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.
“The program was fabulous. For someone coming back from an injury, the program definitely helped me regain not only my confidence on my horse but also the muscles and skills necessary to do so. Both of my trainers have commented on how much better I am in the saddle than I was before the program.”
– Pamela Knudsen, Washington, US
– Shawn Maurice, Texas, US
“It’s very hard to take a selfie when your best friend has an extremely large head! This is Gabe, my 7 yo ottb. We have been together for 3 1/2 years. Never would have seen myself on a young TB but he is the perfect gentleman. Riding dressage at 56 yo has it’s challenges, especially on a young horse and an inexperienced rider. DRT was just what I needed to improve my athletic abilities, particularly core and balance. I looked forward to my workouts daily. I accomplished things I never thought I could be capable of: Hindu squat, balancing on Swiss ball, and 30 days of stirrup less riding. The workout has options for all levels and Nicola is positive, encouraging, and genuine in her efforts to help you reach your full riding potential. Can’t wait for # 2! Thank you so much!”
– Susan Kicklighter, Florida, US
“The DRT program has helped me and my horse Stormy so much. I lost 2 dress sizes over the three months. And most importantly, i have become a much better rider and Stormy and I have become a team. Prior to the program, I had always been afraid to canter. Further my stamina was not nearly good enough and I was not pushing Stormy enough. Now we are cantering, and I am in better shape than my horse! The two of us are working on increasing her stamina for cantering now and are looking forward to riding in some shows this summer.”
– Rachel Baghelai Crystral Lake, United States
” This program is PERFECT and is just what I was looking for. While I’ve done weights and they helped me feel stronger as a person, and while I’ve done cardio which helped with endurance in riding, this program is the only exercise regimen that has effectively addressed the muscles necessary to advance my riding. Doing this program — even only the first 5 weeks of it — helped me in ways that I thought would take years to develop (e.g., using my seat more effectively such as in asking for canter transitions, creating an independent seat, independence with using legs and abs without tensing other areas incorrectly). I have to work hard to maintain muscle so I anticipate using these work outs over and over again over time to maintain these muscles after I rebuild and continue to build them. Thank you so so so much for providing answers I never thought I’d find in my riding, or that I thought would take way way longer to develop. It makes it so much more fun to feel more correct and confident more quickly in what I’m doing and to be able to communicate to my horse more effectively! He tries so hard for me, now I can feel better about what I’m doing for him!”
– Erica Larson, Kansas United States
“I just wanted to let you know how thrilled I have been with your Dressage Riders Training course! I signed up not quite knowing what to expect – and wondering if I could anticipate real results from an online course. I can now report that I have noticed a meaningful difference in my overall strength, flexibility and balance. This is all the more important to me as work commitments this past quarter have meant limited opportunity to ride – being able to put in effort at times that suit me has meant I feel I am continuing to work at improving my riding despite the challenges of daily living. For me, the results will not be short lived as I have also developed a far deeper appreciation of what physically needs to happen to maintain a strong yet flexible position – and the impact poor posture, old injuries and a degree of laziness in setting new challenges for myself have had on my balance and endurance (both on and off a horse!) As a middle aged person looking to maintain good health, these learnings alone are invaluable. I highly recommend your Dressage Rider Training – I will definitely be signing up for your next course. I have attached a picture of Gambit and me from last weekend – I really hope he appreciates my efforts on that Swiss ball!”
– Sarah Baldwin, Perth Australia
“My name is Linda Brown, I am a qualified RWYM Rider Biomechanics Coach,NZEF registered Coach and Dressage Rider. I want to thank Nicola for developing DRT (Dressage Rider Training). I have been using DRT since its inception and have found it easy to use and huge benefit to my riding fitness. Site support is instant and unlike other fitness programs, DRT is designed for riders and their unique fitness requirements. It is great to be able to fit in a 20 minute session as and where I like and to be able to repeat it when necessary. You don’t have to be a Grand Prix Dressage rider to get the max out of this product. DRT is for anybody that rides Dressage whether they are a beginner to dressage , a happy hacker, a top dressage rider or just want to feel safe and in control. I am sure our horses will thank you for this excellent product Nicola and I would like to recommend this program to anybody who has little time to spend on their own fitness but wants to be the best they can be for the sake of their horses and their own riding ability.”
– Linda Brown, New Zealand, NZEF Coach, RWYM Biomechanics Coach
The DRT program is phenomenal! It is challenging, but not overwhelming. I’m stronger, more flexible and a better rider as a result of the program. (And I’m not a spring chicken!) I have a deeper more stable seat and much clearer communication through my aides. Where my horse used to start hollow, he is now willing to step up under my seat from the get go. I’m no longer blocking him with my back. I would (and have) recommend this program to anyone equestrian or not who wants to improve strength and flexibility. And it’s fun! Except maybe balancing on that pesky ball!???? Thanks so much for making this program available to us!!!
– Terrie Hargrove, Texas United States
This I can say atm, I have a pilates reformer and I was curious to know if your exercises would give me the same type of core strengthening. Learning pilates, using the equipment, is not easy and costs alot of money. Not accessible to most riders. Nicola, your program delivers the core strength results. You are an inspiring, realistic and grounded instructor. I particularly like: how you empower your students, working out at home, the intense 20 minute time frame – awesome, its not 50 minutes……..the homework, the daily stretches! When a rider starts understanding their core, then how to activate it (the hardest part), so much about riding (and life) all comes together. When we are consistently in our core, using it to walk, ride etc, we are grounded within ourselves, we make better life decisions. I really like how you teach yoga, no ‘“guru” stuff, but with mindfulness 🙂 I will be joining your online gym when my 6 months membership needs renewal.
– Lisa Spamer, New South Wales Australia
I’d been searching for the right type of exercise program for a long time with the aim of improving my riding.
Your program gave me exactly what I was after. I now feel that my body is more balanced and stronger than ever before. I look forward to Part 2.
– Roberta Campbell, Victoria Australia
“A fellow dressage rider friend suggested I consider this program when I asked how I might improve my fitness out of the saddle. Despite regular riding of two horses both moving into the FEI levels, I knew I had to do more and I did not have the additional time to go to a gym or regular fitness classes. This program turned out to be perfect not only because I could fit it in, but because it made so much sense to me. I could link every exercise back to being in the saddle and I have seen tremendous improvement on many levels but particularly with my balance and ability to recover my balance while riding. I highly recommend riders to try the program and to stick with it if you want to make a significant positive impact on your riding. Like everything in life, if you put in the effort, you will get the results.”
– Gardy Bloemers – Virginia, United States
“I must admit I though long and hard before joining this program. There are so many out there that promise miraculous results in a ridiculously short space of time…..but, guess what…..this one ACTUALLY DELIVERS. If you are willing to commit to the workouts (20 minutes just 3 times a week) and put in the practise with your horse, I can guarantee you will see a dramatic change in your riding ability.
I am just an ordinary person getting back into riding after a couple of horse-less decades. I am lucky enough to now own two horses, again fairly ordinary, but priceless to me. I don’t even compete! I knew I was stuck at a certain level of competence and had a lot of problems getting my Irish Sport Horse ‘Stan’ to go forwards from my leg. I also realised I needed to work on getting myself physically fitter and stronger (being on the wrong side of 50!) and so I signed up for the DRT program.
The point I am making here is that this program is not just for competition riders, but also for anyone at any level who seriously wants to improve their riding ability. You will learn how to become more balanced and flexible as your seat becomes deeper which in turn will help you feel safer and more confident in the saddle.
I was surprised to discover I had very little core strength. I was also tight through my hips, had ceased up hamstrings and was very hollow backed. Then I discovered ‘neutral spine’ and everything I had ever learnt about riding went out the window. When I was young I was never taught about ‘biomechanics’. You either had natural ability or you didn’t. Now I am convinced that anyone can reach that higher level if they develop the necessary core strength, balance and stability.
There is so much more I could say – suffice to say that every credit should go to Nicola Smith for the way she has put this ingenious program together, geared specifically for the horse rider. Within each workout there are always different options to choose from so you can start at a level that is safe for you without causing unnecessary strain and risking injury. As the weeks progress and you find yourself getting stronger and more flexible, you can always repeat the exercises with the harder options. Then there are ‘fun’ things like ‘ 30 days without stirrups’ (I actually enjoy this now!) and, of course, the wretched Swiss ball (okay, I still can’t actually sit up on the thing, but I’m working on it!) You’ll be able to do so much more than you ever imagined.
And not only that – as you become fitter and more centred – everyday tasks become easier as you use your newly developed core muscles and not your back! You will also lose weight and become more toned and balanced with a better posture.
And, if all of this isn’t enough, the single most important difference you will see is how your horse responds to the ‘new’ you. My beloved Stan is no longer slow and sluggish. He is sharp and round and so much more ‘through’ from the minute I get on him. No more bouncing around on a hollow backed horse! It’s like we are finally talking the same language and who knows….we might actually do some dressage next year!
So if your New Year’s resolution is to improve your riding ability I would say don’t spend your money on expensive gym memberships or workout programs that aren’t geared towards horse riders. Sign up to the Dressage Rider Training Program NOW and let Nicola show you just how awesome you can become. I promise you won’t regret it and your horse will be the first to thank you. This has honestly been the best investment I have ever made, not only for my own health, but also for my horses’ happiness and well-being.
Thank you so much, Nicola, for this superb program of exercises that I will carry on with for the rest of my life. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in Phase 2, but I certainly want to be a part of it!!!!
Pam : -)”
– Pamela Castelli, Lincoln, UK
I thoroughly enjoyed your DRT program! Halfway through I started dropping more weight and really toning my body to another dress size smaller. Although I wasn’t able to ride my horse during the 2nd 2 months of the program, I did keep up with all the ‘non-ridden’ workouts. When I was finally able to ride, it was like riding at a whole different level. I was suddenly able to get my body to perform the way I was trying so hard to make it perform prior to the start of this program. I’m very pleased with the awesome improvements I can feel everytime I get on my horse, and am very much looking forward to a [promised] Phase II. Thank you Nicola!
– Sue, Naperville, US
Greeting Nicola from Virginia! I have appreciated your Dressage Rider Training program immensely! You have helped me increase my body awareness in and out of the saddle, and the exercises have helped me become stronger and improve my position in the saddle! Although, I have found going through the program just once wasn’t enough for me that I improved greatly the second time and now I hope to be able to balance on the ball with my knees like you do in my third time. You and your wonderful Lucy – dog and horse are a delight! You have inspired me to be strong like you by your gentleness, kindness and encouraging words! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time, efforts and help in achieving a very convenient and fun program just for riders! Sincerely, Your horse friend in Virginia.
– Shelley Mitchell, Virginia, US
“Hello! I’d have to say the number one thing I’ve taken away from the program is … confidence! I’ve been able to keep up, which tells me I am fitter than I think I am … I kept to the progam, which tells me I am more determined than I think I am … Want proof? I don’t have a horse of my own, but tend to like to ride the same school horses again and again since I can better predict their ways. Since starting DRT, I have started on four new and different horses, the ones I always thought were ‘above my level.’ And I accepted these horse assignments without freaking out. Ha!”
– Suzanne O’connor, New York, US
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and benefited immensely from the Dressage Rider Training programme. My core strength and flexibility have both improved significantly and this has translated into greater stability and effectiveness in the saddle. The downloadable 20-minute exercise sessions can manageably be fitted into a busy schedule and done anywhere (in your lounge, at the stable yard, in your hotel if you’re away from home…) The inclusion of both strength and mobility exercises provides variety, and Nicola ensures that their relevance to riding is clear. The work on the Swiss ball is great fun, and the (apparently unscheduled) guest appearances of Nicola’s horse and dog in some of the videos are a most amusing added bonus! I’d highly recommend the programme to all riders, regardless of their preferred discipline and level of experience.”
– Sarah Johnsen, Edinburgh, UK
“Dressage Rider Training has kept me focused over the 12 week programme as every stage has made sense. Building up my core and rider strength and increasing my mobility and suppleness, have been greatly rewarded with more enjoyable rides and a happier horse! Nicola encourages and motivates in exactly the right amounts and manages to keep the most strenuous workouts fun. I would wholeheartedly recommend the programme to anyone with limited time and a desire to improve their riding”
– Ali Schmutz, Cumbria, UK
“Hi Nicola, Thank you for the encouragement and personal follow up you provided. I loved being able to fit in exercises at home in my own time,without a long drive to and from gym. My favourite parts were the yoga and on horse homework.”
– Shirley Paterson, Tauranga, New Zealand
“Last year in late May I had an accident out hacking, where my leg and the saddle flap caught on a gate post, my horse panicked and rushed through and I came off, suffering 3 pelvic fractures and torn muscles. I was starting to ride again by late summer/early autumn but despite physio, my muscles were tight and often painful, my core strength non-existent and my riding fitness was poor. I really struggled with the first few weeks of DRT, but by about week 6 I could ride through a 45 minute lesson with my trainer without feeling exhausted or needing lots of walk breaks and he commented on how much better I was riding. This meant we could take things up a level and start riding the more advanced movements, which is great! Attached photo is of me with Neon, my now 20 year old PRE (Andalusian) gelding.”
– Marianne Rabanal, Oxfordshire, UK
“I have loved doing the program. It was so easy to roll out of bed, turn on the laptop and do my exercise. I think it has given me more control over my body when I am riding, and has also toned me up. I feel great, and for the first time in ages, I don’t wake up feeling stiff. I will definitely sign up to the next program.”
– Jillian Staton, Victoria, Australia
“I absolutely believe your program has helped my riding. As an older rider carrying many old injuries I have always been very tight in my hips and hamstrings. I now feel like I have increased flexibility especially when doing lateral work. I love the yoga stretches especially and also love that I can do the workouts whenever I can fit them in to my busy schedule (sometimes midnight, my husband thinks I’m crazy). Thanks so much. Photo attached of my gorgeous 5yo mare, Donnerstar CDS (Twinkle).”
– Ellen Mitchell, Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand
“For me, the program was helpful because it increased my awareness while I was riding and brought so many small (important ) points to my attention. ” Here is a photo of Marcurio and me after doing a dressage test!”
– Lilian M Ewen, British Columbia, Canada
“Hi Nicola, Thanks for the fabulous 12 week programme. It is nice to be able to do this at home and not to also have to allow travel time or do it at a particular time. The flexibility of that makes it easier to make time to fit it in as well as the fact that it is only 20 minutes. That helped when the programme got harder – it was only 20 minutes of pain!!
I have never done Yoga before and my flexibility has never been great so this is a real challenge especially at 51. I am not riding enough to know if it has improved my riding – however I am more aware of my body position when sitting at my desk and in my car as well as when I am on the horse. Thanks for putting this programme together. “
– Sheryl McKinley, Auckland, New Zealand
“I have struggled for many years in Dressage, getting frustrated with how much I interfered and hindered my horses. Then this program came along and the improvements started happening at an unbelievable pace. My body stability, balance, core strength, symmetry, and flexibility improved, which allowed me to become much more independent in the saddle, improving my feel, making my aids lighter and clearer, allowing me to relax more, which made riding so much more harmonious and fun for both me and my horses. It was a big missing piece of my puzzle. A must for any Dressage rider!” I mean every word! Thank you for this transformation! Gratefully
– Mark Lawand, Surrey, Canada
“Hi Nicola, I have just completed my first 12 weeks and have signed up for DRT2. Really enjoyed the program, found it challenging and you inspiring. Have raved on about it to my friends and one has now signed up for her first DRT. I am 72 and feeling more fit, supple and strong than I have for some time. Regards Trish”
– Trish Furness, Masterton, New Zealand
“It does what it says on the tin…
It might seem a little strange that I am writing this testimonial at a stage when, I confess, I am still doing phase two of a three phase programme, but it says a lot for the programme that I can, even at this stage, confirm that it does what it says it will.
I signed up for DRT 1 at the start of this year (2017). At the time my riding had, over the previous 6 months, gradually changed from riding one advanced horse and one working towards advanced five to six days a week, to having one green horse and riding three to four times a week if I was lucky (weather and work commitments). I realised that I was not riding so well, I was losing strength and co-ordination and I really needed to do something about it. Going to the gym or joining an exercise class were fine options in theory, but the reality was that juggling a fairly demanding job, the vagaries of the Irish winter weather and minding 5 horses left little time to get to the gym/class and way too many excuses to skip it (just this once….).
I signed up to DRT 1, downloaded my first video and started my journey. A few weeks later my horse sustained an injury that meant no riding for 10 weeks! This is the longest period I have gone without riding in the last 15 years. Normally if I miss one week of riding I feel weaker and less co-ordinated, now I was facing returning to riding my sharp, spooky, green horse after ten weeks….
But I had DRT. Even though, due to work travel and some health issues of my own, I had not managed to follow the programme exactly, I felt stronger, more supple and better co-ordinated than I had felt in a very long time. I was amazed at how confident I felt that first time I sat up on my horse again, and my expectations were fulfilled – I was riding better than I had before the enforced break.
So why did DRT work for me? There are a few reasons:
Firstly, the programme really targets what I need as a dressage rider – strength, suppleness and co-ordination, in all the right places;
Secondly, the structure of the programme, with three 20 minute workouts a week and homework, works perfectly with my lifestyle. I might miss a session, or even a week, due to work or life getting in the way, but I have all the workouts on my Kindle and I can take up where I left off, or even go back a week if I feel the need. I love the way Nicola offers several different levels of difficulty in most exercises, so if I have to repeat a week it’s not boring – I’ll try the harder option second time around. Having this structure has really helped me to stick with the programme, even if my pace is slower than I might like.
Thirdly, the homework – it’s transformed my life! I have known about, and tried to fix for years my crookedness as a rider and my tight hip muscles and ITB, but somehow I never seemed to get there. The homework has finally given me tools that really work. And the tip about using stretching in the yard – brilliant! I always felt that I could stretch without having done a full workout first, but now every free moment I have in the yard, I’ll do a quick stretch.
Fourthly – 20 minute work-outs – pure genius! At the end of a long day it takes more willpower than I have to face into an hour-long workout. But 20 minutes, hey, that’s not so bad. It’s so much easier to face that and to find a time slot to fit it into. I’d recommend this programme to anyone who wants to ride better and feel better.”
– Jenny Egan, County Meath, Ireland
“I really love this program. I am a grandma in my early 60’s and have ridden most of my life, but have never felt more balanced and flexible than after having finished the first 12 week session. I have had issues with tight hips, and sciatica pain and after doing the exercises, I feel much looser and with no pain! As an added bonus, I recently was on a trip with a round trip flight (3-1/2 hrs. each way) and had NO pain or tightness when I got up out of the seat. That hasn’t happened in years! I am so much stronger in the saddle, and rising trot has become so easy with my improved strength & balance. I am looking forward to the DRT-2 program to continue to enhance my riding. Thank you for creating such a beneficial program!”
– Lesley Armstrong, Illinois, United States
“I absolutely loved the Dressage Rider Training program. I have not had much success with gyms in the past. Being a wife, a mom of 3 boys, 4 dogs and 3 horses and working full time I was struggling with balance. I was trying to maintain a home, family and a career and it did not leave me much time to ride let alone exercise. With Nicola’s program I was able to find a way to bring some “me” time back into my life, combine it with my passion for riding and still fit it into my busy schedule. Not only that but the further I got into the program I found that Nicola helped me to see how my life was out of balance and how to become centered again focusing on mind, body and spirit. I loved the format, the rider focused exercises, homework on horseback and the extra access to the entire suite of programs she offers to include sections on nutrition, recipes and meditations. Unlike other programs she is very accessible and quick to respond personally to questions if you need help. I cannot wait for DRT 2 to start! Thank you again Nicola! Your program has had a very positive impact on my life and my riding! Romeo is much happier too! :)”
– Audrey Snyder, Williamsburg United States
“I really enjoyed the challenges of your course. I am much more secure and stable on Fleur .
I feel fitter and more confident in my riding.”
Helen Sangster-Ward, Marborough, New Zealand
I enjoyed DRT1 so much I signed straight up for DRT2. On completing DRT2 I have my fingers crossed for a DRT3!! The program has enabled me to let go of my tight shoulders which has really freed up my upper body. It also made me aware of just how tight my pelvis and lower back were. Now I ride with a longer, stronger and more independent leg and a core strength that puts a smile on my face. So worth the money. The work outs have become part of my weekly routine.
– Liz Lawlor, Queensland, Australia
“I would like to thank you so much for the huge improvements I had with your programs. It was really useful to improve my seat, balance and position on the horse. Really a professional support! This here is a photo of me and my horse Carestina z.”
– Francesca Pouché, Monaco, France
“This program came at just the right time. I struggled with injury and my regular workouts were too intense and not enough focused on what I needed for riding. Starting this program with a trainer who understands what the rider requires, is exactly what I needed. The program helped with working out after rehab in a measured way but with the strong focus on core I felt the benefits very quickly. I learned a great yoga sequence to use as warm up before getting on the horse and it was just as beneficial after each ride to stretch more purposefully. In my particular case: i was an avid gym goer before this program but I highly recommend this program in addition to any regular workouts. It will challenge a seasoned fit person with modifications but if you are just starting out the program is designed to work with whatever level you are at!”
– Conny Fuger, California, United States
“The program helped me with my balance, posture and body strength.”
– Fernando Rolim, Sao Paulo, Brazil
“I thoroughly enjoyed the DRT programme. My strength, balance, confidence & ability have all improved as a result. I have downloaded it all and will continue to use it & benefit from it. It was very useful being in contact with everyone taking the course via Facebook too. Thank you Nicola I really feel I/we have benefitted so much from completing the course.”
– Fiona Del Giudice, East Sussex, United Kingdom
“I always tried to work out because I am almost 53 and need to stay in shape to keep riding. I was never a fan of yoga but now I am! Thank you! I know I need to stay flexible. The fact that the program is for riders makes me get out of bed and work out before work! I really like it! Looking forward the next level! The overall program definitely help with my riding, posture and balance are better.”
– Nicole Tuggle, Western Springs, United States
“I am a mature amateur dressage rider and I invest quite a lot of time and money into my riding including weekly professional coaching and attending clinics with international trainers not to mention a small fortune in physiotherapists and feed supplements for my horse. I have to say though that DRT has been by far the BEST VALUE in terms of improved performance in my riding, and I had a lot of fun. Definitely the best investment you can make if you want to improve your riding”
– Jill Smit, Queensland, Australia
“My riding has progressed amazingly fast after signing on to Dressage Rider Training. You know that feeling that you’ve plateau’ed? I had it, for years, where i didn’t seem to be adding much to my horsemanship … but oh my, what a difference after starting this program! It’s a matter of better control and understanding of my own body mechanics. I sit better, I’m considerably more confident, and it’s all because of those three 20-minute sessions a week. I cannot believe how my entire mindset changed to become so much more confident, but since I can do those exercises and work the muscles I need to ride, a lot of my fear and anxiety just … went away. I cannot emphasize enough how much this program has helped.”
Suzanne o’connor, New York, United States
“Since I started the DRT 1 Program I’ve felt a greater sense of overall well-being from being a stronger (middle-aged) woman. I can also feel more aware of how I sit on a horse and increasingly have the flexibility and muscle capacity to correct my position. I am at Week 8 now, and am looking forward to seeing how strong and flexible I can become.”
– Nicki Mazur, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
“I understand, so much better now, specifically how my body impacts my riding and what I can do about it. Everything is easier – strength, balance and posture, on and off the horse, and my awareness of my strengths and weaknesses in these areas has significantly increased and continues to grow. The workouts are different every time so it’s fresh and interesting but it also reinforces the work we’ve already done. Each workout pushes you further so every week I’m making progress that I can see and feel, but the increases in effort aren’t so difficult that it’s daunting to come back for the next work out. The articles are informative and often inspiring. The support that is provided is timely and effective. I find that my riding is so much more enjoyable and I look forward to continuing my own physical and mental journey in this direction. This has been such a rewarding undertaking. Thank you Nicola and DRT!”
– Lynette Van Steinburg, British Columbia, Canada
“I loved the program. It really got to the spots in my hips that other programs, not related to horse activities have addressed. It strengthened and loosened up my hips.”
– Karen Walling, Washington, United States
“DRT has been such an amazing experience. It has been invaluable for my riding as I have developed a much better seat, leg position and upper body position which used to be terrible (I can sit to some very naughty behaviour now!) I have learnt so much, about neutral spine, my own body and what I needed to work on. The program allows you to work on parts that are stiffer which was really great for me. Best of all the program was fun and easy to fit into a busy routine with only 20 min workouts. I would very highly recommend this program to all riders, especially dressage riders, or even those that struggle with pain and stiffness. Thanks Nicola!”
– Drisana Sheely, Tauranga, New Zealand
“I have really benefited from completing DRT1. At first it was a bit of a reality check as I’d always considered myself relatively supple (turns out I wasn’t!), but knew I was lacking core strength.
I’ve really noticed the benefits of doing the workouts. I feel more balanced in the saddle and able to complete exercises easier & my horses are happier for it too. Both are very sensitive Iberians and make it pretty clear if there is any tightness or tension anywhere.
Both my regular trainer and my other trainer who I see on regular clinics (he’s a senior rider at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna) have really noticed the difference, especially the latter, who saw me last at around week 8 of the programme & commented on how much my riding had improved (even by then), & how much this had improved my horse. The attached photo is from that last clinic. It will be interesting to see what he thinks on our next clinic at the end of August.
Looking forward to completing the Yoga retreat and then moving on to DRT2! Thank you for a great programme.”
– Nicola Hall, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
“Nicola, your program has helped me develop a much stronger and secure seat – and I’m in my 60s and have had both hips replaced! Thank you so much for gearing the exercises to all and being so encouraging. Looking forward to trying to keep up with you through DRT2!”
– Charna Watts, Texas, United States
“DRT1 has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself and my horse, “Hogan”. I am in my late fifties and took over riding my daughter’s 17 year old OTTB 3 years ago. I am generally a very active person, riding six days a week and walking my dogs 3-5 miles everyday. Riding has been a challenge for me in many ways. This old body is not as flexible or strong. Core strength in particular is so important. I felt that the training Nicola offered would benefit me and it has!! My core strength and flexibility especially through my hips has changed dramatically. Fitting her 20 minute sessions, three times a week is very doable. I have a very busy schedule often starting most days at 5:00 AM and not getting home until 8:00 PM and yet managed to complete DRT1. My riding in general has improved. I am an eventer and have found this program has helped not just my dressage but my jumping as well. I cannot wait to start DRT2👍🏻. Thank you Nicola for developing this program !!!!!! (Hogan thanks you too😀).”
– Joyce MacDermott, Massachusetts, United States
“The programs that Nicola has created; both the DRT1 and DRT2 as well as a few of her other programs (CORE:30 and running programs), to aid the rider both on and off the horse has been more beneficial for me than words can ever begin to describe. Her attention to detail and targeting of muscle groups related to riding have helped my riding grow, build confidence and strength in the saddle and has helped address balance problems. She has opened my eyes to the importance of cross-training to help achieve goals as a rider. Whether the work is in the saddle, visualisation, or addressing the weaknesses of the body; as a show jumper who emphasises the importance of dressage in my training, these programs have benefited both me and my horses greatly. I recommend this program to anyone who is curious about growing their skills and strengths as a rider, it will open more doors and challenge you in ways that will only make the journey of dressage more enjoyable!”
– Kim Pickel – Nevada, United States
“The DRT2 program is definitely a step up from DRT1. The workouts were more challenging but also more rewarding resulting in greater strength building and flexibility. Because of the spring/ summer season in the US, I’ve put the second half of the program on hold until prime riding and competitions slow down- there are only so many hours in the day for a full time working / barn owner / rider! Thanks for providing these awesome programs!!”
Tammy Risseeuw – Wisconsin, United States
“I have found the program amazing. I am a biomechanics trainer and have found the selection of exercises and stretches really target the all the correct areas for riding. I think that DRT2 is not only beneficial for Dressage riders but anybody who wants to ride in a balanced and safe manner. My husband has really noticed the change in my body tone and says that I am generally looking a lot healthier. For me 20 mins 3 times a week is doable. In my own time and as often as I want without having to leave home. If I want to do it at 11.00pm at night or 6am in the morning it makes no difference. The program gives easy and harder options for you to choose from and if there are some exercises or stretches that are a little bit hard you can leave them out or build up to them . Thanks Nicola for a very balanced program that gives me some structure to exercise and work on the parts of my body required for riding.”
– Linda Brown – Tauranga, New Zealand
“Can’t say enough great things about DRT! Love the workouts and how they are divided to include: core, strength, and stretching. The length of workouts is very manageable in a busy day. There is always alternate exercises if degree of difficulty is not appropriate for you at this time.Riding homework is so applicable. Great improvements in my riding. Gabe( my horse) and I both thank you! Ready for more! Still haven’t conquered the swiss ball, but will truly feel a sense of accomplishment when I do! Bring on the next program.”
– Susan Kicklighter – Florida, United States
“Absolutely loved the DRT2 program! Found the focused exercises for the equestrian athlete to be invaluable and enjoyable. My personal trainer and horse trainer have both noticed an improvement in my fitness and riding ability. I’ve moved up a level, seen my dressage scores increase and my rider position & seat marks improve. Lastly, the time commitment is efficient and effective. Nicola knows biomechanics and how to optimize a workout for the best results for riders. Highly recommend this program for all dressage riders! “
– Blake Coyle – Nevada, United States
“I have just completed DRT1 and DRT2 I can’t wait for Nicola to pull together a DRT3. I started the journey with DRT1, which was great but DRT2 took my strength and flexibility to a new level. At 55, I feel fitter and stronger than ever before. But the best news is that the combination of my body work with DRT2 and my horse work with my dressage coach, has also taken my riding to a better place. Aside from the physical benefits, DRT2 is completely doable. I work full time, study, ride and operate a farm – and I had no trouble fitting the program in to my week. Just me, my laptop, swiss ball and weights in my office during work breaks. Thanks Nicola and I really hope there is as DRT3 before too long.”
Jo Brosnan – Killarney Qld, Australia
“Just been riding in Spain on a 5 day intensive dressage week . Thanks to your program and your gym website I was really fit with a strong core that gave me a really good independent seat.
Rode two horses . One was a huge Andalusian stallion (see photo) with huge movement. I was able to handle them and felt fit thru the whole week .
I took you with me on my laptop which was great as I either did yoga or core work thru the week . Keep the programs coming
– Donna Baker – Victoria, Australia
“The DRT and DRT2 Programs have made a welcome change to my riding. I had experienced hip pain and stiffness for many years and had seen photos of my riding where my legs and stirrups were uneven which concerned me. I had recently purchased a young horse and realised I needed to be more balanced, stronger and flexible if I was to get the best from her. While I had undertaken clinical pilates for a year and enjoyed some benefit I was drawn to the rider specific nature of DRT. I did have reservations about an at home program as I wasn’t sure how disciplined I would be exercising at home, but I needn’t have worried. Nicola is quite a rare find. Her tips and advice are timely and her enthusiasm is contagious. I feel like she is in the room with me with her timely corrections and encouragement. I look forward to our workouts “together”.
After completing DRT and the subsequent DRT2, I have more stamina, am significantly more toned and stronger, more supple and am more relaxed in the saddle than I have ever been. I am even in my stirrups and leg position and no longer point my toe out. I also have a greater awareness of my body and the muscles I use when riding. I truly believe this makes me a far better rider. I am so pleased that I found DRT and recommend it to all dressage riders irrespective of their level or fitness.”
– Joan O’Reilly – Victoria, Australia
“Having completed DRT1, I was looking forward to getting my hands on DRT2. It was as great as I wanted it to be. And again, it dramatically improved my riding. Multiple top trainers and knowledgable spectators have commented on the change in my body, my core and noticed the improvement in my ability to ride effectively. Amateurs like me need to really transition from being passengers to being active mebers of a team that only together can achieve their goals! Nicola you have given me some more of the tools to have a better partnership with my horse and to reach new heights in the sport I love so much. Thank you. Thank you for being part of my extended village in New Zealand. So, when are you rolling out DRT3?”
– Gardy Bloemers – Virginia, United States
“I am a 52 year old learner rider who realised that when I held myself better, I got a better response from my horse (a 15hh Connemara mare called Molly), so I set about improving my rider fitness. I came across the Dressage Rider Training program on Facebook, tried a couple of tester videos, liked what I saw, and signed up!
I have easily managed to complete the 12 week course, it is eminently do-able because the workouts are only 20 minutes 3 times a week and therefore easy to fit in. I think what makes this course really work though are the explanations that Nicola gives throughout, the plethora of resources online to further our knowledge, and, most importantly I feel, the relevant homework. Stretching and foam rolling and eventually Swiss ball work only take a few minutes and really complement the workouts. Probably what makes this course so effective though is the ridden homework, which was a significant factor in my improving ability as it was relevant, flexible, and progressed as my core strength, fitness and flexibility increased.
I have seen my confidence and ability on Molly improve more quickly than I think it would have with only riding lessons from my trainer. Friends at the yard where I keep her have commented on how much not only I have improved, but also on how much more relaxed and balanced and forward Molly is now. Dressage has not been Molly’s strength, she would much rather jump, so it is wonderful to see and feel her improving also. The course requires commitment but for me the motivation to carry on came from seeing improvements in my fitness and riding, and also hearing from others around the world via the Facebook group and online forum. In a nutshell, I would highly recommend this Dressage Rider Training course and plan to do more.”
– Caroline Blagbrough, Monmouthshire, United Kingdom
“Just finished week 12 today, pulling myself together and finishing of the program with one intense workout doing week 11 rider, + all three workouts of week 12. Probably won’t be able to walk the rest of the week! 😉
I absolutely LOVED the program! Absolutely perfect and just what i needed! So skillfully put together and built up, I’m amazed!
Thank you so much for these last 12 weeks! Can’t wait to get started on DRT2! 🙂
– Beate Tråsdahl, Bardufoss, Norway
“So here is the reason that I took DRT. At 57 years old, fairly large well I can now mount from the ground if I have to I prefer to mount from mounting block. Every now and again, my horse has a sideways movement. Now, I’m able to sit with no real difficulty. And because I want to continue getting better I’m really looking forward to doing the DRT2.”
– Allison Pell, Washington, United States
“Loved the programme. Met my goal of being able to sit trot and have much more control over horses movement through stronger core muscles and more balance. Great value for money. Can do at own place, pace and timing.”
– Vicki Wilson, Auckland, New Zealand
“Nicola, I have greatly benefited from your DRT1 program!! I hope to continue with your next program DRT2. Your asked for a picture of me and my horse in an earlier email. Here is a photo of me and Soloist aka “Brody” his barn name.
– Tina Sudduth, Alabama, United States
“Hi Nicola, thanks for a wonderful programme, I have loved DRT1 & can’t believe how much it has helped me. I’m a beginner rider so the core strength & balance I have gained has really helped me to make some incredible progress with my riding, but by far the biggest thing I’ve come away with is the confidence to give everything a go 🙂
Here’s a photo of Annie & I having great fun learning how to go on the bit! Well she know’s I’m the one learning! (both very grubby”
Nikki Griffith, Blenheim, New Zealand
“I love the program. It feels like I am working out with a friend – even my husband says ‘Hi, Nicola!’ in the mornings. I’m sure my riding is improving, simply because I am more aware of my body and its asymmetry. Also, one of my horses can spook, and a couple of times I think I probably should have been unseated, but have stayed in the saddle – that’s a real bonus, in my book!”
Jillian Staton, Vicotria, Australia
I have just completed DRT2 and can’t wait for Nicola to pull together a DRT3. I started the journey with DRT1, which was great but DRT2 took my strength and flexibility to a new level. At 55, I feel fitter and stronger than ever before. But the best news is that the combination of my body work with DRT2 and my horse work with my dressage coach, has also taken my riding to a better place. Aside from the physical benefits, DRT2 is completely doable. I work full time, study, ride and operate a farm – and I had no trouble fitting the program in to my week. Just me, my laptop, swiss ball and weights in my office during work breaks. Thanks Nicola and I really hope there is as DRT3 before too long.
– Jo Brosnan, Darwin, Australia
First of all thank you for an amazing program! My horse, Gabriella, has been diagnosed with keratitis of the eye and it has been a bit overwhelming. She is receiving wonderful medical care and thankfully we have been continuing our hard work in dressage. Your program has kept me positive and motivated, particularly the Yoga Retreat. We may or may not be able to get back to eventing, but we are very happy with our progress and work in dressage-largely thanks to you and your program. So looking forward to DRT2! Thank you
– Marianna Bernardi, Illinois, United States
Hello Nicola, Mercedes is a “rescue horse” which I adopted in November 2009, when she was two years of age, who has been working cooperatively with me ever since. She receives the benefit of my participation in your DRT programmes because, as I ride, the position pointers which you explain in your videos come to my mind, and by applying them during my riding I can improve my communication to my horses! I have enjoyed both DRT1 and 2.
I am fortunate to have received support from Nicola for the last couple of years which has had a large impact on my ability as a rider and a trainer. As dressage riders we are trying to make our horses use their body more correctly and evenly, and as they gradually become stronger we can add in more power and flexibility, with the aim that we have built up their body and mind gradually enough that they can physically and mentally handle the increases in difficulty, therefore having a positive affect on their body. This programme is almost like putting yourself in your horses shoes; you learn new exercises some of which may at first seem quite challenging, but they soon become easier as your body gradually builds up the required strength and flexibility. By following the programme you are able to take things at your own pace, but in an order which ensures you are prepared for the increases in difficulty. And because the programme is designed especially for riders you can be sure that everything you are working on has a very positive influence on your riding. One of the biggest benefits from this programme is gaining the ability to activate the correct part of your core when riding while remaining supple throughout your body. This allows you to independently use your aids which then makes it a lot easier for the horse to understand what you want, and for them to also use their bodies correctly. As well as the obvious physical benefits we gain as riders from doing this type of training, we also gain an understanding of what it is like to have someone push you to do things you sometimes find physically hard, so we can hopefully also be bit more understanding of some of the difficulties our horses may be going through in their training! I can highly recommend this programme to all types and levels of riders, whatever level you are currently at you will definitely notice a very positive difference in your riding.
– Kirsty Schist, Christchurch, New Zealand