As a working student of Dave's, I can attest that his horses are well cared for as well. This person clearly has a grudge, misinformation and hasn't spent enough time to with Dave to make their own opinion. Ignore the gossip everyone and GO SEE HIM.
Everyone also seems to be concerned about people's credibility on here. Yes I just created an account, I have read this forum for awhile but have not felt the need to post anything. After seeing this about not only someone who I considered to be my trainer but also a very good friend, I felt that it was time to put in my opinion.
Anyone who would like LEGIT information, please PM me.
Originally Posted by nhwr
I don't have a problem with your user name, horseluvers. I have a problem with your intentions. Dave Donnelly is friends with my former trainer and he trained in the same region that I live in. I've known him casually for a number of years. He is an affable guy. His horses seem well cared for. I have had some theoretical discussions with him but don't know much about his training methods.
I've been posting here for more than a decade on a variety of topics.
But you? Just this one. And you keep steering people towards his previous employers, which leads me to suspect you are one of them. Doesn't sound like an amicable parting, but I'd be careful. In a lot of states, intentionally damaging someone's business reputation is a tort and your user name isn't a very large fig leaf.
As I previously said, I was a working student for Dave this past summer of 2012. Not only did I learn more than I imagined but I gained a lifelong friend and asset to my dressage career. Dave is full of knowledge and will share it with anyone who has the time. So many days I'd be in the barn doing something and get called to the ring so Dave could show/explain what he was doing or have me get on and feel what he was feeling with that horse. (And for Dave's entertaining side, sometimes I got called into the ring to be asked what song was on the radio!). To me this is vital for students and clients to actually learn anything. As for the horses, Dave has a high standard of care that makes sure every horse is at their peak health and able to do what's asked. I have never seen so many young horses that truly love what they're doing either. They are all only ever faced with exactly what they can handle and brought up slowly and correctly. I saw this work right before my eyes, especially with one of the 3 year olds who won his first show ever by a landslide, then walked back to the barn with me calm and happy just like at home. If anyone has look at Dave's show record (as you all should) this horse then went on to win the Adequan/USDF All breeds award, which definitely has to say something about who Dave is as a trainer.
If anyone else would like to know more please PM me. Anyone considering training with Dave, go watch him ride, spend a day with him and you will not only be impressed with him as a trainer but also as a good person. And expect to laugh a lot, Dave can be quite entertaining
If this is the same Dave Donnelly that was in SoCal for years then I would recommend looking elsewhere for a trainer. I had enough interaction with him personally to know he is not a trainer I would ever recommend. I'm not sure what the "Sonoma" incident is that is being referred to but I will say that is far from the only barn he had issues at over the years. He did not have a good reputation in this area prior to heading up north and then back east.
A simple google search showed some results. I know there are youtube vids as well. Might as well look at them,rather than just listening to folks who may or may not have actual experience, or may or may not have axes to grind, or who may or may not ..... well, whatever. I have met him IRL, at the USDF convention; interesting to talk to. I have no experience otherwise.
Thanks, everyone for your thoughts. I understand that different folks have different experiences and I am the kind of person to make my own evaluation and I have never dissapointed myself with how I handle these kinds of trials or potential relationships, so I will take some lessons this summer and see for myeself how his philosphy these days and manner with horses and people fits with my needs for a trainer. I have read all the posts and will take everything into account, for sure. I will probably take some lessons with some other trainers as well and make a decision later in the summer about where to bring my horse and who we'll move on with. Thanks again, all of you folks for weighing in. Everybody's opinion is valid and I appreciate them, even those from folks with second hand experiences - how many times have we had friends go through difficulties with a trainer or barn owner, and our sympathies are not misplaced when we support them. I've heard some things about him which I find encouraging, as well, so I'll bear all this in mind and I'll check him out, thanks again.
My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods