, with 3 kids,
6 and under. The fitness I gained has made it easier to manage the day to day of the household plus feel stronger to complete the more physical things required.
Completing the modules with their dressage focus appeals to me compared to an ordinary gym program. Thankyou Nicola for a great program.


Joyce Casady

It took me a little while to figure out how I wanted to talk about this program. To be honest, I think it has changed my life and health for the better.
I am 77 years old. My horse is 21 and has had some lameness issues, which have prevented me from riding consistently. DRT has kept me fit enough to get on when he’s having a good day and know I am secure in the saddle if he sees “dragons in the woods”.
I was very consistent with DRT 1 AND 2. Had a little trouble staying on track with DRT3. My scheduling and commitments kept getting in the way. What I found, however, is that I could jump back in and continue the program whenever I had the time. It so consistently builds strength, bit by bit, that you keep it.
I also found myself hearing Nicola’s voice in my head, even when just out walking my dog. We compete in Agility and Rally and a few other active canine sports. DRT has kept me fit for all these things, not just for riding.
I can’t say enough good things about these programs. I love how each thing can be tailored to each individual so all can benefit wherever they are.
Thank you Nicola and gang for being part of my life.

Sue Berry

“What can I say about DRT that hasn’t been said before! It truly is an amazing program. As an older rider (with lots of replacement parts due to horse accidents!) I did feel that I should perhaps retire from riding. However – DRT virtually saved my body and allowed me to continue with my passion. It took me 2 years to get through DRT1 (many stops and starts and then my property was lost in the fires and my horse badly burned). However, I wanted to give it one last shot and Nicola’s program had not only supported me in my endeavours to go back to riding but has improved my body and riding amazingly. I finaly finished DRT 1 and then moved onto DRT2 and the difference in my position, core strength and balance has been incredible. I so want to be the best I can be for my beautiful mare and she is benefiting the most which is fabulous. Nicola’s support and attitude is wonderful. I never feel pressured or a failure when I stumble – just encouraged to try again. Thank you so much Nicola – you have helped me continue with my passion and I look forward to the next DRT program with great joy.
Sue “

Stephanie Belisle – QC, Canada

Hi Nicola,
Sorry for being a month late in replying to your request, I had missed it.

I am almost done with DRT 2 – I am missing only one Core and one Strength routine of week #12. When I like a routine, I tend to repeat it a couple of times before I move to the next. This is something that I have been doing differently in DRT 2 compared to DRT 1 where I was rushing in following the schedule as much as possible.

I continue enjoying the program. I think I like it even more, since I make progress in my ability to perform the proposed exercices and see the benefits every time I ride. I feel more balanced in the saddle, my abdominals help me stay forward into the motion, my legs are longer, my upper back is straighter. My natural standing position has also improved with my upper back stronger.

In one of the yoga sessions during DRT 2, you mention that the combinations of exercices that we are doing are helping keeping our stability in the saddle in case a horse spooks, and I can tell you that it’s true. One of the horse I ride right now is a PRE 17h2 and he can be pretty naughty. I am feeling more much confident when I sit on him since I started the program – thanks to DRT 2.

I can tell you too that I carry my DRT 2 program with me even when I have to travel for work. No excuse. I either do the routine in my hotel room or in the gym, if one is available. So, I stick to it, no matter what.

This newsletter you send us on regular basis does complement well the program. It allows pushing further and deeper my level of reflection in how I want to become a better person for my own self.

Your program is contributing to my calmness and this is what I need in my day-to-day life at work where I have a stressful job and where often I have to present to upper management. Breathing through the belly and harvesting the culture of calmness has brought wonderful fruits. I received today great feedback from my manager on how strong my presentations are when I report about the project I lead.

Lastly, I believe I had told you in my previous testimony that I suffer from Juvenile Arthritis since I was 16 (I am now 41, almost 42 lol), DRT2 is for me a key ingredient to keep my body supple and active. Stretching and keeping my core strong have been part of my daily routine for more than 15 years. Your program goes in the same direction. By following you during the different sessions, on top of having a lot of fun, I am also investing time and energy in keeping my level of pain low, making me a better rider and a better person. What else can I ask for ?

As you can see, you don’t need to convince me to pursue the journey with DRT 3 and DRT 4. You can count me in ! I am your fan no 1.

The pictures I included are from videos.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you Happy Holidays and a Sparkling Happy New Year 2022 !!

Thanks a lot,

Judi Stewart – Oteha, New Zealand

Hi Nicola, I am an older person who wants to get back into riding, after having been more or less grounded for about 15 years now, so I undertook your program to try and regain some fitness and flexibility while searching for a safe and sensible smallish hack, suitable for a lady of “mature years”.

I’ve also been doing quite a bit of trekking with a trekking centre at Waiwera, just to get some saddle time and regain some confidence after such a long break and have found that even there my riding posture has improved as I’ve worked through the course material.

I’m happy to report that your program has definitely helped – especially the shorter yoga and pilates sessions which I find really easy to fit into my working day.

Thank you for your help and inspiration – now all I need is to find the right horse!

Katja Mueller – Deutschland, Germany

Dear Nicola, I truely enjoyed DRT 3, so far it has been my favourite programme. The different workout mode – doing as many repetitions as you can in a certain time frame instead of doing a certain number of repetitions – really forced me to give it my all.

I found it challenging, exhausting (very often dripping and shaking after the 20 minutes) and at the same time incredibly satisfying and beneficial. My strength and stability have improved so much during the last weeks.

In my experience the results were noticeable even quicker than during DRT 1 and 2 as I was touching my boundaries more often and the exercises were often working on two goals at the same time , e.g. balance and strength.

I also loved the work on our fascia during the yoga and mobility sessions which really helped me identify and loosen some deeply hidden tightnesses in my body (although I missed the good old straight forward yoga and had to do a bit on the side ;).

So, I am definetely up to continue the journey, DRT has truely become a part of my life and I don’t want to miss out in the future 🙂

Thank you for all the thought and effort you put in the program, you certainly did a great job!

Kind regards from Germany

Cristina Capanescu – Tabernacle, USA

Hi Nicola, I think DRT3 was definitely a level up from the previous programs.

DRT1 was basic and progressed well to improve balance and help identify and strengthen all the moving parts.

DRT2 helped coordinate the parts further, and the fitness and yoga became more challenging as well.

DRT3 provided a new approach and way of thinking about how we connect those parts. I really enjoyed the workouts which were more physically challenging, but I especially appreciated the focus on diagonals, fascial planes and brain training and reaction times.

This new mindset has really helped my riding, more than I expected. I look forward to DRT4!

Kathi Heiber – New York, USA

This is Lily ( Shagya Arabian) and me after finishing a dressage test at a combined training event in September …. We have devolved over the years to just doing the Green Bean division ( due to jumping issues…) We are getting much better as a team in our 9 years together ( she was 10 yrs old , an unbroken brood mare when I got her- and I thought it would be a 6 month project….)

The 12 week program this fall was a great discipline = and taught me that – relatively short efforts = done regularly- pay off with improvement in my fitness on all accounts- and now enjoying the 21 day yoga retreat-

My goal has been to improve both Lily and my fitness level as we are about even in our early senior years together= we have 7.5 more years to qualify for a ‘century ride’.

Thanks for putting together such an easy to follow program with gentle guidance and alternatives when needed to be able to stay on track.

Janet Holliday – Auckland, New Zealand

Hi lovely, I am loving Phase 1 of the DRT program. It has strengthened my core and given me so much better balance and posture . Love your encouragement and all the user friendly aspects of the online program. It has also been so beneficial for me as I am having to go through rehabilitation following knee surgery. The options provided for the exercises are fabulous for this ! Love everything about it!

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