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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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 knows I’m the one learning! (both very grubby)
Nicola, I have greatly benefited from your DRT1 program!! I hope to continue with your next program DRT2. Here is a photo of me and Soloist aka “Brody” his barn name.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 knowledgeable 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 members 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?
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 of fitness.
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!
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.
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!
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 are always alternate exercises if the 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.
I have found the DRT2 program amazing. I am a biomechanics trainer and have found the selection of exercises and stretches really target 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.
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!
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!
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 every day. 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?).
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
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.
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!
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.
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!
Since I started the DRT1 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.
My riding has progressed amazingly fast after signing on to Dressage Rider Training.
You know that feeling that you’ve plateaued? 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.
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.
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.
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.
The program helped me with my balance, posture and body strength.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted 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.
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!
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.