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.

Filter by a Program
by a Country
Megan Judkins – Oklahoma, USA

Nicola, Here is a perspective from a western rider 😉
Thank you so much for the DRT program. Working out has immensely changed my horsemanship. Instead of having a mentality that was nervous about getting hurt as we added speed to my barrel runs, I can now shut that inner voice down and think through what I am doing with my body and how my horse responds because I feel stronger and more balanced. I feel so accomplished that I have finished DRT2 and am excited to see how it continues to help my barrel runs and overall horsemanship.

Cate Cockburn – NSW, Australia

I can’t believe the better balance and stamina I have after finishing DRT 1. You don’t realise how much better you are getting and then your instructor says wow, what did you do Cate you look amazing!

I will be doing DRT 2 as soon as I’m back in the workforce!

Heidi Humphrey – Vermont, USA

I have enjoyed the progression from DRT 1 to 2 to 3. DRT 1 is like an introduction, with a lot of basic stuff, fundamentals. DRT 2 is when things get more complex/harder/faster, but I found the yoga and core work particularly helpful. DRT3, with its emphasis on quick reactions combined with energizing the fascia, was very helpful to my riding as I ride a mare where I need to be open in the front yet always vigilant to be able to get her back on track as quickly as possible when she decides to pull something.

As a “graduate”, I am going to try to go back within all 3 programs and pull out the segments I liked or found particularly hard and practice them (I still cannot kneel on the swiss ball for any period of time). I feel like I have a wealth of options in short segments that I can fit into my day. Plus, the online gym is a great resource for supplemental workouts.
So yes, the journey was worth it, both in terms of time and money invested.

And thank you for being such a cheerful, normal presence–I love the animal interruptions and occasional slipups.
Heidi Humphrey

Verna French – Victoria, Australia

Dear Nicola, The Dressage Training Program is the most thorough fitness program I have encountered. I know because I feel good physically and mentally with my horse, King.

DRT sets participants up for the opportunity to function at their best but with no negative judgement. The bonus is that it is a program for horse riders which is a lifelong passion of mine. Even if I were no longer riding it would keep me fit strong and supple even though I am 75.

Balance, strength and flexibility are the best way to keep mobile when ageing. Sleep quality and nutrition coupled with mindfulness ensures that DRT encompasses mind and body. To have Nicola as a significant part of my life, leading, encouraging, supporting and being a cheerful and enthusiastic coach is quite wonderful particularly at this time of pandemic anxiety. A thank you also from King, too, because I am a better partner for him being more secure and balanced in the saddle. We can only go on to improve and enjoy rides together.

My very best wishes, Nicola. Thank you for an excellent program.

King & I

Sally Raczkowski – Georgia, USA

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would not only do DRT3, but actually complete it! I thought the DRT3 folks were the super fit, crazy athletic people! Not the 60 something rider I was. I was struggling to complete DRT1 (it took me 3 attempts to complete it!) But if you do DRT1, you can do DRT2 and if you can do DRT2 you can do DRT3. Nicola makes the step up gradual and she always give you options. If I can do this, you can do this! I hate to sound dramatic, but this program has changed my life and riding! It’s a program I can stick with and I love the support I get from Nicola and the the DRT community! You can do this!

Sally Raczkowski

Lauren Little, Alaska USA

Nicola, I am almost to the end of DRT3 and dreading it being over! What an amazing series of programs that have served to keep me motivated while reducing and eliminating many areas of chronic pain. Combined with the pandemic most recently – which allowed me to work from home and incorporate your 5 minute conditioning routines throughout the day – I feel I’ve reached a level of fitness and pain control I didn’t think would ever be possible. I don’t ride competitively (or even in a saddle right now! my horse is very tough to fit!) anymore, but this program has allowed me to enjoy toodling around bareback on my big red goofball horse. I have recommended your DRT programs to anyone who will listen, and several have signed up and are seeing the same benefits as me – even non-riders are enjoying!

Are you considering doing a DRT4? For me especially I struggle with neck, shoulder, hip and low back pain and the upper body focus of DRT3 has finally provided me the strength I needed in my postural muscles to relieve that pain (plus your amazing mobility balls – I call them torture balls and they are magical).

In the meantime I’ve started your 21 day yoga retreat at Cathedral Cove and will follow up with the second retreat after that and just keep repeating the DRT programs. I don’t want to ever go back to how I felt before your programs.

Kim Goslin, Maryland, USA

I have to tell you I have tried many workouts over the year to help my riding. I am 52 I have ripped my groind on my left leg having my only child and broken my right ankle. This is the only program that truly helps me with my strength and position and actually allows me to be able to put my body where my trainer wants me to help my horse! I do extra things like ride my bike for more cardio and play soccer with my son but I am forever grateful for your program!

Mary Gregoire, New York, USA

Thank you Nicola! Well, where do I begin? I have loved the DRT programs, but especially DRT3! I am now repeating it because it makes me feel great, and the benefits are definitely carrying over to my riding!
I take a weekly lesson, and during my lesson I hear from my instructor how my arm position has improved, ( thanks to those upper back exercises), my timing has improved! I hear the benefits from you during the videos of specific exercises, then I will hear these things that I have improved on from the trainer so I know the benefits are real! I actually look forward to completing the exercises because I know I can fit them into my day, and I always feel great afterwards. Your teaching is fantastic and motivating and I truly enjoy the workouts! Also, I appreciate the education on nutrition and mindset and feel these are also real benefits of your program, addressing all aspects of wellness. I want to continue to build upon these things to continue to improve my well being, which I believe your program can help anyone do. Thank you for the wonderful programs, I will highly recommend them to anyone!
Mary/ USA
( with Superman)

Annette Lindström, Sweden

Hi Nicola, this 12 weeks with the DRT2 has been amazing. I feel like a new person and rider. Some excercises has been a challenge but I made it. Stronger, more flexible in my hips. My hands have become more gentle and still in the right position. So rewarding, the last exercise on the swiss ball and moving arms with the dumbell and not falling off, I could not believe that I actually was there on the top. I will go straight on to DRT3. Thank you so much for this program. Annette

Shannon McGlon, Auburn, Alabama, USA

I signed up for DRT 1 wondering how much it could help my dressage. I have worked out in the gym and in gym classes for many years. Despite this, translating the workouts to improve my riding was an effort and had limited effect. I even showed my class instructors photos and videos of my riding, asking them to suggest workouts but they just didn’t get it. So with a strong baseline fitness, I was unsure if DRT 1 could be helpful. But having exhausted everything else I knew to do, I signed up.

First, the DRT online community is very encouraging and world-wide! It’s extremely helpful to interact with other riders having similar goals. No matter where you are in fitness (from None to Quite Fit), there are others in this forum that will help you. You are not too out of shape, and your are not so fit this won’t help. It is a FOCUSED training approach.

Second, the DRT format is SUPER! 3 times a week, 20 minutes is just right, not overwhelming, and portable on my phone’s app. I did not find it difficult at all to stay with the program and really looked forward to each new class and challenge. The extra homework items were extremely beneficial. The video quality is excellent. Nicola is a very good teacher.

For me personally, the best outcome of DRT 1 was increased flexibility. At 50, I’ve ridden seriously most of my life but aging has taken away some balance and flexibility in and out of the saddle. This program helped me gain lost range of motion in my hips and knees, allowing me to lower my center of gravity in the saddle and ride with better contact in my core. Nicola does a great job of tailoring exercises specific to riding so that you know the whole program is contributing to your riding.

Thank you Nicola for the program – I enjoyed it very much!
Shannon McGlon and Tanzbar
Auburn, AL

Lisa Reschke – Victoria, Australia

I’ve really loved the DRT program. I feel much stronger and more balanced, and have more confidence while riding. I’m able to use my seat and core better while riding and have especially noticed that I’m able to have softer hands.

The weekly overview emails are a great motivator to keep up with the program and helped me to stay on track and finish both DRT1 and DRT2 on time. It was easy to fit the short 20 minute workouts into my week, even though I work shift work, which has made it hard to do regular gym classes. DRT has inspired me to improve my cardio fitness and am now walking up the 5 flights of stairs at work, and feeling fitter.

The facebook page is great. I love seeing the photos and hearing the stories from other riders all around the world, and its good to be able to give and get advice from other riders.

I highly recommend DRT, having finished DRT1 and DRT2 I’m now looking forward to trying DRT3. Here is a photo of my mare Unica and I.

Joanne Ralph Kartscher – Riehen, Switzerland

DRT1 was a brilliant experience! It was highly motivating following Nicola’s videos, and being part of an international online group following the course together. Both Nicola and other participants were very supportive and it was great fun!

While I don’t own my own horse, I ride twice a week with an instructor. I saw a significant increase in my strength, flexibility and balance. This improved my stamina in canter tremendously. I’m a newcomer to dressage and I felt I made real improvements in being able to activate my core and maintain a more even balance. My speed of reaction improved too, so I felt more secure in the saddle when I needed to respond to a horse that spooked.

Lacey Stanton, Alberta, Canada

I ride and train barrel horses. I had a baby in December 2018 and live in the Alberta, Canada cold winters. I was looking for a great way to work out at home in the evenings that was focused on the muscles used for riding. I do ride 4 to 5 horses a day but wanted that little extra fitness. This program really helped me feel better about myself. I have definitely felt a different in my riding. I feel sharper, more balanced, quieter, softer and more in tune with all the horses I ride. The three work outs a week for 20 minutes is easy to fit in and easy to do anywhere.

Cara Hesse, Minnesota, USA

Your program has helped so much with my balance and stamina, definitely makes for a happier pony and a happier rider❤️

Amanda Hansen, Warwickshire, UK

Well here we are out competing and boy have we worked hard for this. Al is 19 years old and I am particularly keen on keeping myself fit and strong enough to give him the best help i can. The DRT1 programme has helped be create a strong core and also helped with slight hip pain that I get now and again. Being an older rider it helps to keep my joints mobile and me as flexible as possible to help out my horses.

I will definitely be doing the DRT2 programme and i will take from it what i can …not expecting to be able to do everything , you have to adapt these things. Thanks Nicola for a great programme.

Kristina Descalzo, Idaho, USA

Hello! Thank you for all you do! All the DRT programs are fantastic and I have enjoyed them all! I am not quite finished with the entire 12 weeks – starting week 10 this week.

I *loved* DRT 3! The exercises were a good mix of whole body and separating the parts. The yoga though was by far the best part. The yoga in DRT3 has done more for my flexibility than anything else. I also really like how you talk through all the rounds. Several times I didn’t realize I wasn’t doing it correctly until the 3rd round as you mention something that finally makes it click.

The first 4 weeks of the yoga were incredibly painful, however it has gotten easier. Last week (DRT3 wk 9 yoga) I was able to touch my toes for the first time in my life. I was super excited! Even this morning, I can almost touch my toes. As a reference point, I usually don’t get much past my knees.  I went to see my chiropractor/massage therapist person last week and she noticed a difference in the way my muscles responded to her adjustments.

When I am done with DRT3 I plan on repeating it and I expect the first 4 weeks go a lot smoother.

Thank you for everything! I would not be as confident in the saddle as I am without this program.

Laurie Powell, Alberta, Canada

I started the DRT 1 program in January of 2020. I event, show jump, and mountain trail ride, and wanted to strengthen my position at all 3 phases of eventing. I also wanted to break some position bad habits after over 55 years of riding, mostly on my own. I am now competing on a young horse that I raised and want to improve my position and strengthen my ride.
I have found the exercise program very easy to follow – love the 20 minute format and the homework and overview videos. Nicola is personable in the videos, and it is always good when her pup wanders in. I have noticed a difference in my riding already, with greater strength in my core and leg position. I look forward to continuing with DRT 2 and appreciate the way the program is set up to progress at your own speed with lots of options presented for the more difficult exercises.

Kat Rolen New Mexico, USA

DRT has helped me tremendously with my balance and body awareness. I am much more cognizant of being balanced on both seat bones when in the saddle. DRT is also helping me develop a more independent seat. I recently got injured riding my other horse and DRT helped me rehab from that injury too.

Thanks so much for all you do to help riders all over the world!

Beth Colla, Illinois, USA

Thank you. I have had back surgery in December for a severely herniated disc. So I was behind in starting the program. My surgeon suggested core strength exercises and I found DRT on Facebook. It suited my therapy goals as well as my riding goals!

I had to modify the program. I had very weak back muscles from not being able to move much for 5 months while the diagnosis and surgery was sorted. So the initial week 1 had to be repeated multiple times and I had to do a lot of just stretching and strengthening to stop my flank spasms.

I am now riding again!!! Altho Covid 19, has put a crimp in that a bit….

I have 2 horses. Both are Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horses. They are gaited and very lovely to ride. I am an ex-eventer and now primarily ride trail, distance trail and Competitive Mounted Orienteering (www.NACMO.org). I also have gotten into Gaited Dressage. Because a well trained horse….is a well trained horse.

Stella is my mare. She and I have amassed over 2500 miles under saddle out on the trails. We belong to an organization called Open Trail and Top Trail where you upload your GPS trail miles (ring riding does not count) and 2 years ago we were nationally ranked for 1000 miles in 1 year.

Rocco is my baby. He was started under saddle last summer. We currently have 250 miles out on the trail together.
I really started DRT with him in mind. I needed to be fit and secure in the saddle to work with a baby out on the trails.

I have included several pics. The one with the masks, is for your entertainment. We were being silly yesterday.

You have a great program, and I have very much enjoyed not only the DRT, but the FB community of support. I also am making kombucha for the first time. (Making our quarantine time productive.)

Susan Mohrig, Glendale, Arizona

Hi Nicola, I completed the DRT program with lesson 12 last week! Yay! It was very challenging, but not overwhelming. I loved how each part, (whether it was core strengthening, rider fitness or yoga) was fine tuning the different parts of my body relating to riding in general. The 20 minute workouts were the perfect amount of time and you varied them so that they were manageable, fun and productive. Each time I did them I felt better in general! I really liked the Swiss ball for learning balance and the elastic bands for resistance. Your program also proved to me that I had a weaker side in my riding. I had always been aware of my left side being weaker because my body in the right lead canter was very immovable. I found this out during DRT workouts too and then was able to work on balancing both sides out. I am a true fan of your program Nicola! Thank you and I highly recommend it!

Jennifer Solari, Massachusetts, USA

I’ve gained confidence in the saddle even when Rustle gets scared (which he seems to do a lot) so I can sit and be less reactive. I have more mobility in my hips and the rest of my body. I lost my mom on New Year’s Day (a few weeks after starting DRT3) and the program kept me sane and gave me something to work toward even through all the craziness of getting her estate taken care of. All segments were challenging but DRT3 with it’s focus on reaction time and plasticity of the fascia was much more challenging for me and I love a challenge. DRT3 yoga were my favorite yoga segments of all the programs as it was focused on holding poses and I felt so flexible after doing them and since I’d never done yoga until DRT, I finally feel like I’m getting yoga. I’m finally riding again but it’s been mostly trail rides. Tomorrow I hope to get in the ring to work on no stirrup riding, jockey position, finding my seat bones, etc. There was no running for me during DRT3 but I’m hand walking Rustle out on the trails as well as riding him out there so my cardio and steps are getting fine tuned.Thanks for the program. A bigger thank you for keeping me out of my head during one of the most difficult times in my life. 2020 has truly been a suck year with some bright spots. Rustle and Samson cat have gotten lots more attention (probably than they bargained for) and I’m keeping up with my fitness thanks to you.

Erin Cassidy, Ontario, Canada

This program has not only helped my balance and position in the saddle, but also my position when I stand and walk. It has definitely made me more conscious of my body placement.

This is me (49 years old) and my 17 year old Thoroughbred gelding.

Liliana Lewis, Buenos Aires, Agentina

Hi Nicola, I would say that DRT help me a lot, even when I could not ride too much lately using all the practice I have done because of the virus, so I’ll keep on, to stay tune for the time I will be able to ride again, it was great to learn so much, I feel I change in many ways my posture.

Carole from Stuttgart, Germany

I started riding being an adult and after many years of training, I gave up. It never felt right and my knees were in pain.
Just for curiosity, I signed up for a driving class. 6 years later, I compete in a pretty high class in all three disciplines and found my way to keep horses in my life.
Lacking time, being a working mum, I was looking for a possibility to do sport without being bound to a schedule or waste time on traveling. Facebook showed me an ad for DRT and I thought: Well, if you try one of those online video models, why not something with horses – and it was the best decision I could have made.

Since January, I integrate the 20min-Sessions into my daily life, increase strength, gain massive mobility and by the way shape my body. On top, I find many little moments in between to fit in a small element of the movements and the breathing technique from yoga. Even I am back in the saddle without pain and full of self confidence, because after all these years, I started better than I have ever been.

The benefits of this program are not only Nicolas sessions, but also the support of the community! I really enjoy sharing my experiences with others, getting hints or feedback from Nicola and reading about others all around the world.

I didn’t finish the DRT1 in 12 weeks, but it doesn’t matter because the is no pressure, but only support.

Thank you Nicola for your efforts and passion!

Mary Anne Hubbard Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

As a 62 year old very casual rider, I started your program as I was working with a rescue horse that appeared to be good for dressage. I had never even set in a dressage saddle before. I fell in love with Dylan and dressage! Working through DRT1 was a game changer for me as I was developing my strength and focus. I have been sharing my progress with several people in the barn and am happy to report that a co-rider is starting DRT1 this week! I have loved the Facebook group support and appreciate that this program allows you to work at your own speed and repeat as necessary. I have just completed week 8 (having repeated weeks 1-4). I am so proud and receive many compliments at the barn! Feeling more confident and comfortable with my long term riding ability and goals….I bought Dylan this week! Thanks for you leadership.

Angie Tomsha, Alberta, Canada

The end of January our horse Cody suffered a suspensory ligament injury on his left hind. We was on stall and small paddock rest while starting IRAP therapy. A month into that he suffered a severe colic which almost took his life. Near the end of March, we moved him to a rehab facility where someone will have eyes on him all the time during these crazy times. I am happy to report he is doing great! So at the start of the program I was super keen and loving it! Everything derailed after his injury and colic.
Since he is now in rehab getting stronger mentally and physically, I am too! I am doing your workouts daily and the homework. I am still not under saddle but have been loving how much better I feel. I look forward every morning to seeing your smiling face in your beautiful field. We still have snow here in Alberta, Canada.
Since the quarantine, even my children ages 15 and 12 enjoy the workouts.
We are very motivated and I am so glad I have your online support to stay connected.
I love how related your workouts are to riding! I am so grateful I committed, we are all healing now! The healing is mutual!!
This picture was from our first international show in August 2019.
Stay safe and healthy,

Diane Daniell, Victoria, Australia

3 weeks ago, seems like a lifetime now with all that has gone on, I participated in a Cowboy Dressage clinic and competition over 3 days.
The instructor who hadn’t seen me ride since August last year commented not only to me but also told one of my friends that of all the riders there I had improved a lot since then. My dressage scores were all up around 10% since a competition in November last year and I managed to stay on when Jem had a massive shy because the rider behind had hit the wall with her feet and her horse had lunged towards him. He is 81% Arab!!! but he does know when he leaves me behind and seems to pause his antics so I don’t fall off. Well thats what it feels like.

Last weekend I turned 60 and on the Monday I got a Queen of the Mountain back on one of my favourite MTB rides. Not only did I beat my own best time by almost a minute, I took the QOM back from a rider half my age by 20 seconds over a 3.5km stretch and I hadn’t been on the bike for 3 weeks.

So it appears that DRT1 is beneficial for lots of things. I put 30 bales of hay in the shed one day and a few days later loaded 10 back into the float to take to my retired horse. Whilst there I trimmed all four of his feet in 15-20 mins. I can pull weeds for longer and carry things better.

I now am very conscious of how I sit and stand and find my body is starting to remind me where it should be. I can now ride 10m circles on the right rein quite well but still having a few issues on the left which I can fix but not hold the position for very long before I get tired. I can’t hide from the ball and it will be a big help going forward.

DRT1 has made a huge difference to my twisted riding, something I was aware of but couldn’t seem to fix. Its like you have given me the keys but i have to turn the locks. I am going to keep cycling through DRT1 until I move as fluidly as you do between the moves and don’t have to pause the video. I’m glad I purchased the USB as this will help too. I will do DRT2 but not until I’ve sorted that ball out!!

Thanks once again for this fantastic program, it has given me a whole new enthusiasm for my riding and made my horses life much better.

Amal Kamel, Doha, Qatar

Hello Nicola, I would like to thank you for organizing DRT1 online. After few sessions I realized I wasn’t sitting on my seat bones at all on sitting trot; fixing this single problem has helped me a lot in my posture. I am very satisfied with the strength I started to see in my body, stability and even stamina with only 20 mins per day. All of your workouts are to the point in contrast to other similar programs which are loaded with tons of talking and limited output. Thank you again

Elizabeth Hassman, California, USA

Absolutely! I am having so much fun with this program. I like feeling like I am making progress, and this program gives me this.
Also, Nicola is so fun, kind and encouraging.
As a health care professional, I have recommended this program to others, as well, who are not “horse people.”
We all need better balance, strength and coordination.
Who does not need that.
Thanks again!

Jennifer Lenio, New York, USA

Overall, I can tell you that I liked DRT3 the best of the DRTs, although I know I needed to complete 1 and 2 to get the most out of 3. I think my shoulder and back strength was one of my weakest points in my body, so having the emphasis on posture and back strength has been super helpful to me. My instructor noticed my better posture in the saddle after only a few weeks of DRT3!

I think the emphasis on the fascia and the stretches to keep it supple have also been very beneficial. I plan to keep on doing DRT3 sessions from here on out.

In addition, my horse has unfortunately had lameness issues for the last few months and I haven’t gotten a lot of riding in. I am very grateful to have DRT3 to keep my fitness up during this down time in my riding – and hoping that when my horse feels better, I’ll be able to almost pick up where I left off in my riding.

I loved the additions to DRT3 – the way the workouts were set up with repetitions of the same exercise, all set to the 1 minute timer. That made it easier to follow along – as did the pictures at the very beginning of the workouts, showing what each exercise looked like. Very helpful!

So thanks again for a great program!!!

Ann Houghton, Minnesota, USA

I highly recommend Nicola and her DRT program. And not only her DRT program, but all the other wellness help that she generously shares.
I have spent the last year working towards building a self-care toolbox and a huge part of that has been increasing my riding time and efforts. I find that maintaining strength and flexibility are key to being able to continue riding and those things need constant attention.
I write this during a time when I am temporarily unable to ride or visit my horse or take classes at the gym and yoga studio – all things that I have become dependent on for my well-being. I am so happy that I joined Nicola’s program and can enjoy her cheerful, calming voice, movements, and horse imagery while working out in my home and staying fit, as well as building new strengths – physical and mental.
Thank you Nicola!

Allison Hackett-Dorn, North Carolina, USA

Here is a picture of us from us finals in ky this past November. We did our first level musical freestyle! 11 out of 24! Since starting this program I have noticed a big increase in my core strength . My horse drops his left shoulder but now I am able to help him lift up just by engaging my core! He seems happier as I am riding better and stronger overall.
I kept this program a secret from my trainer to see if she could tell. 4 weeks in she remarked after a lesson that she has never seen me ride better. I confessed at that point that i had been doing the DRT program! Cannot argue with success!

Hanna Arimaa, Finland

Hi Nicola, First I’ll like to thank You so much for this super training course.
I’ve enjoyed working with it. In the beginning it was hard, but quite soon became easier and that encouraged me even more.
I feel that my mobility and balance have improved a lot. I also feel much better in the saddle and I think my horse can feel it too:)
I look forward to start the DRT2 after 2 weeks. THANK YOU!

Forever Sweet, Ohio, USA

Thank you for such an amazing program! Never have I felt so strong and connected with my horse. The journey has been amazing and well worth it!


Margaret Lomas, Wiltshire, UK

I am finding it is making such a difference to my general sense of well being and purpose. I am not riding at the moment due to the lockdown, so this is helping me structure my day and feel that I am still making progress so that when the time finally comes to get back on my horse it will just feel natural. I have just had a very big birthday and am determined that the lockdown won’t be the reason I decide I am too old to keep riding! In the meantime, we have been doing lots of walks in hand, enjoying the bluebell woods and spring sunshine together and, having never been a runner, I am finding a reason to add this to my daily regime as we trot together to keep us both fit! I think this is really helping our connection too. Without this program I wouldn’t have the self-discipline to keep myself this fit and it is really empowering. Thank you Nicola! All the best

Neva Rae Powers, Florida, USA

Here I am with my leased horse, Flyer. I am more fit, more centered, and more balanced. I thank you and Flyer thanks you!

Sandy Roggow, Wisconsin, USA

Hi Nicola!

I haven’t forgotten about responding to you, but still haven’t completed the core routines for the last phase of the program. My zip drive wasn’t working so Ben sent me a replacement. The new zip drive is having troubles in the same places on the drive. I emailed Ben today and hopefully I can complete the program before too long.

For starters though, I would like to say that the DRT3 program was definitely a challenge beyond DRT1 and DRT2. It was tough and I could feel the workout a day or two later, but it wasn’t too much. While waiting to do the last core routines, I have gone back and repeated some routines from earlier in the program. I can tell that I have built strength and stamina!

I am thankful for all the benefits, but at my age (64), the balance aspect of the program is especially of value. Everything I hear about aging recommends maintaining your ability to balance. So these exercises are of particular interest to me. I don’t have the balance or strength my 30 year old daughter does, but what I have gained from this program allows me to be much more focused and confident when riding. That is a huge thing, since I have a five year old horse that is just learning. He is the one I fell off of in January and gave me quite a scare. So, my confidence suffered a bit, but I am back to riding at least 4 days a week and relying on my daughter when he needs a tune up.

I have recommended your program to other riders in my barn because I think it has been a wonderful experience. I’m not sure how I will carry on without the 3 routines a week push to work out. (I definitely do better when there is a focus/deadline) One thing I have not explored much are the other parts of the program which you have made available. I plan to start doing that this next week.

Overall, I would like to say that the program was pretty close to perfect for what I needed:

*You can’t argue with a 20 minute routine. The length was great. Others have told me that they have 30 and 45 minute online workouts and it is hard to devote the time. So you choice of having 20 minute workouts worked really well for me.
*Your smiling face and positive ‘you can do this’ ‘finish strong’ ‘this is the last round’ comments were incredibly helpful. I lose ambition when there is no fun to it. I also appreciated when you would roll off the ball or misstep. It made me feel like we all make mistakes and that is OK.
*The combination of core, strength, yoga and mobility were all very beneficial.
*DRT3 was a challenge, but definitely possible, if you committed to doing DRT1 and DRT2.
*These programs are excellent for riders (and everyone). The balance aspect is particularly helpful for aging riders.

I am a stronger, more focused, and confident rider because of you and your program. Thank you!


Eyðna Simonsen

Just finished DRT2 yesterday, and I must say, that this is a fantastic program! My balance has become much better and also my strength. I love, that the exercises just takes 20 minutes. And I have also started to do a few short running sessions every week to get some cardio training as well. I have just joined DRT3 and I am looking forward to start the program. In the picture, I am training my balance without saddle on my sweet icelandic gelding Snæþór.

PS! My biggest challenge every day is my fear, because I fell and broke my back almost two years ago.
But my goals are still to be able to ride outside alone as well as together with several other riders (I only ride out with my daugther now – as she is very patient with me – and an experienced rider as well). So I am looking forward to DRT3 and hope to be more connected to my horse and to communicate clearer with him, so that I can be confident and relaxed in the saddle – and learn to trust my horse – and myself 🙂

Darcy Sun, Georgia, USA

Hi Nicola, I did complete DRT2 and am finally able to kneel on the Swiss ball! I felt DRT2 was a good progression from DRT1. Many of the exercises were more challenging for me but it kept me motivated to continue and finish. I definitely feel the improvement in fluid strength needed to ride properly. I’m also more in tune with my body being balanced while mounted and how very slight movements affect my horse’s balance. Most of all, I love the format of this program. The short workouts can fit in anyone’s schedule and if time permits, I’ve completed them more than once or did two at a time. The variety of exercises also prevents me from getting bored with the workouts. I really don’t have recent good pictures of me and Gus but will send one in the future. The one below hardly has that relaxed expression that one should have riding dressage but I think it was just before Gus jumped out of the arena! Silly boy! But I had no problem staying on:-)

Karis McAllister, Kansas, USA

I will admit that I was very scared when I went through the program and saw that we would be balancing on the swiss ball with a dumbbell at the end of the program. I was not sure if I could do it as I was not very good at balancing on the swiss ball at the time. But I had very little trouble with the balancing on the swiss ball with a dumbbell when I got to week 11 and 12. It was because the rest of the program built up to it and got the muscles where the they needed to be to perform that movement. All of the exercises from week 1 to 9 were all built to help the muscles stabilize you in that kind of an unstable environment. I was very very happy with DRT2. It was everything I had hoped for. It was definitely the step up I was looking for after DRT1. DRT2 has made me feel so strong and has given me a whole new level of confidence in and out of the saddle.DRT2 has also improved my riding skills a LOT!!!

I can’t tell you how happy and blessed I am to have found you and your program. I had been searching so long for exactly what you provide. I am so so so happy with the results I have gotten through these 24 weeks. I really look forward to DRT3!!!
I have enclosed a picture of my new baby horse who is 10 weeks old. I will be training him in dressage and am very excited to know I will be physically ready to ride him! I also enclosed a picture of my current dressage horse.
Thank you SO much,
Karis McAllister

Barbara Huibregtse

Thank you. I did finish DRT3, but with teh entire family working or studying from home, have had to rely on the USB drive for the workouts, rather than logging in. How fortunate I had it!

I enjoyed the program very much and am now repeating Phase 3 as I could have done better on some of the routines, as well as taking the opportunity to add in more interval work.

I did refer a friend trapped in Miami due to the pandemic to the foreverfit gym (she doesn’t ride) and she appreciated an online option for working out.

This program has improved my balance and reaction time as well as how I carry myself in this world in addition to helping with riding and communication with my horse (and he thanks you for that).

If there were another program, I would be pleased to enroll.

Thank you again.

Samantha King, NSW, Australia

Have loved the program and can definitely feel the difference in my riding. I have more stability and core strength. Obviously I still have a long way to go to get a really terrific independent seat and where I don’t effect the horse so much. I am sure by continuing with your plans I will continue to improve. My main horse is a big powerful 17.1 6yo mare and I am now able to ride that power and not put the handbrake on because it’s to much. I feel more confident of her spooking because of the improved stability. Thank you

Michael Carroll, Texas, US

I have definitely benefitted from DRT1 to the extent my coach/trainer has commented and recommended other riders in the barn consider DRT during this time of lockdown. I expect I’ll participate in DRT2
Be well and thank you.

Jenny Reid, Lincolnshire, UK

I have absolutely loved the DRT1 programme, it is the best thing I have done in years and yes I should have done a fitness programme years ago but they never inspired me.

This DRT programme excited me from the get go as it’s linked to my passion of horses and helps you improve your riding capabilities which is very important to me along with strengthening your body and mind.

I am 62 years of age, was very stiff, suffered with my lower back and weak gluts, but now I have more mobility with no glut or back issues and feel the best I’ve felt in years.

The workouts are great and I have repeated each phase before moving onto the next phase, so been working out 20 minutes 5 times a week so I haven’t got too far behind. Also managed to fit these in around my lifestyle with ease.

My riding position has improved, I feel deeper in the saddle and because my leg position has changed my Pony is moving through his shoulders more, his walk and trot have improved so much.

Nicola this is a fantastic programme, looking forward to DRT2.

Best wishes
Jenny xx

Victoria Prince, Chicago, USA

This is my Irish Sport Horse, Camogie. She is rising 5 and has been in dressage training over the winter. I have only been able to ride once a week due to the distance of the dressage facility, but have felt strong and ready to ride with DRT1 workouts, and have noticed some improvement in my posture. Camogie should have come home to her usual barn and I was so looking forward to regular riding, and jumping as I’m an eventer, but instead we are “staying at home” and she has remained safely where she is. The remainder of DRT1 has been cathartic in these troubled times, especially your cheerful voice and attitude Nicola. Thank you for being there!

Cristina Toquica, Medellin, Colombia

DRT has definitely helped me to become a better rider. I’m more balanced, stronger, and much more flexible at my hips, therefore my aids have become clearer, my seat lighter, and my horse feels more comfortable and understands better what I expect from him.

Matt Nanda, New Zealand

I have really enjoyed my first program of DRT Program 1. My wife has completed a couple of programs of DRT and she recommended it to me to help with my riding. I have found the flexibility of the program particularly handy for my lifestyle which until COVID involved a fair bit of commuting for work. Some weeks I would do the sessions in the mornings before work and in other weeks I would complete them after work. I would alternate mornings doing gym work outs with DRT. Lately, I have done all three workouts on one day of the weekend, finishing satisfied after a challenging hour! I have felt the positive impact DRT has had on my riding: I am much better able to recover from abrupt direction changes my horse makes and have found it easier to rise to the trot. I also know what to focus on during the quiet moments of my ride. I have previously said to Nicola my biggest takeaway has been learning how to engage my core properly after years of gym and fitness workouts. It really hss been enlightening after all this time. I know that with time (and another round of DRT!) I can only get more centred and rider fit. Thanks Nicola for a great service. I highly recommend DRT for all riders and for day to day health and wellbeing.

Helen Crouch, Texas, US

It was fabulous and clearly improved my balance on the horses. My trainer who I saw about every 3-4 weeks clearly noticed a difference in my leg strength and my balance. I have a Quarter Horse that I have been exclusively training . She has been a challenge to get her collected at the canter. Since starting your program already I am beginning to see changes in Lexi. Your teaching style is absolutely marvelous. I love how you give each of us choses based on our abilities in the weekly sessions. You always put a smile on my face with your natural ability to teach. The articles also are well written and informing. The flexibility articles made not only my riding better but my swimming and overall well being. As I have aged I noticed that I had become very tight in different muscle groups and now I am more flexible and fairly agile at 62. The ball has been an absolute fun challenge. I can now at least get up all the way for about 3-5 seconds which clearly was unthinkable 4 weeks ago. The picture I have used was recently taken out on my pastures in the 30 day challenge of no stirrups. I know most of us are now are locked down due to the pandemic and GOD willing we will all get back to our training. Once we do I truly believe that if we continue with the DRT program it will be evident that we have improved even though some have not been able to be on their horses. I do look forward to moving to DRT 2. Warm Regards to you and your family Helen

Cynthia Davis, Texas, US

I am 63 years old and I have ridden for 60 of those years. I have ridden most of disciplines but now I’m focused on beginner Dressage. I was coming off a badly broken knee and was hesitant to join this training.

I reached out to Nicola and her staff. They were terrific in reassuring me that I could do this. From the beginning, it was hard. I don’t think that I have squatted in 20 years -seriously. But I can now.

My core is strong. My balance is better. My leg is rehabbed and I am enjoying riding my more.

I completely recommend this- no matter what your fitness level is- you make it work for you.

Caitlin Hughes, Ontario, Canada

The DRT1 program has been very beneficial to my riding. My core strength has improved a lot over the 12 week program that combined with the no stirrups work has really improved my sitting trot. My horse has a big trot and in the past I’ve struggled to stay balanced and connected when I sat the trot. Now I feel much more stable and comfortable in the sitting trot. I can’t wait to start DRT2 and see how my riding continues to improve.

1 2 3 4 5 9

Get the FREE Fitness Guide

specific to Dressage Riders

  • identify your imbalances & weaknesses
  • allow your horse to move more freely
  • improve your stability in the saddle

You will get the Guide via email & receive my weekly newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time :).

This Guide will help you...