Elite Coaching Program

*I* have been chosen (cue majestic music here) to participate in Jane Savioe’s “Elite Coaching” Program.


This year-long program is quite extensive. It includes in-person training at your farm as well as follow-up through video critique and phone consultations.

I got a kick out of it, so I replied.

For the low, low price of $100,000 per year….

Not that it didn’t sound fun. Five personal visits, unlimited email, monthly phone consultations, tailored training program, meet at wellington for her personal insight into each movement of every test, and a visit to a top trainer’s barn.

But let me be frank… That’s a ridiculous amount of money. Lets further the persona of elitism in dressage by again highlighting the disparity between the “have’s” and the “have not’s”. I am a “have not”. Even if I mortgaged my house to the hilt I’d still be several tens of thousands shy of that price tag. I bet the cost of the flight to Wellington and hotel accommodations aren’t included either.

For that amount of money, I could take 500 lessons with the trainer who was short listed for the Olympics, or 600 lessons with the trainer that was long listed for the Olympics. Or I could take 2,000 lessons with my trainer (who i get huge discounts with, and I think is fantastic already). Or a whopping 5 lessons with Jane Savoie.

Not that I have a financial choice in my decision, but I can’t see the “Elite Coaching” as a wise investment.

Canter Piroutte Exercise

Occasionally, I fool around with stuff that’s way above our level of training. Mainly because it’s fun. I also think it’s good to try new things, even if that thing is a bit beyond the abilities of horse and rider at that point in time (tempered with wisdom of course).

I’ve been looking for exercises to build up Ava’s carrying strength. Anything that makes her sit more on her hindquarters and prevents me from pulling back on the reins. Today, I saw this video on YouTube and thought it looked like something Ava and I could do (maybe). The video is only about 2 minutes.

I tried it today, and Wow. It worked awesome! The exercise totally takes away the rider over complicating the canter pirouette, and it’s set up so that it’s easy enough for a horse that doesn’t have the muscle strength built up yet to achieve more pirouette strides. I think one key though is to make sure to ask for forward energy on the last stride out of the V. Also, the horse has to already know haunches-in and shoulder-in well. It wouldn’t be fair to ask a horse that hadn’t built up some strength to dive into this exercise. But for a horse that’s Second/Third level, I thought it worked great! I probably won’t use it that much, but it’s a good one to keep in the ‘Tool Box’.

I tried to get video of Ava and I attempting the exercise above, but failed miserably. I’m actually pretty surprised with how well Ava did today. The barn owner was nailing shingles on the roof, new stuff in the arena (dog agility course set up in the back there), and all kinds of other distractions going on. Ava was tenser then normal, but otherwise handled it like a champ.

Here’s the video – my riding sucks, but I was just having fun.

p.s. – counter canter is getting better.

Things I Think

When I’m auditing a clinic and I see the rider mess up..



How I feel after a really good lesson…


After Ava mugs me for treats…


When I nail a half-pass….