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Has anyone ridden with Britta Johnston?

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  • #21
    It's the same person. I took lessons with her here in Florida during the same time frame- I believe she had a different last name at that time. I loved working with her.

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

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    • #22
      Britta Johnston is the new owner of Mountain Vista Farm in Amissville, VA

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

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Britt...6751?ref=br_tf

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      • #23
        Britta recently started coming monthly to the farm where I board my horse. I had heard the part she wanted "fit riders". So I was reluctant to take a lesson but I tried anyway. She did not say anything about my fitness. She was pleasant and helpful, I have only taken the one lesson so far. So, I don't have a good feel for her training style yet.

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        • #24
          There are better choices in that area than Britta.

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          • #25
            I event and ride with her as much as I can (she comes to the neighborhood arena I trailer to). She focuses more on the basics and creating the strength/movement/carriage/transitions than some trainers who focus more on the tests/competition prep. I think she is good for event-type horses because she likes forward and high energy, and helps you channel that extra energy/tension that sometimes come with fitness.

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

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            • #26
              Originally posted by Beam Me Up View Post
              I event and ride with her as much as I can (she comes to the neighborhood arena I trailer to). She focuses more on the basics and creating the strength/movement/carriage/transitions than some trainers who focus more on the tests/competition prep. I think she is good for event-type horses because she likes forward and high energy, and helps you channel that extra energy/tension that sometimes come with fitness.

              FWIW I haven't heard her say anything derogatory about the physical fitness of horses/riders at the lessons I've seen. I do think she prefers a devotion level that is hard for some amateurs to reach (at my lesson location, only a few can take the whole day off to audit the full day of lessons, for instance, and some who do are answering work emails on their phones . . .), but I think most working amateurs are used to that struggle.
              I think this is a pretty good summary
              I've really enjoyed my time riding with Britta and it's pretty obvious I've improved from my lessons. She does expect her students to put forth effort but I don't think that's unreasonable expectation. I highly recommend getting in lessons on her schoolmaster, Rio.

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              • #27
                I used to ride with Britta and I learned alot with her. I found her to expect a person to work hard but she liked working with all of my horses, including a cranky, old, Tb gelding. I really liked working with her.

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                • #28
                  Another positive review from me! I've been riding with her weekly (for the most part) since the fall. I also event and have a very hot, sensitive mare. Britta loves her for who she is and we have definitely seen big improvement in our gaits and movements.

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

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                  • #29
                    For those who have ridden with Britta, would you recommend her for a low level rider with a "non-dressage-y" mount? There is a fairly local clinic opportunity that is being advertised to all levels of horse and rider.

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

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
                      For those who have ridden with Britta, would you recommend her for a low level rider with a "non-dressage-y" mount? There is a fairly local clinic opportunity that is being advertised to all levels of horse and rider.
                      I think it's probably worth it. She'll expect you to be working with him to get towards a "dessage-y" way of going - on the bit, in front of your leg, etc. You won't get away with riding him as a WP horse (I say this as a former hunter who habitually had/has a problem with riding with shorter reins.) I am by no means an accomplished rider and I've seen her work with raw beginners, if you put in effort, you'll definitely get something out of the lesson. I've also seen her work with "off breeds" (including a pokey QH trail horse.)

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                      • #31
                        http://www.centerlinescores.com/Ride...ilterBy=scores

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

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                        • #32
                          I realized I never reported back. I did end up going to the clinic. As with all things, there was good and bad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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                          • #33
                            Riding is an art, and teaching is a completely different art. Riders must learn to ride and teachers need to learn how to teach. When I road with her, Britta had a lot to learn about teaching methods and how to expressing her thoughts.

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

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                            • #34
                              Ms. Johnston also prefers to use her valuable time teaching people who wish to become "professionals" and who are young, fit, can drop money and not bat an eye, and eager. Don't waste your time if your an older adult wanting to improve your seat or enhance your riding skills. But then, this is my humble opinion on what I have observed...
                              “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” ? Jane Austen

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