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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Julie Maconochie – North Somerset, UK

Hiya, so I’ve just finished DRT3 🙌 and think I only fell about a week behind 🤔🤩

I have to say I have found all 3 DRT’s perfect for the stage I was at at the time. DRT1 I wasn’t consistent with so found it tougher but the others I’ve really been as strict and consistent as I could be and that’s where I have found the benefit and improvement

DRT3 has really made me realise how far I have come. I love the fact they are such short but powerful sessions and offer just the right challenges as we go through. With core and rider strength I like the 4 rounds of 1 minute each ..partly as only a minute each exercise just feels manageable even if hard so no excuse to give up and partly as you know there’s only 4 rounds when It gets really hard !!
Yoga is my favourite tbh and often the one I repeat each week…. Rider strength I never repeat 😜

I will be repeating DRT3 now with a mix of the others just as a reminder and be ready for DRT4

Thanks for offering such great programs and the online gym (and smoothies!!) …wouldn’t be without them all even tho I don’t use all to their full potential!

Thanks
Julie

Skye Cunich – NSW, Australia

Hello Nicola, Just wanted to thank you for another fabulous DRT program.

I’ve loved it so much, I think I’m addicted. I so look forward to the work outs and loving the positive impact it’s having on my riding and confidence.

Interestingly, more recently I’ve had so many comments on how fit and healthy I’m looking.

And I know Albert, my horse, would like to thank you too.

I’m very much looking forward to doing more DRT programs in the new year!!

Many thanks – Skye and Albert!!

Lillian Spencer – Arizona, USA

I am a 56 yr old woman, and I have been riding on and off for 30 years. About 7 years ago I got my own horse, and started to ride, jumper discipline, in earnest. I thought that riding a few times a week and a little side exercise would be enough to keep me in good shape. Last spring, I had a fall and needed to take a couple months off to rehab. I didn’t want to lose conditioning, so I decided the time was right to finally try the DRT program, which I had been thinking about for years. I am so glad I did! It turned out that I wasn’t in good condition at all, and that probably contributed to the fall I had. Doing DRT 1 showed me that I was not strong enough in my core and my legs to be a solid rider, and it helped put me on the correct path. I immediately went on to DRT 2, which proved to be challenging in a positive, exciting way. My strength, balance, and mobility all increased a hundredfold, and as a result, I feel so much more secure in the saddle. I was able to compete in a two-day show, which I would never have been able to do before this program.

I love the way Nicola has organized it, providing three short workouts a week that can be done as often as wanted, and combined in different ways. It is great that the workouts are all a little bit different, so they are never boring. Nicola provides a cheery and helpful commentary, and always seems ‘human’, which is so important in a coach. One of the best parts is that the program comes with a wonderful, supportive community of users through social media- knowing people who are going through similar adventures makes it more fun! And the access to the Online Gym provides so much supplemental material. I rave about DRT to all my equestrian friends, and I can’t recommend it enough!”

Shirley Paterson – Tauranga, New Zealand

Dear Nicola, I feel like this program DRT 1 was designed for me. Love the flexibility of being able to exercise at home when I can fit it in. The variety and all the extras such as the meditation series ( my fav). Rider specific exercises …I do feel stronger and more secure in the saddle. My horse did an impressive spook, worthy of the Spanish riding school when a plastic chair got blown across the arena… I stuck on ! Really supportive and positive online group also. Attached a photo of myself and my girl Honey .

Sue Pacanowski

Hello Nicola,

I just finished the last session of DRT4….YAY! I must say, I feel much stronger and more balanced. However, since I don’t have a horse to ride regularly, I can’t say much about how my riding may have improved. My husband commented that I looked more confident and balanced when I was able to ride a while ago, and I felt that.

As for the program, I enjoyed the timed format. I felt like I used every muscle in my body. I don’t know how you can continue talking through the exercises! Seeing Elly help you occasionally is a plus…she’s so cute.

Take care,
Sue Pacanowski

Vera Jagendorf – Corbett, Oregon

Hello, thank you a fantastic rider fitness training program. Although I have not jet mastered kneeling on the swiss ball, the program has been fantastic for my overall fitness and riding.

I am a active 66 year old woman. Even though I’ve been riding most of my life, I got serious about dressage and working equitation in 2016 when I retired. Although my riding has improved, it is never enough for my horse. I seem to lack the strength to ride correctly, and he is sensitive and reactive. I hike 18 miles a week with substantial elevation, so my cardio and general fitness are good. I joined the local gym for core and yoga classes. These seemed to help but were not targeted to an equestrian.

Then I tried to find a personal trainer, none at the gym knew anything about riding. And then covid hit and the gym was no longer an option. I started getting DRT emails and seeing it on FB feeds so I decided to check it out. Given how much I spend on lessons it seemed like I couldn’t go wrong.

In DRT 1 I was immediately surprised at how weak my core was. Fast forward to finishing DRT2. I am very impressed with the overall fitness approach, explanation and demonstration of the exercises, the variety and the structure. The classes are short so I frequently do 2 at a time, or add my own yoga/stretching before a core or strength class. I love that they are short because some days I just don’t mentally have it in me but “come on you can do just 20 minutes” and before I know it I’ve done that and more. And I love your kiwi accent coaching me on and explaining the movements.

And the good news is that as my core has strengthened, my back has not been tweaked for several months now, my overall flexibility has improved and my riding, wow, I am able to keep a longer leg in the saddle while cantering and can actually feel that my lower half of my body can move independently while my upper body stays more still and balanced.

I notice that my horse is less resistant to my aids and less braced in transitions. We still have a ways to go on this journey but I think I have found one of the important foundations to keeping me in the saddle for as long as I live.

Thank you so much!

I am looking forward to DRT3.

Alyson Behr – Rancho Santa Fe, United States

I am 65, have two hip replacements, have had a few strokes, and I’ve taught myself to walk again twice. Riding is my therapy. DRT2 made it possible for me to regain my balance, strength, and stamina enough to have the confidence to go back up centerline. My horse Iain Jaime MacLeod (aka Impression x #Everdale) is super sensitive and very laterally supple, in other words, he’s a little Ferrari. He’s never naughty and he never runs out of energy. Nicola’s course is giving me the balance, strength, and timing I need to confirm his flying changes. I confess, I have a love/hate relationship with DRT2. It’s hard and challenges me, but I suck it up because when I get on Iain, I love that I’ve stuck with the program. I feel a huge difference in my ability to communicate clearly with him. Iain and I both love the difference DRT2 has made in our relationship. If you’re on the fence about signing up, hop off it and just do it. It’s amazing. Thank you Nicola!

Holly Harrington – Maryland, USA

I cannot begin to describe how important DRT has been to my riding, my personal fitness and my mental health. I began DRT1 in January 2021, with my gym closed and the pandemic in full force. I found the 20-minute sessions easy to fit into my schedule and enjoyed them! I downloaded all the sessions and repeated weeks as necessary. Then I repeated the whole 12 weeks. I found the yoga particularly challenging. In September I started DRT 2, which was definitely a step up. Again, I’d repeat weeks if things moved a bit too fast for me. The difference in my riding is a great motivator. I enjoy Nicola’s style and the focus on exercises specific to riders. The cameos with her pup and horse are an added bonus. Please don’t hesitate to sign up! By the way, I’m a 63-year-old and I take lessons with riders half my age!

Carolyn Hooton – Waikato, New Zealand

Hi Nicola. Myself and “Echo” today at Showjumping (at lovely Tauranga). Along with many others, Echo is quite spooky but I’m finding it a bit easier to stay balanced when it happens.

I’ve really enjoyed the workouts, I’ve lost a bit of weight, and my belt is doing up more, so a win win from me 😊

Thanks heaps.

Jane Saunders – Waikato, New Zealand

Hi Nicola, Your programme is so amazing and also enjoyable. I love how the exercises are different each time. My sitting trot has really improved and I feel way more stable and able to manage any surprising spooks!! Looking forward to DRT 2! Here’s a photo of me and Sparky. We got a 1st and 2nd place in Show Hunter this winter woohoo. I hadn’t competed for over 40 years!!

Janet Peters – Monmouthshire, United Kingdom

Hi Nicola, I have really enjoyed following DRT1, and have managed to fit the 20 minute sessions into my days quite well. Knowing that they are short really helps!

I feel much more evenly balanced in the saddle, and sitting trot without stirrups is now quite comfortable, and can be sustained for a long time. I look forward to getting even better and stronger when DRT2 starts.

Many thanks Nicola, these sessions cheer up our winter days!

Mariann Jakobsen – Lynge, Denmark

So delighted about this programme. Being a rider all my life – and wanting to do dressage – I never thought of how much impact my body have on the horse – and the way she mives. Realizing that the #teamwork# is so crucial. After 10 years with my lovely mare – we have grown immensely together – during DRT 1+2. Great fun – challenging – and a way to get myself back on track – after a knee injury back in Feb 21.

April Sarna – California, USA

Hi Nicola, I really have benefited from DRT 3. I feel much stronger and more balanced and my trainer has noticed as well

Before I found your program I was wondering if I would be able to ride much longer. At 64 I had just had a lunge line lesson on my horse and was so exhausted I fell off at the halt trying to dismount and broke my wrist. Luckily I found your program and started DRT1, previous to this I tried to keep in shape by jogging an hour a day

Now I am able to take 4 dressage lessons per week on both my 6 and 3 year old German riding honies. I also trail ride my older horse several times per week and have taken your advice about walking daily.
I feel stronger than I did in my twenties!

I like the 20 minute format and especially the layout in drt 3. My only concern is sometimes the videos don’t play and say thumbnail sketch in the corner. Ben updated it so now I can do the homework on you tube so problem solved!

I have been doing the sessions double each week so I do 6 workouts weekly. I am addicted to the sessions and feel better if I have my daily dose of drt! Thank you so much for your program and encouraging comments during the videos, I tell my husband I’m getting ready for my second childhood!

Can’t wait for drt4!

Casey Zandbergen – British Columbia, Canada

Hi Nicola! I finished DRT3 yesterday and wow, I feel amazing!

After doing DRT1 and DRT2, I definitely came into it feeling strong but DRT3 did challenge me in a good way. To my surprise there were quite a few exercises that I could do the “harder” version of to challenge myself and I also found quite a few exercises that I was challenged just doing the initial exercise (shoulder exercises lol).

I am super pleased with how strong I feel. The focus of DRT3 was perfect. All the exercises were perfectly increased to build a strong core for riding dressage. Thank you so much! I really enjoyed it!

I look forward to DRT4.

Thanks again!

Susan Ploughman – Ottawa, Canada

My little thoroughbred is very narrow and I was having trouble keeping my balance and it was really affecting her balance. With lots of good coaching at my barn and persistent work with the DRT program, I have improved my balance and a more relaxed strength.

Full disclosure lol, didn’t do any no stirrups work yet, but I can kneel on that balance ball and I’m amazed at how 3×20 minute workouts with stretching and foam rolling homework can have such a positive effect on all aspects of my life. I’m a 55 yo amateur rider.

Fairly new to riding as I took over care of my daughter’s semi retired hunter and fell in love with horses. My new mare is teaching me so much and I feel a responsibility to « step up my fitness game ». Looking forward to DRT2. Here is a snap from a recent fun show at my boarding barn. I can sit up taller in the saddle !!

Tristan McLachlan – Katoomba, Australia

Hi Nicola, I’ve really enjoyed my 3rd DRT. The online gym is part of my life now and has been for several years. When I’m not redoing one of the DRT programs, I enjoy dipping into other programs. Lately I’ve been really enjoying the yoga retreats, filmed in such lovely locations.

I found the work on the fascia quite challenging in the first phase of the program. Sometimes after a work out I would feel a bit over sensitive, like my nerve endings were tingling but I seem to have adjusted as I’ve worked through the program. I particularly like exercises on the balance ball and probably would’ve like more of them.

I love the way you connect what we’re doing with how it relates in the saddle and to dressage. This really helps me focus on specific muscle groups that I need to strengthen.

I also love the horse you ride in the opening titles, he’s a beauty, he looks so relaxed in his body and stride. I have a chestnut horse and when I visualise what I want him to be like, I’m inspired by your horse and how he seems to move so effortlessly. Keep up the good work.

Sandra Markutt – Richterswil, Sweden

In fact, DRT1 did not only improve my riding significantly but also helps me in my everyday-life. I was in physiotherapy for many months because of my back and shoulder pain. I had a really bad posture (hollow cross) and office work and carrying around two children didn’t make it better. I could not do sitting trot and in general had a terrible hollow cross also when riding.

In order to stabilize my muscles were far too tight. My horse is a ultra-sensitive Trakehner who has some physical issues himself. He totally reacted on every stiff muscle of mine and walked like a giraffe. Some very good riding instructors and DRT1 helped me to get out of this.

We now have our hopes high to participate in a dressage tournament next year and I can do sitting trot forever without any hollow cross. My back and shoulder pain got much better. And finally, 3×20 minutes was possible to do even though having 2 children, a horse and a job – it was fun and helped so I was very disciplined. I am in general more happy with my body now. Thanks a lot, best regards.

Jenny Gordon – Waiotira, New Zealand

I am 66 years old and have been riding most of my life. After a couple of serious riding accidents I felt stuck with my riding progress and thought my riding days may be over. My coach then recommended that I have a go at DRT 1.

Although I am reasonably fit, I have never been one to do exercise programs so I did wonder if I was going to be able to do the program both physically and mentally. I have just completed the full 12 week program and I am ecstatic.

The program is incredibly well designed so that each week builds on the last and you always feel that you can do just that much more next time.

And my riding has really improved. I feel so much more secure and confident and my coach is now really excited about what we can achieve. I am also feeling incredible with so many people commenting on how good I look. I am about to do DRT 1 all over again so that I am ready for DRT 2 next year.

Thanks so much Nicola- you and your program have been life changers for me. I don’t think I will be retiring from riding any time soon!

Max Moras – NSW, Australia

Hi Nicola, You know of me but this is my best friend and partner in crime Bling. He is a 4 year old Heritage Stock Horse that I have just started under saddle. I know the way to give him the best start is to ensure I’m as balanced and as strong as I can be.

I knew I had some areas to work on but DRT has shown me just how much work I have to do on my balance.
The workouts I found to be challenging at times but the change they have made. My awareness and strength when in the saddle are AMAZING!!!

As life is busy I found the program to be amazing and 13 weeks in and constantly keep finding more programs to keep me on track.

Thank you heaps a program designed to help me best the best rider I can be is exactly what I needed and exactly what I got!

Super excited to keep going with the programs in DRT and when the times comes start my adventure with DRT2.

Thank you so much, Max

Nicola Marshall – Wellington, New Zealand

Hi, I am now 63 and can spend all my time riding! I returned to riding at age 60 after only about 5 years of lessons in my teens. One year ago I decided to lease a rescued OTTB, to be able to do more than I could at riding school. We had a wonderful summer but he bucks in the canter and eventually when I had to push him he threw me and I broke my collar bone. The dream of riding everyday was suddenly under threat.

I have a genius coach (truly) and she and my riding friends kept me going. Then I found DRT. I started DRT 1 within a week of being cleared to ride. I was already keen on pilates but I am truly AMAZED by DRT. I kept to the schedule, but couldn’t do the riding homework, leaving the TB and just having lessons again on my coach’s pony. This was where the Facebook group came in, sharing all their DRT stories, life and riding challenges, appearing in their videos to me (a Novice Novice) like absolute pros. Next time.

I am pony shopping currently (closing in on a good one I hope) and since September have been trying horses. My coach has noticed a BIG improvement in my riding since my fall (DRT??) Her pony also helped heaps, but she says my choices have expanded over the past 3 months in terms of what I can now manage. I want a forward pony who can jump, but owners were looking at me sideways and really were afraid for me. Not anymore.

DRT is a brilliant programme for horse riders and anyone who wants to feel amazing. It feels research based and intelligent, completely safe despite the positions achieved, (critical at 63) but also fun, fluid and relaxing. Exercises are dynamic, with aerobic components, full of variety and there are great educational extras, but definitely short enough to easily fit into a week.

Nicola may be a bit of a genius too. Her joy for riding and enthusiasm for life are evident, and she works out with us. Her teaching style is spot on, (ex teacher here) with subtle adjustments built in to suit absolutely any level. There is always a more challenging option, and she makes that irresistible.

The Facebook community is always supportive, and reminds me of why I love equestrian (apart from the horses of course) that even the very best riders strive to learn and get better. So proud to have been a part of it and I hope to keep going with DRT forever.

Debbie Morgan – Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Hi Nicola, I really enjoyed the program. I managed to keep up with each week but Week 12 disappeared so will do soon! I actually liked to do an hour twice a week, and doing the Yoga at the end was a nice way to wind down. I really liked the way you made us do 3 to 4 exercises in a circuit but usually by the 4th time around I was looking forward to the next circuit. Also loved your personality and your wee dog!

My fitness level improved to a level where I was able to sit in the saddle and not lose my balance when my horse YOLO (You only live once) would spin around. I did not do very much work with no stirrups as YOLO was being schooled by a friend during the time I was doing your programme and I don’t have an arena, but it is something I am conscious I have to do more of. I am more into trekking and hunting, so the schooling is a discipline I have avoided but I would like to get into 1 day eventing.

Definitely will recommend you to friends.

Kristina Gustafsson – Torslanda, Sweden

This is me on a riding trip on Iceland this summer and the second one is today on a two hours tour in Sweden. I don’t have my one horse I am riding on a riding school once a week and try to ride every weekend on Icelandic horses. I started to ride late and really want to be my best. I will not be a dressage rider but I think my balance and my core strength have been much better with your training program and will keep up the training following weeks.

Thank you for you inspiring program.

Sophie O’Connor – Midi-Pyrénées, France

Hi Nicola, I haven’t quite finished DRT2 as I was on a cycling holiday with my husband when the programme started. We cycled for nearly 350 miles, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean along the Pyrénées mountains (France). My husband was amazed how fit I was, and that was thanks to “doing my gym”- it’s unbelievable that only 3×20 minutes/week could have such an impact.

The DRT1 & 2 programmes have really helped with my strength, fitness and balance (I can kneel on the Swiss ball now^^). They have made me aware of my weaknesses (asymmetry, suppleness) and are a great motivation for becoming a better rider. I owe this to my mare, whom I love to bits and with whom I like to have lots of fun (and experiment, see picture attached). So many thanks again Nicola, for helping us on our path to becoming better riders, but also better persons!!

Julie Smith – Rossendale, United Kingdom

Dear Nicola, I have absolutely loved DRT3. I didn’t believe it could be so different from 1 & 2 but it was and has moved my riding up a notch.

I really like the holistic approach and most of all appreciate how knowledgeable you are about anatomy and how we use our body to ride.

I’m not easy to impress but yes-this has been life changing!
Thank you for this program which has obviously been a work of dedication.

Bring on DRT4!

Kathleen Mullan – Harkness, Australia

Hi Nicola, I’ve been meaning to get to this but life has been a bit hectic, I have a 7 month old baby, I have been competing 6 of the last 16 days and have just brought my 5yo wb home that’s been away while I was having bubs and finding where my insides landed after having her lol so I now have 2 horses to work as well as everything else!

While I still have a few kg left to lose DRT I think has me riding better than I was pre baby.
I had decided prior to getting pregnant that my focus would move from showing (where I had won at Royal and National level) to dressage, I was becoming stale and unmotivated and needed a new challenge. That all got put on hold thanks to bubs and COVID and when I finally did retur to the saddle I couldn’t help but think ‘oh god what a mistake this was!’

I signed up for DRT determined to get a kick start after watching myself flop around like a dead fish on my new and very forgiving schoolmaster, and I couldn’t believe the difference just 3 sessions a week (or sometimes 2 one week then 4 the next, new mum life is tough lol) was having on my riding, not just physically but also mentally.

I was more present and aware while riding, more structured in my sessions and my body awareness/proprioception was quickly becoming better than pre baby.

When I began DRT I couldn’t sit trot further than 1 long side, then I got a lap, then 2,3 and 4 laps, culminating with me electing to sit trot my Novice tests at my recent comps because I felt more connected and rode better that way- not something I’d ever dreamed I would feel, preferring to sit the trot , and from 8 tests I’ve had 4 scores over 70% and the rest in the high 60’s so something must be working right!
I still have a ways to go and with my powerhouse 5yo now home I need to keep going otherwise I’ll need to modify my saddle with a seat belt so I’m really looking forward to going through it all over again!

Alisoun Robertson – Melbourne, Australia

Hi Nicola, I thought the course was fantastic and I’ll be signing up for life! I want to redo the first course before I move on. The exercises don’t just help with riding, they help with everything.
Thanks very much

Juliet Cayzer – Palmerston North, New Zealand

Hi Nicola, I was very motivated to work through the program (DRT1) to help me to help my horse with the tricky dressage things I was trying to ask him to do (it’s new to us both). It’s given me confidence to ask for more and the physical strength to do so. Feeling supple & strong is also good for the rest of life (e.g. throwing hay bales around).

I’ve attached a photo -I got to like riding without stirrups so much that I took them off! I’m entering my first dressage event this weekend, will put them back for that.

I’m going back over the workouts for the last 4 weeks, they’re easier than they were the first time! Looking forward to DRT2.

Thanks very much, it’s a great program.

Sandra Reich – Saarland, Germany

Thank you, we have much fun with DRT!

Louise Duda

This morning I just completed DRT 3’s session 3 yoga again, which motivated me to write to you. That particular routine focuses on releasing facia in my hamstrings, hip flexors, rib cage, and IT band and gives me such relief and increased straightness.  Most of DRT 3 has similar effects.

Your DRT programs have very literally given me my life back. I suffered since my late 30’s with back pain and an increasingly crooked body that was making me and my horses sore. All my efforts to become straighter and to escape increasing pain were mostly unsuccessful ( PT, chiropractic, Alexander Technique and Feldenkris  training, acupuncture, drugs, constant epidurals, etc) I had been doing a routine of exercises daily, many very similar to yours, but had hit the point at age 70 that I felt riding was at an end and each day I had to lie down about 2:00 pm to cope.

My Physical therapist felt I was still unstable in my si and suggested more exercises to help stabilize my core to reduce the constant tweaking on nerves that herniated discs and stenosis had inflamed. Thankfully at that point two years ago I start DRT 1.

Within 3 weeks of rotating daily through one of your routines I began to feel relief. I am now almost completely pain free, riding successfully at FEI level, straighter than I’ve ever been, and seeing improvement continue. I have continued to rotate through various sections of DRT 1,2,or 3 about five times per week. Whenever I’ve had to stop for awhile, I can tell that I become tighter and a bit twisted again but returning to my daily 20 minute “ fix” quickly gets me back on track. Students as well as non riding friends with back problems have found similar success using your programs.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Gina Janelli – Oregon, USA

Amazing course and courses. After finishing DRT4 went back into HTF, finished it, and now back into week 1 of DRT3. They all continue to challenge but need it to keep up not only with horse care and chores but life chores and work. I am blessed to be 70 this year and blacksmithing as well as photographing. I am thankful for your courses that help keep this body going. Thanks so very much for all you and Ben do
Gina

Narel Wilson

Hello, I have just loved being a part of DRT1, 2 and 3, and have loved how each has built from the last, and also, that in between each program I have been able to maintain the fitness I have built by staying active in other programs in the online gym. My body has never felt stronger, with less pain and issues, and I feel confident in myself and my abilities in a way I have not felt for years. I find the programs easy to fit into my day, effective and always enjoy the way they are presented by you Nicola. Thank you very much!

Lena Skugstad – Rogaland, Norway

The DRT program has made huge changes in my body. I feel much more stability and find it easier making small adjustment while riding. I feel more control, stronger and can ride well for a longer session.

I do have many bad days struggling with pain and fatigue, so planning the training whenever it suits me, and possibility spending 6 months to complete the program and has been important for me to succeed.

I will highly recommended the DRT program!

Ricarda Giebel – Zürich, Switzerland

Dear Nicola, it is challenging but doable. The first 2 weeks I was really surprised and found it quite hard to follow. But as always you managed to build up the required strengths very quickly. The program has definitely more a focus on strength than the other programs had and so for me it was quite hard to stick to the program. Because the strength workout was never the one I liked most. But the things you don’t want to do are most times the ones you need most. And now by the end I just must say I feel so much stronger than half a year ago! Also my body awareness and coordination increased to a new level. As my mare is on recovery since summer time I don’t know yet how it affects my riding, but in a couple of weeks I will know. To stay in this shape I just restarted DRT4 and combine it with some yoga flows out of the other programs (as you can imagine now yoga is my favorite J).

So, dear Nicola, you brought me from a discus prolaps situation a couple of years ago with all your DRT programs into a shape I have never been in my life – feeling healthy and strong with 49. Thank you so much for your effort you always put in for us!!

Jo Best – Canada

Hi Nicola, thank you for continuing to provide the DRT program and making new content and challenges to keep me interested and turning up to the mat.

I loved the added weights in DRT4 and felt a lot stronger during this programme. My upper body was not as strong as my legs and I enjoyed the exercises that helped my upper body too. It also felt like more of a workout and left me feeling energised and strong.

At some time on the DRT program I became a better rider. I see the same clinician two or three times a year. He used to say I sat to the left and leant to the right and this year he didn’t comment on this at all. I feel it is the strength in my obliques that have made the biggest difference to change this. Also the exercises involving lots of co-ordination are really helpful as I have recently been doing more lateral ridden work. I have had comments at the clinic such as “that was beautiful to watch”, “we came just to see your horse” and “how do you get your body position when riding without stirrups’ ‘. The lady that made this last comment went on to sign up for DRT1 and 2.

I love the whole presentation of the DRT programme, just the right balance of focussed but natural and done with a smile. I’m not sure how you manage to talk during some of the exercises! The 20 minute format also means there are no excuses and if live takes over for a while I find it easy to pick it up again.

Thank you also for the additional access to other parts of the gym. I enjoyed the morning yoga program which I did during some stressful times and it kept me sane!

Kind Regards
Jo

Skye Cunich – NSW, Australia

Hello Nicola,

DRT was absolutely fabulous!! I looked forward to the work out each week so much.

I haven’t videoed myself on my horse since doing your program, but the feed back from family, friends and my coach has been amazing. The difference it has made is dramatic!!

I feel, coming from a rider that has been held back with mindset issues your program has given me hope, so much confidence and belief in myself I can’t thank you enough!!

I’ve attached photos of Albert and I. I hope it comes through okay.

Many thanks – Skye

Marlene M – Manassas, VA, USA

Hi Nicola, I can’t say enough good things about the DRT program. I am in the last week of DRT2 and even with a slight injury in the past couple of weeks (popped a rib), I have been able to adjust the workouts … because of your continual suggestions to exercises where you tell us “if you can’t do this, just do ‘this'”. To be able to really feel the difference in where I am with balance and strength has been a constant throughout my doing the programs. Seeing how you may not be able to balance or move in a certain way at the start of DRT1 and be completely able to do those same moves with ease by the end of DRT2 (or even DRT1 for that matter!) … has been amazing. I will definitely be continuing on to DRT3! Thank you so much!

Chrizette Neethling – Northern Cape, South Africa

Dear Nicola, I really enjoyed joining your training sessions and my riding and general health improved significantly!

I got covid during my 12 weeks and actually felt older not doing my exercises because of past injuries and age related stiffness!

Thank you so much for a great product to assist all those passionate about our journeys with our horses.

Dyrlege Hilde Bjerke – Norge, Norway

Thank you , once again , Nicola for producing such a wonderful program for us! I finished DRT 4 a couple of weeks ago . Most of the weeks I did the program twice . I feel it has done so much for my riding . I have become stronger and have much more control of my body now . The lateral work has been really good for me ! Together these things have made me a much better rider ! My riding instructors are telling me they se a huge improvement in my riding ! According to DRT I’m now able to sit much more correctly on my horse and my horse feels a lot better and seems to be very happy with my DRT Training! For me the yoga has been the most difficult during all the DRT Trainings . BUT , slowly I have been better – and no I am really looking forward to the yoga sessions! I would recommend every rider to join DRT training . As well as feeling the improvement in my riding , I feel generally much better in my body now ! And 20 minutes sessions are wonderful! When I come home from the stable in the evenings ii’s tempting to put myself in a chair in front of the TV – but then I tell myself it’s only 20 minutes – and DO it ! Besides , Nicola is such an inspiring trainer and it’ s impossible not to be happy when doing DRT trainings! I have now restarted DRT 3 , then I will repeat DRT 4 – while waiting for DRT 5!

Susanne – Berlin, Germany

Excellent training that I recommend to riders that have limited time and want to focus on improving their balance and overall awareness as riders. All horses will thank Nicola as well. Mine is delighted with my progress.

Ann Rolfe – London, UK

Hi Nicola, Thanks for the all the DRT programmes, I have loved doing them, and they were invaluable in the lockdowns to keep me rider fit. I really liked the way that DRT 4 drew from all the other programmes and brought it all together. I’m looking forward to continuing to use the programmes as I feel that keeping the core fitness and strength is a key to riding. Thanks again, Ann

Caitlin Hughes – Ontario, Canada

Hi Nicola, I completed DRT4 a couple of weeks ago and I absolutely loved the program. The addition of the weights to the exercises was a challenge, but I felt the changes and strength improvements as a result. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the DRT programs I’ve done so far: DRT1, DRT2,DRT3, HPF, DRT4, and the Mobility Program. If you decide to create further DRT programs I will eagerly await their release, in the meantime continuing to work through the existing DRT programs attempting the more challenging exercise options.

Thank you for everything you do Nicola, I have noticed the changes not only in my riding but in my everyday life and I am so appreciative. I never took my personal fitness as seriously as I should have prior to this program but now it is not something I will let slide. We can only expect our horses to perform at their best if we stay fit and healthy as well.

Barbara Huibregtse – Danville, USA

Nicola,
Thanks to you and DRT team for these programs. For me, DRT4 really helped pull together the fitness and the mindset aspect, as the workouts required focus to get the exercises correct and get the most out of them. This focus translated to my riding, and has helped me focus on the movements and the horse’s reaction, and avoid distractions, with improvement and progress in our training. I will also note that the yoga helped me realize how stiff and tight I could be, which had to translate to the horse, but the yoga and mobility sessions allowed me to loosen up . Thank you again.

Elke Breves – Germany

Dear Nicola and Ben, DRT 4 is something so special, it puts together everything we have learned on our DRT journey. My strength and balance increased beyond expectations, my anxieties vanished and I am so happy now with my young and challenging mare. While doing DRT 4 I realized that I have developed an certain body awareness that allows me to notice and correct my posture, my seat or the correct performance of the DRT routines. Thank you so so much for this wonderful program, it has been a real life changer.
The whole online gym is such a fantastic place for fitness, mindset and feels like one big family. Thank you so much and kind regards from Germany

Jane Keylock – Shepton Beauchamp, UK

Hi Nicola, Thanks for another great DRT programme….when is DRT5 coming????!!!

I particularly liked the yoga and the way it targeted specific parts of the body with a good amount on twisting and the upper body which is great for those of us that sit at a desk a lot. I thought the rider strength complemented the yoga very well and still carried on the focus on cross-slings and strengthening posterior chain from DRT3 which certainly is important for me. The core strength exercises were good to maintain strength in all core muscles. Thanks once again. Hope you’re all ok in NZ and looking forward to the next steps.

Barbara Schärer – Wabern, Switzerland

Hi Nicole, this is what my riding coach told me not so long ago:
unfortunately there is no “before” picture – but your development from your first riding lesson until today – is amazing.

Your diligence, your motivation and your discipline also outside the saddle pays off. “Riding according to biomechanical principles” brings even more success when certain behavioural
and physical patterns are also disolved in everyday life.

I had my first riding lesson with her in spring 2020. This is clearly the result of my participation in your training program. I can notice myself that my posture and stability in the saddle has improved a lot… there is still a very long way to go.

Apart from the effects that the training has on my riding, it is actually always a lot of fun, even though it is quite strenuous. The variety of workouts you present to us is amazing – it never gets boring.

Unfortunately, during DRT2 I was not always able to train as much as I would have liked, mainly due to an injury. But everything is ok again and I am looking forward to DRT 3.

Cindy Horrocks – Lake Placid New York USA

Greetings Nicola and Ben. A bit of background. I am 72 and ride dressage now after years of eventing and hunters. Last year I came off my mare and broke my back. Just one of those freak things and I am well and deeply grateful that it was not more serious. This year my mare tore her ACL so we have another summer of no riding. It will be better but a long recovery.

I have kept up with DRT and find it fills a need other than fitness. The mental exercise is so vital for feeling well. When the exercises combine focus plus strength I find it very calming. Vise versa I am calmer hand walking my sometimes very energetic mare because I am fit. The mental/focus of DRT 4 is for me, the best part.

The exercises are rider specific, but the benefits are not riding exclusive.

With no riding this year I am in my canoe and kayak quite a bit. They are very tippy but even with a dog jumping about I can maintain my balance.
Thank you both for such a great, thoughtful, educated program.
I will continue to be a fan forever!

Tanina Frouge Linden – Virginia, USA

The DRT Program with Nicola Smith has helped my riding in many ways. I never had good balance, and my flexibility is not quite what it once was. The DRT program improved my flexibility tremendously.

I started with a decent core but DRT really helped strengthen that area as well as my arms and legs. The added strength helped me keep a still leg and to effectively wrap my legs around my horse’s barrel. The program also helped my balance and enabled me to sit deeper in the saddle, which is something that I have struggled with in the past. I am delighted that I found this fantastic program for my riding and general well being.

Nicola is a delight and I love the way she will suggest another movement if something is beyond you due to injury. I wholeheartedly recommend the DRT program to riders of all disciplines.

Nicola Parker-Webb – Cromwell, New Zealand

DRT2 has been brilliant!!! I have felt myself become fitter, stronger, more flexible in general. More specifically, I have noticed how much more balanced and centred I am in the saddle and how much more control I have over my body, how I am riding, and the aids I am giving. I am incredibly grateful for the DRT programmes and am looking forward to the next stage in my DRT journey with number 3 🙂

Caroline Ross, London UK

“Nicola’s DRT programmes are brilliant. Having completed DRT1 and DRT2, I’m now feeling equally strong and supple which has made a big difference to my riding. I’m much more secure in the saddle, my movements are more fluid and my downward transitions are so much better. I feel both light and stable which is the best feeling and I’m pretty sure the horses I ride appreciate it too. I’ve never previously received any compliments while doing dressage but over the past two months, my instructor has been so impressed with how the horses are going. I’m more relaxed too. Nicola is a fun, personal and knowledgeable trainer and I always enjoy her workouts. It’s obvious that she cares a lot and has put a ton of thought into her programmes – as a fellow personal trainer I really notice and appreciate that. Highly recommended!!”

Rachel Bladon – Newbury, UK

Hi Nicola and Ben, I loved DRT 4 and enjoyed it most of tall the programs. I think this is because I am so much fitter and stronger that I found I could do all the exercises with the harder options, and whilst it was not easy I was able to do it which is very satisfying.
I have always struggled with upper body posture, but this program has tackled that and I am so pleased with the improvement – at last I understand how to sit tall and elegantly and with a bit of effort I can do it. Improving my riding was the goal so that is definitely ticked off.

However it has done so much more than improve my riding. I have changed my eating habits, thought more carefully about sleeping and I feel better for it. I have also started doing some faster running again, it is so easy as you get older to settle into being steady and careful, but your sprint session showed me I do still have it! I am doing the London marathon in about 7 weeks and as I had done some speed work I am finding the training easier as I am able to do the different sessions rather than just grinding out the long runs.

Thank you, I will be doing DRT 4 again and definitely recommend it.

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