I started taking lessons with Christy late 2009. I was about a year into riding Boomer, a semi-retired New Zealand Sporthorse jumper. I was also a retired jumper, and transitioning from jumper to dressage was quite a struggle for me. Christy has a very thorough teaching technique wherein she does explain not only what to do but the how and the why When I look back at our first few lessons when I am struggling just trying to keep Boomer on the rail, I feel we have made great progress. Dressage certainly is challenging but such fun, especially when the horse actually does the movement the rider is asking for. But as evidenced by our first show, we had a few good moments as we took a blue ribbon in all our classes, and the high point ribbon for the day. I was so surprised! – Donna P., adult amateur
I don’t ride, but my children have for many years. They have had lots of instructors, both with school horses and their own horse. We had also attended shows with school horses and with our own horse. Here are my observations about Christy’s teaching in comparison with the numerous instructors I have watched over the years (and I’ve been watching for 11 years.)
Christy is, hands down, the most even tempered instructor I have come across. This is priceless in riding instruction, as I have observed. I have seen instructors lose their temper in the class and at shows and yell across the arena at a child. I have seen instructors pick favorites and focus solely on that student and neglecting the others. Christy gives each student her full attention when she is at a show. She watches them in the arena, coaches, corrects, encourages and discusses the ride afterward. She is prepared and makes a day that can get hectic actually very enjoyable.
During her lessons she explains why they should ride a certain way and they understand and easily remember her lessons. With each lesson they, both horse and rider, learn more and more and are definitely not stagnant, doing the same thing week after week.
Christy is calm, considerate but at the same time she sets the bar to their level and beyond, encouraging them to reach their full potential. When a lesson doesn’t progress, she helps them find out why and helps guide them to try to learn how to fully motivate and learn with the horse.
We are truly very happy with her as an instructor and I am very glad she is at Silver Fern. Our horse is in fantastic shape, even better then when the kids were jumping her. The value she has added to Peaches in terms of having a horse that is fun for the girls to ride and well-trained is beyond compare. — Karen K., parent of two junior riders
I’ve been riding with Christy for almost four years, starting out as a rank beginner. Today, I’m a much more capable, sensitive rider – and a better horsewoman. Christy has coached me through several crises of confidence, serious lameness issues and other challenges. I appreciate her holistic approach, which blends sound horsemanship with biomechanics and the principles of classical dressage. Christy also found and assisted in the evaluation and purchase of my current horse, who is a fantastic match for me. She’s more than just a trainer. Christy is a real partner on this journey.
Like many riders in their 40’s, I have a few challenges, including some damage from arthritis and other injuries that affect my posture and flexibility. It’s not unusual for one of my lessons to start with Christy saying, “I did some research on [the issue du jour] and have some ideas. Let’s try …” She’s thoughtful and prepared for lessons, and has the rider’s long-term goals and best interests in mind. She doesn’t just show up and teach in the vacuum of the moment.
Christy has also helped me put my confidence back together more than once. She’s done so not by simply holding my hand. Her approach with me had several prongs – which included developing my seat and balance, learning how to get (and keep) the horse on my aids to maintain communication and control, fixing some respect issues with the horses from the ground and pushing me at the right moments. Her holistic approach addresses all the variables and has made me a much better, happier and more confident rider. — Sarah R., adult amateur