Ed Dabney's blending of natural horsemanship and classical equitation has made an indelible mark with students all across the United States and now also in Europe, drawing the attention of serious riders searching for the lightest touch and the deepest connection with their horses irrespective of breed or discipline.
As an instructor of classical riding, Ed academically relates to his students the teachings of the 17th century French masters, Baucher and La Gueriniere in the patient, accurate and refined style of the classical period.
Pursue riding as an art!
In this clinic you will learn to ride with precision, accuracy and lightness. Instruction will be given in:
- Essential warm up exercises
- Correct use of the rein, leg and weight aids
- The classical seat for correct posture and secure balance
- Cues for smooth gait transitions
- Maintaining gait including lengthening and shortening the stride
- Lightness in stopping and backing
- Proper canter depart from walk
- Correctly executed turns on the forehand and turns on the haunches
- Correctly executed leg yield, shoulder in, renvers and travers
In this clinic you will discover how horses were trained and ridden when excellence in horsemanship and riding was fervently pursued as an art form, truly understood and highly revered. This style of fluid and refined riding is sympathetic to the horse in the separation of the aids and lightness of the cues.
Both you and your horse would greatly benefit from the clinic experience. Much of what you'll learn and what you'll be teaching your horse during the weekend centers around safety, communication and developing your leadership position in your relationship with your horse.
"Finally, it can well be said that sparing use of the aids is one of the most desirable traits of the rider."
François Robichon de La Guérinière
You do not need to be an experienced rider or horseperson to participate with your horse in this clinic. Beginners as well as advanced riders in both English and Western disciplines have found the skills taught in Ed's clinics to be very useful. His system of working with horses builds confidence in handling horses on the ground and mounted, equips owners with natural communication skills and establishes their authority as a confident, consistent leader for their horse. You will develop a better relationship with your horse- lighter responses, more respect, trust, and harmony. You will understand how your horse perceives the ideas you present to him and how to communicate with him in a way that makes sense to him. This is all accomplished with respect for the horse by using gentle, natural horsemanship techniques.
Ed's teaching style is very clear and straight-forward, giving students a methodical and systematic approach which is easy for both horse and rider to understand and apply. His gentle methods have been proven effective by successfully working with hundreds of horses and humans. You will learn problem solving principles and teaching techniques that work with the horse's nature and instincts in order to overcome resistances and find solutions with confidence, patience and understanding.
You'll learn gentle horsemanship and classical riding techniques that you've never seen before and that are not taught in any other clinics.
Thirty years of working with horses in the ranching, motion picture and training industries along with Ed's formal training in 17th century classical equitation provide him with a very unique and broad base of skills and knowledge to pass on to lesson participants.
Ed Dabney has studied the work of and enjoyed a warm friendship with legendary classical Master Karl Mikolka, of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Monsieur Philippe Karl of the Cadre' Noir, French Riding School and icons of classical riding Walter Zettl and Baron Albert Moyersoen. Ed has immersed himself in intensive formal training, on the instructors' level, in classical riding at the famed National School of Academic Equitation in Washington under Master Craig Stevens.
Friday night 7:00 – 10:00 PM multi media presentation:
"Ancient Secrets of Classical Equitation"
You will learn the academic theory and fascinating history of classical equitation. This insightful, entertaining and educational presentation provides an excellent background and foundational understanding from which to begin our work with the horses on Saturday. This opening session of the clinic is mandatory for clinic participants and free to auditors. Light refreshments will be served during a short intermission.
"Theory instructs us that we should work from a foundation of sound principles, and these principles, rather than going against nature, must serve to perfect it with the aid of art." François Robichon de La Guérinière
Saturday arena work:
The clinic hours are 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM Saturday. All riders are expected to be in the arena promptly at 10:00 AM with their horse saddled. Riders should be on foot with their horse in hand on halter and lead. Bridles should be attached to the saddle or hung nearby on the arena fence. In the morning we will begin with some brief essential warm up exercises in hand then move into the mounted work for the remainder of the day. Lunch break will be 1:00 – 2:30. Riders should be mounted in the arena promptly at 2:30.
$275 per rider, $25 per auditor
Overnight horse boarding available - $25 for individual paddock or stall. We provide shavings and cleaning. Bring your own hay and feed
Follow up Lessons
Monday following the clinic, Ed will be available for individual or group lessons. This a great opportunity for you to have a private session to improve the skills learned during the clinic. Ed will be happy to work with you and your horse on any particular problems or issues that are most important to you. Fee for individual lessons is $135 per hour.
Group sessions of two or more riders may also be arranged if there is a group of participants who would like to work on similar topics. Fee for group lessons is $75 per rider per hour.
These “after clinic” individual and group sessions are open to anyone including clinic participants or auditors who would like to work with their horse or with one of our school horses.
I just wanted to congratulate you for the high quality of your training. I am considering you as a "classical" trainer in the sense that you eliminate any constraining instrument and do not use force. Your message founded on deep knowledge and respect to the horse would be very useful on the official scene. Competition is too often meaning results at any price.
All the best to the "gentleman cowboy" you are!
Ecole de Legerete'
"Ed's pleasant personality combined with true expertise and love for the equine partner makes him highly qualified to pass on an important equestrian culture to a new generation of riders by combining centuries-old European tradition with American Cowboy culture. I received my equestrian education for over 13 years at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria and I can only recommend Ed Dabney as a role model for many."
-Karl Mikolka Oberbereiter,
Spanish Riding School of Vienna
"I went to Ed's clinic with a good mannered mare without any expectations - and I came out with a mare who reads my mind. Ed is really amazing. I'm impressed"
-Anne Ollila, Finland
Upon reflection, after spending 2 days at your North Carolina clinic, I am delighted with my experience of your Classical Riding Skills clinic. I learned so much and feel confident to practice well at home. Setting the tone and background with the evening presentation was inspired---I never knew the historical context and it really set us up for a deeper understanding of the principles in the clinic. Your patience and persistence were just right and kept the clinic moving, while also giving us time to sink into the maneuvers enough to be able to then take them home. Asking us (towards the end) if there was anything else we specifically wanted to cover made the difference between a good clinic and a great clinic.
I am already passing on your information to others who could benefit from your teachings.
Looking forward to the next round"