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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Susan Sheeley

I am doing DRT2 now. I am 66 years old and I started dressage lessons 4 years ago. It had been 45 years since I had been on a horse. I love how this program has helped my flexibility, balance and confidence! Here I am on Rémy – whom I have had since November – in our first show – red ribbon!

Joanne Korosi

Nicola’s DRT course was recommended to me by an friend and 3* Parelli Instructor, Ruth Carlyle, who now lives in NZ with her partner where they run Russell Higgins Foundation Horsemanship (if you’re interested, Nicola, have a watch of this) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kna6jdXdBUY. I signed up for DRT on this advice as I was struggling with arthritis and wear and tear after over 25 years of practising martial arts. The programme is excellent in that it is progressive, builds strength, balance, focus, flexibility and fitness at a pace to suit the student. You can either just follow the 3 night’s a week core, yoga and rider strength programmes or, if like me, you want maximum benefit and insist on doing something every day, you can supplement your base programme with extra yoga cardio and muscle building training. The programme is excellent for many needs but is especially suited to those of you who, like me, may work full time, have a long commute and have very limited time on an evening after sorting out the horses. I have done every session in my bedroom on a large rug. For the first time, last Sunday, I was able to ride my Haflinger at a sustained canter and my left lower leg stayed put instead of wibbling and wobbling all over. My horses have benefited and my instructors have commented how much improved we are and how the horses are using their core and engines! Thank you, Nicola and Ben for such a great programme. I’m working now on DRT2 and can’t wait for DRT3”

Ulla Seger

Hi Nicola. I finished DRT 3 about 5-5 weeks ago and I now repeat it, right now doing week 6. I have now done DRT 1, DRT 2 and DRT 3.I really have liked all the programs and can feel a big difference in my body but DRT 3 is outstanding. Both the work-out and the yoga. It`s not too difficult, I even found some parts of it easier than DRT 1 and DRT2. As I have some problems with my shoulders, old injuries and arthritis. I especially appreciate the exercises with the resistance band. I have to admit that I have to struggle with the side-plank exercises because of my weak arm (also old injuries ) in combination with my shoulder arthritis I have to take a rest during those exercises but I do not think this is a catastrophe and I do feel a big difference in my core when riding.

I ride once a week at our Riding school because it`s fun and I think my own horse has benefit from this as you learn a lot from riding different horses. Some weeks ago Isabel talked about Hip mobility and told us that most riders are very stiff in the hipjoint. She then walked up to each of us and grabbed our thighs and rotated the hip joint outwards from the saddle. So she grabbed my left thigh and exclaimed your hip joint is very movable. It was a bit funny because I`m twice as old or more than the other riders in my group. Well I`m still able to go down split but I do it better after DRT.

I have read at the facebook group that some members are doubtful about to start DRT 3, tell them , They can! I will turn 73 this year so if I can. they can.
I `m completely dependent on the progam and of course I will order THE DRT 3 USB so I can go on for the rest of my life.

Lots of regards Ulla Seger

Kathy Landin

What do I appreciate about DRT 2? Wow,  DRT 2 has increased my strength and made me more flexible. My posture off the horse is so much more upright. As we age, gravity tends to pull us down. I look in the mirror and my shoulders are back and my back is straight. I have the posture of a person younger than my 62 years! And I feel good! I love DRT1 and 2! I had never done yoga until I started DRT1 and I love it! It is stretching (literally), relaxing and refreshing. The core workouts are very challenging for me but so helpful in riding. I find the rider strength to be the easier of the workouts so I love them. I want to work on DRT 2 until next winter when I hope to sign up for DRT 3. I should be ready by then!
Thank you!!

Sharon Perkins, Australia

I am so happy to have enrolled in Dressage Rider Training.

I first heard of Nicola’s program in June last year, when a number of fellow participants in a Dressage Retreat recommended it.

Until then, while I’ve been rigorous about fitness training over the years, I hadn’t thought a great deal about the importance of targeting muscles that are specific to riding.

I didn’t really even know which muscles were particularly relevant!

And, despite many years at the gym, my riding muscles were definitely in need of attention!

DRT has helped me to gain a much better awareness of those essential body parts that need to be strong for riding as well as how to train them.

I love how beautifully structured DRT is .. the way it builds on understanding and physical fitness across the weeks.

And I’m delighted to find there are more advanced DRTs to come.

I also love how realistic the program is – immediately relevant to riding and achievable in terms of time commitment.

Thank you Nicola.. still working through DRT1, but I’ll be back for more :)”

This is my lovely boy – Schau Mich An (nickname – Raz)

Susanna Ryan

By the end of DRT1, I had gained strength and skill that I never could have imagined, and it was profoundly gratifying to be able to take that foundation and move on to new challenges in DRT2. The Swiss ball, which used to be my nemesis, is now my favorite part of the workouts! Most of all, I cannot overstate the difference DRT2 has made to my riding. Both my regular trainer and a guest clinician we have come regularly to the barn have commented on the dramatic improvement in my strength and my position. In addition, I am much more confident in the saddle because I am able to stay steady and balanced no matter what happens. I do this all for my horse, Walter, as he is a gem who deserves the best — and we are doing much more advanced, harmonious work together now because I am better for him!

Anke B.

Hi Nicola, You really put in a lot of efforts to make the program both enjoyable and beneficial. I profited most from the last four weeks I think, because those exercises were really different and new to me. Challenging in a different way! My riding got way better (Coach says), so I take that as a testimonial for success.

Honestly I wouldn’t have thought I’d EVER be able to kneel on the Swiss Ball and do adventurous stuff like lifting weights or pulling resistance tubes at the same time without falling down and breaking my neck. Very good progression of exercises! I’ll be 50 this year, and I can comfortably say I am way fitter and probably stronger than I was in my 30ies or 40ies. Thank you for being a part of that!

I am going to repeat the program, as I did with the previous DRTs, and hope I’ll still improve.

Thanks a lot for the program and maybe we’ll get a DRT4 one day??

Best wishes

Anke

Sharon Barber

Nicola, The dressage classes have been very helpful for balance, posture, and strength. I certainly enjoy them and have signed up for the third part. Thanks for all the educational articles as well!
Sharon

Sarah Hazel

I have always done some form of Keep Fit ( from spinning/weights/pilates) but no one has ever explained it the way do. I was a bit sceptical at first, but will definitely be recommending this program to people. I suffered an achy back in January which stopped me progressing through DRT1 until it was sorted. I am at week 8 now and love the way you have incorporated Riding into your program. I have not been to my usual classes since Feb and can see the difference in just doing your 20 mins classes. Thank you
Sarah

Fenella Nevill, New Zealand

This was taken Tuesday 16 April, 2019, morning autumn training. I think my position has improved dramatically, particularly my posture, and ability to engage my core and plug in my seat bones. My lower leg position needs work but the riding without stirrups is really helping and Pumpkin is working much more through her body as a result. Before, she was stiff in her back and not in front of my leg all the time because I was tipping forward.

Thank you so much for putting together a programme that helps riders get better! We are usually all about the horse and we forget how we can improve ourselves :}

I have found the DRT programme to be a real turning point in my riding, and I am really looking forward to DRT2

Many thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!

Katy Kingston, Surrey, United Kingdom

DRT1 and DRT2 have been the most wonderful journey for me. I mostly did them to improve my riding but also to see if they would help alleviate back pain I have had for over 20 years. After DRT1 my back was much more flexible and stronger and I am delighted to say now at the end of DRT2 it’s completely gone! My riding has come on leaps and bounds, my instructor is amazed at my progress and I feel on top of the world! Onwards and upwards to DRT3!

Nancy Sullivan, Colorado

This program has helped me build confidence that I needed as much as strength training and balance. I can isolate calf and thigh pressure as needed, correct off-balance movements, keep my shoulders down and relaxed with more ease, which means I relax and go with my horse. I love the “conversation” we have. Still, working on keeping my reins soft with a steadier outside rein and more fluid, dynamic inside rein, because, of course, I’m still working on riding from my seat! Still mastering that Swiss ball too! I will be doing DRT3 to help me with a new horse I’m working with. He is part Arab and has lots of go, so I want to ride that with quiet joy and confidence. And I have so loved the FB posts with all the frank discussions about the devils we struggle with. Good to know there are other people who have days when it takes all the courage you have to put your foot in that stirrup, swing your leg over and hope the magic carries you both.

Jennifer Babcock, Rochester, United States

I am attaching a picture of myself and my horse, Rufio, from an eventing clinic that I participated in a few weeks ago. I completed DRT1 and found the program just perfect for me and my very busy lifestyle. The 3 20 minute workouts per week complimented my riding schedule, and every week provided a new challenge. Even after just 9 weeks I felt a huge improvement, and after 12, I am a much more confident rider. Rufio can be sensitive and extremely spooky, often leaving me in the dust. This program has allowed me to be more stable in my leg and core, with a softer seat. Rufio is really appreciating the improvements and is looking and feeling the best under saddle that he has in 3 years! We both have benefitted from incremental improvements in strength and confidence. I really appreciated this program, and I’d recommend it to others who don’t have the time for long workouts but want a focused program with clear results! Thank you, Nicola!

Anne Klein, Austin, United States

I signed up for DRT becaus I am 55 years old and while I rode as a child, my passion for horses and riding rekindled when all my children were off to school. I have been riding for 1 ½  years and I have purchased 3 horses in that time: a now retired Oldenberg, an 11 year old Grand Prix Hannoverian and a 6 year old Dutch Warmblood. My trainer advised that I workout in addition to my riding to strengthen my core. I do not like gyms and I love being at home. I always seemed to get injured or create pain when I worked out in a gym or a workout group class. I kind of ignored her advice however my riding was not progressing as I wanted! A pesky email kept appearing in my in box and despite my desire to improve, I always had excuses for why I couldn’t workout. Then the bomb…ONLY 20 minutes 3 times a week..I had no excuses…except that it must be really expensive…it turns out to be cheaper than my coffee habit. With no more excuses to entertain, I signed up. Thinking I would try to last 2 weeks. The two weeks went by, I felt like I had someone cheering for me and watching my progress. My husband got use to hearing a NZ accent at 6:30 am. He bought me the balance ball, then the bands…there would be 2 more weeks. Then one day my instructor complimented me on my core strength…WHAT???? Then shoulder in suddenly wasn’t a contortionist movement…then I could ride 2 horses. I had been tricked! By then it was week 7 or 8 and I had to keep going, I actually started drinking less coffee and enjoyed my morning ritual. I can’t always do the exercises however the modification keep me from getting discouraged.  I added more yoga to my routine and healthier eating. And now I am at week 12. I had a slight panic twinge when I realized it was done and that my body would slowly slip back to its former state. But alas, along comes DRT 2! I look forward to growing and developing into a healthy strong and happy rider. Stay with me “friends” I need your support and my horses are grateful for my improved seat!

I have found strength, focus and a partnership with my DRT program. At 55 years old, getting in shape isn’t as easy as it use to be. I don’t have to leave my house to get a workout in minimal time. My riding improved more quickly as my core and balance improved. My relationship with my horses has also grown as a result of a workout that takes their well being into consideration. Thank you!

disclaimer:  I have been known to refer to the program as Dressage Rider Torture and may have possibly muttered under my breath that Nicola is THAT aussie fitness bitch…..might just be a rumor though….

Mary Arnold, Albany, Oregon

This program made a very noticeable difference in my riding. I am much more flexible all over, but especially in my hips and seat. The strength training sessions were challenging for me, but as a result I no longer carry tension in my upper back and neck when I ride, whereas I used to regularly have muscles spasms in this area. An added bonus was that I learned a great deal about proper body alignment and muscle engagement, and I am using that information when teaching my own students. I highly recommend the program for anyone interested in learning the proper bio-mechanics for riding, and how to improve flexibility, balance and proper strength.

Clare Mansmann

The DRT 1 & 2 programs have been wonderful for my riding and overall feeling of well-being! Riding a lot of green, off-the-track horses (read: spider monkeys) can tighten things that need to be loose and test my balance on a regular basis, and while I love Dressage, I’ve found the program to be extremely beneficial to my jumping and galloping. My horses benefit from the confidence that improved balance instills and my position (and therefor communication) is stronger, and I’m able to take all of that to my students as well!”
Thank you so much!

Jayne Tonowski

I love what the DRT program has done for my riding and the relationship I have with my horse. Here is a pic of me enjoying our First Level test in our first show of the year. DRT has made me more supple, relaxed and confident. I can bend my horse without loosing contact or loosing my position. I can’t wait for the next DRT program. Thank you Nicola for being there for every step of my journey!

Carolyn Belcher

Hi Nicola, We are working towards our second level début this fall. I have enjoyed the fact these workouts are designed with the rider in mind. The workouts have really helped with my core stability and stretching/strengthening my lower back which suffers from too much chair time at work. I am looking forward to starting DRT2, but will be repeating DRT1 to play catch up with the ridden homework.

I have thoroughly enjoyed your program and have even tried a couple of your bootcamps.

All the best!

Sue Roska

I’m 68. I’ve been riding since I was 8. I want to ride for the rest of my life. I also want to be the best rider I can be for my little Icelandic gelding Ari. A recent slow recovery from walking pneumonia made me wonder if I could achieve those goals. Then I found DRT1.

The course consists of 36 progressive workouts – 12 each of core strength, yoga mobility, and rider fitness – with daily homework each week and a few exercises to take to the horse. Resistance tubes and a Swiss ball added to the challenge.

I was a little worried that the course would be too challenging. However, the progressive workouts build you up a little bit more each week. You get fit without even realizing how much progress you are making until one day you find yourself doing something you never thought you could!

I am much stronger, much more balanced, and a lot more energetic than when I started. I feel the difference every time I ride. I think my horses feel it even more.

Thank you Nicola Smith and DRT1 for restoring my confidence in myself and in my body. (I just signed up for DRT2 and can’t wait to start!)

Heather, New Zealand

DRT1 has been great for my riding by improving my position, core strength & riding fitness. It has also helped with understanding how big a part the small muscles play in riding, and about muscle memory. Thank you

Joan Rasmussen

I have loved all 3 parts of this program I was 65 when I started with DRT1 and am now 66 as I finish DRT3. As I get older, I have become more conscious of how important maintaining fitness is, particularly since I want to keep riding for many years to come! I started with DRT1 because I wanted a fitness program specially designed for equestrians. My goal was to improve my fitness but I wasn’t expecting the enormous changes I saw in myself over the course of the 12 weeks! Not only did my balance and overall fitness improve but the improvement in muscle tone was very visible. That inspired me to continue to DRT2, and then I was excited to see that DRT3 was introduced. While DRT3 continues where DRT2 left off, stepping up the game a bit, there are subtle changes in the videos that add a bit of extra polish. The workouts now focus on fascia trains, and add speed to the workouts to improve reflex time–important when staying with an animal who doesn’t always do what we expect!

In all 3 programs, there are options offered if any part of the workout is not something you are ready for or just not able to do, so you can usually continue on even if you don’t do each exercise 100%. And, you can pause the program if you wind up not able to do it for some period of time. I was kicked by a horse 2 weeks into DRT3 and took a couple weeks to let an open wound on my arm heal. I paused the program and was able to resume it when the arm healed up.

The support from Nicola and her team is excellent–very prompt responses to question, and lots of flexibility built into the program. And the Facebook group is a wonderful support team whose members are always eager to offer up advice, encouragement and congratulations.

After completing all 3 programs, I’m probably as fit, or more fit, than at any other time in my life. My riding has improved because of the improved balance and posture. When I was in the middle of DRT2, my horse spooked and bolted on the trail, and I was able to stay with him and get him under control without ever losing my seat, and I’m sure that was because of the fitness and improved reflexes I gained from the program!

Nicola and team, thanks for putting this program together! I’ll be continuing to follow DRT and can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Jo Best, British Columbia, Canada

Hi Nicola, I did the dressage rider training program in the Canadian winter and I only ride outdoors. So I had lots of time to concentrate on myself but no opportunity to ride the horse until Week 11 of the training. I am now riding again the biggest difference is being able to think about what each part of my body is doing and how it affects the horse. So I am bracing my belly, I am also bracing my glutes!! So I am learning to think about what can I relax in my body. This is making a huge difference to my horse and how soft we can be together. I also tried doing some yoga and the hindu stretch before my riding and this helps a lot. I am very strong but not very flexible so this helps a lot.

Many Thanks
Jo

Lesley Mohns Armstrong

Hi Nicola, I know that you have put so much into teaching all of us, I feel like you are my second trainer! Your encouraging words in each video are what keep me going, and moving forward in my quest to become a better dressage rider! But not just a better rider, a better person overall. I don’t think you know how much your advice about slowing down, taking time, being mindful and consequent really do matter to us all! I’m for one becoming a better person, wife, friend, everything! And I have you to thank, your caring and thoughtful presentations are so inspiring!

I really like the format that you developed for DRT3. I like the intro to each video, what we should expect, what tools to gather together, and the snapshots of what the movements will be. I found it helpful to ‘gear’ up myself for the exercises and to know what to expect.

I also like the attention you give to teaching us about our bodies, how they move, what the different parts do (cross-slings, fascia, how one body part affects the opposing one, etc.). I’m learning so much more than I thought I would when I first signed up over 2 years ago for DRT1!

Also, I just read your email from today about our horse community, and I agree 100%! We are sometimes a bit crazy, but we love our horses more than anything and we will do anything to keep them happy. And the support we give each other is the best! Thanks for your comments regarding all of us born with the horse gene, we are one lucky group to have the horses as our best friends!

Take care, and thanks again for helping all of us become the best we can be for our beloved horses.

Lesley Armstrong

PS: Totally loved seeing Elly, Lucy, and Leo in the videos too!!!! And hoping you will do a DRT4 someday!

Martha McCoy

I have only good things to say about DRT. I’ll begin with Nicola’s positive and inspiring attitude!
Add to that the ever evolving 20 minute workouts that improve strength, flexibility and balance.
And then there is the beautiful new Zealand backdrop! As a result of the program my overall fitness
has improved, allowing me to develop clearer and more independent aids in my riding. My horse seems
to notice a difference as his attitude has been very positive and he is more forward and balanced.
Thanks for all that you put into your program including the extra resources!
I will definitely be signing up for DRT 2!

Irene Coermann

Hi Nicola, I am just wrapping up DRT1, doing the last few exercises this week.

The program has helped me get much stronger which allows me to be more balanced and supple on the horse. Before, when things get difficult physically I found myself get stiff in an effort to be strong. While I have done yoga for quite a few years and found the yoga portion of the program easy, the strength exercises definitely complemented my existing exercise program. I now find that I am more able to solve problems while I ride and support my horse when he struggles. He has become more balanced when I am more balanced.

I enjoy the variety of the work outs, it takes the guess work on what I should be working on. I just follow the routines (I do each one twice) and trust that my body will get worked in a comprehensive fashion.

I still have areas where I struggle, in particular keeping my leg back, the heals down and the feet in the stirrups. I look forward to DRT2 and hope that I will progress further.

I am 58 years old and my horse is turning 21 soon. This program is helping us both stay fit. Honestly, I have never been this fit in my entire life. Looking forward to more DRT!

Irene

Suzanne Sandler

Hi Nicola! Thank you so much for the program. I am doing the twelfth week now because I went to the Alps for one week and did only yoga there and after that I was really sick for on week and did nothing.  The program really doing well for my riding as well as for my bad arms and wrists. The yoga sessions is great and I do them several times a week. I sleep better and have fewer problems with restless legs when I go to bed (if I do some yoga exercise before bedtime).

The balance is improving but I am not the best in class. I really tried to stand on my knees on the swissball and succeeded for some moments. Haha did my day. Love to do de sessions three days a week. Perfect with 20 minutes. I use to end with some extra stretch.

I will think about taking the next course as well. Love to have the program available for a long time because its good to go back and do the sessions again now and then.

Thanking you

Ewann Berntson

I finished DRT3 last week. Thank you so much for providing such a great program! I definitely found it MUCH harder than DRT1 or 2, and I think one of the biggest reasons is moving to the 60-second block for each exercise. It’s a difference that makes a difference. But it’s all wonderful, and I definitely plan to stay in the DRT family! The combination of strength/balance/core/flexibility is fabulous for keeping me moving, on or off the horse. My birthday was this week in fact, and while I was tempted to sleep in I ultimately decided that it was more fitting to celebrate turning 51 by doing a DRT workout, thereby giving myself the best chance of being able to KEEP moving for years to come!

So, thank you again for all of your hard work putting these programs together, I will definitely be continuing as more programs become available. And in the meantime, I will keep re-visiting DRT3 and hopefully keep improving my fitness all the way along.

Take care.

Sharon France, Scotland

Hi Nicola, Firstly thank you for creating such an interesting and diverse program! I loved the variety of all 3 programs and the many challenges along the way.

What has been particularly useful for me was to see where I had a weakness at the start and by the end of the program it had improved. I still have a few challenges like my right glute med doesn’t fire up as well and my left hand to right foot isn’t as well coordinated in the table top exercise but I will continue to work on these areas by repeating the programs and doing other core strengthening work. What I have definitely benefited from is I can now work without stirrups in all gaits! Before DRT I never had the confidence to Canter without stirrups, now I love it!! In fact I had a Rider Analysis session last Saturday from Russell Guire, Centaur Biomechanics coach and he said I was better without stirrups woohoo!

I really enjoyed DRT3 and was pleasantly surprised that it was more about improving fascia lines and suppleness as well as response times in the rider strength workouts. It was different to DRT 1&2 in that it was a summation of all the work previously done but at the same time challenged you in different ways eg using the strength and suppleness gained to be able to respond faster. The yoga workouts complemented the core and rider strength workouts perfectly.

I look forward to hearing about any future DRT developments. All the very best to you Ben and the animals!

Erika Bayless

Hi Nicola, I have completed DRT3, and I highly recommend it after DRT2. The educational piece about the Fascia, and improving it’s elasticity has made a big difference for my body awareness, and flexibility.
Adding “speed” to the different exercises improved my balance, and helped me to be really present and focused. At times I was sweating, and my heart rate went up, in a good way! I did modify the jumping exercises due to my knee discomfort. Moving opposite body parts (left leg, right arm as an example) increased my awareness of coordination, and which side needs more practice. It also has an effect on the brain, creating new pathways which can lead to new perceptions, and believes what is possible. Overall the yoga mobility was my favorite one, combined with the wisdom you shared.
With gratitude Erika

Jo Vine

Hi Nicola, thank you so much for your program. I work shift work and having something that I can access whenever I have a free moment is valuable. I do all sorts of combinations of the program depending on what life is throwing at me at the time, a quick soft one if I am in a hurry or 3 in a row if I have more time. I found it very useful to learn more about how my body works,(or doesn’t). Which side is stiff and what I can do to help it. I run a lot and get stiff and sore. I have a very stiff side due to an injury which must effect the way I train my horse.

Learning to relax some muscles while using others took a lot of my concentration, I tend to stiffen up everything to support the part of me I am trying to work. I am sure I must be doing this while riding, so learning to relax bits of me has helped my horse to listen to the bits that I want her to! Learning new ways of switching on my core I found very useful.

All of the above, plus the strength and flex of your exercises, made me love the program! I compete a lot in Stockman’s Challenges and your program is certainly going to help my riding become more refined and precise. The photo is of me and my Quarter Horse Flirt, on a 20km canter training trail ride yesterday. I had your words in my brain and was putting them in to practise while zooming along. I live in the South East of South Australia and am pointing to NZ from the top of Mt Burr, a dormant volcano.

Thanks Again!

Melva Kramer

Hi Nicola! I’ve really enjoyed this program…in fact I’m starting to repeat some weeks to build on what I’ve accomplished! I’m attaching a picture of the horse I’ve been riding in my weekly lessons since last Nov.Her name is Shi, she’s a 19 yr old American QH.
I’ve been working on balance, posture, leg position and confidence. DRT has greatly improved my core and leg strength, my balance is so much better, I’ve become a more engaged rider! I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my hip flexibility and I find myself breathing through something particularly challenging rather than holding my breath!
Yes, you can see a bitless bridle, Dressage saddle, western boots and jeans, hot mess!! I typically trail ride in a western saddle! Thank you!!!

Catriona Holyoake

I had a clinic over the last two days and had the most responsive and positive ride. I’ve been interested in riding biomechanics for some time and done a few Equi Pilates sessions. I’ve always been fit but decided I really needed to up the anti – maintaining good mobility flexibility and core strength is so important to my wellbeing! I turn 60 this year and its so easy to be complacent. I really knew I wasn’t getting a lot of biomechanics instructions because I didn’t have the actual core streangth! Getting fit to improve my riding has been very motivational!! I can now say to my 20year old Friesan welsh school master stay with me using my core and seat and he does! It’s a revelation!!

My fitness level has helped me maintain consistent energy and focus to get my horse over this slight impasse and my seat, balance flexibility have all improved my riding and as a consequence my horse is able to maintain her balance more effective and become more on the aids. We’ve got a long way to go but I can see a huge improvement and its making my riding so much more pleasurable and fun.

Thanks again for really enjoyable program.

Michelle Powell

Hi Nicola. Your program has changed my riding in a big way. Not just the exercise, but your tips in regards to position. Here is a photo of my much loved warmblood mare, Montana, who I haven’t competed for over 12 months. Today was our step back into the competition world.

Dianne Holstead

I have worked out and played competitive sports my entire life. I found DRT a couple of years ago and incorporated some of the exercises Nicola recommended in her free videos into my exercise routine. Since I could see such improvement in my riding from just those, I decided to try the full program. I am so glad that I did! Until DRT, I have never found a program that I loved and helped me advance my riding so successfully. We have moved from Training Level to Second Level movements in just the 12 week span of this program…my horse was just waiting for me to get fit enough to over up.

There are many things I love about the program…results being number one…but also many other things which make the program unique. The program addresses three areas of fitness that get progressively challenging each week. The variety of exercises challenge many of the same muscle groups in a different way each week which creates stronger, more dynamic movement. The program also incorporates exercises that perfectly mimic the skill set and motor development needed to be successful on your horse. Exercises that isolate and engage muscles while keeping the rest of your body stable and relaxed are exactly what we need for riding. I love the diary where one can log the workouts for a visual overview. The schedule is self-paced and very “doable” and flexible for even the busiest rider.

Having access to the website and a ton of various workouts beyond the DRT 1 for six months is fabulous. The “homework” on the horse provides unique challenges that definitely improve our riding. Even if one can not do all of the exercises and homework, you will see improvement in your fitness and riding. Nicola is so responsive and helpful with any questions or adaptations to exercises that you might need. I have arthritis in my wrists, hands, knees and shoulder. Some of the exercises were painful to begin but I persevered and now I have much better range of motion and strength and less pain in using those joints/muscles.

If you love a challenge and you want to see your fitness and riding improve, this is the program for you!

Fiona Wilson Brisbane, Australia

Hi Nicola, Woohoo, I completed week 12’s last session – Rider Strength – this morning. The program has been amazing and kept me motivated to continue on each week as I have really noticed a difference in my posture, balance and strength! Flea, my 10yo Stockhorse Gelding (picture from today attached) seems to be respecting my leg aides a little more as my strength improves so it’s a win, win all around!

I’m definitely looking forward to signing up for DRT2 to continue the journey and to have you to guide and urge me on each session. I still haven’t mastered kneeling upright on the swiss ball but could keep up with most of the other exercises. Maybe I’ll get that right in DRT2!! Thanks again

Susan Kicklighter

Hey there! Finished DRT3. Sadly, wished it hadn’t ended. I am already starting over, repeating it again! Wasn’t sure what you could do different in DRT 3 that could top 1 & 2, but you pulled it off. I can truly say that my crosslings and diagonals are stronger and this has improved my dressage balance and independent seat. My horse thanks you, too! And I can finally kneel on that crazy ball and do wood chops! Only thing I can say for me is that some of the core and strength workouts if the exercise was truly difficult by the fourth round I was dreading it. Can appreciate the need for the repetition though and for twenty minutes, I can get through it. Always look forward to having you on in my home everyday. Thank you! Thank you!

Kenneth Sterling

I enjoyed the program as well as having the opportunity to share the experience with others around the world. The greatest benefits to me were in balance and stamina. I’d recommend the program to others regardless of riding discipline.

Karen Schwerdt, UK

Thank you so much for your brilliant DRT programme. It is easy to follow and fun to do! It provides rehab for your core, toning for your whole body and a great positivity for your mind, to help you become the best rider you can be! I look forward to the next phase! Best regards, Karen xx

Robyn Westley-Smith, NSW Australia

I have just completed DRT 2 and loved every second of it. Nicola’s program has helped me to enhance my daily exercise routine, improving my strength and flexibility beyond my expectations.
I took Nicola’s advice and tailored her routines to work for me. For example I’m a small person (BMI 18.5) and was diagnosed with osteopaenia a couple of weeks into DRT 1. Adding some weight and resistance training to my exercise program was advised, so DRT was perfect. I used 3kg dumb bells the first time through DRT 2 but am confident I can now progress to the recommended 4kg weights.
As for my riding, I feel much stronger and more balanced in the saddle. My new mare is a big moving 6yo and the core strength I’ve gained from DRT 2 allows me to sit comfortably and allow her to really travel.
If there’s a DRT 3, I’ll be up for it.

Gina Janelli, Oregon USA

Hi Nicola , I started your 12 week course wondering at 67 yrs old, if could do this, I had received a very bad pelvic bone and rt hip injury a few weeks before starting. I wanted to do this program for my horse who needs me to be balanced when I am on him, as he has had some very bad injuries in the past. Well I can say I finished the 12 weeks and was amazed with every week getting better and stronger, the workouts became part of the healing process as well as balancing me more and more. The ball was really a challenge and I continue to work on it as I wait for the next stage. I so enjoy your encouragement and the humor as you instruct us, makes it a very enjoyable time even when your body is in all kinds of positions it never thought it could do. Thanks for sharing your talent

Gaynor Morgan, Australia

Hi Nicola, I really enjoyed DRT1 and will be doing it all over again from the USB before tackling DRT 2. My instructor says my riding has definitely improved and my seat is 99% straight now. Thank you again for the program and your ongoing support.

Trena Reynolds

DRT has made my sweet girl Elle and I so much closer as we understand and communicate much better than we ever had due to my increased stability in the saddle and more independent aids. I love this program and plan to finish DRT 1 shortly as we were interrupted with a move to the country. Definitely looking forward to DRT 2. Thank you Nicola! Absolutely genius!

Alicia Wright

Hi Nicola, this program has helped me immensely with my riding! I used to constantly tilt off to one side but now I am more balanced and feel more secure in the saddle. It’s helped me relax and in turn helped my horse relax. Thank you so much for this great program!

Annie Zahradnik

This is my favorite pic! I have enjoyed this program even though I had a setback. I have bad knees and I needed to adjust any exercise requiring being in all 4’s. However, most of the exercises were exactly like the ones I did in physical therapy, but 10 times better! As soon as Nicola related the movement to riding, I got it. Even the yoga ones. I hate yoga, but these yoga exercises made sense to me. My form was nothing like what she did, but after each 20 minute workout, my hips felt much looser. I noticed a change in my riding. My seat became an aid which improved my riding immediately. As for the setback, I hit a wall week 6. I talked with Nicola and decided to start with week 1 and have a do over. This time, each 20 minute workout was easier. I had developed strength and flexibility. I am back to week 5. My plan is to move forward. I am confident I will get to week 12. Jabba thinks so, too!

Virginia Russell, NSW Australia

Hello Nicola, I have thoroughly enjoyed the DRT1 and 2 programs. As an older rider who still wants to compete and ride successfully the DRT programs keep me fit and especially help maintain Core strength and flexibility .
The three components of Core strength Yoga and rider strength and fitness keep you on track and can be easily revisited if you need to at anytime. There are also easier options available should some exercises be challenging.

I wouldn’t be riding and competing with out it. Thanks so much Nicola for putting together such a great program.

Natalie Adams, Canada

Hi Nicola, I’m really happy I followed the DRT program. I liked that there were different facets to the program, like yoga, core and strengthening exercises, homework, reading, videos etc. I felt stronger and fitter at the end, and it made a big difference in my riding. I definitely recommend this program. Thanks Nicola!

Ashley Widdekind

I am an adult onset rider and started the DRT program just to learn how to align my own body. It has helped me tremendously in learning how to use different parts of my body to communicate with my horse. The homework has also been very helpful for pushing me just enough outside of my comfort zone to learn something new without putting me in any kind of a dangerous situation. Though I don’t have any specific dressage goals I have found the program very helpful for my own personal growth as a rider.

Agneta Bonde

Hi Nicola, DRT3 is brilliant! DRT1 & 2 are great foundations. DRT3 is the crown. It has given me a better posture and I’m more at one with my horse. I have completed more or less. There is only week 12 rider strength to go. You see I postpone everything, it’s my weakness. However, it’s more to give me and I will repeat 2 or 3 times this year. Then it would be great to have a DRT4 to look forward to!!!!
DRT3 is so well planned and gives so much and one would hardly need anything more, it’s just the psychological feeling to have a new next step to climb up, perhaps repackage into DRT4. You need to take a rest, go on holliday so you do not wear out!!! You are precious.

Jennie Stewart

Hi Nicola, I absolutely loved DRT3 along with all of the dressage rider training programs you have created! When I am actively participating in one of these programs, I notice a difference in my strength and suppleness. My riding jumps to the next level and I can focus more on my horse and precise communication rather than my own limitations. I would absolutely recommend the DRT programs to riders of all disciplines.

Of the three programs, I have liked DRT3 the very best. I loved the timed reps with the clock visible on the screen because it really kept up my motivation.

Thank you for all the hard work and research you put into the DRT programs and for another fantastic session!

Joan Mansfield

As an older rider with one horse to ride I need an ongoing exercise program to stay fit and flexible. I enjoyed the 12 weeks of new ideas and exercises. The combination of strength training and yoga stretching worked well. It was interesting to have exercises designed by someone who understands dressage and muscle use. I would recommend the program and am looking forward to part 2.

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