Training and Instruction with Martha Dodd.
A Note from Martha:
“I first became involved with dressage when, as a hunt seat rider, I found myself craving a higher level of communication with my horse. I saw dressage riders create what appeared to be magic with their horses.
Dressage is a beautiful form of communication between a horse and rider. For anyone who has learned the art of ballroom dancing, there are many similarities. The man leads, the woman follows, and in the case of riding, the rider leads and the horse follows. The horse will find this as enjoyable as the woman does, if the rider is clear in their “aids” (as when a man “leads” in dancing). If the aids are unclear, the horse will give the wrong response, and possibly even be punished for it. This is very discouraging, and eventually the horse will become sour and resistant.
It is for this reason it is very important for a rider to learn how to isolate the aids, how to properly apply them, and how to combine them as well. I teach the rider how to become aware of the effect their body parts, balance, and even their voice can have on communication with the horse. The rider must train their body as a dancer does, with stretches, holding their position initially with muscle, and learning to relax in the correct position. This requires dedication on the rider’s part, stamina, and tremendous concentration. The good news is that the rider does not have to rush this process, and shouldn’t try because there are no shortcuts. Be prepared for some frustrating moments, as it takes a lot of repetition to erase old habits, and feeling physically tired at the end of your ride. Those who have given up other disciplines to try dressage because it is “easier” are in for a big surprise.
I teach riders who own (or beg, borrow, or steal) their own horses. If you don’t have access to a horse, I may be able to help find one for you, just check with me. You will need an arena or flat grassy area to work in, preferably with letters. If you don’t have such an area, you will need a horse trailer so that you can haul your horse to one. There are several facilities available in the area that allow you to haul in for a small fee.
If you are interested in competing in dressage, I can teach you how to choose, apply, and prepare for the event, whether it is local or out of town, I applaud you for showing an interest in dressage – it means you care about your horse, and that you want to be a good rider. Persistence will bring the two of you many rewards. “
Martha Dodd has earned her USDF Bronze medal, and is currently working on earning her Silver medal on her Lusitano, RL Cicinho.
– Broke thoroughbreds for the racetrack as a teenager, taught riding on own horses.
– Taught riding lessons for PE students at Ohio State University, operated a boarding facility outside Columbus, OH. _Ohio.
– 5 years performing physical therapy on racehorses for the Bill Haughton Stables in New York, New Jersey, Kentucky and Florida
– Operated DaVinci Farms, a dressage facility in Fort Myers, FL for one year.
– Owned and operated Horse and Rider Outfitter, a tack shop, in Fort Myers, FL .
Martha holds a BS degree in Animal Science from Ohio State University, and additionally, spent one year in Horse Management at the OSU Agricultural Technical Institute.
Great Dressage Trainers who taught Martha
Vasco Mira Godinho, Portuguese Dressage Team Competitor and trainer (in Portugal)
Viviana Garcia Dow, Graduate, Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, Spanish Equestrian Federation, Association of British Riding Schools and British Horse Society Certiﬁed instructor.(In Spain)
Christina Stückelberger, Olympic gold medalist. (In Switzerland)
Doina Fischer, Certified Classical Dressage Trainer (In Switzerland)
Uwe Steiner, German trainer of many dressage greats such as Betsy Steiner
and brother of Olympic judge Axel Steiner (In the USA)
Chrissa Hoffman: USDF Gold Medalist (In the USA)
Nikki Levy, USDF Gold Medalist (In the USA)