I am trying to gather some information on dressage trainers in SC. I can trailer to Blythewood, Camden and possibly Aiken. A trainer that would be willing to travel to my farm would be great, although it would have to be someone who is ok with a humble but safe and cheery facility. My horse is an old guy, like mid 20s old. He is also mostly blind (uveitis and Appaloosas, who knew). I would like to show him a little at training level in schooling shows. I don't need weekly lessons, just someone I can come to once a month for tune-ups. What I DON'T need is a big ego trainer. Quest is not the typical dressage horse and I am not the typical dressage rider and we don't have FEI aspirations, but I still expect respect and communication.
Some trainers reasonably close to me that I've looked at include:
Susan Todd, Blythewood
Valerie Swygert, Aiken
Dru Ann Brunson, Sumter
Toi Trent, Wagener
Janet Brown, Hopkins
Scott Peterson and Amy McElroy are also close but I get the feeling that they are probably a step above what I am looking for (I could be completely wrong, educate me!)
So, any info on these trainers? Have you ridden with them and what did you think? Any info is appreciated.
Where exactly would you be trailering from? I have an excellent dressage trainer in Charleston. Sounds like you're either coming from upstate or the lowcountry area, and those places you listed are in the middle!
Valerie Swygert is great. Keeps herself well educated, but works with riders of all levels and all goals. I know one of her students has a couple appys. I've been with her sporadically (when i can afford it and can make the haul) the past year and a half. She also has GREAT schooling shows 6 times a year and people show up with every breed under the sun. Nice clean facility and i know she's getting new footing in her arena (which wasnt bad before, but will be fab now!) and her arena has mirrors. Unless prices have changed, she charges $40 for roughly a 45min lesson at her farm. She does drive out to some barns, if you are close to one she might be able to go to you. She has come here a couple times. She charged $50 to come to me.
I've heard great things of Elly and i know she has a nice arena and mirrors at her barn too. I would love to take a lesson or two from her as i know she wouldnt have any prejudice against my welshies since she rides one too... but i cant afford her yet. Last i knew, she charged $100. I dont know at all if she drives out to anyone. I saw her ride at Devon a few years ago and thought she looked like a really great rider with a good sense of humor. Very down to earth and i've heard great things about her.
Editing to add more info: Dru Ann Brunson is not a trainer but a judge (you can judge and be an amateur), Scott Peterson moved to NY? Jill Allard is in Columbia and I hear is good. (This info came from a friend that knows more of the local area to you.)
Last edited by butlerfamilyzoo; May. 20, 2010 at 10:41 AM.
Reason: adding more info
I used to ride with Susan Todd. She's awesome. When I rode with her (about 2 years ago), she was doing PSG work herself and I had never done dressage before in my life - I had decided to change from hunters to eventing and wanted to take some lessons. I didn't have my own horse. Her farm was very low-key but had good facilities, and she's a great communicator. I saw an awesome improvement in my own riding and my communication with the horse I rode over the course of a couple months, with just weekly lessons. I would give her a vote of confidence any time. I also know that she will travel, although she charges a bit more. She's located in Blythewood now, but she lives in downtown Columbia, so it sounds like she's close to you.