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View Full Version : Has anyone ridden with Britta Johnston?



IronHorse
Jan. 3, 2008, 07:50 AM
As the title says has anyone ridden with Britta?

eventmom
Jan. 3, 2008, 08:15 AM
My daughter has lessoned with her.

IronHorse
Jan. 3, 2008, 08:36 AM
And....?

I have the opportunity to ride with her hopefully on a somewhat regular basis and was just looking for some opinions.

rileyt
Jan. 3, 2008, 08:40 AM
I have not lessoned with her, but I have watched her ride and teach, and I think she is really excellent. I would ride with her myself except she's too far from me. Go give her a try, I think you'll be impressed.

eventmom
Jan. 3, 2008, 08:53 AM
Go for it!

rthonor
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:49 AM
I rode with Britta when she was in Louisiana and she is awesome!! She is a beautiful rider and a great teacher.

PiedPiper
Jan. 3, 2008, 02:29 PM
Another COTHer (can't remember her screen name) rides with Britta now on the weekend. I have only heard good things about her and her teaching. :D

eponacelt
Jan. 4, 2008, 08:10 PM
Britta started my three year old this past year, and I rode with her several times in the three months while he was there. I can't possibly say enough good things about what she did with Beckham...its the BEST money I've ever spent on training, and I really did like her no nonsense, common sense approach to riding and training. If you have the opportunity to ride with her - I'd say you should take it!

Stacie
Jan. 4, 2008, 08:16 PM
No, but someone I trust recommends her highly.

babygreenqueen
Jan. 4, 2008, 09:39 PM
Britta is an excellent clinician. she evaluates your horse and listens to your needs, will find a solution you can actually practice. she is strict and correct and expects the student to be disciplined, fit and attentive. the lessons are tough but uplifting and always end on a positive experience for your horse 'who will be proud of himself '. she visits long island a few times a year to teach and it is well worth it to audit even if you cannot ride.

Equine Connection
Jan. 5, 2008, 09:27 AM
While it's been a while since we worked with Britta, I have nothing but very positive things to say. I think some of the other posters said it very well. She is a very elegant rider and a correct teacher. The only reason we could not continue was simply due to the very long distance -- just difficult to keep it consistent. I'd highly recommend Britta.

veezee
Jan. 7, 2008, 11:02 AM
If this is the same Britta Johnson, I rode with her in Mississippi thirteen or fourteen years ago. I believe she lived in Florida at that time. She was a young and very talented rider and instructor. Have fun an enjoy your lessons.:)

sid
Jan. 8, 2008, 08:34 PM
Oh crumb...sorry to hear she only will work with someone who is riding fit.

I met Britta briefly and quite by accident when I took one of my employees to a cross country session at a barn where (she, Britta) was riding. She seems to have good credentials and words of praise here.

I have been out of serious riding for some years now due to injuries and now, time contraints for elder care -- so I'm anything but riding fit for lack of time. Lord knows, I'm physically fit from running a farm for 20+ years ...but that's not the same as core fitness or riding fitness that I used to have. Now that I'm ready to get back "to it" I thought about calling Britta as I really want someone classically trained who will help me through my "compensation" and muscle memory issues that have amassed over the years from handling and training babies, youngsters and stallions. As you get older every physical trauma rears its ugly head and surely it affects one's riding unless you have someone seasoned on the ground to help.

My horse(s) are well trained, but have been on vacation for awhile. I don't want to screw them up as I bring them back into work with all of my own body issues to deal with. So they continue to sit idle.

When I hear that someone is only willing to work with those who are riding fit, it's discouraging for someone like me -- esp. when one is finally having time to get back in the saddle in their "later years" but doesn't want to forego continuing the right training for the horse -- from a classically trained and seasoned professional.

I tried someone else last year (a very, very nice u/l eventer) -- it was totally unproductive for me and the horse (3rd level). I was instructed as a beginner (that's okay) but the training for the horse ran counter to every thing I had learned from my earlier instructor (of the Carol Lavelle, Mike Poulin and Pam Goodrich style)...she's retired.

Anyone else in the NoVA area that might fit the bill for me?

spencerlucy
Jan. 8, 2008, 09:12 PM
sid,

I would not discount Britta based on what you may have heard about needing to be "riding fit". I rode with her last week in a clinic and can tell you quite honestly that I am not as riding fit as I could be. Like yourself, I was much more fit 10 years ago when a working student in Germany and as time has marched on and other committments took precedence, my fitness certainly waned. Britta was very encouraging in my lessons, but that is not to say that she demanded anything less than the very best I was capable of doing. The same could be said for my horse, who is also just coming back into what I would describe as serious work. She is demanding in that she insists on one riding well and also stated that core strength is very important, but not at all in a mean or condescending way. I would strongly encourage you to give her a try!

sid
Jan. 8, 2008, 10:02 PM
I'm about as serious as one can get -- yet, with an air of forgiveness for things beyond my control for both me and my horses (grin).

Nevertheless, there are trainers who have the younger,fitter and competition-minded in their sites. Don't want to go there.

Just wanted to be sure I won't be treated as a "has been" or neophyte...or worse flogged for being out of shape because life threw me some curves in recent years.

The passion and seriousness is there and always will be...just finding someone who understands I am a seasoned horsewoman as well and respects that despite my age and physical limitation, who will afford me the patience and a really good eye that will help me relearn my body in the saddle has been the challenge and kept me idle when I really could be riding.

YankeeLawyer
Jan. 9, 2008, 10:26 AM
SID, I highly recommend Pascal Martin. I pm'ed you his contact info.

Cold Spring Farm
Jan. 9, 2008, 10:51 AM
YL beat me to it!

Sid -- I read your post and also thought -- "Pascal." He is extremely knowledgeable, kind, patient and a true gentleman and horseman.

sid
Jan. 9, 2008, 06:18 PM
I remember Pascal from years ago when I would watch him hold would do clinics at Tailwind Farm (Deana Vaughn) ...and eventing barn.

We used to giggle when he would tell you to "TWAT"...!! Hard to keep your twat in the seat when you're laughing so hard.... he was a good sport about all the laughs though, whenever he said that word.

I've never been a huge fan of the French school of dressage, but for my present day purposes and my situation, quite frankly who cares if he can get me put back together and has the patience to do so (wink!).

I hadn't thought of him, nor heard much about what he was doing after an almost fatal accident. Glad to hear he's still out there.

Cold Spring Farm
Jan. 9, 2008, 06:24 PM
[QUOTE=sid;2925582]
We used to giggle when he would tell you to "TWAT"...!! Hard to keep your twat in the seat when you're laughing so hard.... he was a good sport about all the laughs though, whenever he said that word.

QUOTE]

HAHA!! Yup -- still an issue!!

mbamissaz
Jan. 10, 2008, 10:52 AM
[QUOTE=sid;2925582]
We used to giggle when he would tell you to "TWAT"...!! Hard to keep your twat in the seat when you're laughing so hard.... he was a good sport about all the laughs though, whenever he said that word.

QUOTE]

HAHA!! Yup -- still an issue!!

HAHA..omg...I just laughed out loud in my cubicle...thanks alot!!!

Sid, I also PMed you info for Fie Ottosen. She sounds like she'd suit your needs very well.

RidesAHaflinger
Jan. 10, 2008, 11:18 AM
It's the same person. I took lessons with her here in Florida during the same time frame- I believe she had a different last name at that time. I loved working with her.


If this is the same Britta Johnson, I rode with her in Mississippi thirteen or fourteen years ago. I believe she lived in Florida at that time. She was a young and very talented rider and instructor. Have fun an enjoy your lessons.:)

veezee
Sep. 11, 2014, 12:10 AM
Here is the link to Britta's new farm. She is training horses and riders from all over. She is also giving clinics at different farms in the Northern VA area and has students fly in from all over the world to learn from her. I highly recommend going out to meet her, bring your horse out for a lesson, or take a lesson with one of her talented horses. You will most definitely learn from Britta. She is extremely knowledgeable and has a unique way of teaching to really help you feel and understand what you are doing and why. All I can say is, go for it, you can't go wrong.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Britta-Johnston-International-Sport-Horses-LLC/190012224446751?ref=br_tf

TMPF
Sep. 11, 2014, 06:46 AM
Britta recently started coming monthly to the farm where I board my horse. I had heard the part she wanted "fit riders". So I was reluctant to take a lesson but I tried anyway. She did not say anything about my fitness. She was pleasant and helpful, I have only taken the one lesson so far. So, I don't have a good feel for her training style yet.

fuzzy.pony
Sep. 11, 2014, 09:17 PM
There are better choices in that area than Britta.

Beam Me Up
Apr. 3, 2015, 04:24 PM
I event and ride with her as much as I can (she comes to the neighborhood arena I trailer to). She focuses more on the basics and creating the strength/movement/carriage/transitions than some trainers who focus more on the tests/competition prep. I think she is good for event-type horses because she likes forward and high energy, and helps you channel that extra energy/tension that sometimes come with fitness.

FWIW I haven't heard her say anything derogatory about the physical fitness of horses/riders at the lessons I've seen. I do think she prefers a devotion level that is hard for some amateurs to reach (at my lesson location, only a few can take the whole day off to audit the full day of lessons, for instance, and some who do are answering work emails on their phones . . .), but I think most working amateurs are used to that struggle.

Knubbsy
Apr. 3, 2015, 11:07 PM
I event and ride with her as much as I can (she comes to the neighborhood arena I trailer to). She focuses more on the basics and creating the strength/movement/carriage/transitions than some trainers who focus more on the tests/competition prep. I think she is good for event-type horses because she likes forward and high energy, and helps you channel that extra energy/tension that sometimes come with fitness.

FWIW I haven't heard her say anything derogatory about the physical fitness of horses/riders at the lessons I've seen. I do think she prefers a devotion level that is hard for some amateurs to reach (at my lesson location, only a few can take the whole day off to audit the full day of lessons, for instance, and some who do are answering work emails on their phones . . .), but I think most working amateurs are used to that struggle.

I think this is a pretty good summary
I've really enjoyed my time riding with Britta and it's pretty obvious I've improved from my lessons. She does expect her students to put forth effort but I don't think that's unreasonable expectation. I highly recommend getting in lessons on her schoolmaster, Rio.

rthonor
Apr. 4, 2015, 12:42 PM
I used to ride with Britta and I learned alot with her. I found her to expect a person to work hard but she liked working with all of my horses, including a cranky, old, Tb gelding. I really liked working with her.

echodecker
Apr. 4, 2015, 10:35 PM
Another positive review from me! I've been riding with her weekly (for the most part) since the fall. I also event and have a very hot, sensitive mare. Britta loves her for who she is and we have definitely seen big improvement in our gaits and movements.

I don't think she is someone who would give anyone a hard time for being less than perfectly fit, but she definitely pushes you hard to do your best and get the best from your horse. If you have a physical limitation, you should tell her at the beginning and she will be aware of it throughout the lesson. I really looked a long time to find someone who knows what they are doing in the area. She understands biomechanics and how to build a horse and rider in a forward connected way. Three thumbs up! :)

meaty ogre
May. 22, 2015, 09:10 AM
For those who have ridden with Britta, would you recommend her for a low level rider with a "non-dressage-y" mount? There is a fairly local clinic opportunity that is being advertised to all levels of horse and rider.

As you can deduce from my other thread, I've got a former western pleasure show horse. It feels like overkill to take him to an upper level rider, but at the same time it would be wonderful to have such experienced help in getting him started with our re-schooling. I've heard a lot of people mention "homework" with her, and that would be great. I'm looking for a schooling plan that I can continue after the clinic. Thanks in advance for your insights.

Knubbsy
May. 23, 2015, 04:41 PM
For those who have ridden with Britta, would you recommend her for a low level rider with a "non-dressage-y" mount? There is a fairly local clinic opportunity that is being advertised to all levels of horse and rider.
I think it's probably worth it. She'll expect you to be working with him to get towards a "dessage-y" way of going - on the bit, in front of your leg, etc. You won't get away with riding him as a WP horse (I say this as a former hunter who habitually had/has a problem with riding with shorter reins.) I am by no means an accomplished rider and I've seen her work with raw beginners, if you put in effort, you'll definitely get something out of the lesson. I've also seen her work with "off breeds" (including a pokey QH trail horse.)

AZ TD
Aug. 23, 2015, 11:26 PM
http://www.centerlinescores.com/Rider/Details/54678#filterBy=scores

Doesn't look like she has been showing lately. I always audit or watch lessons before I ride with anyone to make sure it is a good match.

meaty ogre
Sep. 9, 2015, 10:31 AM
I realized I never reported back. I did end up going to the clinic. As with all things, there was good and bad.

My horse was game and tried his heart out. That is what I love most about him. Britta gave me an honest assessment of both him and myself, and while it might have been a bit harsh, it was correct. Nobody likes to hear that their horse is bow-legged, pigeon toed, sickle hocked, and that the rider lacks fitness and finesse, but she wasn't wrong on any counts.

It was a multi day clinic. On the first day I went and took a lesson with the barn's resident instructor who is an up-and-coming trainer. I felt like I got my money's worth and while we only worked on basic things, I did take away a few things. The next day was the lesson with Britta and it was tough, but I expected that. She asked a lot of horse and rider, and there were very few reward breaks. I think a lot of amateurs don't push their horses enough, but I could tell by the end that my horse was genuinely fatigued and just was not capable of more at that point. He laid down in the stall after I wrapped his legs and he took a long, well-deserved snooze.

The last day was a ride-a-test with Britta and another local trainer/judge. The local trainer/judge (Kim Briele) was very helpful. She had ridden and trained stocky QH types and had some valuable insights and pointers. Unfortunately our ride-a-test ended with me getting a lower score the 2nd time around after all the pointers. But, I blame myself for that. Both my horse and I were very fatigued after all the intensive work and he was very heavy on the forehand and in my hands. I had the blisters through my gloves to prove it.

My only real complaint is that while Britta has a keen eye and can see what is wrong and what needs to be done to fix it, she is pretty rigid in her explanations. There was a gifted young rider at the clinic who had not been riding long, and her horse was not connected. Britta kept telling her she needed to get the horse more round, which was absolutely true, but she didn't elaborate or tell her how. The girl obviously needed a little more instruction on what to do. It was frustrating to watch as there was minimal progression through the session.

One very valuable thing I've taken from my trainers (and this was repeated by my first jumper trainer, a great dressage instructor and a top saddleseat instructor) is that if something is not working, change it. Even if you do something wrong, don't keep plugging around the ring on the forehand or keep coming to the same bad distance at the jump. Add some leg, bend and then counterbend, half-halt, rebalance, speed up or slow down, just do something! Anything!

The people who seemed to get the most out of the clinic were the more experienced riders. I think for someone just getting started or with an untrained horse, it might not be the best choice. I'm definitely not saying she's a bad instructor, but it's sort of like sending a brand new short stirrup rider to George Morris and expecting him to be patient with her and her to learn a lot.

csaper58
Sep. 10, 2015, 04:06 AM
Riding is an art, and teaching is a completely different art. Riders must learn to ride and teachers need to learn how to teach. When I road with her, Britta had a lot to learn about teaching methods and how to expressing her thoughts.

Mostly she just yelled.. "Ride Better...RIDE BETTER!!!" :(

PassagePony
Mar. 16, 2016, 02:49 PM
Ms. Johnston also prefers to use her valuable time teaching people who wish to become "professionals" and who are young, fit, can drop money and not bat an eye, and eager. Don't waste your time if your an older adult wanting to improve your seat or enhance your riding skills. But then, this is my humble opinion on what I have observed...