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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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.

Sarah McCarty – Plattsburgh NY USA

Hi Nicola,Thank you for the opportunity! I decided to jump right into DRT 2 after finishing DRT1 “on schedule.” This time the program coincided with big seasonal shifts that affected my time and organization – end of the teaching year, competition season – good stresses but challenges to routine! I found that I actually enjoyed repeating weeks here and there, actually looking forward to this lasting longer than 12 weeks!

In the saddle, I have felt an incredible difference! As spring and summer have unfolded I feel the security in my seat on trails, jumping, and as I start my mare in training level and need to support her learning. The program has helped me not only to use my aids more accurately, but to recognize when it’s actually something I need to adjust that’s causing my horse to misunderstand. I can view a challenge we may be having from two different sides now, and feel like I’m developing a toolkit of solutions.

We have been a partnership for exactly 6 months now, and she has earned solid scores in the mid-60s! My collective marks on position and aids are consistently a half to a full point higher than they’ve ever been! I’m looking forward to doing DRT2 a second time through as fall approaches, and to DRT3 after!

Nancy Cox – Georgia USA

Hi Nicola!

Thank you for giving me back my ability to ride!

I am in my 50’s and my fitness has been inconsistent, mainly due to the long hours of my career work week.

Now I am able to focus on my riding more consistently, but sadly discovered I was weak, inflexible, and perpetually in pain, particularly in my left hip/joint area.

I thought getting stronger and more flexible would be my best bet for gaining my rider form again. And I found you and DRT, thank goodness.

By week 5 of DRT1 I was riding decently again with less pain. By week 11, I felt almost like my old 20-something self. I finished up week 12 and am looking forward to DRT2 to help me keep improving. I am quite addicted now, and love your process and kind and gentle way of motivating and encouraging. I look forward to every session.

I can’t thank you enough for giving the gift of riding back to me.

Nancy Cox

Brenda Lofstrom – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Completed DRT2 … feel amazing! Even though I completed DRT1 in April and had huge
improvements in my riding and physical fitness, I was a little apprehensive at first when starting
DRT2, thinking it might be too tough for me. But with each DRT2 workout I constantly amazed
myself – totally able to do the workouts and continued to improve!! At age 68 and only back in the
saddle for 6 months after not riding for over 12 years, I am now riding pain-free as my poor hips /
lower back / core strength have improved tremendously. In my prime 20 some years ago, I rode my
3 horses but had lots of hip stiffness and pain after 3, 2, even 1 ride, in a day. These days, it’s
such a pleasure to swing my leg over the saddle and ride both my 27 year old gelding and the lovely
mare I lease, all with no pain. And I have found that I’m riding sitting trot even better than I did
years ago. My riding, my flexibility, strength, fitness and overall health (I’m type 2 diabetic) have
improved enormously in the 12 weeks of DRT2! Feeling pumped and proud! So so grateful for your
programs, Nicola and I’m looking forward to DRT3 to continue this amazing journey!

Vanessa Way – Taranaki, New Zealand

Having just completed the DRT4, I can not believe the strength, fitness and extra suppleness this program has added to my riding . My body awareness has made my core strength and riding position improve so much that I can actually see the difference in my effectiveness in the saddle. Can’t recommend this program enough.

Julie Sperling – Coventry, UK

Hi Nicola, what can I say DRT 1 just improved my being and started to look at things differently. I started to want more from my riding. By the end of it I thought let’s start some lessons.

DRT 2 came along and that was another journey, the lessons were giving me confidence and the DRT sessions were giving me the ability to sit up and hold a position. Something I haven’t been able to do since a bowel and ovary problem on my left side and caused major muscle/core weakness I would just collapse on that side and out the front door on many occasions. By the end of it I was thinking maybe I’ll do a walk/trot dressage test.

DRT 3 well I surprised myself online dressage competitions and was signed up for a live competitions too. I even qualified for the ‘summer championships’. And last week the last week of DRT 3 I came third with only half a mark between the one in front and half in front of her. I can sit to spooks and am really enjoying my riding and wanting more. I even went on a fun ride with my daughter and managed to canter alongside her in an open field. All this confidence and inner strength has come from this program. The whole progression is perfect and gives so much more than exercise, its the journey and I’m sure my horse Phoenix really appreciates it too.

The timings fit very well in my busy life, working full time, a full time carer for my husband, mum and grandma plus my horse. Twenty minutes of me time are appreciated even when some of the yoga moves look impossible I do my best and before I know it I’m actually doing them. I like the set pattern of days it works well for me and now looking forward to another DRT!

Karlene French – Minnesota, USA

Hi Nicola, I am honored to share my experience with the DRT4 program. I recommend it to all of my riding friends for the following reasons:

— Workouts are the perfect length for fitting into busy schedules and are a good balance of core, balance, and strength exercises.
— Workouts are challenging. We sweat. We have to think, coordinate movement, breathe, and use and relax muscles just like we do when riding.
— Your demeanor is genuine and full of gratitude and grace. I truly feel the love you give to your animals and to your work in the tapes. You make a connection with us without ever having met us!! It’s as if I am working out and laughing with a good friend in the living room.
— The homework, with a focus on basic movements and stretching and interval training, was the perfect end of day or weekend addition to the program.
— You do an excellent job, especially in DRT4, at explaining exactly how the exercises help riding.
— I am an amateur rider who began riding as an adult. The program helps me feel what it means to have independent seat and hands and better balance in the saddle. I am beginning to experience an elastic connection with my horse and become a more subtle, relaxed, and effective rider. I can feel and use more minute muscles in my body now.
— I look forward to workouts!

I thought the DRT4 program was the best one yet. I found the core and strength workouts more challenging and the homework less daunting. It had the basic movement elements of DRT1 and 2, the balance challenges of DRT3, and great “thinking” and coordination exercises that mimic test riding. I would add some riding homework back in and reminders to foam roll. DRT1 and 2 could be more for riders looking to begin working out. DRT3 and 4 may be better for riders who already are working out and want a more rider focused program. I will continue to repeat DRT3 and 4 until you come up with DRT5! Sign me up! With much gratitude.

Lucinda Hooper – Batchelor, Australia

Thanks Nicola for putting together the DRT programs. I have just completed DRT2! I have been amazed how much I have progressed! While there are many positions and movements that still seem to be totally beyond me at the moment and I have to modify them for me, there are some things that I feel I am shining at. Who would have thought it possible to kneel on the swiss ball waving round a small weight? DRT2 was the perfect follow-on from DRT1, continuing to be fun, challenging and making small progressions to positions so you do not feel like you are repeating the same things over and over. I do my sessions first thing in the morning and find that on DRT days I bounce out of bed eager to start. I have not been able to ride much over the last 6 months but the times I have been in the saddle I feel so much more balanced and laterally even.

The last few yoga sessions I found really hard and would have sent anyone into fits of laughter if they were watching me, three-legged dog especially! I like how sometimes you also get out of breath or lose your balance; it makes us feel that we are doing OK! I’m very much looking forward to DRT3.Thank you again.

Anne Doyle – Auburn Hills, USA

I have been doing hot yoga, which is pretty challenging, for almost a decade and I’ve exercised most of my adult life. So, although I just turned 73, I thought I was in pretty good shape. But DRT1 raised the bar !! It immediately challenged me to get stronger in all the right places for improving my riding. Nicola is an inspiring, encouraging and challenging teacher who sweats and burns right along with us!. I’m privileged to ride two fantastic (and very different!) Andalusians, including Rio, seen in this picture. I’m sure they both noticed that my balance is more solid and my legs stronger, thanks to the DRT1 program that I just finished. I highly recommend it for anyone eager to keep improving her riding skills. Sign me up for DRT2!

Chris Siegel – San Diego, USA

Hi Nicola, I have included a photo taken today of me and my 7yo OTTB gelding, Roanie. My testimonial goes back to November, 22, 2000 when I fractured my proximal femur after being bucked off Roanie during a jumping lesson. After the accident, I wanted to start strengthening ASAP. I searched on the internet and found DRT1 that would start in early January 2021. I thought Dressage would be safer for me but would require more strength. Having never done Dressage, I thought that the Dressage training would be good for both me and Roanie. When first started the DRT 1 program, I was unable to do several of the exercises but, I stayed with it. I wasn’t able to get back to riding for 3 months. The DRT 1 program was my push to get as strong as I could get during my rehabilitation. My young horse also started in Dressage training. With both of us getting stronger and more confident, I got back on Roanie in early March and started taking Dressage lessons with him. After finishing DRT 1, I began DRT 2 and that is where I really saw my core, balance, strength and endurance improving. Being a Physical Therapist, I love how Nicola combines Core, Yoga, and Strength training into the 3x/week, 12 week programs. I also appreciate how she incorporates the foam roller, big ball, bands and hand weights into the weekly programs. I feel that I am stronger now than I was before I had the accident. Both Roanie and I are stronger, more confident and back to jumping in addition to Dressage. Nicola, thank you so much for both the DRT1 and DRT 2 programs! It helped me get back in the saddle, better than before! When do we start DRT3?!!

Carolyn Myers – Michigan, USA

Hello, Nicola, first, thank you for putting together this DRT1 program. It’s so well organized, and I appreciate how it progresses. I do a lot of repeating – just finishing Week 8 – as I like the movements to feel smooth and flowing before moving on. Your program accommodates this so well. You’ve said your husband, Ben, is your ‘tech-y’ guy. I appreciate his work, too. I know that making all this work smoothly is not trivial. And we all enjoy your including the goofy bits, e.g., Lucy’s visits, unexpected laughter, etc.

My plan is to complete DRT1, and then to repeat it. I have not been at all diligent about the homework so I’ll include that next time around. I have been reading, and learning from, your essays. Thanks for those, too. Attached is a photo of my horse and me, taken yesterday morning. He is Rupert, an eleven-year old OTTB. After a successful racing career (as Bold Curlin) he is retired to a life of Fun with Friends. I’m 75, and retired, too. Thanks again from Rupert and me. We both appreciate your work.

Stephanie Belisle – Québec, Canada

Hi Nicola, this experience with DRT1 has been a good recipe for me. It has been very easy to include in my busy schedule. I like that we focus on core, suppleness and strength. At the beginning I was doing it only three days a week but I was liking it so much, I started repeating the routines I would have the most enjoyed to a point where I exercice 6 times a week. I see and I feel a huge difference. I am more balanced, I am more fit, I am more supple, I have a lot energy, I even have more motivation at work. Like what everything is interconnected.

The program is such a nice challenge, the routines are fun, and Nicola, you are wonderful – you are positive, you are funny, all your good words resonate with me all day long. I am always looking forward the next session.

The fact that it is built for dressage rider makes it exactly adapted to my style of riding. I had tried other programs in the past, but since they were not aligned with my sport, I was not feeling that interested. With this one, I am All In (like that dressage horse in the Canadian team at Tokyo 2020 😉 !! Thank you very much, Nicola, it is a pleasure to train with you.

Québec, Canada 🇨🇦

Kathy Landin – Butler, USA

Hi Nicola! I just finished DRT4! These weeks have flown by! I have been without a horse for almost 2 years and kept up with the programs for my own fitness. Two months ago a friend purchased a new horse and asked if I would be willing to ride her first horse. So, I was back in the saddle after 2 years! I am 64. I wondered if I would be a mess in the saddle! Would I remember and be able to keep up physically?!

AJ is 21 yrs old and the trainer at the barn said yesterday that he is a master of evasion techniques! This program has been so helpful! My core is strong enough to be able to stay balanced in the saddle when he wants to throw me onto one seat bone; my core is strong enough to stay upright when he wants to pull me forward; my lats are strong enough to do half halts when he wants to ignore my outside rein; my hips are flexible enough and my mind, most of the time, can think while I am working.

It is still challenging, but I am doing it! Without this program I would not be riding now. I think that the added weights and tube work were tough at times but strengthening! The harder movements really did make me have to think and concentrate to do them. I need all of this to be able to ride! I am so glad I didn’t quit 2 years ago; it has all been in preparation to ride today! All your programs are awesome! You are keeping people riding and doing what they love! Thank you! Kathy Landin

Sophie O’Connor – Midi-Pyrénées, France

Hi Nicola, Many thanks for your email – please find attached a photo of my horse and me, competing a couple of weeks ago in the gorgeous grounds of the Castle of Pompadour (also the eventing Mecca in France^^). Felt so good and relaxed that we delivered a beautiful test and came first 😉, although it was all about having a good time; you can see I’m smiling in the picture, I was soooo happy to be there, and I have no doubt that the DRT program played a huge role in this achievement.

Indeed the DRT program was just what I was looking for. I loved the exercises, I thought they were really relevant to becoming a better rider, and most of all I loved your enthusiasm (really contagious!!) and encouragements.

I am still unable to kneel on the Swiss ball for a long time, but I’m getting there. My plan is to repeat DRT1 so I can master the exercises (some of them I cheated and didn’t do the “tough” option) and get a solid foundation before moving on to DRT2. I am just back from repeating the Core Strength #1 and the improvement was just amazing (so I incorporated lots of extras in order to start sweating a bit!!).

I also love the Facebook group, it’s full of kindness and good advice – I think I have found my soul mates, which is brilliant, as I believe that, in this crazy world, we all really need to be surrounded by people with a positive attitude.

Many thanks again for helping me become a better rider ❤ My mare says “thank you” too !!

Germana Zollesi – Orbassano, Italy

Dear Nicola, thanks for asking my thoughts about DRT. I really love this program in every parts. At the beginning, I was a little surprised for the timing: only 3 times a week, only 15-20 minutes for workouts, seems so a little time, but it work, it work very well. DRT1 was the beginning of the journey, with a big effects on my riding, unfortunately stopped from an injury of the hoof of my mare. DRT2 was my favourite … challenging, strong, perfect for me, but i did it in a bad period (i work in an oncologic hospital and we were in charged with anti covid vaccination, with double turn of work every day) and then DRT3. At the beginning, I found it very soft, a little too soft for me, but … workout after workout I see a big difference and a lot of improvements: more coalescence, more awareness. In my experiences i can say that DRT3 was the more effectiveness of the three programs. I really love the DRT journey. I find that it’s very well constructed. I want to spend a word also on DRT Mobility, my salvation in a lot of situation. I really appreciated this extra program. One of this workout save my glutes and my hip so many times! After all of this month spent on DRT, make you part of the family: my cat recognizes your voice and the theme music of DRT and hurry up to take its place on the mat; my husband hurry up in the opposite direction (He doesn’t like movements) and the mare thank very much. Thank you very much Nicola
waiting DRT4

Dana Gastaldo – California, USA

Hi Nicola, I am blessed to say that I have completed DRT4 and it was a good challenge for me.. I am 60 years old and have found that I gained coordinating body awareness and strength I did not realize I lost or never had. Most of all this program help to develop a mental focus and patience within myself.

DRT4 was a commitment to myself in exploring what I am capable of . My mindset got stronger in accepting where I am in each exercise practice. The movement patterns were most interesting in this program.

Your cueing is helpful with alternative suggestions to assist when it is too difficult at that moment. Finally, your kind hearted enthusiasm with laughter is a plus.

Lillian Spencer – Arizona, USA

Hi Nicola, I signed up for DRT 1 while I was rehabbing from a fall, because I didn’t want to lose all my conditioning. I’m so glad I did! The workouts not only kept me in shape, they improved my strength and balance more than I thought possible. I feel much more stable when I ride now, and I have better position over jumps because of stronger core and legs. I really appreciate the flexibility of the program, with relatively short workout videos that can be combined in different ways, as well as all the different options presented in the videos. I also really liked the Online Gym set up, with all the other information and workouts. There is so much content provided, the program provides excellent value for the cost! And your support and encouragement, and personal touches, are also much appreciated. Thank you for putting this all together!
Cheers, Lillian Spencer (and River!)

Andrea Redekop – Abbotsford, Canada

Hi Nicola, thank you for creating DRT fitness programs; I have thoroughly enjoyed them!

Wow, it’s hard to believe that DRT4 is completed; it seems like it just started!

For me, I found DRT4 the most challenging as it uses more weights and works on strength more than the others. Having said that, I did feel prepared and ready for the challenges. I plan to repeat DRT4 and will probably mix in DRT3 as well.

I really like that you always give options for the exercises as it makes it doable for everyone. When I can I always do the hardest and realize that it’s okay if I can’t. This helps me to know where I need more strength or co-ordination.

I have never enjoyed yoga until the DRT programs. I really appreciate that you explain why we do certain moves and what the benefits are to our body. I found DRT3 yoga very interesting as it introduced facia. The yoga in DRT has helped me to to be more flexible and have more body awareness when I ride.

You have such a wonderful ability to keep me encouraged when the exercises get tough. I feel that you have a genuine “you can do this” for those doing your programs.

I am grateful to be a part of DRT family and plan to keep doing the programs to help my riding and general fitness.

Andrea Redekop

Katja Mueller – Deutschland, Germany

Dear Nicola, After completing DRT 1 I wrote to you that joining the Program was one of the best decisions I made. The same applies for DRT 2. Not only did I achieve what I hoped for with my riding – being fitter, stronger and more balanced – but I developed a whole new body (and mind) awareness. I frequently use all the tools you provide in the online Gym, be it a specific stretching or yoga routine because I feel stiff and “compressed”, a certain workout or the mindset sessions/meditations. I have truely learned to listen to my body and do what it needs to feel better, live better and ultimately ride better. This is one of the things I like best about DRT, that it is not a set of rules you have to follow but a unique opportunity to make it work specifically for you. Physically I found DRT 2 different and sometimes more challenging than DRT 1, but in a good and encouraging way. Although I have always been an active person and even worked as a trainer myself, I found the workouts very diversified and your upbeat and encouraging personality simply is the cherry on top. Keep going and I am already looking forward to DRT 3! Thanks a lot and greetings from Germany, Katja and Awhitu

Andrea Stuhec-Leonard – Manotick, Canada

Hi Nicola, of the three programs, DRT3 was my favourite! I found the strength and yoga really challenged me in ways that I needed most and have allowed me to become stronger while increasing my mobility. I enjoy the different format/structure of the videos between the different programs as I feel it brings variety when repeating workouts. Overall I am very happy with these DRT programs. I am proud of the accomplishments I have achieved in both strength and mobility due to your programs and these improvements have helped me gain confidence in my movement (both in riding and in daily life) which have helped me further my riding skills and have the confidence to try new riding disciplines. Thank you very much for your wonderful programs and support throughout!

Magdalen Celestino – Florida

Hi Nicola! I’m just starting Week 11 and I am loving the DRT2 process. It’s entirely doable ( ok the Swiss ball wood chopper continues to elude me). It’s a useful and fun challenge that is easy to schedule into my loaded work day. We have 4 horses with 3 we keep here on our property so I expected DRT2 to be way too much for me but it isn’t at all. In fact, DRT2 is just hard enough. No matter how exhausted I may feel, I always feel strong and energized after a session. It’s that rewarding and that remarkable.

This program has changed my riding and my body. I’m so much more aware of my balance and more in control of my seat. My very precise and perceptive Dutch saddler watched me ride recently and said I was a very balanced rider. That’s no small thing to me. I’ve got so much more mobility in my hips and shoulders. Look, I started DRT1 with constant hip pain that was made worse by mounting up. I’ll be 64 next week, so I figured it came with the territory and I had to suck it up. By Week 2 that pain was a distant memory and I haven’t felt it since. Same goes for my wrists. That’s a huge revelation for me. We can ALWAYS get better and stronger!

Many many thanks to Nicola and her crew for putting together this valuable asset. It’s has powered up my mind, my body and my riding. It’s a true life-changing process!

Your grateful student

Simone van der Plas – Te Horo, New Zealand

Hi Nicola, I’ve really enjoyed all four programmes especially 3&4 as for me personally its been better having the little timer countdown to focus on. I did both 3&4 back to back which was intense but well worth it as I think I got super results – much straighter posture and what I really like is I can now isolate the weak muscles and focus on engaging them whereas before it was easy for the body to still protect and not use these weaker muscle chains. The range of exercise options for people to choose from according to how the feel on the day and what their body is ready for is great – I did injure my calf muscle on the single leg side hop jumps but that is more due to the damage caused by surgeries and nerve damage so, for me I won’t do jump exercises again. I highly recommend doing both programmes back to back and going forwards I will continue to do this but first I will do the HPF programme.

Thank you for these online programmes they are really really good!!

Andrea Lee – NSW, Australia

Hi Nicola, I still have a week to go on DRT4. I love the DRT program, as well as the HPF one that came between DRT3 and DRT4. The ~20 minute sessions are perfectly timed – not too short, not too long. Especially going through 4 rounds of exercises without a break makes it challenging so that even 20 minutes are a great workout. I also like that you provide different levels for each exercise to ensure that people with pre-existing injuries are those of us on the “other side of 50” have great workouts even it the exercises are not done on the highest possible level. I usually circle through the lower DRT programs while waiting for a new one for the next level. That’s the good thing about the exercises – there are so many different sessions I can now choose to do, and when I do the lower level DRT exercises it is not as if they are super easy because I have completed the higher level training.

Rosalind Campbell – Berkshire, UK

Hi Nicola, I am so grateful and delighted that I discovered the DRT programme

I have now completed DRT1 and will definitely be continuing with the further programmes

Everyone’s comments of how the programme has improved their riding are true as it’s now happened to me! Apart from my physical fitness you have helped with my mental fitness too and I’m so much more confident in myself and my riding and am actually relishing competing and showing my horse to the judges!

My horse, Hihalino says thank you too. He’s much happier having a more confident balanced rider on his back!

I also love all the extras that come with the programme and whilst waiting for the next session to start will repeat the last four weeks as well as do the 21 day yoga retreat as I don’t want to loose what I have gained or get out of the discipline of training

Thank you again Nicola your programme is awesome!

With the very best of wishes and long may DRT continue!!!


Samantha Jones – United Kingdom

Hi Nicola, I finished DRT on Friday and thought it was brilliant – I finished on a real high (using dumbbells on the Swiss ball with relative ease!) and am now planning to just keep cycling through Phase 3 until such time as you bring out another course 🙂

When I started DRT 1 back in January it was because I wanted to improve my riding but was unable to actually go to the stables due to Covid restrictions here in Wales. Now that I’m back having regular lessons, the difference that the DRT courses are making is obvious to me, my instructor and Alf, the ex-racehorse that I ride. The courses have really helped my riding but have gone way beyond that. I’m a very active 41 year old but was starting to get little niggly injuries on a fairly regular basis. Lower back pain and aching hips were my biggest problems, but all of that has gone away since I started on these courses – I haven’t had any aches at all (aside from the good ones!). Improving my core strength has had a huge positive impact on the other activities I do (I’ve always loved kettlebells and now I’ve been able to move up to a 20kg bell) and I’ve even been out running to supplement the Rider Strength workouts. I honestly feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. A fantastic side-effect of all this has been the enormous confident boost that has come with doing this course – I honestly can’t thank you enough.

From a practical perspective I’ve found the app simple to use and love the way that the sessions are challenging but there’s always an option for those who need to decrease or increase the level of challenge. I’m not a huge user of Facebook but it’s also good to know that there’s community support if I need it too.

Thanks so much again Nicola, I’ve got such a lot out of these courses.

Best wishes to you and all the gang at your gorgeous yard

Peggy Harder – Salinas, USA

I very much liked DRT3. I’m turning 76 and like you hope to be riding in my 90s. These exercises are quite beneficial for me especially the upper body stretching and strengthening. Yoga is new to me but I’m doing it. I appreciate your verbal encouragement and the easier and more challenging ways to do the exercises. I like the repeat of the exercises. At first they seem easy but after 4 sets it’s a workout. I’ll be ready to start DRT4.
Thanks Peggy

Lara Schwartz – Washington, DC, USA

DRT 2 builds on the great foundation and habits established in DRT 1. I found that my flexibility, core strength, and overall well-being continued to improve over the course of this 12-week program. Nicola provides encouragement along the way, offering options that recognize our individual abilities and limitations.

This program has helped me significantly with my balance on horseback. I ride a compact, short-backed horse with a very springy jump. The core exercises have helped me flow stay with him and gave me more stability and confidence in the saddle.

I am looking forward to repeating parts of DRT2 and then moving on to DRT3. This is the best gift I gave myself in 2021.

Anne Bloksgaard Nielsen – Vodskov, Denmark

I cannot recommend the DRT programmes enough – the routines have become a part of my daily routine, and they have made a huge different for both my riding and my everyday health and wellbeing. I am experiencing a vastly improved connection and feeling of being in sync with my horse when I ride, and I am much more aware of the different aids and where to be active to, for instance, regain balance or improve a movement. Out of the saddle I feel much stronger, more supple and more balanced, I have less back aches and I am able to stand a whole day at my work desk without feeling fatigue in my back.

I love the way that DRT3 builds on DRT1 and 2 and takes everything we have learned to the next level – both through the exercise routines and through the knowledge that both the routines themselves and the homework and other resources provide. The programme is challenging, but the options make the routines doable even on “off days”, and the feeling of progressing through the programme builds confidence and motivation to keep going. At this point, I don’t see the programmes as individual 12-week programmes but as a vast pool of resources that I can dip into and use on an everyday basis, either repeating full programmes or selecting specific routines, depending on what I feel I need.

Thank you so much to you and your entire team (two-legged and four-legged alike!) for the work you’ve put into this programme – I think I can safely say that you have changed and improved the lives of humans and horses all over the world, and I for one am deeply grateful that I found your programme!

Michelle Bent – Bridgetown, Canada

Hi Nicola, the DRT2 program has improved my position so much! My coach comments often how much more balanced and steady I am. I’m still finishing up the program but so very pleased with the results.

Kirrily Milton – NSW, Australia

Dearest Nicola, I feel as though I know you. Almost daily you have guided me through your amazing program ! I can’t state enough how grateful I am to know you and have you on my team!

I was at a loss, mid forty girth was widening and I felt frumpy. I was not overweight, but needed ‘something!’ Well I found what I was looking for!

Never could have imagined that in twelve weeks, I would tone up, feel empowered, loose weight everywhere on the girth and develop my riding skills! Beyond surprised and equally ecstatic!

I canter now with confidence and my horse is happy… well sort of, now I can really enjoy the ride, he needs to work more.

Looking forward to what comes next. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and passion. Equestrians, and woman need to know your program works when you are truely committed to change.

Iisobel Pope – Hampshire, UK

Dear Nicola, I have really enjoyed the online training, I have loved seeing your horse in the back ground and your sweet dog sitting on you sometimes, it has such a nice feel to it, it strengthens the connection to those of us who love our animals.

This is me at our last competition, taken by simply Event Photos, and I think my position is better than it was and more consistent. I was worried that I would not be able to keep up with the program but it has been easy, encouraged by you of course! I am also keen to continue with me exercises by rerunning DRT1 and will consider DRT2 but maybe not until next year. I am also feeling more secure in the saddle when out hacking as she is inclined to whip round sometimes when she sees something, don’t they all?!

A long side the DRT I have lessons with a lady who is trained by Mary Wanless, who exposes the Ride With Your Mind theory and DRT works very well with it, I don’t expect to be a top grand prix rider but I am getting better thanks to all your input too, thank you!

Charlie Trevor – Little Newsham, UK

Hi Nicola, DRT1 has been a huge help to me. A year ago I hadn’t ridden a horse for 10 years, having acquired a lovely youngster to ride I knew I needed to do something spectacular to do him justice. Riding everyday, yoga and DRT1 has given me a path to getting my fitness back at a rate of progress I couldn’t have managed with riding alone. My code strength and position have improved every week and DRT1 has been a huge part of that. Thank you Nicola!

Roslyn Cassidy – Gauteng, South Africa

I’ve definitely improved in all areas – core strength, fitness, flexibility – and that’s helped my riding enormously. The drills like working without stirrups, sitting trot exercises every day, stretching before and after riding all have helped me understand the physicality of dressage riding and the many options I have to get better at what I’m trying to do.

I actually only started riding 6 months ago after a long 10 years of not being able to due to a painful knee. In March 2020 I had a total knee replacement and spent a year recovering from that. Then in February 2021 my friend offered me one of her older horses, River Dancer, to ride and that’s when I discovered dressage (I’d only ever hacked and jumped) and that’s when I found your DRT course. In my first prelim competition 6 weeks ago I got a lot of 4s. Yesterday in my second competition I got 57% and 65% in the tests.

I love that you’re a Kiwi. I knew from the moment I saw you were based in NZ that I’d be getting an elite athlete experience. Like South Africans, you guys take your sporting life very seriously. But unlike us, you have a lot of resources in terms of the quality of training available to you as coaches.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I got a lot out of the DRT 1 course and I plan to do it over again in the next 3 months while I still have access to the videos. I also loved that you sent us 30 day challenges for core work, rider fitness and yoga.

I wish you tons of good things for your life to repay the huge contribution you’ve made to mine.

Chris Kleinke – Washington, USA

I’ve enjoyed the class and it’s made me so much stronger! Today I trotted around the arena twice with no stirrups and it felt so good! I’ve loved that the program is self-paced because I’ve needed to take a few weeks off and repeated some weeks, but still felt motivated and continued making progress. I love that all sessions are relevant to riding too, I can feel the differencein the saddle.

This is me with my boy Beau and my partner in equine crime, my mom, Mary and her boy Reggie. This is why I work out. Beau is still pretty green, but my physical progress has really helped my confidence overall. Having the time of my life!

Love DRT. Thank you Nicola!

Nicole Bours – Manawatu, New Zealand

Hi Nicola, even though I had to cut short the DRT till now, the difference it made after only 5 short weeks was amazing…that what I thought I would just have to accept one stirrup one hole longer…was magically repaired! no more unlevel stirrups to feel level! besides the amazing feeling of being able to sit up truly behind the shoulders so Appleton has the freedom of movement he needs 🙂 I gush about the DRT to all my students too 🙂 thank you so much Nicola! love DRT

Allison Hartman – Westminster, USA

I can’t say enough good things about the DRT programs!! I have spent years pursuing all sorts of fitness programs, but none of them were geared towards riders. Nicola’s program provides all the necessary strength and fitness to be the best rider you can be. I saw results quickly and from start to finish, there was nothing intimidating about the program. She offers multiple challenge levels within each workout so you can customize your experience and proceed at your own pace. I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking to take their riding to the next level.

Bente Åsnes – Haslum, Norway

Hi!DRT1 and DRT2 have been fantastic for me! I’ve gained ‘body confidense’ when riding and a better body awareness have shown me where my weak spots are. This have helped my riding a lot! Best part is that a stronger core have helped in my work as well. I’m a dentist and during a work day often sit in some crocked positions. After I started DRT training I havent had the need to visit the chiropractor once! ( ( Before DRT I needed chiro treatment every 2. to 3. month.)
Thank you!

Annemarie Yoder – Pennsylvania

Nicola, I have absolutely loved the program and it has helped us immensely as you can see in the photo below. We got a 73% at this team event. Could not have done it without your encouragement and expertise. You should be proud of your work.

Kirrily Milton – NSW, Australia

What an awesome program you have created, deliver and continue to improve the well-being, fitness and capacity of riders across the world!

Susan Hainsworth – Vaud, Switzerland

Hi Nicola, I have nothing but utmost admiration and appreciation for your exuberant guidance during these 4 DRTs … with your ongoing encouragement to keep looping back and building strength and balance, with focus on the basics. Wow – kudos. The results speak for themselves. A truly remarkable rebalancing life changer…Thank you and best wishes

Tanja Gotthelf – Martfeld, Germany

Dear Nicola, the exercises in DRT 2 helped me a lot to understand the relationship between body and riding. I am much more balanced in the saddle and my seat is much more independent – what my horse really appreciated. The exercises are well explained and are a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to DRT 3.

Christine Higgins – Chiltern Hills, London

“I’ve just finished DRT2 and I’m looking forward to more. I discovered DRT just after buying my first horse at 60 and needed to get riding fit and improve my seat and balance. There are many great things about the programme, but one is that it keeps you challenged and focussed on improving and of course Nicola is always super encouraging. My riding seat is much improved – legs longer, core stronger and more secure, which is hugely good for my confidence when faced with unexpected horse antics. It’s wonderful to hear from so many riders my age and older and of their success – I’m aiming to keep riding for many years to come and DRT will definitely help me achieve that. Thanks for everything Nicola. I hope you like the photo of Tango and me out for a ride in the Chiltern Hills, not far out of London.”

Anette François – Vauvert, France

DRT 3 just finished. What a program once again. During DRT 1 and 2, I’ve built up my strength and core stability to a good , perhaps even very good, level and gained more suppleness via the yoga sessions. The meditations add relaxation and improves mindfulness, the capacity of concentration and being in the present moment.

In DRT 3, I’ve been able to follow the challenging sessions and improved further my stability, coordination, action times, freedom of movement and stamina. I get better and better in my riding, more automatic pilot and less thinking about how to……

I am now ready to start DRT 4….

Kaaren Staveteig – Maryland, USA

Hi Nicola,
Just completed my last 20 minute workout of DRT3! It was the perfect follow-up to DRT 1 and 2. Thank you so much for creating such a wonderful program. I have benefited greatly from it and am looking forward to signing up for DRT4!!

In particular I liked the sequence format of DRT3 where we repeated five 60-second exercises. That really kept me moving! The conditioning routines were an excellent addition to the program that helped me loosen up before rides on days when I wasn’t working the program. The introduction of interval training was also good and I found it an easy element to add to my daily 12,000 step workout. As with DRT1 and DRT2, I found it helpful to repeat a phase before proceeding to the next to make sure I got the most out of each section. As with the earlier DRTs, the homework and articles rounded-out each week, giving context and greater depth to the program. Overall I have seen a tremendous improvement in my balance, strength, mobility and stamina which has made me more confident in my riding.

Unfortunately I have had some connectivity problems during the last few months so having the USB option has been a God sent!!

Thank you again for creating a dressage rider training program!

Naomi Hill – Gauteng, South Africa

I started DRT because I really wanted to develop the fitness, core strength and suppleness required to do justice to my horse’s potential. At the age of 56 I find I need to do more off the horse than I ever needed to before in order to realise my aspirations! To be honest, I was sceptical – both about the value of the program and my ability to stick with it. However I was an early convert. The programme does more than improve your riding, it gives you a positive spin on life itself. After completing DRT 1, I immediately signed up for DRT 2. Yes, I can balance on the ball! My leg is longer and flatter; my core strength hugely improved; I am sitting taller, and moving with my horse, rather than against her. I have been hugely inspired by the number of riders on the DRT Facebook page who are in their mid sixties to seventies – my anxiety about counting down my riding days has abated, which has been an added bonus. Thank you Nicola – its always a boost to hear your voice, and see your lovely horse peeping into the sessions on screen.

I LOVE the programme, and am getting back into it post covid!

Kim Johnson – California, USA

Hi Nicola, I am enclosing a photo of me with my partner Galan, a PRE stallion. I have just completed DRT 1 and wanted to express my appreciation for all the benefits I have received from this program. After having my second hip replacement last December I needed to jump start my fitness regime with emphasis on both strength and flexibility. This program has really helped me do so. Thank you!

Carol Howard – Wisconsin, USA

The money I spent on the program is absolutely one of my best expenditures ever. Having a way to improve my fitness and my riding in the dark and cold days of a Wisconsin USA January was a godsend. I’m so glad that I listened to the reviews of other older women that said that this program is doable for us. I’m turning 71 tomorrow, and I want to keep riding forever. Your program is now a part of my life. I did the 12 weeks and then started over again. I’m getting so much more out of the exercises and explanations the second time through. People at the local shows that I go to and my trainer have mentioned my improved riding. I really can’t say enough about this DRT and Nicola. Nicola is so relatable that I feel as if she lives just down the lane from me! Thank you!

Charlotte Reback – Vermount, USA

What I can say now is that I love the programs. What is most important to me is the explanations that you give regarding what muscles should be engaged per exercise, where we should NOT be engaged and of course how the exercises relate to riding.

By the way, my husband did start DRT 1 and he really likes it as well. He has nothing to do with horses other than filming me or petting Lily.

Mariska Fröger – Utrecht, Netherlands

Hi Nicola,

Really enjoyed DRT3 as well as DRT1 en DRT2!

I’ve kept an eye out on your program for so long. Last year I finally made the decision to sign up. Now I regret not doing this sooner! I used to go to our local fitness centre once a week but I always missed the link to riding and it was a lot of strength training.

In covid- time I really wanted to stay fit en improve my riding as well. What I love about your program is the different elements of balance, coordination, strength and reaction time. I love the yoga routines especially now when working from home. The conditioning routines also help a lot with this and they are only 5 minutes so I use them as a sort of ‘power break’. The link to fascia en mobility I found very interesting. With al the exercises to improve fascia and mobility I very much feel a difference.

In my riding I notice that my balance and reaction time has improved. I can sit more easily in the canter. I’ve always had unsteady hands but I feel like that is improving as well. I can relax more through my shoulders, my back is stronger and because of that my posture has improved and my hands are quieter. My riding has improved so much over the last year because of this program! I do have to work more on my fitness levels with the interval training. I did a few in DRT3, but now the weather is improving so I can pick this up again.

Today, I did the first core workout of DRT4. Really enjoyed it and I’m really excited to see what we’ll do over the next 12 weeks and to see the progress.

Keep up the good work! Already looking forward to a DRT5 😉

Best wishes,


Andrea Stuhec-Leonard – Ontario, Canada

Hi Nicola, DRT2 was everything I had hoped for and more. I really enjoyed DRT1 but wasn’t sure where it would go from there. You continue to motivate and inspire me to continue on my fitness journey through these easy to follow, small time commitment and very focused workouts.

I am always happily surprised with the progress I have made since the beginning of these programs. While I do not have a horse to ride at the moment I notice my increased strength and flexibility in everything I do, especially farm chores and training my baby horses. I am now registered for DRT3 and can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in this next program!

I have attached a picture of my two baby horses. They may not know it but my commitment to your DRT programs is for their benefit, in the hopes that once we start riding we’re all in the best shape possible.

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