For over twenty years, riding has been my escape to tranquility, my therapy and my passion. My riding foundation and background has been primarily focused around hunter/jumper, but that changed in 2016 when I met Jen Truett.
Thoroughly convinced that I was a hunter/jumper rider, I didn’t understand and appreciate what learning dressage would do for me. Reluctantly, I yielded to the pressures of my best riding friends and decided to see how dressage could help improve my hunter/jumper riding successes.
Since I began attending 3-4 of Jennifer’s clinics a year, my journey with Finn (currently 10-year-old Thoroughbred), has grown to where my primary discipline is now dressage and jumping has been secondary. The feeling of a 1,200 lb. horse soft to the aids under you, connected from the hind end working with rhythm and harmony, and as one is such an amazing feeling. And that’s what has drawn me to love dressage so much!
The first clinic with Jen, we worked on my position the entire time from my upper body, to my core, seat and legs and even in several clinics after that. To this day, there are times where we go back and review or make slight modifications to my position to improve what we have worked on in the past. While I still struggle with my right leg sliding back, it has improved. Learning to sit better on my seats bones, dispersing weight for different aids, keeping a solid leg, sitting the trot without bouncing and remaining in a vertical position moving with the horse has helped my riding tremendously.
During a recent clinic, I was struggling with my hands, specifically my left hand. It was dropping so low that the line from bit to elbow was broken causing several issues. We took twine and made loops through the saddle d-rings which I put my hands through. This helped steady my hands, keeping an upward tension reminding me to keep my hands quiet and up. I rode every ride like this for a couple weeks after the clinic.
Jen has taken my stirrups away twice, as well as putting a whip between my leg and the saddle to help my leg position. Using all these tools and ideas to help me ride better, by the end of my rides with Jen, my horse feels to be moving better and am complimented by others that we look better. These improvements have allowed me to work up the levels in dressage to do the fun lateral work, flying lead changes, etc.
Rider biomechanics makes a significant difference in how our horses move; it’s up to us riders to be educated to ride and move with our horses to be one. I would not be where I am today without Jen by my side helping me from in the saddle, on the ground and horse health guidance. She is truly knowledgeable in many ways about horses and I am grateful that I have met her! Thank you!
"The goal of my Dare 2 Dream training system is to enable clear communication between horse, rider and coach while staying cognizant of the horse's emotional state."
~ Jen Truett