Introduction

Training is available at Amstel Acres, from starting under saddle to retraining the adult horse. This page gives a short overview of my training philosophy and methods. I gained my experience in Europe, where I spent close to 20 years working with horses of all types, from Warmbloods to OTTBs to Fjords. 

Philosophy

There are two main elements underlying my training philosophy. The first is that any horse, regardless of breed or intended discipline, can benefit from a basis in dressage training. The vast majority of horses I have worked with would be considered 'non traditional' breeds in the dressage ring, yet every one of them has either performed well in dressage competition or has gone on to excel in other disciplines. The ultimate goal of laying a foundation in dressage principles is always to create a relaxed, willing, and happy horse that is comfortable in work. The second element underlying my training philosophy is the importance of owner involvement in the training process. In the end, I am not training the horse for myself but for the owner who has to forge a relationship with the horse. I prefer to have owners present at as many training sessions as possible, so we can work together towards making the horse progress.

Methods

My methods are mostly based on the German Training Scale, also sometimes described as 'balance through motion'. It has six main elements which (translated into english) are: Relaxation, Rhythm, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, and Collection. My experience is that this scale can be tailored to the individual horse, and the end result is a horse moving to the best of its abilities in a comfortable, relaxed manner. This approach lays a foundation that can be progressively built upon, be it in Dressage or another discipline (such as Hunt Seat Equitation or Hunter Under Saddle to name a few). With any horse, I strive for preservation and development of the horse's natural ability to move. Any horse, even those who may have less than perfect conformation, can learn to move freely and with impulsion. It can learn to carry itself in collection and use its body correctly. Teaching it to do so will result in a horse that is content in work, a pleasure to ride, and that performs well in the show ring. 


* References available upon request *

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