hi all! I've wandered over from H/J land. I have to admit, I'm getting a little bored with the usual. I'm about to go to college (rutgers-pharmacy @ new brunswick) And I'm probably not going to have very much time to ride, but I'm hoping that I will be able to ride maybe once a week (on the weekend) or every other week. But I'm thinking that I'd like to try dressage lessons for this coming year, to try and mix it up a bit.. only thing is, I don't know of too many dressage barns, and the ones I do know of, they do not have lesson horses.
The basics: I've been riding for 8 years and I jump comfortably up to 3' on most horses. (though i suppose the last bit may not matter much to a dressage person)
- I'm only 5' tall and 105 lbs, so it would be nice if theres a place that had some smaller horses or big ponies for lessons. I feel like when I watch dressage, I see a looot of huge hunky warmbloods, but then again I mostly just watch dressage on WEG and the olympics.. but anyway, my legs are just NOT long enough to really make an impression on a gigantic horse
- I probably wont have the money to show, but if I can gather it, I might be interested in trying out a little show in the spring time. So, a barn that offers the service to show would be nice but not necessary.
- AFFORDABLE! I'm going to be in college, so money's kind of tight. For a really great instructor, good facility, and good schoolies/lesson program I'd be willing to shell out $75 max for a lesson, but then I'd only be able to afford maybe every-other week. So, I'm hoping to stay lower than that so if I manage to have the time, I could go every weekend.
- within 30 mins of rutgers NB (I'll be on busch campus if that makes much of a difference) but I could probably deal with going up to 45 mins away
ALSO: random Q's: do most dressage lesson places use dressage saddles or regular CC saddles for "beginners" in dressage?? a friend of mine took dressage lessons and for a long time she was in a CC saddle before moving on to a dressage saddle. I'm wondering, because I love my CC saddle and It is hard to imagine hiding it away in the closet! :P
- if I actually get to go to a little dressage show, would it be acceptable to wear my normal HJ show attire? (tan breeches, black field boots w/ lace, white shirt, and dark solid charcoal coat??) I can't really justify going out and buying another hunt coat for one show!
SORRY THAT WAS SO LONG! I really appreciate any suggestions
I don't have any recommendations for you, but I will say as someone almost exactly your size (5' 1.5" -- that 0.5 inches is very important, you know -- and 105 pounds) you shouldn't discount the big warmbloods. I took dressage lessons for years while in grad school and most of the horses I rode were big guys. In fact, my favorite lesson mount was a late-gelded (I mean in his teens) Hanoverian who was 17+ hands and competing at the Grand Prix level (with his owner, not with me). Learning on such a schoolmaster was an invaluable experience, and the feeling of riding upper-level movements on a horse of that size and ability was completely unforgettable and something I will crave for the rest of my life.
I crossed over from h/j land as well, and found it comparatively much more difficult to find dressage barns that had lesson horses per se than for pretty much any other style of riding. I was lucky enough to find a small barn outside of Philly at which the owner/trainer competed in dressage and gave limited lessons to outside riders mostly using her own horses and boarder's horses. I was also able to trade lessons for chores so I could ride twice a week instead of only once a week. At the time I found that barn through rec.equestrian (which I am not sure exists anymore) and then word of mouth. You may find something like this if you are lucky and look hard.
That said, I have never seen a similar arrangement since then and am currently half leasing a horse so that I can ride regularly and take lessons in dressage. You may have better luck finding a barn that has lesson horses if you expand your search to eventing barns.
Marilyn, her son Doug, and her daughter Holly are top event trainers and riders. Marilyn rides mostly dressage these days (I think). Her website says they have lesson horses and even give lunge lessons. This place would be about 30 miles north of Piscataway, which is where I think Rutgers is (??).
I have a PSG/I1 schoolmaster I teach on. I also have a German Riding Pony.
My one boarder is a professor at Rugers ( I know there are a few campuses so I am not sure if I am near you ). If you get on my web site you can read about me and the farm. It is located in Elmer NJ. www.transitionsfarm.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
thanks for the suggestions so far guys! I am not all that great at google searches, but one place I found a couple days ago before posting here seemed to have some lesson horses for dressage, but Ive never heard of the place. Pleasant Meadow Farm, anyone heard of it? Is it worth checking out along with the others? (if you have anything negative to say, I'd prefer it if you sent me a PM)
Another vote for Marilyn Payne. I rode with her before I left for college (and still try to get in lessons when I can get home), and was a WS for her son Doug last summer. Both are excellent teachers as well as riders and judges. Marilyn is your best bet if you won't be bringing your own horse though, as I don't believe either Doug or Holly has school horses at the moment. If you want to check on Doug's website in addition to Marilyn's, it is www.dpequestrian.com. Feel free to PM me if you want more information.
I've been training with the trainer of Pleasant Meadow for 6 years and have had my horse boarded there for 3 years - You can email me at my username @aol.com for any questions - Best decision I ever made!
Check out the ESDCTA website. Look for barns in Hillsborough, Belle Mead, Flemington, maybe even as far as Ringoes (all off of Amwell road). Actually, the Bedminster area may be a better idea b/c you're right off of 287 (I went to grad school on Busch campus).