Some of us ride horses that know more than we do, and we try to learn from them. Some of us are learning at the same time our horses are learning. And some of us are teaching our horses things we already know. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, wouldn’t you like to be a better partner? What do you do to be a better partner? Some of us take lessons from a trainer we know. Some of us watch videos of famous trainers competing or working with other horses. Some of us read magazine articles, books or follow online sessions. Some of us keep doing the same thing again and again with predictable results. These latter approaches often are less effective because they do not specifically address the particulars of our own partnership – the intersection between where we are in our riding and where the horse is in its training. Is there more we could do to build that relationship? You betcha! NEDA offers several approaches and resources that can help you improve your partnership. I will describe a few here.
Let’s start with Dressage Tutor, formerly called Flextime. This program offers you access to the best trainers in New England. They agree to donate lesson time to NEDA to help support the USDF Junior and Young Rider programs. You can request a lesson with any of them for a reduced fee of $45 for juniors and young riders and $50 for adults. Wow! Riding with the best the region has to offer for a price you can afford! You can sign up for a maximum of three lessons with three different instructors. This can be a wonderful experience for both you and your horse. I can tell you from my own experience that persistent challenges in your riding which show up in lessons at home will also show up with other instructors. Sometimes a new voice or set of eyes using a different image or strategy to address it can sometimes create breakthroughs. It can result in one of those breakthrough “aha!” moments that can send you back to your routine with new insights and ready to step up your partnership a level. There are other details about Dressage Tutor and application forms on our website at www.neda.org under “Learn.”
Then there are NEDA scholarships. Have you ever dreamed of taking lessons with someone whose techniques you have admired from afar but could never afford it? What would your dream training program look like? Are you ready to move up a level but don’t know how to break through training barriers to get there? NEDA offers scholarships of up to $4,000 (!) twice a year (applications due April 1 and October 1) to NEDA members who apply with a description of what they are trying to achieve in their partnership with their horse and what program will help them get there. You will never get a better chance to do something with your horse that you have only dreamed of. Start thinking about your dream now and make it a reality with an October 1 application. More information about the scholarship program can be found at www.neda.org under “Learn.”
How about the NEDA Outreach Education Program? Under this program, you can receive discounts to attend educational events – clinics and symposia – throughout New England, just by being a NEDA member. The number of excellent national and international trainers who make themselves available for clinics and symposia has mushroomed over the past ten years, and NEDA is making it easier for riding facilities all over New England to attract such talent and to let interested riders know about it. In exchange for offering NEDA members a discount, those host facilities gain access to our web-based calendar platforms, as well as our communications resources. All of which benefits you as a rider. You can find out about a wide variety of regional opportunities to learn more and improve your riding through first-hand observation, AND get access to those resources at a discount. Find out more about this great NEDA membership benefit on our website at www.neda.org under “Learn.”
Finally, there are our own NEDA symposia. This is probably the education resource that NEDA is best known for. We have a history of brining the finest European trainers to the US to work with our New England horses and riders in a structured environment in which those pairs can collectively and individually demonstrate important training approaches and techniques applicable to all horses and riders. This is the essence of a symposium, as distinct from a clinic. In a clinic, as a rider, you have the undivided attention of the clinician whose mission is to help you address specific issues with your partnership. In a symposium, the horse and rider pairs are chosen to further an overall educational goal relevant to the audience, and their riding is used as an example of the message being delivered by the trainer. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions between rides, in order to make the message more relevant to each participant. Some people aren’t comfortable being demo riders, but no one doesn’t like being in the audience. This year our fall symposium will feature Olympic coach Robert Dover in a command performance after his smash hit visit to NEDA a few years ago. This year’s symposium will be held on October 17 and 18 at world class climate controlled facilities at Pineland Farms in southern Maine. Don’t miss this! More details can be found on our website at www.neda.org under “Learn.”
As a member of NEDA, you have no more excuses not to be a better partner with your horse, ride better, move up the training scale, and meet up with colleagues and friends who share your passion!
The mission of the New England Dressage Association is to promote and support the Art and Sport of Dressage to the equestrian community for the purpose of fostering individual and collective growth by providing leadership, education, exhibitions, publications, competitions and to enhance greater public awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the discipline of Dressage.