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JackSprats Mom
Oct. 25, 2006, 06:59 PM
Curious if anyone knows him, has ever ridden with him and what you think of him.

Thanks

egontoast
Oct. 25, 2006, 08:38 PM
Oh my .

Equibrit
Oct. 25, 2006, 08:43 PM
You can check him out for yourself here http://www.classical-equitation.com

Like this? http://www.classical-equitation.com/index.php/classic/on_line_resources/images_photos_videos_the_galleries/gallery/andalusian

JackSprats Mom
Oct. 25, 2006, 08:49 PM
ROFLMAO what does 'oh my' mean???!

JackSprats Mom
Oct. 25, 2006, 08:52 PM
So he really is that bad?

Thats kinda what I wanted to know, you see his photo's and I think 'hmmmm ok' but then he's clinicing (allegedly) in NZ and Europe etc etc and I wonder why on earth he would be called back at an international level if he really is as bad as his webiste looks like.

Thought maybe someone would jump on and say he's wonderful and the website doesn't do him justice.

BTW asking because somehow I got a link for an 'in-hand' clinic he's offering and hence the reason I was curious.

pinecone
Oct. 26, 2006, 11:31 AM
OK, I'll second the "oh my".

Just because someone teaches clinics, doesn't mean they know one end of the horse from the other, shall I give you examples of other infamous internet clinicians? (LOL!)

Teaching in Europe also doesn't neccessarily imply any sort of international quality instruction. There are beginners in Europe too........... (winkgrin)

Moll
Oct. 26, 2006, 11:42 AM
I am in Europe, I have seen horses fresh from his clinics. PM me if you want the honest opinion.

Xhltsalute
Oct. 26, 2006, 02:45 PM
Thought maybe someone would jump on and say he's wonderful and the website doesn't do him justice.

Don't think that's going to happen. :winkgrin:

indyblue
Oct. 26, 2006, 03:31 PM
Havent heard of him clinicing here in NZ and I have a few die-hard classical friends who clinic with anyone that has an accent and a web-site.

slc2
Oct. 26, 2006, 03:57 PM
neither website link works for me. is he the elephant trainer?

Amado
Oct. 26, 2006, 04:01 PM
Here's a link to an article about him from a local magazine called "Flying Changes".

http://www.flyingchanges.com/htmls/2000/feb00craig.html

I could not get his website link to work - is anybody else having that problem?

He seems to have written a book:

https://www.shop.eddabney.com/displayProductDocument.hg?productId=3&categoryId=1

slc2
Oct. 26, 2006, 04:15 PM
so what's the problem? he sure seems to talk the talk.

knz66
Oct. 26, 2006, 05:08 PM
Thats about all he can do is "talk the talk" :)

But there are a zillion instructors out there just like that.

Having a fancy website with pretty pictures from the renascence period does not make one an instructor.

Melyni
Oct. 26, 2006, 05:21 PM
OK, I'll second the "oh my".

Just because someone teaches clinics, doesn't mean they know one end of the horse from the other, shall I give you examples of other infamous internet clinicians? (LOL!)

Teaching in Europe also doesn't neccessarily imply any sort of international quality instruction. There are beginners in Europe too........... (winkgrin)

And I'll third it!
Oh My indeed.
Of course all it needs is for one of his accolytes to read this and forward it to him and you very quickly see why we say Oh my.
Those of you who enjoy trainwrecks, stand by!
MW

slc2
Oct. 26, 2006, 05:30 PM
is it a guaranteed spew, or just a possible spew? i have chores. will this blow in five minutes, or can i just check back tomorrow?

Melyni
Oct. 26, 2006, 06:27 PM
is it a guaranteed spew, or just a possible spew? i have chores. will this blow in five minutes, or can i just check back tomorrow?

Probably tomorrow, to early on the day to google oneself from Washington State. Should be a nice diatribe by tomorrow! Usually major venom!
Hang on.
MW
Urk I'm under me real name oops better go chenge it quick.
Melyni, who's she, never heard of her.

Amado
Oct. 26, 2006, 08:16 PM
So, does anyone else but me just get little white polkadots on a blue background when they try to visit his website?

siegi b.
Oct. 26, 2006, 09:22 PM
White polka dots on a blue screen??????? Amado, can i have some of what you're having???? :-) :-) :-)

No, seriously, I'm having the same problem. I think he forgot to pay the bill for his domain name.

egontoast
Oct. 26, 2006, 09:25 PM
If you see white polkadots it means you are truly classical. If you have been jaded by competition dressage you won't see the dots. or is it the other way around? I forget.

MEP
Oct. 26, 2006, 09:28 PM
So, does anyone else but me just get little white polkadots on a blue background when they try to visit his website?

Yesterday the website worked, today it's just the polkadots. Maybe it just got too many hits!

TheJenners
Oct. 27, 2006, 01:47 AM
Mayhap each dot represents a hit to the Web site? Or only truly classical hits get a dot?

slc2
Oct. 27, 2006, 10:53 AM
boy did this fizzle. i was looking for a class IV diesel double supercar engine train wreck.

Critters Everywhere
Oct. 27, 2006, 10:53 AM
Awww mannnn... I feel so cheated! Here I was sooooo excited to check this thread for all sorts of juicy reading. And what's here? nada. Dots. I saw dots yesterday. pfffffttt. Won't one of his devotees pleeeeease forward it to him & create a nice trainwreck for my Friday entertainment? Puuuuu-lllll-eeeeeeezzzzzee??? :p

Amado
Oct. 27, 2006, 11:05 AM
You guys crack me up.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Moll
Oct. 27, 2006, 11:26 AM
Oh, come on! Bite! Bite!

(OP, I PM:d you back.)

knz66
Oct. 27, 2006, 11:52 AM
Hey, I laid some bait out... but not even a nibble yet.... LOL and I was so looking forward to reading more "fish stories" about him too!

Equibrit
Oct. 27, 2006, 05:50 PM
It's back - with revisions

However - there is a cached version if you google!



http://www.classical-equitation.com/
http://www.classical-equitation.com/gallery.htm

Caroline Weber
Oct. 27, 2006, 06:17 PM
It's back - with revisions

However - there is a cached version if you google!



http://www.classical-equitation.com/
http://www.classical-equitation.com/gallery.htm

I personally enjoyed the horse for sale...apparently he does piaffe, passage, changes, and pirouettes to please the most discriminating dressage judge. Pictures show a horse that looks to be at about 1st level.

All I can say about the whole thing is...oh my.

slc2
Oct. 28, 2006, 05:10 PM
some pretty fetching pictures.

Xhltsalute
Oct. 28, 2006, 05:20 PM
some pretty fetching pictures.

Fetching! Ya, that's it, fetching. :yes: Oh, my! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Tamara in TN
Oct. 28, 2006, 05:27 PM
[QUOTE=JackSprats Mom;1952748]So he really is that bad?

Thats kinda what I wanted to know, you see his photo's and I think 'hmmmm ok' but then he's clinicing (allegedly) in NZ and Europe etc etc and I wonder why on earth he would be called back at an international level if he really is as bad as his webiste looks like.


I first heard of the fellow wayyy back in 1997 on Rec Equestrian...how anyone could go on and on and on and never say anything was beyond me....this is a link (hopefully) to let you see what he posted back then....awfully wind-y for a man with a full time job as a trainer I thought:winkgrin:

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.equestrian/browse_frm/thread/2defe245a3ba8fc8/4a65a5d977d3048d?lnk=gst&q=craig+p.+stephens&rnum=1&hl=en#4a65a5d977d3048d

Tamara in TN

Caroline Weber
Oct. 28, 2006, 05:35 PM
Fetching! Ya, that's it, fetching. :yes: Oh, my! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Better make that "jawohl" :winkgrin:...for better effect, pronounce incorrectly.

ThreeFigs
Oct. 29, 2006, 01:02 PM
Geez y'all, how can you not like a guy who offers a rubber chicken in his catalog? I mean, that's essential classical dressage rider equipment! I'm sure the SRS and Saumer use them all the time. How, I don't know. I haven't reached the FEI levels yet.

Lambie Boat
Oct. 29, 2006, 01:52 PM
can't you guys just enjoy this man as a tried and true character? he's not the only colorful person in the dressage world. I can think of at least 8 more but my list my be different than yours.:winkgrin:

Funky_MeerKAT
Oct. 29, 2006, 02:12 PM
Oh no.... Not Craig P Stevens :no:.

I'm in NZ and I went to one of his clinics. He does his lecture thing the night before lessons where he talks non stop for about three hours. He certainly talks the talk.

I had two lessons. The first one I took a little TB school master I had, he was a very cute little horse, had some strange habits as he had had staggers a few times in the past and it seemed to have a lasting effect on in nervous system, be he tried so hard. Craig told me that I had schooled him in draw reins and proceeded to do this weird thing where he lifted his head way in the air to "loosen him up". I have never used draw reins on any horse and never will, it took 2 months and 3 bowen sessions to get the horse right from the "loosening" exercise. He spent the rest of the lesson telling me that we really didn't have enough time to do anything and that he wasn't being paid enough :mad:.

The next day I took my new horse (who is now my eventer although when I got him he had only done dressage). Craig again spent the lesson complaining about time and money and telling me how badly trained my horse was and he would need a lot of reschooling to get any sort of basics.

Not to mention that he was down right creepy. Felt the need to touch me far more than necessary :dead:.

A friend rather enjoyed her lesson and at the start of this year went over to train with him. She hated every moment of it and left.

pinecone
Oct. 29, 2006, 07:59 PM
The rubber chicken helps to keep the horse from coming behind the vertical.

It also works well to beat oneself in the head with the rubber chicken, when too many hours of lecture make you lose your mind.

And if you attach the rubber chicken to the "carrot stick" it has an amazing effect on the horse. Even better if you can combine the rubber chicken with a carrot stick, a rope halter, and a treeless saddle.

If we're talking "characters", we can't leave out ROMRA, can we? And there's a few more to add to the list, but some of them post here, so we'd better not. lol!!

ThreeFigs
Oct. 29, 2006, 10:04 PM
Only right that you'd have such a swell outlet for riding on the East Coast as well -- but does ROMRA sell or use rubber chickens?

That's my new guideline for correctness in dressage -- must have a rubber chicken or it's just not "Classical"!

YoungFilly
Oct. 29, 2006, 10:11 PM
You know.... I don't know the guy from boo, but just be nice, and leave hi alone. He loves horses. I don't really care, but to be mean, why?

Caroline Weber
Oct. 29, 2006, 10:17 PM
He loves horses.

Do you know that?

Just curious.

YoungFilly
Oct. 29, 2006, 10:20 PM
Well, it sure looks that way. Of course I don't know him. Don't you think he is going to be mortified to see (if he was going too) this thread?

MEP
Oct. 29, 2006, 10:21 PM
you have to wear your "equitation police" hat while using your rubber chicken
:D :lol: :D :yes:

ThreeFigs
Oct. 29, 2006, 10:40 PM
You know.... I don't know the guy from boo, but just be nice, and leave hi alone. He loves horses. I don't really care, but to be mean, why?


Who's this "Hi" person? The West Coast guy or the East Coast guy? Who's being mean? If you don't know him (whoever he is) from boo, how do you know his nickname is Hi?

Funky_MeerKAT
Oct. 30, 2006, 02:01 AM
You know.... I don't know the guy from boo, but just be nice, and leave him alone. He loves horses. I don't really care, but to be mean, why?

Normally I would be inclined to agree.

But I have met him, and I'll be quite happy if I don't ever meet him again.

Lambie Boat
Oct. 30, 2006, 05:05 AM
I'm just shocked that he actually does clinic in New Zealand. I thought he must have meant New Jersey or New Brunswick, but he actually does give clinics outside the U.S. ! color me surprised. Makes me wonder about how some of the overseas clinicians we fly to the U.S. are seen from their homebase.

pinecone
Oct. 30, 2006, 08:14 AM
There's a sucker born every minute, and a clinician to teach them. And not just in the US ;)

Not saying Hi would exploit suckers, of course. lol.lol.lol.

ThreeFigs
Oct. 30, 2006, 09:06 AM
OK, ok, "Hi" was a typo, right? A good night's sleep does such wonders for the mind...

Moll
Oct. 30, 2006, 09:57 AM
[QUOTE=JackSprats Mom;1952748]I first heard of the fellow wayyy back in 1997 on Rec Equestrian...how anyone could go on and on and on and never say anything was beyond me....this is a link (hopefully) to let you see what he posted back then....awfully wind-y for a man with a full time job as a trainer I thought:winkgrin:

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.equestrian/browse_frm/thread/2defe245a3ba8fc8/4a65a5d977d3048d?lnk=gst&q=craig+p.+stephens&rnum=1&hl=en#4a65a5d977d3048d



Why oh why did I click that link???? :eek: :eek: :eek:

Like a bad wreck. I could not look away. I read. I read. And read. Oh my eeeeeyes!

indyblue
Oct. 30, 2006, 03:10 PM
Oh dear.An interesting read untill I got to the "mythical & mystical seat".I wonder if he speaks the way he writes.I allways think of classical teachers as being very well spoken and gentleman like.

Equibrit
Oct. 30, 2006, 03:59 PM
What I find fascinating is how a person with a paunch that size and a chair seat can lecture on the finer points of "Classical Equitation". Does that paunch strengthen his core muscles or what??

Caroline Weber
Oct. 30, 2006, 04:55 PM
What I find fascinating is how a person with a paunch that size and a chair seat can lecture on the finer points of "Classical Equitation".

I was wondering the same thing.

fiona
Oct. 30, 2006, 04:56 PM
Makes me wonder about how some of the overseas clinicians we fly to the U.S. are seen from their homebase.

With joy in the heart as the plane takes off?

lesyl
Oct. 30, 2006, 05:11 PM
With joy in the heart as the plane takes off?
Reminds me of the sign at the barn, All provide joy, some when they enter, some when they leave. Or something to that affect.

Melyni
Oct. 30, 2006, 06:30 PM
Well, it sure looks that way. Of course I don't know him. Don't you think he is going to be mortified to see (if he was going too) this thread?

Are you kidding, he'd be delighted! It would feed that monster ego.
Wasn't it Oscar Wilde who said"There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is, not being talked about".

HEwhoshallnotbenamed LOVES it when people talk about him.

OK time to stop!
MW

cinder88
Oct. 30, 2006, 07:03 PM
OH! All this time I owuld see people refer to "HWSNBN", and I didn't realize THIS is who shall not!

NOW, it's all coming clear to me....

Tamara in TN
Oct. 30, 2006, 07:17 PM
[QUOTE=Tamara in TN;1958238]

Why oh why did I click that link???? :eek: :eek: :eek:

Like a bad wreck. I could not look away. I read. I read. And read. Oh my eeeeeyes!


I know...I'm sorry...:( it was bad enough for me in 1997 that I knew his name almost instantly...and I have not heard/read it since that dreadful time:winkgrin:

it is not that w/in the text there were not points w/o merit, but strung together they were then...well it was like reading The Taming of the Shrew in the original 1600's typeset...sure I can read it, but dang :D , I'm tired when I'm done !!!

Tamara in TN

timedjumpoff
Oct. 30, 2006, 07:49 PM
OMG! Craig Stevens? Oh yes, I remember him well.

In fact he and his wife at the time were my first real trainers
when I started riding as an adult (only had summer camp riding
experience as a child). [edit]

I knew next to nothing when I started with him but could ride
a horse at the trot and canter without falling off. We (hubby
and I) thought he was so knowledgeable, probably because he
told us he was. That, and he spent at least half of every hour
lesson talking, mosty about Francois LeMaire.

We spent a lot of time on the lunge line and the one thing that stands out about those lessons is the way he taught us to lean to the outside/
put weight in the outside stirrup at the canter. I learned to do it so well,
that it took me years to unlearn it with my next trainer. In fact, he couldn't even understand how we were able to canter so well always leaning to the outside. It had become so second nature that I had to force myself
not to do it for many years after that.

He used to keep people at the beginner beginner level for a long time.
Neither hubby nor I had any interest in doing dressage but he convinced
us that learning the French seat he favored would make us expert riders
in any discipline. After a year, we were doing little crossrails and lots
of lungeline work. The first hint I got that perhaps Craig was holding us
back a little too much was when his hero, Francois LeMaire actually came
to do a clinic at the barn. By the end of the first session with him,
we were jumping little gymnastics blindfolded and no hands and the
fences went up to about 2'6". It was very exciting and we were sure
Craig would make the lessons a little more interesting after that but no,
it was back to the single cross rail and lots of lunge line.

Then one day, the first cold day in November, Craig took another student
and I out on the trail as a treat. He rode a green horse that was very
high strung and we were both on school horses behind him. All the horses
were feeling good from the weather. When we got to a little hill, he said the horses would probably try to trot up the hill. But his horse took off, and though he stopped him at the top of the hill, our horses flew by him at
a gallop. The other girl fell off right away which left me and this riderless
horse racing down the trail. I was clueless as how to stop him but when
we reached a steep decline, gravity took over, and I flew off head first
into a tree trunk and the 2 horses ran back to the barn. Thankfully I was
wearing an eventer helmet which saved my life, but I did break my back
in 4 places and my pelvis in 2.

So that was my last lesson with Craig. I did learn a lot about position from
him but nothing about control obviously. And that leaning to the outside
thing haunted me for years.

But in all fairness, he was a very personable guy, and if you know nothing
like we did, he comes off as pretty impressive. As some of you have said here, he does talk the talk, which is probably what makes him so popular on the clinic circuit. I can't speak for his ability to train horses other than what
he told us he did.

pinecone
Oct. 30, 2006, 10:32 PM
Why oh why did I click that link????

Like a bad wreck. I could not look away. I read. I read. And read. Oh my eeeeeyes!

Are you ready for the rubber chicken yet? :p

Btw, I always knew Mark(udbb) to be the original HeWho'sNameShallNotBeMentioned, but that was on another board. I guess I never got the update on my decoder ring! And now that I think of it, what a trio that would be, Craig Stevens, the ROMRA guy, and Mark Susol, each one armed with a rubber chicken of course.

Moll
Oct. 31, 2006, 01:30 AM
What/Who is the ROMRA guy??? (I obviously don't hang out here enough)

saje
Oct. 31, 2006, 07:54 AM
Ohhhh, ROMRA.

Ack. :dead:

Google Robert O. Mayer.

Lora
Oct. 31, 2006, 08:38 AM
Ohhhh, ROMRA.

Ack. :dead:

Google Robert O. Mayer.


Robert is a decent trainer. I have ridden with him and know people who have trained with him.

saje
Oct. 31, 2006, 08:53 AM
know people who have trained with him.

As do I. And I have taught former students of theirs. And ridden a former horse in training there. And seen him in action at shows. And my 1st view of the place was to see many barn cats with full blown and apparently longstanding upper respiratory infections.

My personal opinion is still :dead:

slc2
Oct. 31, 2006, 10:59 AM
bingo! and cats with upper respiratory infections means BAD DRESSAGE!!

Lora
Oct. 31, 2006, 11:35 AM
Yeah, I have to agree about the poor cats - there is no excuse for that but I was just talking about his riding/training ability.

Ja Da Dee
Oct. 31, 2006, 01:10 PM
I would think that sick animals in the barn reflects on poor barn management in general.

saje
Oct. 31, 2006, 01:48 PM
Thank you Ja Da Dee, for clarifying what I assumed (silly me) would be obvious.:rolleyes:

egontoast
Oct. 31, 2006, 01:51 PM
Careful saje, slc's pretty sensitive about her trainer.

mazu
Oct. 31, 2006, 01:54 PM
eggy! :lol:

I still get occasional nightmares about this picture (http://www.romra.com/yoga/yoga_center_home.htm).

YoungFilly
Oct. 31, 2006, 04:13 PM
That is freaky!


eggy! :lol:

I still get occasional nightmares about this picture (http://www.romra.com/yoga/yoga_center_home.htm).

SandyUHC
Oct. 31, 2006, 05:39 PM
Someone has fallen asleep at the Google. All these years I have seen the acronym HWNCNBM used ever so carefully as to not conjure "Hi" (and Pinecone, this acronym was erroneously attributed to Mark loooooong after it became the one and only safe way to discuss the Snohomish Master) and here, on this board, caution has been so blatently thrown to the wind, The Name has been clearly uttered, WITH middle initial even, and...

...nothing. Was it all a myth, a legend to scare little BB children when they won't turn off their computers and go to sleep? "If you don't shut down right now then HWNCNBS will come to the barn and put a mystical leadline spell on your horse and you won't get to go faster than a walk until you are 43 years old, MUWAHahahaha!"

I thought I remembered captions for the pictures, wasn't one of them, "I'm looking but I can't tell, is the horse still under me?"

slc2
Oct. 31, 2006, 09:54 PM
if 3 year old barouqe horses are ready to piaffe, how come they dont do that a t the spanish riding school?

because baroque horses are no readier to piaffe at three than any other type of horse, and the piaffelike steps and passage like steps horses do when loose have nothing to do with piaffe and passage readiness under saddle. there have been several very long threads to that effect two simple, one of which you were in the middle of. you dont seem to have learned anything from that old thread.

saje
Nov. 1, 2006, 08:04 AM
Errr... Hunh??:confused:

There's been no mention of Baroque horses, piaffe-ing or not, on this thread.

Can we please stick to one set of snarks at a time here? :rolleyes:

Lora
Nov. 1, 2006, 08:25 AM
I would think that sick animals in the barn reflects on poor barn management in general.

Again I will repeat - I am talking about his riding/training ability!

saje
Nov. 1, 2006, 08:57 AM
Perhaps it's splitting hairs, but training and management aren't completely separate entities in my book. There's got to be a certain level of empathy there, or the riding skills themselves mean nothing.

Never mind the cats, even if they were fat and shiny and prizewinning specimens I'd not recommend that barn, simply from my own personal experiences. YMMV.

My apologies if I've upset you, but my opinion stands.

pinecone
Nov. 1, 2006, 02:12 PM
Funny how a thread about the "Snohomish master" doesn't unearth a single follower, but instead we've got a ROMRA fan instead.

Saje, I get what you're saying.

eclipse
Nov. 1, 2006, 02:20 PM
Jumper rider venturing over here! But, I too was floored when I checked out his website. Call me crazy, but isn't on of the cardinal rules in all disciplines, "DON'T LOOK DOWN"? In every one of his pictures, he's looking down, slouching in his saddle (yet leaning back at the same time) & the horses do NOT look like they are lifting through their backs & using their hindend properly & effectively. Yikes, Not a person I'd want to pay good money to clinic with!

Oh, and just to add, what the hell do they mean when they say "It's not unusual to hear him explain an equine movement in musical terms, or the horse-human relationship in romantic ones. Craig is both educated and eclectic in his approach, and he is always learning from his riding and teaching and from his academic pursuits as well"..............what the ????:eek: :lol:

Lora
Nov. 1, 2006, 03:06 PM
My apologies if I've upset you, but my opinion stands.[/QUOTE]



No problem!

Lora

lark_b
Dec. 1, 2006, 04:28 AM
At the risk of tempting the fates, especially since I stirred this VERY POT somewhere else this week, I just want to say that I read the rec.eq thread that someone posted here--at least some of it--and my eyes are bleeding. It is after 1am to me, and I think if I wasn't so tired, I would be laughing heartily. Therefore, I recommend it to anyone who needs a good laugh (I sure did).

By the way, at one point in that thread He talks about how he stays up for 21 hours a day and is doing what to everyone else would seem a superhuman amount of work. He's very grandiose... [edit]

citydog
Dec. 1, 2006, 04:52 AM
Call me crazy, but isn't on of the cardinal rules in all disciplines, "DON'T LOOK DOWN"?

Actually, a woman I know (Marcheterre Fluet) had an article in Dressage Today about her time with a trainer in Portugal who encouraged riders to look down (at the poll, IIRC).

That was the first I'd heard of it, though. Made me feel better about habitually staring at the pony's ears. ;)

AndalusianMom
Dec. 1, 2006, 11:00 AM
Mr. Steven's name was brought up the other day on the UDBB and the responses were such that the threat got deleted in no time.
He used to train out of a barn I boarded at in Michigan. I had my own trainer, but I had the "privelege" of watching him ride many times. He was the same size and shape then as he is in his website photo. He had a stiff chair seat, rigid legs, and rigid hands. The horses all jigged, which he called collected trot. There was nothing of forward, ground-covering gaits.
He had a long fancy title for his training operation, which I have forgotten. But I'll never forget the line in his resume that stated he had trained many horses "to Grand Prix and beyond." Whatever that means. :confused:

dutchmike
Dec. 1, 2006, 01:18 PM
Mr. Steven's name was brought up the other day on the UDBB and the responses were such that the threat got deleted in no time.
He used to train out of a barn I boarded at in Michigan. I had my own trainer, but I had the "privelege" of watching him ride many times. He was the same size and shape then as he is in his website photo. He had a stiff chair seat, rigid legs, and rigid hands. The horses all jigged, which he called collected trot. There was nothing of forward, ground-covering gaits.
He had a long fancy title for his training operation, which I have forgotten. But I'll never forget the line in his resume that stated he had trained many horses "to Grand Prix and beyond." Whatever that means. :confused:

I know he says he trained with nuno oliveira but he never did

reidsporthorses.nz
Dec. 1, 2006, 01:20 PM
lol- his BS is known both here and in europe.

tense jigging inverted horses= piaffe. JME.

Funky_MeerKAT
Dec. 1, 2006, 01:43 PM
Actually, a woman I know (Marcheterre Fluet) had an article in Dressage Today about her time with a trainer in Portugal who encouraged riders to look down (at the poll, IIRC).

That was the first I'd heard of it, though. Made me feel better about habitually staring at the pony's ears. ;)

Just a thought on this - un-related to Mr Stevens.

If a horses head is in its correct position, base of the neck rasied and arched with poll at the highest point, then looking at the poll is probably not looking down, and entirely correct.

However if the horse is ridden low or deep it would be a different story...

shade
Dec. 1, 2006, 02:13 PM
OMG, I just went to the ROMRA website..I was a working student with Jennifer (jeffie) Wesson many moons ago. Jeffie myself and another W/S went down to work with this guy...we were gone within a week. I couldn't believe he was still around.

Fancy
Dec. 1, 2006, 04:34 PM
At the risk of tempting the fates, especially since I stirred this VERY POT somewhere else this week, I just want to say ...;)

And lucky me, I was at BOTH pot stirrings! Hi, Lark. Just happened to see this spoon going round and couldn't resist. I was thinking that the pictures are a joke, right? Had anybody ever seen a real pro that rides all hunched over with his pot gut stuck out?
:sigh: I keep expecting the train wreck to show up. I don't usually like 'em, but I think I'd make an exception in this case.

eqipoize
Dec. 3, 2006, 11:59 AM
Well, I have to say, I first researched Mr Stevens several years ago, DUE to a HWNMNBM thread! Anyway, the photos said it all, and I love that his greatest claim to dressage training is his experience with Saddlebreds!!! Of course, now that I think about it, he may very well be the wave of the future! We all see that Dressage is moving in that direction, so maybe we all ought to sign up Quick, so we too can have saddlebred trained dressage horses - oh wait, that won't work - Craig has gone the 'classical route' and just puts them into piaffe and calls it grand prix!!!

I am unceasingly amazed that these sorts of people manage to make a good living for years and years. Of course, from the sounds of the one posters experience in a clinic, Mr S is NOT making enough money these days, and all horses lack basics and he just doesn't have time for this anymore!!!! Poor Craig.

The one sad thing is that here we FINALLY have a trainer who puts his students on the lunge - for a prolonged period! And he still can't make riders out of them. GRRRRR. I guess just going round in circles waving your arms and legs doesn't exactly make a rider out of you! Worse yet, he may have done the lunge line lessons where you ride round and round with the instructor just telling the rider to fix this leg or that arm - and not even use the variety of exercises available! Bleech. I find the 'lean to the outside in canter' thing very interesting - I fully understand where it came from. Many riders get shifted off to the outside by centrifugal force, so I guess Mr S decided that was the Best! Myself, I am constantly Correcting riders for getting off to the outside in canter, and I tell them to put some weight in the INSIDE stirrup to counter the collapse.

Oh well, I saw 5 pages of posts and thought for sure I would see a blazing 2 sided debate - maybe those 21 hour days have caught up with CS and he just doesn't have time to google on a regular basis anymore.

goeslikestink
Dec. 6, 2006, 03:50 AM
eclispe i tend to agree hes looks down -- probably watching the legs
instead of the feel movement -- you should look ahaed and feel the movement--
i read every single article - so try to be with a constructive reply as i dont know him

but ---1 - he says he a nateral trianer in one horse comes in or goes out
thats true -- but he does it with whips ---not agaisnt whips but look at the photo abit deeper hes whiped him and pushing him forward taking astep and moving the horse sideways - thats not leg work ie riding work that pure brute force

i should imagine hes a heavy handed man -- to me he looks the sort to revert to violence of the heavy hands to make the horse submit

you can see this by the way he holds the horses and how he sends them away--
and hes a dealer -- as i know there are dealers and dealers some polite with the horses that they have and will hold them for a bit get used to them and let them work thorugh at a sensiable pace and time
some like him as he said in another article its money and it is with him
so he wants to move the horse on and get it going quick as a flash by any means so heavy handed --hes abig man with a talk and hes also the sort of man if iam judgeing by what he says in articles hes doesnt take a no for answer -- will shove you up on anything-
as for the peole on the lunge at bignners pace then that to says he dont want you to go no further as he can more moeny out of you that way

as for those that said your horse is ill trianed then if in a clinic wherby hes surpose to be the expert then hes wrong to say those things for one should never dwon someone trying to improve or if the horse isnt trianed enough for the excercise he the trainer as hes the one holding the clinic and thats what clinics are for should be alble to help you sort the problems with the horse and take each problem at a set rate if he cant expalin it well enough and then proceeds to tell you that you got a bad horse cause basicaalyy thats waht hes saying because he cannot correct your errors then to me hes not worth piss in the pot


a good trianer -- will --acess you and the horse - a good trianer will realise that there are three personalites you -- the horse -- the trianer--

the good trianer will start of slow from the bottom and work with you to the best abilitiy you are comfortable with- as a good trainer will know at what level you are trying to achieve and will teach you to achive that level

a good triner will also know that people learn at different rates same to as
the horse--and a good trainer if you have the talent and the correct horse for that talent will encorage you to reach a higher prospective as they know it cost money and the average joe bloggs will go this far-maybe becuase
classes cost money and to stay at the top cost money

but a good trianer will encoruage those at all elvels all ages to improve there skills and to be more confident so they can enjoy the horse to there best ability in whatever they chose to do

raffadasmom
Dec. 6, 2006, 03:06 PM
Maybe he's busy this time of year playing Santa in the mall.
At first I was going to say, "no wait a minute, just because the guy isn't a pretty rider ..." but I'm glad I read this whole string of posts. Wowie. What a nightmare!
I'm always amazed at the B.S. artistry in the horseworld. Like a mature man on the West Coast who is college instructor, holds several judge cards, is considered an "expert" on everything. It's been years since I've heard the story relayed to me from someone who knew an attorney familiar with his legal troubles ... it made my eyes bug out. I can't believe the community colleges where he teaches never investigate his "credentials."

Kimberlee
Dec. 6, 2006, 05:28 PM
[edit]

But I have to say I am disapointed (snif-snif) I googled myself and almost nothing came up. I was sure someone out there know what a genius I am, LOL! It is funny to read someone's website and know how true it is that you only get one opinion from an auther, His!

Calamity
Dec. 6, 2006, 11:42 PM
Ok I am so lost here. I saw a few responses about the Rubber Chicken. I thought they were jokes then I found it on the site as others had said

http://www.classical-equitation.com/therubberchicken.htm

What the heck is it for really?

What does this mean?



A "must have" for any aspiring dressage artiste, a bulwark against forgeting why we got into riding these marvelous creatures in the first place.

(love the spelling errors) ^^^

Do you have to ride with the guy to find out what the heck rubber chickens have to do with riding?

Megan

Dressage-ryder
Dec. 7, 2006, 12:17 AM
Oh my god.. Maybe its the lack of sleep but I just read this whole thread and laughed the whole time. I just can't get over the rubber chicken.. I must be missing something ( like the meaning of the rubber chicken) but it is the greatest laugh I have had in a long time!

lark_b
Dec. 7, 2006, 12:31 AM
(love the spelling errors) ^^^


Be fair! There was only ONE misspelling, not multiple ones :).

Auventera Two
Dec. 7, 2006, 08:56 AM
I wonder if he has sort of an eccentric teaching style - like Sally Swift does (Centered Riding.) Reading her books makes you go - :eek: HU?? When she talks about rubber bands and ice cream and letting your feet melt and drip to the ground and all that. But really - the visuals might be a little off the wall, but they do work to help you relax and imagine yourself centered on the horse and really melting into the horse and becoming one with him. So maybe this guy does somethin similar with a rubber chicken??? Who knows! :lol:

Kimberlee
Dec. 7, 2006, 09:05 AM
Yeah, but Sally Swift just talks about it. I don't think she pulls out an ice cream cone to demonstrate.

If i had a rubber chicken in my pocket the dogs would be on me in two seconds to relieve me of the object, LOL!

goeslikestink
Dec. 7, 2006, 10:13 AM
oh my god i never saw the chicken tll now--


i got it igot it he does dressage on ostriches-- the chicken is a rubber run like a dummy run so you dont get hurt when yuo fall off

YOU BOUNCE AND GO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNGGGGOO

Moll
Dec. 7, 2006, 10:31 AM
Call me crazy, but isn't on of the cardinal rules in all disciplines, "DON'T LOOK DOWN"? In every one of his pictures, he's looking down, slouching in his saddle (yet leaning back at the same time)

They try to emulate the Great Looker Downer of all times. They do not realise that Oliveira was a great trainer DESPITE looking down and slouching, not BECAUSE.

indyblue
Dec. 7, 2006, 01:07 PM
Interesting Moll that its OK for Nuno & not Craig S to slouch & look down.Having seen some pretty hairy footage of Nuno riding I wonder if he had a web site now & was promoting himself if there wouldnt be threads on a similar vain to this about him.

kkj
Dec. 7, 2006, 01:17 PM
Great funny funny thread. Love the rubber chicken.

I think there are a lot of crummy clinicians from Europe who do OK here just because they have the accent and are full of sh**.

Likewise I personally know two other American trainers who clinic in Europe and Australia who pretty much suck. They are very good at BS however and have a big following. Not dressage trainers but still they do quite well.

I think there are just a plethara of clueless bad horsepeople the world over. The US does not have a corner on that market.

Xhltsalute
Dec. 7, 2006, 02:12 PM
Yup, apples to orange peels.

If you've ever witnessed him ride/teach, you'd run the other way.:eek:

hitchinmygetalong
Dec. 7, 2006, 02:18 PM
Stevens (http://static.flickr.com/107/316575571_544d19b5fa_o.jpg)

What's that dude doing with his legs? Looks like he's stomping on the brakes.

(and as you all know, I don't know what I'm talking about ;) )

lstevenson
Dec. 7, 2006, 02:22 PM
I think there are a lot of crummy clinicians from Europe who do OK here just because they have the accent and are full of sh**.

Likewise I personally know two other American trainers who clinic in Europe and Australia who pretty much suck. They are very good at BS however and have a big following. Not dressage trainers but still they do quite well.

I think there are just a plethara of clueless bad horsepeople the world over. The US does not have a corner on that market.




:yes: Yep. I totally agree. All you really have to be good at is BS to impress the people who don't know any better.

I wish more people would read or in some other way learn about dressage before "choosing" trainers like that. So that, even if they can't do it yet, they know what they are trying to achieve, and they have more of a clue as to what is right and wrong. Then they could pick better trainers and put the BSer's out of business.

Dalfan
Dec. 7, 2006, 04:14 PM
What's that dude doing with his legs? Looks like he's stomping on the brakes.

He's skiing. Classic chair seat.

indyblue
Dec. 7, 2006, 05:02 PM
[QUOTE=mutable;2046870]Do you have any links to the footage? It would be interesting to see.

I actually saw at least two on Coth but I wouldnt have a clue how to go back & find them.It would of been in the dressage forum Im sure.I was very surprised at what I saw given his status in some circles of dressage.If you are under the impression that he was the best thing since sliced bread (like I was) then its worth hunting the clips down and having a look.

Moll
Dec. 8, 2006, 04:09 AM
As it is, I happen to agree with Indyblue: I never got what the fuss was of Oliveira either. But he DID train a lot of horses and DID know everyone :)

dutchmike
Dec. 8, 2006, 08:07 AM
As it is, I happen to agree with Indyblue: I never got what the fuss was of Oliveira either. But he DID train a lot of horses and DID know everyone :)

That is because you never saw him on a horse. As a human he was horrible but put him on a any horse and the horse would transform in 20 minutes he def. had the touch.

slc2
Dec. 8, 2006, 10:12 AM
did you know him as a human?

DieBlaueReiterin
Dec. 8, 2006, 10:21 AM
so uh...did we ever figure out what the rubber chicken is actually for? does it have a purpose, or is it just some kind of in-joke among him and his clients?

dutchmike
Dec. 8, 2006, 01:43 PM
did you know him as a human?


Yes I did otherwise I wouldn't have stated that.

Lambie Boat
Dec. 8, 2006, 01:46 PM
my guess is the rubber chicken is so people would frickin lighten up and stop taking themselves so frickin seriously.

WillowR
Dec. 10, 2006, 10:09 AM
On the rubber chicken page, it says...

"Craig Stevens, acknowledged master of the horse and international clinician par-excellence would feel himself terribly underdressed without the chicken in his pocket when he rides."

Perhaps we have solved the mystery of Steffan Peter's wardrobe bulge!


Is that a chicken in his pocket or...?

WillowR

rescuemom
Dec. 14, 2006, 10:08 AM
Perhaps if we want some roasted (rubber) chicken we need to invoke the name of his arch-e-foe? Baiter and debater of His Classical Chickenness?:uhoh:

K . . . . te
:p

Oh, I've always heard it was HWNCNBSA (can not be said aloud), which came from a moderator who used to regularly e-smack his fingers with a ruler.

Thanks for the laughter; off to view the actual chicken.:lol:

rescuemom
Dec. 14, 2006, 10:25 AM
Which air is that being performed by the chicken - courbette? Capriole?

ThreeFigs
Dec. 14, 2006, 10:37 AM
Not sure, but his mouth is open and he's not flexed at the poll. Looks pretty resistant to me.

Sad, because a rubber chicken should display more suppleness, don't you think?

rescuemom
Dec. 14, 2006, 12:57 PM
I think its safe to say that the resistance is due to the "Cram and Jam" school of training, which tends to put the brakes on suppleness. At least there's no tail wringing going on.:yes:

mazu
Dec. 14, 2006, 01:30 PM
Perhaps if we want some roasted (rubber) chicken we need to invoke the name of his arch-e-foe? Baiter and debater of His Classical Chickenness?:uhoh:

K . . . . te
:p

You wouldn't be talking about the Master Baiter, would you?

rescuemom
Dec. 15, 2006, 09:19 AM
In this case it would be the Mistress Baiter. Unless there's some transgendering going on.:lol:

Zumdressage
Dec. 18, 2006, 10:21 AM
Ok - I saw this post and I had to join the group just to post my experience. I will keep it very brief. My daughter and I both rode in a clinic he did here (Colorado, USA) in May of this year. He comes to this same place and does a clinic twice a year. The woman who organizes it is a student of his. Trained in Washington with him for three years.

I was told that my six year old Andalusian should know more, like to piaffe and passage already. That is the horse was with him and in training with him or his student the horse would know that already. That the horse was dangerous and I should not have him. I will admit that I am a pretty green rider and yes, he is a green horse, but we are working with a trainer and doing GREAT!

My daughter (15 years old) was told that her horse should just be "burried". He does not move forward enough and she should just put him out of his pain. Craig chased the horse around with a stick and had his doing piaffe. The horse is a 12 year old appaloosa! My daughter, was so upset!

Yes, he has a rubber chicken! Yes, he tries to get you to buy a saddle from a company that he obviously gets a cut! Yes, he tries to get you to buy his videos!

He is coming back in May 2007 to Colorado - I will not be attending!

ThreeFigs
Dec. 18, 2006, 10:54 AM
You know, Zumdressage, I'd love to attend (to watch only, I wouldn't expose my mare to this fellow) if the cost for auditors is not extravagant. Just for the laughs.

What, exactly, does he DO with the rubber chicken? Wave it at the horse? Squeeze it and make it squeak?

His remarks to you and your daughter were over the top and inappropriate from the sound of it. Glad you two survived the experience.

NancyM
Dec. 18, 2006, 11:33 AM
Had never heard of this guy before a person I know a bit expounded on the significant virtues and value of his teachings. Travels long distances to attend his lessons. I'm afraid I took her views at face value, have not seen her actually ride and exhibit what she has learned in these sessions. Now I am a bit more educated on the situation, thank-you.

lark_b
Dec. 18, 2006, 10:21 PM
He is doing a thing at an expo in Oregon in March. It's an 8 hour drive, but I'm considering it anyway. COTH outing!

YoungFilly
Dec. 18, 2006, 10:26 PM
He is doing a thing at an expo in Oregon in March. It's an 8 hour drive, but I'm considering it anyway. COTH outing!

GAWD. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Can you guys please leave this guy alone? Ok, we all know he is bad, but really. How long has this thread been in existence?

As slc said, this is a human being. Leave him alone, he is not doing anything so aweful. No one deserves ridicule for this amount of time. No one. And, I don't know him but it seems that he does read this stuff. Don't be so mean.

Yes, I have looked at his website, and yes I know.... but come on guys. :no:

AllWeatherGal
Dec. 19, 2006, 09:34 AM
YF ... if you've only seen his website, you have *NO* idea how deserving he might be of this treatment.

To truly, TRULY understand, you have witness in person or watch the train wreck that occurs when he responds to messages, or ideally both.

ThreeFigs
Dec. 19, 2006, 10:28 AM
Is this thread the sort of thing he would respond to? I'd love to witness said train wreck!

And it's another reason I'd love to watch a clinic. I see he "requires" clinic participants AND auditors to attend the lecture before the clinic. Sheesh. Don't know if I have THAT much time to waste.

Xhltsalute
Dec. 19, 2006, 01:51 PM
And, I don't know him but it seems that he does read this stuff.

If he was reading this thread, you would know it. ;) He would NOT be keeping quiet.

Have you ever watched him ride or give a clinic?

december-child
Dec. 19, 2006, 07:52 PM
I know that he is good at literature, as in "read a lot". He does a lot of good seat-training, videos good too. He has thought a lot about the aids and starts a lot of good thinking in that department in the theory lectures.

I am sorry to see that after that very promising beginning, there is nothing. He highly praises four-beat piaffe FI as absolutely light ... But the saddest thing is that after all that talk about the sensitive horses, and love etc and the correct timing - when something does not work it´s back to the age old method of force. Seems from the interviews published on the net that he studied with the saddleseat people in his formative years, and that is the education that shines through in pressed circumstances. And his idea about how to ride a dressage horse seems to be an adaptation from the saddleseat world. That concept makes his whole practical training a building grounded on sand, so to speak.

I am really, really sad about this. And really sad for the horses that are stamped as evil. "The horse from Hell"... Thank Heaven that there are other instructors capable of communicating with these creatures....I have seen him work a couple of times years apart and talked to many of his students in different phases of education. My daughter rode with him a couple of times - and she went from happiness to sadness in three clinics time. Therefore my interest in finding out more...

Young Filly - I don´t know about awful - some stuff is just not nice - you must prepare the horse and rider correctly before you ask them to perform. Or face the consequences - not blame the horse. Especially if your reputation by your own word is that you care deeply for the body, soul and person of the horse.

YoungFilly
Dec. 19, 2006, 10:23 PM
If he was reading this thread, you would know it. ;) He would NOT be keeping quiet.

Have you ever watched him ride or give a clinic?

I remember when this thread first started and I actually looked at his posts. It doesn't look like he has posted since 2004. He probably knows already this is a downhill battle. I don't know, it feels like your kicking someone who is down already. Like I said I don't know him, but if I saw something like this about me, I would really be feeling bad. Thats not to say your all not doing some good on spreading the word that he is a bad trainer... but... sorry I must be a bleeding heart.

Xhltsalute
Dec. 19, 2006, 10:55 PM
but... sorry I must be a bleeding heart.

No! If I didn't know him and hadn't audited a clinic, I might also be defending him. But.............

Livie
Dec. 20, 2006, 07:14 AM
This thread sure has an awful lot of views. Seems like a lot of people are waiting for something exciting to happen!

pinecone
Dec. 20, 2006, 08:35 AM
Maybe they're waiting for [edit](HWNMNBM and K....te) to have a worldclass cyber fight. Possibly complete with nuclear weapons and armies of rubber chickens. If those two get to pontificating on here, it might crash the entire COTH server :p.

Sometimes you need a little guilty entertainment, so if you're not watching the regulars getting kicked around by the newbies in the current "other board" Oldhag trainwreck, you've got this old standby thread, lol!

Kathy Johnson
Dec. 20, 2006, 09:56 AM
Ok, I will admit, I've already been peeking in on the oldhag trainwreck. But, if you're posting under the name Oldhag, what would you expect? You might as well be named Troll.

Jmc
Dec. 20, 2006, 10:17 AM
If he was reading this thread, you would know it. ;) He would NOT be keeping quiet.



He recently posted on another forum in a thread called 'preparing for a clinic'. I think you have to register to see it, but I believe it does not require a paid email account.

http://www.thebalancedseat.com/

lark_b
Dec. 20, 2006, 11:54 AM
There is a login we can use to read it. Login: nobody4 Password: nobody5

URL: http://thebalancedseat.com/yabb/YaBB.pl?num=1162558210;start=all

ThreeFigs
Dec. 20, 2006, 12:58 PM
Just visited the balanced seat forum. They're having a love-feast over there for Craig. I think most of the posters in his favor are "insiders". I have nothing to add to that discussion, not having witnessed his teaching or riding first-hand. Just an interesting little side cyber-trip.

Zumdressage
Dec. 20, 2006, 01:03 PM
He does have a serious following. There are folks here in Colorado who wait for him to come here twice a year for a clinic.

He does have some good points during his lecture which is two hours the night before the riding begins.

I would just say that he has his definiate opinions and procedures to follow. Some folks OBVIOUSLY love him.:no:

pinecone
Dec. 20, 2006, 01:40 PM
Ok, I will admit, I've already been peeking in on the oldhag trainwreck. But, if you're posting under the name Oldhag, what would you expect? You might as well be named Troll.


Oh, I just thought she had a sense of humor, lol.

"Troll" would be a good screenname though.... Or "Trainwreck"!

That board was overdue for a good shake-up, so it's kind of amusing to watch (in a trainwreck sort of way!) Soon enough it will be back to the status quo, and as boring again as watching paint dry.

Dalfan
Dec. 20, 2006, 07:17 PM
if you're posting under the name Oldhag, what would you expect?

I absolutely love her handle. But I do have a twisted sense of humor though. Wish I would have thought of it.

stryder
Mar. 5, 2007, 07:45 PM
I'm a big fan of Craig's. But then, I've left my horse for him to train (she's doing famously) and I've studied with him, too.

He isn't as stuck on himself as you-all seem to be, and he has a great sense of humor (the rubber chicken, for example.)

And here's the best part: he's a serious student of equitation who can speak in complete sentences and thoughts without just echoing the nonsense of someone else.

MeredithTX
Mar. 5, 2007, 07:49 PM
I'm a big fan of Craig's. But then, I've left my horse for him to train (she's doing famously) and I've studied with him, too.

He isn't as stuck on himself as you-all seem to be, and he has a great sense of humor (the rubber chicken, for example.)

And here's the best part: he's a serious student of equitation who can speak in complete sentences and thoughts without just echoing the nonsense of someone else.

Wow, this thread has been randomly resurrected. For what it's worth, I've never had a trainer who couldn't speak in complete sentences. Is this a common occurence?

AllWeatherGal
Mar. 5, 2007, 09:03 PM
I'm a big fan of Craig's. But then, I've left my horse for him to train (she's doing famously) and I've studied with him, too.

He isn't as stuck on himself as you-all seem to be, and he has a great sense of humor (the rubber chicken, for example.)

And here's the best part: he's a serious student of equitation who can speak in complete sentences and thoughts without just echoing the nonsense of someone else.

I haven't heard him, but I've read his stuff.

I give him credit for making up his own nonsense, full sentences n all.

pinecone
Mar. 5, 2007, 09:18 PM
And here's the best part: he's a serious student of equitation who can speak in complete sentences and thoughts without just echoing the nonsense of someone else.

That must be quite exciting, a trainer who can speak in complete sentences. Not:lol: . You must have ridden with some interesting people previously, if complete sentences seem noteworthy to you:D .

This seems suspicious, a new poster, with only one post, and they claim to be a Craig Stevens fan, and yet the first thing they do is resurrect this negative thread about him.

Something smells fishy.
That is a complete sentence.:lol:

YoungFilly
Mar. 5, 2007, 09:25 PM
You have to be totally full of it and have a personal vendetta against this poor guy. :lol: I don't know him personally, but this thread is just deathly. If you really liked him, you would not have brought it up from the dead.
I think we all need to never respond again to this way stupid thread.




I'm a big fan of Craig's. But then, I've left my horse for him to train (she's doing famously) and I've studied with him, too.

He isn't as stuck on himself as you-all seem to be, and he has a great sense of humor (the rubber chicken, for example.)

And here's the best part: he's a serious student of equitation who can speak in complete sentences and thoughts without just echoing the nonsense of someone else.

Lambie Boat
Mar. 5, 2007, 09:31 PM
but Craig Stevens is the featured dressage clnician at the oregon horse expo.
You have to be really good to be the featured speaker at the expo, right? I mean, they charge admission and everything. Last year it was like Jan Ebling or Stiffy Peter?

caffeinated
Mar. 6, 2007, 08:41 AM
You have to be really good to be the featured speaker at the expo, right?

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Donkaloosa
Mar. 6, 2007, 08:46 AM
On another list I'm on, he's referred to as "He Whose Name Must Not Be Mentioned." He likes to Google himself a lot. I don't think he impresses a lot of people other than himself.


Donk

SandyUHC
Mar. 6, 2007, 03:47 PM
I think we all need to never respond again to this way stupid thread.

Okay -- you first!

Ja Da Dee
Mar. 6, 2007, 03:49 PM
Okay -- you first!


No, you first (:

Kathy Johnson
Mar. 6, 2007, 04:24 PM
Wow, this thread has been randomly resurrected. For what it's worth, I've never had a trainer who couldn't speak in complete sentences. Is this a common occurence?

Sometimes. Seems like they don't always have time to complete their.

class
Mar. 6, 2007, 04:27 PM
And here's the best part: he's a serious student of equitation who can speak in complete sentences and thoughts without just echoing the nonsense of someone else.

this sounds like the kind of faux-compliment you give to a really messed up horse: ".....what a beautiful tail!"

Lambie Boat
Mar. 6, 2007, 05:59 PM
kathy johnson you crack me up and I really wa nt t ob

lstevenson
Mar. 6, 2007, 08:59 PM
Sometimes. Seems like they don't always have time to complete their.


:lol:

penhille
Mar. 6, 2007, 11:33 PM
I was told that my six year old Andalusian should know more, like to piaffe and passage already. That is the horse was with him and in training with him or his student the horse would know that already.

Horses move fast, riders move slow. Right, got it! Oi-vey. Seeing as I was already planning to go to the Oregon Expo, I think I know who I'll be watching this year. I need to see for myself.

ThreeFigs
Mar. 7, 2007, 10:00 AM
Penhille, would you report back afterwards? He's coming to CO for a clinic later in the spring. I'm tempted to go, just to get a first-hand opinion, just want to know if it's worth the $$ for an opinion...

Lambie Boat
Mar. 7, 2007, 12:10 PM
whether one goes to learn something or laugh at him, he still gets paid :cool:

Fedup
Aug. 13, 2007, 01:18 AM
I have to say I joined just to respond to this thread even though it is old. I was infuriated to find such a thing posted here. Those of you who wrote the jibbing "baiting" posts are the very reason that I left the show world. What I saw here was a purposeful attempt to ruin someone's name and reputation.

First off I have first hand knowledge of Craig and his work. You wanted someone to stand up for him, well here I am. I can say that I have heard from quite a few others about this thread and the main reason you DIDN'T get the response you were looking for was that we happen to be adults and find what you've done here to be so degrading to horse people as a whole that it didn't warrent a response at the time because we were so angry that nothing constructive would have come of it. After many months of thinking about this thread I decided that I had to put something here to let those who don't know Craig that he has MANY who have benefited and believe in the work he's done and continues to do. I am going to also respond directly to a few quote's.

".......he's clinicing (allegedly) in NZ and Europe etc etc" No allegedly about it, he has a steady group who clinic with him year after year and gets new students all the time. He is much loved and respected by them and by other professionals. Craig is human JackSprats Mom, no one can be prefect every day of every year. I look at Craig and see someone who loves horses and does everything he can to educate to the best of his ability. His dedicated students prove out his theory by being the most sensitive riders in the world. It is up to us as students to LEARN. If you argue, close your mind, resist changing how you look at things then you probably will have a negetive experience. I feel for the woman who had the accident, I understand that she is bitter, but I also know that anyone who works around horses runs the risk of being injured or even killed. Mistakes happen, misjudgements made by both students and instructors. I also know that Craig has an unbelievable safety record. In the 30 years that I've worked with horses I've been injured and friends have been injured, if you don't want to run that risk, don't ride or work with horses. Craig does talk the talk, he also walks the walk. I can't think of anyone else I'd rather have train me and my horse.

This line stuck in my head for months. What's one way to show you don't know what you're talking about, make a comment like this. "to Grand Prix and beyond." Whatever that means. " Lets see, every hear of Pasade, Lavade, Capriole, Coupade, Courbette, Mazair, and there's more. These are movements taught "beyond Grand Prix" Look it up before you show your ignorance with such a statement.


"I know he says he trained with nuno oliveira but he never did" He trained with Joao Oliveira. Yet another mis-information. Come on people, if you're set up to tear someone down at least try to get your facts straight. Hear say, rumour, she said he said. Give me a break.

You know, if you don't like how Craig trains, rides, teaches, fine, don't go to him for training or lessons. Those of us who do and benefit from him don't need you out there putting us down because we do things differently than you do. No one rides identically and a way of riding that doesn't harm horse or rider is a good thing in anyone's book. From what I've read here a few of you are what I call Dressage Queens and Dressage Queen is anything BUT a complement. I rarely fall to the level of name calling or derision but in this case I find myself needing to do just that. If I call someone a DQ it is the worse thing I can say about that person in the dressage world. I have seen a few DQ's here on this thread and I am disgusted to see that once again pettiness and drama are given such space on an otherwise good forum. So what if his webpage isn't the best, its the results that count. Before you run a horse down that you haven't ridden, don't comment. That horse IS trained to the level advertised so lay off. From my personal observations Craig is easy in the saddle, the horses are smooth and happy and healthy and perform as the should with ease and relaxation. This is the last you will hear from me as I know I've decended to your level and don't plan on doing it again.

Why do you ride? Why do you love horses? If you are not involved in this sport to better each other and our horses, get out before you ruin yourself and your horse and other peoples love of the sport as well. Let the drama go, let the back stabbing go, work on yourself and support your fellow riders. Remember the saying if you can't say something good say nothing at all?

So have at it if you are still of the mind that ripping me apart for what I've said here will make you happy, go right ahead. I am sorry for you that you don't have enough of a life to live that you feel you have to do such hateful things. Live, Learn and maybe someday you'll realize that life is not on a computer spreading garbage but out in the barn or in a book or simply in your back yard. I plan on living my life and leaving behind knowledge and happy memories instead of spite and anger. Make up your minds on how you want to be thought of.

Moll
Aug. 13, 2007, 07:02 AM
Well, you made your feelings abundantly clear. I've watched videos of Stevens and Stevens trained and I do see things I don't like - a lack of activity, a dry, busy mouth, stiffness - but whatever floats your boat.

dutchmike
Aug. 13, 2007, 07:39 AM
Sorry but the guy hasn't got a clue however is very good in sounding convincing and reading books. As long as you sound good alot of people will fall for it untill they get enlightened and open their eyes

SandyUHC
Aug. 13, 2007, 02:16 PM
FedUp, if he's good enough for you then he's good enough for you. As with any endeavor, however, the more open you are to finding the most effective and sensible common ground in MANY different sources the better off you will be.

indyblue
Aug. 13, 2007, 04:49 PM
Just out of interest Fedup, where does Craig clinic in NZ?

ThreeFigs
Aug. 13, 2007, 05:25 PM
I'm planning to audit Craig Steven's upcoming clinic in October. Due to a family crisis, I missed his May clinic here. I'm curious, and anyone who elicits such a firestorm has to be worth going to see -- once.

I'll report back!

dutchmike
Aug. 13, 2007, 05:47 PM
I'm planning to audit Craig Steven's upcoming clinic in October. Due to a family crisis, I missed his May clinic here. I'm curious, and anyone who elicits such a firestorm has to be worth going to see -- once.

I'll report back!

He talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk.;)

indyblue
Aug. 13, 2007, 09:27 PM
Excuse me for harping on but I just cant find any evidence of the much loved followers that Craig has in NZ.I have several friends who are classical nuts and clinic with anyone that comes over and they havent heard of him.Ive checked out our local NZ forums and nothing comes up about him on those and that surprises me as well.Feel free to correct me but Craig doesnt seem to have made any impression on the dressge community here if he has indeed ever had a clinic here.

ToN Farm
Aug. 13, 2007, 11:55 PM
Indy, here is your evidence. A clinic report from someone in NZ that rode with Craig.
http://classical-equus.com/web/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&Itemid=31

saje
Aug. 14, 2007, 08:56 AM
I'm confused - the clinic report is from someone in NZ, but that site is from someone in Georgia.

:confused:

ideayoda
Aug. 14, 2007, 10:20 AM
(looks like the clinic was in 2000, like the one in sweden)

DownYonder
Aug. 14, 2007, 05:24 PM
Indy, here is your evidence. A clinic report from someone in NZ that rode with Craig.
http://classical-equus.com/web/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&Itemid=31

Hmmm... interesting how that website has appropriated photos from Shannondale Farm for its masthead. The photos were taken in Shannondale Farm's covered arena and downstairs lounge, and I believe that the center part of the masthead was lifted from another facility in Alpharetta, GA (EQuest).

I know that the Shannons leased their covered to someone for a Craig Stephens clinic, but they sure didn't give approval for photos of the covered to be appropriated for the masthead on someone else's website. That is not only presumptious, it's tacky and rude. :no:

And this is a comment from a dressage trainer who watched the clinic - "He is a con-artist. Riders were told that nosebands were inhumane while he jerked on the horse's mouths and hit them with whips. Ugh, awful!"

class
Aug. 14, 2007, 05:33 PM
I know that the Shannons leased their covered to someone for a Craig Stephens clinic, but they sure didn't give approval for photos of the covered to be appropriated for the masthead on someone else's website. That is not only presumptious, it's tacky and rude. :no:

since when does anyone ask the farm owner if it's okay to post pictures of a clinic?

indyblue
Aug. 14, 2007, 05:45 PM
Thanks for the info.That shows he has been once but I still like to see the evidence from Fedup that he has a loyal following here.We have 4 million people in NZ so of course things happen all the time that I dont know about but the dressage community is very vocal and visiting overseas trainers are talked about.We have an excellent magazine that reports on all things and never has Craig been mentioned so he has not made an impact.As for the person who wrote the report?She writes that we dont have access here to info on the history of classical riding or she could be saying the calibre of trainer who knows the history.What a load of bollocks.We have had some very well known highly trained classical trainers clinic here and Craig certainly wouldnt be anywhere near the top of that bunch.

DownYonder
Aug. 14, 2007, 06:07 PM
since when does anyone ask the farm owner if it's okay to post pictures of a clinic?

READ what I posted. The photos are used in the MASTHEAD of the person's website. They are on the top of every page, almost like a logo. It gives the impression that the venue (Shannondale) is that person's own facility. Very, very, VERY tacky.

TBROCKS
Aug. 14, 2007, 06:36 PM
OMG! Craig Stevens? Oh yes, I remember him well.

In fact he and his wife at the time were my first real trainers
when I started riding as an adult (only had summer camp riding
experience as a child). [edit]
I knew next to nothing when I started with him but could ride
a horse at the trot and canter without falling off. We (hubby
and I) thought he was so knowledgeable, probably because he
told us he was. That, and he spent at least half of every hour
lesson talking, mosty about Francois LeMaire.

We spent a lot of time on the lunge line and the one thing that stands out about those lessons is the way he taught us to lean to the outside/
put weight in the outside stirrup at the canter. I learned to do it so well,
that it took me years to unlearn it with my next trainer. In fact, he couldn't even understand how we were able to canter so well always leaning to the outside. It had become so second nature that I had to force myself
not to do it for many years after that.

He used to keep people at the beginner beginner level for a long time.
Neither hubby nor I had any interest in doing dressage but he convinced
us that learning the French seat he favored would make us expert riders
in any discipline. After a year, we were doing little crossrails and lots
of lungeline work. The first hint I got that perhaps Craig was holding us
back a little too much was when his hero, Francois LeMaire actually came
to do a clinic at the barn. By the end of the first session with him,
we were jumping little gymnastics blindfolded and no hands and the
fences went up to about 2'6". It was very exciting and we were sure
Craig would make the lessons a little more interesting after that but no,
it was back to the single cross rail and lots of lunge line.

Then one day, the first cold day in November, Craig took another student
and I out on the trail as a treat. He rode a green horse that was very
high strung and we were both on school horses behind him. All the horses
were feeling good from the weather. When we got to a little hill, he said the horses would probably try to trot up the hill. But his horse took off, and though he stopped him at the top of the hill, our horses flew by him at
a gallop. The other girl fell off right away which left me and this riderless
horse racing down the trail. I was clueless as how to stop him but when
we reached a steep decline, gravity took over, and I flew off head first
into a tree trunk and the 2 horses ran back to the barn. Thankfully I was
wearing an eventer helmet which saved my life, but I did break my back
in 4 places and my pelvis in 2.

So that was my last lesson with Craig. I did learn a lot about position from
him but nothing about control obviously. And that leaning to the outside
thing haunted me for years.

But in all fairness, he was a very personable guy, and if you know nothing
like we did, he comes off as pretty impressive. As some of you have said here, he does talk the talk, which is probably what makes him so popular on the clinic circuit. I can't speak for his ability to train horses other than what
he told us he did.

holy. crap. :eek:

citydog
Aug. 14, 2007, 07:36 PM
That, and he spent at least half of every hour
lesson talking, mosty about Francois LeMaire.

François Lemaire de Ruffieu (http://www.southmowing.com/francois.html) is absolutely the real deal, a tremendous horseman and a phenomenal clinician. I hate to see his name brought into this thread. I hope anyone who has a chance to attend one of his clinics (as a rider *or* auditor) does. :)

Moll
Aug. 15, 2007, 05:57 AM
"But in all fairness, he was a very personable guy, and if you know nothing
like we did, he comes off as pretty impressive. As some of you have said here, he does talk the talk, which is probably what makes him so popular on the clinic circuit."

Yup. When I watched him, had I known nothing, I would have believed in him too at least during the lecture. Seeing the clinic with actual living horses though, I don't think so.

stryder
Aug. 15, 2007, 01:35 PM
FedUp quoted an earlier poster about NZ. I don't know about NZ, (although now someone has posted a report) but I do know he works frequently in the UK and Europe. Here's a link to his 2007 schedule in England: http://www.performancehooves.co.uk/cstevens.html

He is on similar schedules in Finland, Sweden, Scotland.

Craig has devoted followers in the UK and Europe. The reason I know this is because I've met them at his barn in Washington, riders who have come here multiple times to study with him, staying as long as 10 days. They can't wait to get home to their own horses, try what they've learned, and then haul the horses to the next clinic in the UK (or wherever) and study with Craig some more.

Earlier this year, Philippe Karl had an opportunity to work with some of Craig's students in Sweden. He said they were some of the lightest riders he had ever seen and wanted to know more about their teacher. After watching Craig's video on Dressage Theory, Karl had this to say about him: “Modern competitive dressage has a major influence on equestrian teaching. Although many turn away from it, there are very few with enough equestrian culture, passion and courage to swim against the tide and propose alternatives that are worthy of interest. Craig Stevens is one such person.”

I'm also seeing more riders from Canada as a result of clinics there.

To TimedJumpOff, I wonder how long ago was your tragic accident? My guess is it's been quite a while, certainly before Craig grew gray and gained weight. I assume - like all of us - that Craig has learned something since then. Like FedUp, I'm sorry about your injury.

I know from my own lessons with Craig that he's extremely safety conscious. Craig now uses a series of exercises to help riders learn balance faster than ever. It's safety in spades. Thanks to these exercises, I can kick one leg forward nearly waist high at the canter, while on a longe line, riding without stirrups or reins, or clinging to the saddle. I feel confident and balanced while riding. Maybe everyone else does, too. Good for you! But as a returning (and older) rider, falling off is NOT appealing.

Sure, I've spent a lot of time on the lunge line, working on my seat. But there's been a lot of lessons off-line as well.

And when Craig returns from his schedule of alternating summer months in Europe, I'll haul my horse back for her second winter with Craig.

There are many of us who have formed our own opinions about Craig Stevens from actually watching him work with horses and people.

ThreeFigs
Aug. 15, 2007, 03:16 PM
I see by the info sent to me for CS's upcoming clinic, there's a $25 single day audit fee. That ought to be sufficient to sample the "Great One's" considerable knowledge, without lining his pockets too liberally.

I hate to support lousy clinicians, but this wouldn't be the first time. Sometimes you just have to go see [it] for yourself. And sometimes you learn what NOT to do -- which can also be valuable.

I find it interesting that the CS defenders are very new to the board. Is this a put-up job??

AllWeatherGal
Aug. 15, 2007, 03:31 PM
I see by the info sent to me for CS's upcoming clinic, there's a $25 single day audit fee. That ought to be sufficient to sample the "Great One's" considerable knowledge, without lining his pockets too liberally.

I hate to support lousy clinicians, but this wouldn't be the first time. Sometimes you just have to go see [it] for yourself. And sometimes you learn what NOT to do -- which can also be valuable.

I find it interesting that the CS defenders are very new to the board. Is this a put-up job??

If it gets you to a clinic that you otherwise wouldn't have considered, for any reason, then I think the payoff is clear. I've read Craig's stuff on a listserve for too long to want to know more ... but like a trainwreck, I can't look away :)

stryder
Aug. 15, 2007, 03:52 PM
I'm glad you're going to the clinic, Beasmom, to see for yourself.

No, this is not a put-up job. There's no reason to talk with Craig about my posts because at some level, he doesn't seem to care what some people say about him.

I do for three reasons: One, I have found his training to be very helpful for me and an absolute gift for my horse. Craig helped her back from a very dark place that was dangerous for me. He used gentle but firm methods that taught her to focus and welcome learning. The horse I dropped off last winter at Craig's was explosive and had the attention span of a gnat. (So much for OTHER people's training methods.) The horse I have now is mostly calm, light and so much fun to work, thanks to Craig.

And second, as a professional journalist and former lobbyist, I have spent my entire career arguing for free speech. It bothered me this winter to find the vitriol here about Craig, postings that would be libelous in my "regular" world.

And finally, some people here have made up their minds about him. OK. Others are open to the possibility of working with him, but scared off by the postings of others. It seemed fair to me that the undecideds at least know there's an alternative viewpoint. As someone who's worked with Craig now for nearly a year, I chose to respond, especially when I read FedUp's post.

dutchmike
Aug. 15, 2007, 06:02 PM
It amazes me how some people just get pulled into a cult type method of riding. [edit]

Fedup
Aug. 15, 2007, 10:34 PM
It amazes me how some people just get pulled into a cult type method of riding. [edit]


"cult"? Please! You make us sound like just because we are having success with Craigs teaching we have no brains of our own. Maybe you missed in my post about 30 years with horses, maybe you just see what you want to see. I have always taken pieces or whole theories from whatever and whomever I'm studying and use it to the betterment of my horse and myself. I would never allow ANYONE to harm my horse, EVER! Once again this seems to be turning into "flame them because they are using something I don't agree with."

The only reason I came back here was because of a phone call I recieved today. I am sorry there are those of you viewing those of us who study with Craig with such jaded eyes. You seem to believe that we can't look at a horse and see whether or not its distressed by the work it's doing. I've ridden Craigs school master's, they have an easy way of going, repsonsive, moist mouth and content are to work no matter what is happening around them. I have witnessed two horses who trained with Craig and have seen outstanding work done by both of them with their owners. I have not seen Craig "Hit" any horse with a whip or "jerk on a mouth" as stated in an earlier post. Yes a training whip is used as it is used by most dressage riders/instructors/masters, in the French, Spanish and Portugese classical riding styles and in the modern riding styles as well. The whip is TAPPED! and thats all.

This all seems so sad to me that there are people out there who just thrive on this kind of abuse of fellow riders. When you yourself have met me, seen me ride, seen my horse work ..... then and only then do you have the right to comment on my horsemenship and ethics, then and only then do you have any right to comment on my state of mind or commitment to my art. I have studied and will continue to study as long as I can. Try spending your energies in a more productive way and try to stop judging those of us who are happy in the way we are doing things.

dutchmike
Aug. 15, 2007, 11:12 PM
"cult"? Please! You make us sound like just because we are having success with Craigs teaching we have no brains of our own. Maybe you missed in my post about 30 years with horses, maybe you just see what you want to see. I have always taken pieces or whole theories from whatever and whomever I'm studying and use it to the betterment of my horse and myself. I would never allow ANYONE to harm my horse, EVER! Once again this seems to be turning into "flame them because they are using something I don't agree with."

The only reason I came back here was because of a phone call I recieved today. I am sorry there are those of you viewing those of us who study with Craig with such jaded eyes. You seem to believe that we can't look at a horse and see whether or not its distressed by the work it's doing. I've ridden Craigs school master's, they have an easy way of going, repsonsive, moist mouth and content are to work no matter what is happening around them. I have witnessed two horses who trained with Craig and have seen outstanding work done by both of them with their owners. I have not seen Craig "Hit" any horse with a whip or "jerk on a mouth" as stated in an earlier post. Yes a training whip is used as it is used by most dressage riders/instructors/masters, in the French, Spanish and Portugese classical riding styles and in the modern riding styles as well. The whip is TAPPED! and thats all.

This all seems so sad to me that there are people out there who just thrive on this kind of abuse of fellow riders. When you yourself have met me, seen me ride, seen my horse work ..... then and only then do you have the right to comment on my horsemenship and ethics, then and only then do you have any right to comment on my state of mind or commitment to my art. I have studied and will continue to study as long as I can. Try spending your energies in a more productive way and try to stop judging those of us who are happy in the way we are doing things.

Yeah right that is why everyone has a laugh at him. So tell us about his succes in the dressage arena.The guy is a joke that makes his lack of knowledge dissapear by using big words and trying to make it very technical that is all. I know some of his students in the UK and have been on his yahoo bb and it says enough. The Oliveira thing in which he stated that he rode with Nuno Oliveira quickly changed to having read Nuno's books after someone (moi) asked him about what he thought about Nuno. Yes I did know the master himself ,his son Joao and plenty of others aswell but just do not need to tell everyone because my work shows what I do and I do not need big names and confusing lingo to save my ass. So don't come to me about the french/portugese riding style. I grew up in it

AllWeatherGal
Aug. 16, 2007, 12:10 AM
When you yourself have met me, seen me ride, seen my horse work ..... then and only then do you have the right to comment on my horsemenship and ethics, then and only then do you have any right to comment on my state of mind or commitment to my art. I have studied and will continue to study as long as I can. Try spending your energies in a more productive way and try to stop judging those of us who are happy in the way we are doing things.

So, show us. Got a video doing something other than at the walk? Because that's all I've ever been allowed to see.

And if you're not prepared to do that, try spending your energies in a more productive way and stop judging those of US who are happy in the way we are doing things.

Hoofprince in Mud
Aug. 16, 2007, 03:18 AM
. . . I have not seen Craig "Hit" any horse with a whip or "jerk on a mouth" as stated in an earlier post.



I have seen Craig hit a horse on the nose with the butt end of a whip, removing hair and leaving a mark on the horse's face, and I have seen him "jerk on the mouth" of a young TB in for training, to the extent the bit moved through the horse's mouth, while said horse was being ridden by Craig.

slc2
Aug. 16, 2007, 06:37 AM
THINK about it.....this thread has the COH record for 'longest wait for trainwreck'

Gaia
Aug. 16, 2007, 12:59 PM
I learned a lot through CS. And I liked his kind way with horses. (This makes you really crazy as he did some really scary stuff, like whipcracking and hitting the walls of the arena with the lunge whip ... when I was trying to ride my 3½-year old..and he talked about being kind.) I rode several different horses in clinics with him in Sweden. With the older horses it worked - very nice to understand how little force is needed.I think that the seat work is good as is the road into books about dressage. His pedagogic way of describing the aids is a great help, even if I don´t agree how to use them. I met a lot of lovely people dedicated to dressage training.
Then we started to part company, I saw something else as the goal. Real old-fashioned dressage for me, please. Sorry to say, I did not go content, my young horse was dangerous....he claimed I was to blame... well I have retrained and re-schooled five years nom, and now the horse is beginning to be GOOD!
I have seen whip being used too much, did so myself. And too much hand and bit... But the worst is that people riding CS style, are hanging in the inside rein.
I saw the rides at that clinic with Ph. Karl.... I was really glad that I saw the different aim in time.

But still, today, that detour made me learn SO MUCH MORE!!! I´d like to kick him real hard (only my pony threw him hard, so that´s ok) AND to thank him for introducing me to "the worlds dressage treasures". (Thanks to my friend that has been reminding me...)
It saddens me that I could not have his support all the way, but after all - it´s my horse, my responsibility and my life. Literally - the horse had become dangerous.

That said - many can learn from CS - as long as you don´t fall into blind worship etc...

And - should I really send this post???

Well, when I decided to leave the company, I felt as the loneliest rider in the world. I had to leave the company of many friends too! Maybe someone else can read this and take heart. There ARE some good trainers out there! And more nice people.

Moll
Aug. 16, 2007, 03:05 PM
"But in all fairness, he was a very personable guy, and if you know nothing
like we did, he comes off as pretty impressive. As some of you have said here, he does talk the talk, which is probably what makes him so popular on the clinic circuit."

Yup. When I watched him, had I known nothing, I would have believed in him too at least during the lecture. Seeing the clinic with actual living horses though, I don't think so.

Rereading this, it reads as if I hadn't watched a clinic with horses. I have. I wasn't impressed at all. Sorry about the unclear post.

ThreeFigs
Aug. 19, 2007, 11:40 AM
Maybe this has been asked before -- but does he have any students who show and how do they do?

dressageridermom
Sep. 8, 2007, 03:08 PM
Could you elaborate as to why you would not recommend that barn? We are looking for one in our area and it happens to be one of them

petitefilly
Sep. 8, 2007, 10:41 PM
My two cents:

Naturalhorsemanship has PP.

Dressage has Craig Stevens.

Is there really any difference?

ThreeFigs
Sep. 8, 2007, 10:47 PM
My two cents:

Naturalhorsemanship has PP.

Dressage has Craig Stevens.

Is there really any difference?

Uh, PP doesn't sell rubber chickens?

Carol Ames
Sep. 8, 2007, 10:51 PM
training beyond FEI levelWhat ?:confused:

Carol Ames
Sep. 8, 2007, 11:36 PM
:lol:Should we revisit the Grman trainer convicted of cruelty?

Tetris
Sep. 9, 2007, 12:50 PM
Did this Craig Stevens ever work at Shibui Ni Equestrian Center in Suffolk,VA? He sounds like the trainer that was there when I bought a horse from the owner of the farm. If it is him, then I have a story too.

AdAblurr02
Nov. 7, 2007, 02:09 PM
Could you elaborate as to why you would not recommend that barn? We are looking for one in our area and it happens to be one of them

Interesting.... two posts by this person, a few moments apart , same day, here's the other:

********************
dressageridermom Greenie

Join Date: Sep. 8, 2007
Posts: 2
Question Dressage instructors/Trainers Mocksville NC area?

Can anyone recommend a good trainer/ instructor and barn to board at in my area? Our horse is trained passed 3rd level my daughter is working on 1-2nd level.
Email privately if you like.

TIA

************************

Last time I checked, North Carolina is kinda catty-corner the other side of the continent from NW WA.
Just an observation. Maybe the poster didn't finish the sentence, or replied to the wrong post? :)

class
Nov. 7, 2007, 02:25 PM
maybe she was asking about shannondale farm in the south that was discussed also?

i'm not so much "interested" in whether this person mis-posted or not as i am interested in why you are resurrecting a months-old thread and researching this person's other posts? what's it to you? and what does it have to do with craig stevens?

Anselcat
Nov. 7, 2007, 04:12 PM
I had heard something a few months ago that CPS bought a farm and was moving to North Carolina. I can't remember anything more about it, & don't see anything on the internet about it. Anyone else hear this, or am I hallucinating?

Edited to add: Fallbrook is right (see post below) and I am hallucinating. It was ROM who was buying a farm in NC. Apologies!

AdAblurr02
Nov. 7, 2007, 05:47 PM
I had heard something a few months ago that CPS bought a farm and was moving to North Carolina. I can't remember anything more about it, & don't see anything on the internet about it. Anyone else hear this, or am I hallucinating?

Anselcat, I only know that the place locally here in WA has been for sale for some time - after wife number xx left him, he got another "barn manager" and then decided it was just tooooo stressful to maintain a full schedule on his place.... at least that's what the website said last time I looked.


Class, my only interest is that this guy darn near ruined our good gelding with his "expertise" and methods. Six years later we are still struggling with the issues he left in this horse (which I foaled out and we raised). He is not IMHO a classical dressage teacher, and certainly not a rider nor a trainer. He talks a heck of a good game and manages to maintain a steady trickle of people going through the "program". Support him if you care to, I am just not that fond of kool-aid.

class
Nov. 7, 2007, 06:08 PM
i am not supporting him and i'm sorry he ruined your gelding. i am just wondering why you are picking on dressageridermom? do you think she is craig stevens incognito?

AdAblurr02
Nov. 7, 2007, 06:19 PM
i am not supporting him and i'm sorry he ruined your gelding. i am just wondering why you are picking on dressageridermom? do you think she is craig stevens incognito?


Didn't really think I was "picking on her" - but it's a little weird.... brand new poster, two posts literally moments apart - saying she's looking for dressage barns in different ends of the country and ended up HERE.

I have no idea if CS even bothers to care about this board, or whether anyone gives a d**n about his trail of tears anymore. He did used to show up to post in a variety of guises and alters, though, and has a variety of buddies who do the same.

Every time I have to talk my sensitive, talented, beautiful horse through another freakout flashback, I just wish we had known THEN what we know now, and had knowledge of this admittedly trainwreck thread being available to check up on him! I am so very sorry we believed his line of BS as long as we did.

Equibrit
Nov. 7, 2007, 08:12 PM
Could somebody just dig a big hole and kick this thread in there ?

Maria
Nov. 8, 2007, 09:53 AM
Before this thread is kicked to the curb...WHAT!!!

"I had heard something a few months ago that CPS bought a farm and was moving to North Carolina. I can't remember anything more about it, & don't see anything on the internet about it. Anyone else hear this, or am I hallucinating?"

morehorses
Nov. 8, 2007, 01:02 PM
Unfortunately, I don't think he is going anywhere...yet...
I saw on the local Region 6 dressage board that he is looking for a working student. Anyone interested???:lol:

Can some of you decent dressage trainers please move to the pacific NW, preferably to the greater Seattle area? Lots of $$$ to be made here...please...I am begging!

Fallbrook
Nov. 8, 2007, 01:15 PM
Before this thread is kicked to the curb...WHAT!!!

"I had heard something a few months ago that CPS bought a farm and was moving to North Carolina. I can't remember anything more about it, & don't see anything on the internet about it. Anyone else hear this, or am I hallucinating?"

Just what we need :eek::eek:

I'm thinking that someone has confused CPS with Robert Mayer, who bought Stonecrop Farm in Advance.

kaluha2
Nov. 8, 2007, 01:36 PM
""I had heard something a few months ago that CPS bought a farm and was moving to North Carolina. "

"He talks a heck of a good game and manages to maintain a steady trickle of people going through the "program". "

Well then he should do very well in the Carolinas. LOL!!

OMG, fresh meat.

Anselcat
Nov. 8, 2007, 01:41 PM
Fallbrook is right, it was ROM that I heard a rumor was moving out this way.
My apologies for muddying the waters in this already muddy thread!

ThreeFigs
Sep. 8, 2008, 02:19 AM
He keeps coming here for clinics and they must be well attended -- he's offering some sort of "master class". Gosh, it's soooo tempting to go to one of his clinics just for the entertainment value. I just don't have that kind of time to waste...

I really meant to do so last year, but my elderly ill cousin took a turn for the worst and I haven't considered going since.

slc2
Sep. 8, 2008, 01:57 PM
After my interactions with Mr. Stevens, I can say, there are indeed things that are bad about a free market economy.

ThreeFigs
Sep. 8, 2008, 02:15 PM
Oh, do tell! I'm in the mood for a good juicy story.

slc2
Sep. 8, 2008, 02:26 PM
Well, the thing is, that the controversy about current dressage competition, the methods, scoring and training controversies, alot of people see that as a chance for themselves to 'move up'. They perceive a vacuum that they can fill.

If they can beat their chest hard enough, if they can gnash their teeth, rend their garments and wail loud enough about how dressage is going to hell in a bucket...how competition is a total travesty, how all the judges - ALL of them, are completely unethical, supporting this travesty, well, that's how they make hopeful, concerned people their customers.

Since people are worried about losing classical principles, about getting away from that tradition for the sake of winning a competition, it provides an opening for a lot of people. You have to be very, very careful. Your own ethics and principles can wind up being a tool for someone who wants to get into your pockets.

There are certainly places where a dedicated classicist can apprentice, where he or she can learn the classical principles, not just read theory, but understand and implement them, where he or she can be evaluated, even rejected for not coming up to the program's standards.

A classicist can no more self declare that he is a flesh and blood saint of dressage, than a competitive rider can.

These are general comments and musings, that don't apply to any specific individual, but to riding in general.

stryder
Sep. 8, 2008, 03:08 PM
There are indeed things that are bad about the Internet. This, for example, which is just one of many examples on this board. People are emboldened to make derisive comments about someone else. Often the subjects of the posts are named, known individuals, while the posters hide behind their anonymity. The posters make their comments, whether true or not, without any details that create any context for readers.

It's the equivalent of a drive-by shooting. People are harmed and the "shooters" just drive on to their next victim or amusement.

And things never seem to go "out of print" here. They can be resurrected at a whim and given new life. It's the best and the worst of the technology.

Craig has been in the business for decades. He is a better trainer and instructor now than he was in his early days. (I am better at my job now, too, as I suspect you-all are.) He continues to learn and study every day.

This is the context of my comments about Craig Stevens: I am a current student, and have been for nearly two years. I've taken as many as three lessons a week. My lessons have been on his school horses and on my own horse. His school horses are steady and delightful. I spent months on the longe and when I'd developed an independent and following seat, I was turned loose.

I'm a 50+ re-rider. I have felt safe and secure, and never at risk. This despite my former horse, who was so explosive and unpredictable that I ultimately decided to have her put down. She hurt me, the massage therapist, the stable help. One farrier fired us and two vets were relieved they wouldn't have to treat her any more. Craig was the last stop for this particular horse, and although she made progress with him, she was never going to be trustworthy.

In February I bought a horse that Craig trained. She is light, steady and delightful.

I've had the opportunity to meet several people from the UK and Europe who have attended Craig's clinics abroad. Some have studied with him for years. Five of his current international students were accepted into Philippe Karl's 6-student program. I've come to know local riders with horses in training with Craig, or who are studying with him. Some have been with him for years. I appreciate becoming an independent rider - I can continue to work on my own, because of the solid foundation I've received from Craig's instruction.

Others experiences must be as mine, because Craig's clinics continue to grow. Some people must be able to make up their own minds, based on actually seeing him work today.

I read on this board about trainers who don't actually work horses, won't put students on longe lines, don't pay attention to their students. About students who can't figure out how to stop hanging on their horses, sit a trot or get a jaw to relax. I can't imagine this, as it's outside my frame of reference in hiring Craig as a trainer and instructor. I am extremely satisfied.

This has gone on at some length, but I wanted readers to have some context.

Diana Kramer
Mercer Island, WA

magickmeadow
Sep. 8, 2008, 03:47 PM
Unfortunately, I don't think he is going anywhere...yet...
I saw on the local Region 6 dressage board that he is looking for a working student. Anyone interested???:lol:

Can some of you decent dressage trainers please move to the pacific NW, preferably to the greater Seattle area? Lots of $$$ to be made here...please...I am begging!

I live in Yelm and I agree with you. I would love to see some trainers, really good ones, move to WA. When I retire I am moving back East where I am more to choose from. LOL

I can't comment on this particular person. I don't know him. Personally, if I were picking a classifical trainer I would select Ritter. JMO. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. Just because we might not like the training theory or actions of one does not make them a bad trainer, unless we are talking about abuse. My son-in-law, cutting horse trainer, is my first pick to ride my 4th level horse. He is also be my first pick as trainer for any other horse I purchase. Good hands, excellent seat, and soft kind voice. Not exactly what every other dressage rider wants to train their horse but IMO he does a lovely job and it works for me. Over the years I have seen many trainers/instructors come and go. There will always be someone who thinks they are the best. There will always be someone who thinks they aren't. No system is perfect. Just use what works for you.

tbeventer
Sep. 9, 2008, 11:37 AM
I want to thank all of you for entertaining me while I had my morning coffee! I grew up in WA and heard of Craig for well over 10 years now, but didn't know anything of him, other than his articles in local publications. I figure everyone has something you can learn from them--good or bad--but I'd never even ventured to audit one of his clinics. I've seen enough of "Classical Dressage trainers" teaching shoulder in to poorly educated adult ammy's that don't even know how to sit square in the saddle, let alone have actual contact with the horse's face. So, due to being a bit jaded at the "good" clinics, I opted not to audit one of his clinics. I've learned over the years to always audit before attending a clinic with anyone, unless someone that truely knows me well reccomends I ride with that person. Like many of you with bad experiences, I've learned that I've put too much time into my horse to have damage done to it.
Again, thank you for some entertaining reading this morning.:D

AdAblurr02
Sep. 9, 2008, 01:24 PM
I live in Yelm <SNIP> My son-in-law, cutting horse trainer, is my first pick to ride my 4th level horse. He is also be my first pick as trainer for any other horse I purchase. Good hands, excellent seat, and soft kind voice. <SNIP>.

Magickmeadow, where is your son-in-law and is he taking youngsters to start under saddle? PM would be appreciated!

petitefilly
Sep. 9, 2008, 09:22 PM
Ya' know, after seeing this thread I have only one thing to say. If you need help____YOU need it badly___get it. If it means calling Craig___do it. :) You always can learn a bit of something from anyone who rides. You have to apply yourself to learn it.

Mary Anne
Sep. 10, 2008, 10:51 PM
My name is Mary Anne. I'm Craig's wife, so we can all assume I'm a bit partial to the man. I run the Snohomish part of instruction and manage the website, I teach and assist Craig with training and with clinics here at home, and I keep the home fires burning while Craig's abroad. Craig himself prefers to just ignore this sort of thing, but because I invited this young woman here and I generally LIKE horse people, I'd like to put a personal face on the folks being defamed through this process.

I am always dumbfounded when people indicate they are listening to these posts. For those of you evaluating us, or any other trainer, and looking at this sort of thing as a potential source of information, please talk to the people you're investigating directly. You can reach us through the website, at www.classical-equitation.com (http://www.classical-equitation.com). We are very publicly available. We are not even a little bit anonymous.

Listen: Equitation is a language. In verbal language, there are reasons to use French when you're planning to engage in romance, and German is supposed to be great for talking about Engineering, and Spanish to discuss deep heartfelt passions. There are reasons to ride in the common modern method, and there are reasons to explore the older dressage. I prefer the conversations that I have with my horses riding this way, I find it infinitely more effective, more nuanced, more pleasurable for my horses AND for me than the more common method. Some people may prefer something else.

If you like what you're doing and it's working for you and your horse, great! Enjoy yourselves...that's why we ride, right?

But...again, for those of you trying to evaluate us, if you're even considering broadening your linguistic abilities, if you genuinely want information do us the honor of talking to us directly. Gather information from the source, I'll be happy to give you contact information for people who love working with us. Talk to people who know us rather than taking information from people who spent a few minutes here, or from someone who never met my husband but who watched some one else who once took a clinic from Craig work a horse. Talk to real people who have spent time with us, learn why they like it, poke around with the positive folks. Then make up your own mind.

Let's see-- looking at my options on the "post icons" line I see they don't have an icon of someone wearing a target and waving a red flag while sticking their head out of the foxhole-- but this is me, a human being waving hello, and inviting you to send me your questions or concerns, or -- a novel idea -- even to say something nice.

Riding, after all, is supposed to be fun. Even (especially?) for those of us who have made it our life's work.

See you on the website (and it's a lot of hard work keeping that up-- say something nice about that!:))

Mary Anne Campbell (nsae@classical-equitation.com)
Director's Assistant, Barn Manager and Lead Instructor
National School of Academic Equitation
Snohomish, Washington
www.classical-equitation.com

expression
Sep. 11, 2008, 01:06 AM
My name is Mary Anne. I'm Craig's wife, so we can all assume I'm a bit partial to the man. I run the Snohomish part of instruction and manage the website, I teach and assist Craig with training and with clinics here at home, and I keep the home fires burning while Craig's abroad. Craig himself prefers to just ignore this sort of thing, but because I invited this young woman here and I generally LIKE horse people, I'd like to put a personal face on the folks being defamed through this process.

I am always dumbfounded when people indicate they are listening to these posts. For those of you evaluating us, or any other trainer, and looking at this sort of thing as a potential source of information, please talk to the people you're investigating directly. You can reach us through the website, at www.classical-equitation.com (http://www.classical-equitation.com). We are very publicly available. We are not even a little bit anonymous.

Listen: Equitation is a language. In verbal language, there are reasons to use French when you're planning to engage in romance, and German is supposed to be great for talking about Engineering, and Spanish to discuss deep heartfelt passions. There are reasons to ride in the common modern method, and there are reasons to explore the older dressage. I prefer the conversations that I have with my horses riding this way, I find it infinitely more effective, more nuanced, more pleasurable for my horses AND for me than the more common method. Some people may prefer something else.

If you like what you're doing and it's working for you and your horse, great! Enjoy yourselves...that's why we ride, right?

But...again, for those of you trying to evaluate us, if you're even considering broadening your linguistic abilities, if you genuinely want information do us the honor of talking to us directly. Gather information from the source, I'll be happy to give you contact information for people who love working with us. Talk to people who know us rather than taking information from people who spent a few minutes here, or from someone who never met my husband but who watched some one else who once took a clinic from Craig work a horse. Talk to real people who have spent time with us, learn why they like it, poke around with the positive folks. Then make up your own mind.

Let's see-- looking at my options on the "post icons" line I see they don't have an icon of someone wearing a target and waving a red flag while sticking their head out of the foxhole-- but this is me, a human being waving hello, and inviting you to send me your questions or concerns, or -- a novel idea -- even to say something nice.

Riding, after all, is supposed to be fun. Even (especially?) for those of us who have made it our life's work.

See you on the website (and it's a lot of hard work keeping that up-- say something nice about that!:))

Mary Anne Campbell (nsae@classical-equitation.com)
Director's Assistant, Barn Manager and Lead Instructor
National School of Academic Equitation
Snohomish, Washington
www.classical-equitation.com

I ride ror enjoyment! But there is another language you failed to mention, and that is the one the horse's speak. Shouldn't we focus on the way of the horse and make our training adapt? Instead of trying to'master' our own languages/ voices untill they are so strong there isn't any question? Doesn't that defeat and contradict the art???

slc2
Sep. 11, 2008, 06:21 AM
To train with someone, it is not sufficient to talk to the trainer, though inexperienced people have little else to judge from, as they won't have an eye for correct work. To make a choice of trainer, a person needs to agree with his or her methods, see high quality results in and out of competition at a number of different levels with a number of different types of horses and riders, believe his or her curriculum vitae, believe his or her safety record, and like his or her manner and way of speaking.

WBLover
Sep. 11, 2008, 10:21 AM
Mary Anne, I must say after hearing what a CLASSY response you have to all this bashing, I'm quite embarrased by what was in this thread. You could have come on this board stomping your feet and name calling, but instead invited people to come to their own conclusions by TALKING to you and/or Craig, and doing their own research.

Kudos to you!!

Mary Anne
Sep. 11, 2008, 12:31 PM
Thank you for the supportive responses sent in.

Someone posted a reply to me asking if it wasn't the language of the horse that mattered most, and yes, the answer is yes. The morning I wake up as a horse, I hope I'll know exactly their language-- meantime each of the disciplines, each of the approaches, each of the voices working in this field if it is effective may be assumed to have stumbled with more or less skill across some of the equine language.

When I think about effectiveness it includes not only that the horse goes where the rider indicates, but that the horse is relaxed, moving in self carriage without pressure on the rein, well balanced within himself, easily moving to the lightest of touches with flow, healthy energy and self expression, AND...and this is the rare part... in a calm state of mind.

The process of training a horse is about building a shared language, and the amazing thing about them is that they are so into communicating that they'll reach for us much more honestly and clearly than we tend to be able to reach for them. The skilled trainer gets better at clarity and better at honesty.

Again, this sort of thread is painful. Please feel free to talk to us directly.

Mary Anne Campbell
National School of Academic Equitation
www.classical-equitation.com (http://www.classical-equitation.com)

Mary in Area 1
Sep. 11, 2008, 01:01 PM
Mary Anne, while I appreciate your position, my opinion of your husband has been formed by his words directly. I have not posted on this thread before, but I have read all of his posts on the Dressage-L list forum. He posts long and argumentative and VERY controversial emails on there very frequently. Perhaps he should reconsider his writing style if he wishes to be less discussed in public.

Just a suggestion.

mazu
Sep. 11, 2008, 01:13 PM
Mary Anne, while I appreciate your position, my opinion of your husband has been formed by his words directly. I have not posted on this thread before, but I have read all of his posts on the Dressage-L list forum. He posts long and argumentative and VERY controversial emails on there very frequently. Perhaps he should reconsider his writing style if he wishes to be less discussed in public.

Just a suggestion.

Indeed -- it does take a special kind to earn the name "He Who Shall Not Be Named." :uhoh:

rileyt
Sep. 11, 2008, 01:28 PM
Indeed -- it does take a special kind to earn the name "He Who Shall Not Be Named." :uhoh:

??? I always thought Lord Voldemort was universe's primary evil doer. Now you're telling me its Craig P Steven of Washington State???

Mary Anne
Sep. 11, 2008, 01:51 PM
Mary Anne, while I appreciate your position... Perhaps he should reconsider his writing style if he wishes to be less discussed in public.


Craig can be very blunt, and he certainly has no shortage of opinions nor does he pull any punches, ever. He's from New York, I'm from Oregon, our second in command is from Minnesota-- it makes for an interesting mix in cultural styles as teachers here.

Thank you for the suggestion.

Mary Anne

Kaeleer
Sep. 11, 2008, 02:33 PM
Mary Ann, I don't know your husband from Adam and am definitely not your target market, but I also want to commend you on your gracious replies on this thread. You are certainly cool under pressure.

dutchmike
Sep. 11, 2008, 03:30 PM
Mary Ann you sound like a nice lady. [edit] About his methods well I say live and let live it is a free world and whatever makes a rider happy is what counts and, if his students are happy who am I to tell them otherwise.However classical it is not. I must admit that he is a very good in writing long statements

expression
Sep. 11, 2008, 03:38 PM
[QUOTE=dutchmike;3511429]Mary Ann you sound like a nice lady.
At least we can all agree that he has a good woman in his life... must be doing something right:)::eek:

Moderator 1
Sep. 12, 2008, 04:31 PM
We've gone through this oft-resurrected thread and edited/removed a number of posts. Please avoid the personal commentary, insults, accusations, etc., whether in reference to the subject of this thread or other posters on it.

Users are welcome to post their opinions, positive or negative, regarding this or other instructors' training philosophies, techniques, etc., whether obtained from first-hand experiences or from sources such as the trainers' websites, etc. Readers can ultimately formulate their own opinions based upon input here and elsewhere.

Feel free to continue the discussion, but avoid the personal commentary, jabs, etc.

Thanks,
Mod 1

slc2
Sep. 12, 2008, 04:46 PM
Another person said she was a student of Craig's and broke her back in four places during a ride with Craig. Maybe he could clarify how that happened. She said Craig took her and her beginner friend out on a ride, and he was riding a green horse that bolted, due to that, her horse bolted, she (and perhaps the other rider too, i forget) were thrown, she broke her back in four places during that fall. Based on that, I would say that Craig's safety standards for supervising and ensuring the security of his riders are inadequate.

It is very unwise to take such beginners out of the ring when they cannot adequately control their horses, which they should have learned in their riding lessons, that I would point out as another inadequacy of his teaching; if they were incorrectly mounted that would be another issue an instructor/trainer should address, and refuse to perpetuate if the match is not safe. I also feel it is very poor judgement to ride a green horse around such riders on a trail ride.

I feel safety standards are very important for an instructor to establish and maintain. This incident makes me question whether Mr. Stevens has the knowledge to establish a safe atmoshphere.

Too, I don't care for the riding and training method, or the results on the technical side, based on classical dressage standards. I feel the results are inadequate, with insufficiently developed suppleness, gaits, impulsion and straightness. I find the use of the back incorrect and the throughness inadequate.

On public forums, Mr. Stevens very often insults judges and says they all are judging wrong, and don't know what they're doing. He has publicly insulted so many trainers, riders and judges, I can't actually think of any who he has excluded.

He referred to Michael Poulin as the 'pope' of the wrong, incorrect way of doing dressage, and said I had 'got religion from the pope'. He said he was sure Michael Poulin's mother loved him, but he had dressage all wrong.

I was extremely insulted by his comments and manner.

He has acted the same way on a number of internet sites over the years. It doesn't matter who he is interacting with, he always writes in exactly the same way. It is a very, very consistent, long term pattern, this aggressive, arrogant insistence that he is the only person who really teaches dressage correctly is repeated everywhere Mr. Stevens goes.

I would never consider auditing or taking a lesson or getting training from anyone who speaks that way about others, but the safety and technical issues are also a serious concern.

I also would not take up his wife on the offer to 'talk to us'. Mr. Steven's public manner makes that pointless.

Gucci Cowgirl
Sep. 12, 2008, 05:09 PM
On public forums, Mr. Stevens very often insults judges and says they all are judging wrong, and don't know what they're doing. He has publicly insulted so many trainers, riders and judges, I can't actually think of any who he has excluded.




Not to feed the flames, as I don't even know why Craig P Stevens is, never even heard of him, BUT...

how is this different from almost every other poster on the dressage boards these days?

Everyone says the judges are blind and rewarding the wrong things, and everyone says nasty crap about pretty much every top rider out there...so this guy, whoever he is, certainly shouldn't be singled out for badmouthing judges and trainers!

slc2
Sep. 12, 2008, 05:21 PM
I think the nastiness and the personalness that Stevens uses takes his complaints to an entirely new level. Since it is self serving, being the whole essence of how he markets his services, his tactics are especially repulsive.

I would compare him to Pat and Linda Parelli and some of the other 'celebrities' making their way around the horse world through lots of chest beating and savior-like promises, with very little substance, and bits and pieces of very traditional, ordinary training mixed with a lot of razzle dazzle, smoke and mirrors that impresses naive beginners, but no one else.

Yes a picture of a levade in hand on one's website is impressive. It would be even more impressive if it were being done correctly or the horse was properly muscled through the hind quarter and back, and conditioned before doing it.

I think he takes advantage of people's own ideals and wishes to inculcate himself. In short, I feel it just is a tactic to funnel customers his way. What better way to further oneself than to take advantage of people's concerns for their horse's and their own wellbeing?

The strangest thing about it is, I'm not entirely sure he even understands his own criticisms of the dressage world.

They're so vague and general, and there are never any facts or specifics to back up his claims. Nor are there examples of his riding and training that validate his claims of expertise and superiority.

It actually sounds more like something he's parroting or repeating, something he's heard, than something he actually understands or even really believes in.

There are PLENTY of instructors out there who are very, very capable of teaching classical dressage, and avoiding the pitfalls of competition, such as pushing horses to extremes for expression, so that relaxation is compromised, or rushing their training along without establishing basics in horse or rider, and many of these trainers also compete, some even at a high level.

None of them have seen the need to resort to the tactics Mr. Stevens uses. He stands alone in his extreme public behavior.

His rudeness and arrogance are extreme, he drives people away from him and his business all on his own, just by his extremely bad manners and rudeness, he alienates people.

I feel he's his own worst enemy. Less talk, better results, safety consciousness for all customers.

expression
Sep. 12, 2008, 06:21 PM
Does anyone else out there use passage/piaffe to keep or get a horse sound? I was at Craig Stevens barn for the first time last weekend and I watched him work a 20 yr tb gelding. He has him passage/ piaffe in hand, the horse was unsound. According to him the excersizes were building muscles in his hip to help him regain soundness. The horse was stiff and in pain. I thought it was cruel, but I'm not a pro horse trainer. :confused:

Molly Malone
Sep. 12, 2008, 06:47 PM
They're so vague and general, and there are never any facts or specifics to back up his claims. Nor are there examples of his riding and training that validate his claims of expertise and superiority.

It actually sounds more like something he's parroting or repeating, something he's heard, than something he actually understands or even really believes in.

I hate it when that happens. Perhaps everyone who criticizes dressage should offer up examples of themselves on video?

Gucci Cowgirl
Sep. 12, 2008, 06:52 PM
coughWORDcough

JGHIRETIRE
Sep. 12, 2008, 07:30 PM
I am currently a student of Craig Stevens. I have a very difficult horse. She is at this moment a 16 year old thoroughbred chestnut mare.
I have tried to find different trainers in the past to work with her. The first thing they want to do is put a chain over her nose and give it a huge yank. Needless to say she's over the moon when this happens. Craig Stevens, his gorgeous wife Mary Anne and the wonderful Beth, have been the only people I have been able to find that can deal with this horse. In approximately 2 months time they have performed an absolute miracle with this horse.
They are about the horses.
My 11 y.o. daughter is also riding there. There is absolutely no one I would trust more to teach my daughter in a very safe manner how to ride. Forget the old adage "if you aren't falling off, you're not trying hard enough". I went through that and don't really feel the need for my daughter to do the same.
Someone posted about an incident that happened many many years ago. A woman broke her back while out riding with Craig. No one has heard the other side of this story. She professed to be a very advanced rider. A tree fell in the woods they were riding in, the horses spooked. Craig managed to control his horse and that of someone else that was a beginner. I have a hard time understanding why it's Craig's fault that the horse spooked?? Manure occurs when you're riding horses - she professed to being a very advanced rider???
Someone else posted about a broken down horse doing piaffe and passage. There's another side to that story as well. That horse came to Craig and Mary Anne with a broken pelvis. That was how they saved him by teaching him to piaffe. Yes he is stiff - yes he is older. He's also still a wonderfully useful horse - I have ridden him frequently - he's wonderful.
Craig and Mary Anne do everything they can to care for those school horses as well as the private horses they have in their care - 2 of mine.
Craig does not suffer fools easily. In riding with him - he is never mean - he does not yell at you as other trainers do. He does talk alot but he can explain things in a way that anyone can understand. If you don't want his opinion - don't ask - he will tell you - you may not like what you hear. He is always honest.
He has more empathy with the horses than he does with people. He listens to the horse. Isn't that what this is supposed to be about?? Having a real conversation with your horse and not "forcing"it to do your bidding? It's a whole lot more fun this way.
I have ridden with other trainers - I like Craig's way better.
Please remember - there are 2 sides to every story before you start totally trashing someone over hearsay.

Current fan of Craig Stevens and his wife Mary Anne and the ever wonderful Beth!!!!!!

Susan Trettin
Snohomish, WA

Foxtrot's
Sep. 12, 2008, 08:05 PM
A good post from someone who has actually worked with Mr Stevens.
There are two sides to every story and this poster even signes her name. I have no dog in this fight - it is just the tone and nastiness that gets to me and the gang-up pack mentality in some of these threads. More so recently. It seemed with the new Mods this board had been a bit more - I dunno - mature, lately, and now is degenerating again. Human nature.

FancyFree
Sep. 12, 2008, 08:06 PM
I am always dumbfounded when people indicate they are listening to these posts. For those of you evaluating us, or any other trainer, and looking at this sort of thing as a potential source of information, please talk to the people you're investigating directly.

So true! If the representation on this board of my trainer was taken as gospel, he'd have no clients!

doublebridle
Sep. 12, 2008, 11:39 PM
From Mr. Stevens Website:
"When he was active in the show circuit Craig routinely won regional championships and national awards".

Mary Anne... could you please tell us more about where, when and with what horses, what breeds, what scores and at what levels Mr. Stevens competed ?

Thank you.

lstevenson
Sep. 13, 2008, 12:49 AM
Someone else posted about a broken down horse doing piaffe and passage. There's another side to that story as well. That horse came to Craig and Mary Anne with a broken pelvis. That was how they saved him by teaching him to piaffe. Yes he is stiff - yes he is older.



I'm sorry but.....piaffe is the answer to a broken pelvis???? :eek:

Excercise and good basic dressage can be therapudic, but a horse with serious physical issues should not be asked to do things that are that are this physically difficult, and especially things that put extra stress on damaged areas of their bodies. That's just common sense and good horsemanship.

expression
Sep. 13, 2008, 12:52 AM
Hey! I posted with honest curiosity,(and a little bit of attitude) is anyone going to tell me if piaffe/ passage is beneficial for lame horses?

Bats79
Sep. 13, 2008, 04:40 AM
Hey! I posted with honest curiosity,(and a little bit of attitude) is anyone going to tell me if piaffe/ passage is beneficial for lame horses?

Well, as you have been there before, you could go back and ask him.

Someone has actually told you the horse's story - he was badly injured and improving. You believe the horse is hurting, maybe he is actually "uneven" and the exercise helps him keep the pain at bay. A bit like people with arthritis doing weight training. I bet it hurts but maybe they think it is worthwhile.

As the horse is being trained in an exercise that ENCOURAGES weight bearing and articulation of the joints but MINIMISES concussion it might be a very appropriate exercise. If a horse is relaxed, submissive and trained piaffe is NOT a difficult exercise for a horse that lacks athletic ability. Expressive piaffe and the transitions into and out of piaffe (specially to passage) is what is difficult for a horse. Specially if it is resisting the bit and being spurred.

I used Spanish walk to help a horse with a shoulder injury. Unfortunately the chest injury he also had made the exercise painful for him and also made us realise that he was never going to be able to passage again properly. :( So he never made a Grand Prix horse.

I guess it comes down to whether or not the exercise is making life better for the horse or worse.

dutchmike
Sep. 13, 2008, 11:19 AM
Well, as you have been there before, you could go back and ask him.

Someone has actually told you the horse's story - he was badly injured and improving. You believe the horse is hurting, maybe he is actually "uneven" and the exercise helps him keep the pain at bay. A bit like people with arthritis doing weight training. I bet it hurts but maybe they think it is worthwhile.

As the horse is being trained in an exercise that ENCOURAGES weight bearing and articulation of the joints but MINIMISES concussion it might be a very appropriate exercise. If a horse is relaxed, submissive and trained piaffe is NOT a difficult exercise for a horse that lacks athletic ability. Expressive piaffe and the transitions into and out of piaffe (specially to passage) is what is difficult for a horse. Specially if it is resisting the bit and being spurred.

I used Spanish walk to help a horse with a shoulder injury. Unfortunately the chest injury he also had made the exercise painful for him and also made us realise that he was never going to be able to passage again properly. :( So he never made a Grand Prix horse.

I guess it comes down to whether or not the exercise is making life better for the horse or worse.

Yep making them do caprioles works great aswell and making them jump 7 feet high helps even better. :cool:

CatOnLap
Sep. 13, 2008, 11:44 AM
can you provide video on that Dutchie?

stryder
Sep. 13, 2008, 11:54 AM
[QUOTE=Bats79;3514918]Well, as you have been there before, you could go back and ask him.

Someone has actually told you the horse's story - he was badly injured and improving. QUOTE]

Not sure "expression" would be welcomed back. She visited Craig's barn as a potential working student and things seemed to go well. But instead of asking any follow-up questions of Craig and Mary Anne, she came here, resurrected a nasty thread and posed as "a friend" of someone who considered the working student position. She presented herself as someone who has studied dressage for 20 years (she's 28) and has been training horses in higher movements, although she hasn't ridden higher level school horses.

About Sailor, the fabulous school horse who came to Craig's barn with a broken pelvis. He is a sweet, gentle teacher. He does better when he's regularly worked. Gently and patiently worked, but worked. Any lessons start out with working him in hand to help him flex. Then there's a good brisk walk under saddle, until he evens out. He gets regular massage. The biggest crimp in Sailor's style happens when he gets an abscess and is out of work for several days. Then he's very stiff. He was just being brought back into work when "expression" visited last week.

As Bats79 said, the work is therapeutic when the horse is relaxed, submissive and trained. Sailor is all of those things. He's so light you can turn him with a breath. Or exhale to pick up the proper lead on a canter depart. He's calm and saintly. But he isn't perfect. He is terrified of deer. ;)

Foxtrot's
Sep. 13, 2008, 03:26 PM
The first 204 posts on this thread were OLD dating back to 2006. For some inexplicable reason this was woken up so continue the
barrage on some trainer who has every right to his own methods or interpretation of methods. Nobody is forced to take his lessons or read his website. The Dressage board is one I usually take a pass on
- some really snarky people post here, and I'm not excluding myself.

Foxtrot's
Sep. 13, 2008, 03:28 PM
Hey - Mazu - "He Who Shall Not Be Named" was reserved for one very special person!

chaltagor
Sep. 13, 2008, 03:53 PM
Mary Anne, I must say after hearing what a CLASSY response you have to all this bashing, I'm quite embarrased by what was in this thread. You could have come on this board stomping your feet and name calling, but instead invited people to come to their own conclusions by TALKING to you and/or Craig, and doing their own research.

Kudos to you!!


I would have to say you're wrong.


Sep. 10, 2008, 11:12 PM

Moderator? Helloooooo!!! How do we stop flaming?

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Our business is being regularly damaged by nasty, very personal and seriously biased posts on a thread on your site. We can't stop it. I don't like to read it, it makes me crazy-- but periodically a client will point it out to me and people who google us fairly consistently wind up there--why not? "Chronicle of the Horse" sounds authoritative. When they read these old spiteful posts, from what some have posted about their reactions, we get shot out of the water by petty middle school back-aisle gossip before many people have even given us a thought. Incidents that refer to something that may or may not have happened decades ago, and certainly didn't happen the way they are posted, are reported as if they are current, and they sit there festering-- or we get nasty posts from people who never have met us or seen the work we do. These are vicious attacks on a public person and the business he and his family, his staff and theirs, depend on for a living.

Short of having a staff member solely dedicated to countering this stuff, which simply shows up as defensive anyway, we'd sure like it if someone from the Chronicle would step in and clean it out of the system. The COTH forum is costing us money and hurting our business. It's damaging us, it's defaming us, and the user rules specifically say that is not permitted. But..where's the moderator?

Is anyone from the Chronicle reading these posts to the moderator? I believe there's something seriously, maybe legally wrong with providing an unmoderated forum.

Talk to me.


Wants any negative experiences from former Craig P. Stevens clinic attendees erased. Not "classy".

doublebridle
Sep. 16, 2008, 11:39 PM
Posted question to Mary Anne Sept 12 ....
Asking again...

From Mr. Stevens Website:
"When he was active in the show circuit Craig routinely won regional championships and national awards".

Mary Anne... could you please tell us more about where, when and with what horses, what breeds, what scores and at what levels Mr. Stevens competed ?

Thank you.

ThreeFigs
Sep. 17, 2008, 12:01 AM
I'd like to know, too!

WBLover
Sep. 17, 2008, 11:15 AM
chaltagor...obviously I didn't see that post. Is that from a different thread, or is it a PM? I was responding to this one which I did think was classy. The one you quoted--not so much :( :


My name is Mary Anne. I'm Craig's wife, so we can all assume I'm a bit partial to the man. I run the Snohomish part of instruction and manage the website, I teach and assist Craig with training and with clinics here at home, and I keep the home fires burning while Craig's abroad. Craig himself prefers to just ignore this sort of thing, but because I invited this young woman here and I generally LIKE horse people, I'd like to put a personal face on the folks being defamed through this process.

I am always dumbfounded when people indicate they are listening to these posts. For those of you evaluating us, or any other trainer, and looking at this sort of thing as a potential source of information, please talk to the people you're investigating directly. You can reach us through the website, at www.classical-equitation.com (http://www.classical-equitation.com). We are very publicly available. We are not even a little bit anonymous.

Listen: Equitation is a language. In verbal language, there are reasons to use French when you're planning to engage in romance, and German is supposed to be great for talking about Engineering, and Spanish to discuss deep heartfelt passions. There are reasons to ride in the common modern method, and there are reasons to explore the older dressage. I prefer the conversations that I have with my horses riding this way, I find it infinitely more effective, more nuanced, more pleasurable for my horses AND for me than the more common method. Some people may prefer something else.

If you like what you're doing and it's working for you and your horse, great! Enjoy yourselves...that's why we ride, right?

But...again, for those of you trying to evaluate us, if you're even considering broadening your linguistic abilities, if you genuinely want information do us the honor of talking to us directly. Gather information from the source, I'll be happy to give you contact information for people who love working with us. Talk to people who know us rather than taking information from people who spent a few minutes here, or from someone who never met my husband but who watched some one else who once took a clinic from Craig work a horse. Talk to real people who have spent time with us, learn why they like it, poke around with the positive folks. Then make up your own mind.

Let's see-- looking at my options on the "post icons" line I see they don't have an icon of someone wearing a target and waving a red flag while sticking their head out of the foxhole-- but this is me, a human being waving hello, and inviting you to send me your questions or concerns, or -- a novel idea -- even to say something nice.

Riding, after all, is supposed to be fun. Even (especially?) for those of us who have made it our life's work.

See you on the website (and it's a lot of hard work keeping that up-- say something nice about that!:))

Mary Anne Campbell (nsae@classical-equitation.com)
Director's Assistant, Barn Manager and Lead Instructor
National School of Academic Equitation
Snohomish, Washington
www.classical-equitation.com

egontoast
Sep. 17, 2008, 01:43 PM
When he was active in the show circuit Craig routinely won regional championships and national awards".



Yes please give some details. Thanks.

JGHIRETIRE
Sep. 17, 2008, 07:14 PM
Contact Mary Anne thru their website - I don't think she even wants to look at this board anymore.
It's www.classical-equitation.com

Foxtrot's
Sep. 17, 2008, 09:03 PM
Is this some kind of witch hunt - or do you have good reasons to enquire.

enjoytheride
Sep. 17, 2008, 09:15 PM
I actually think the internet and BBs are a good way to scope out a trainer, breeder, or anyone else running a business. If I hear about a clinician coming to my area I'll try looking up their name on the BBs I visit and see if people are positive or negative.

Auditing is a good option, but isn't always possible especially if they don't come back very often. Some clinics or trainers are far away and I'd rather find out online before driving an hour to see someone I should have avoided.

I think a good clinician will get positive reviews almost all the time, you do have to weed out comments from people who may think they are better then they are and are spiteful but for the most part I can tell the difference between those people and those that had a horrible experience. Especially if there are multiple horrible experiences on multiple BBs and multiple listservs.

If clinicians find themselves being talked about online and want to comment I think the best ones have a wonderful way of answering even stick poking questions in a tactful way then you find even the stick poking people back way down or look like an ass. A clinician that flys off the handle or shouts about lawsuits would not be on my list.

coucou
Jun. 7, 2010, 01:04 AM
Craig Stevens is really great. I've attended his clinics and have ridden his horses and I really love what he says. There's a lot of groundwork involved in his program, and his riding involves using "one aid at a time" which is basically a way of saying don't overload your horse with a million and one commands (i.e. don't squeeze to tell him to go forward, pull back on both reins to tell him to go backwards, and push with your seat at the same time because all three of those things mean different things and should stay that way).

Some of his stuff is DEFINITELY unorthodox, but if done right I've never seen horses more happy to work, lighter in the bridle, more responsive and more happy to to do ANYTHING you throw at them (piaffe, passage, counter canter, flying changes - you name it, no fighting with reins, no squeezing til you're blue, no rollkur, no spurs)

Just know that he's not the kind of guy where you'd benefit from one or two lessons, you basically need to relearn everything his way or it doesn't really work (that's not to say I haven't learned a few great things).