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Please tell me about your lesson experiences in the Orlando, Fl, area

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  • Please tell me about your lesson experiences in the Orlando, Fl, area

    Greetings! I'm relocating early next year and Orlando, Florida, is a possible destination. I'd be working about 20 minutes from the airport and exploring areas in which I'd like to live, which would rely at least in part with where I decide to take lessons.

    I would like to read your experiences, opinions, and impressions of dressage instructors/trainers in the area, preferably with schoolhorses or clients/students who would be open to part-leasing/sharing their own horses.

    I've seen a number of websites and scribed for some of the big names, but don't have a sense of how to evaluate them as instructors. I don't plan, at this time, to take my horse from her current trainer so need to work with someone who can help me find a suitable ride.

    I welcome all thoughts and comments; please feel free to PM those you'd rather not make public.

    Thanks so much!!
  • Original Poster



    • #3
      Check out Heather Bristol, Meliora Stables
      I haven't ridden with her yet but after it cools down probably going to have her come to our place for a clinic because I have heard good things about her. Her place is lovely.
      Here is a good resource.


      • #4
        Nancy Harris and Nancy Smith are in the area. Nancy Smith is only here in the winter- I think she is in Michigan or Minnesota in the summer.

        Both are tough but effective. I have not had a lesson with Nancy harris, but she has judged for our club and a friend has worked with her. Nancy Smith instructed at a clinic we had a few years ago. I liked her; some found her tough.



        • Original Poster

          Thank you both so much!


          • #6
            Anne Gribbons ("S" judge) is in Oviedo (eastern Orlando area) and is supposed to be good (I've never lessoned with her).

            I do know she is a good judge and not breed biased (she pinned a pony over my SWB mare when we first started Training Level and she was right - pony was better!).

            In the brevard county area (East or Orlando) I have 2 instructors - both are VERY good. One is an "L" Judge who can not only train the horse but gives the riders a tool set for dealing with problem horses and teaching both horse and rider. She is a Godsend - really helped me with my Third Level mare who can be quite opinionated.

            Other trainer was a GP rider who recently decided she'd had enough and has stopped riding professionally but gives lessons to me and I think 1-2 others. She's actually gotten us to ride some piaffe and canter pirouette. In fact last weekend we were riding some PSG movements.

            The nice thing with both my trainers is they can both ride so if something comes up which I can't resolve they jump up. With my mare the problems appears small on the ground but when you get on her back things look totally different, so I need a trainer that can ride my horse AND work on me.

            If you're interested PM me for details.
            Now in Kentucky


            • #7
              2nd Anne Gribbons even though... I'm not sure how busy she is going to be now that she is coaching the US dressage team....
              I ride with WB Equestrian (trailer in as I live in Tampa) and I know that they have a dressage trainer on site too now.. beautiful facility!
              Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!


              • #8
                Matt McLaughlin is in the Orlando area as well

                You can also ride with Matt McLaughlin, he is in the Orlando area.

                Check his web site for contact info.
                Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bizbachfan View Post
                  Check out Heather Bristol, Meliora Stables
                  I haven't ridden with her yet but after it cools down probably going to have her come to our place for a clinic because I have heard good things about her. Her place is lovely.
                  Here is a good resource.
                  Heather is a hunter trainer, not dressage.

                  I also recommend Ann Gribbons, though I don't know what her lesson horse situation is like.
                  The Poulins are also local.
                  Those are the BNTs in the area.

                  If you're not looking for a big name, I know of quite a few very good local trainers....
                  Devon Belanger is over in Eustis - sometimes she has lesson horses or a half lease situation
                  Maren Foster is in Geneva - She's an event rider/trainer but she's very strong in dressage too. Lesson horses are sometimes available.
                  Cindy McPherson lives in Orlando but teaches at the Daytona Equestrian Center in Port Orange. It's a bit of a trek but there are always nice lesson horses available there.
                  Equestrian Pursuits is a small farm up in Deland... They took a lot of storm damage a few years ago but they still have a good lesson program and turn out strong dressage riders.

                  PM me if you want contact info for any of them.
                  The rebel in the grey shirt