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Treated myself to an early birthday present...a GREAT dressage lesson on Whirlybird with Valerie Swygert...I already knew she was a wonderful dressage rider herself and an excellent judge but boy is she a FABULOUS instructor...uses great analogies and breaks down the pyramid of dressage training in an easy to understand manner:-) Thank you Valerie
Elodie, after taking a lesson with a big-name FEI trainer/rider:
"He told me the exact same things you do, gave me some of the exact same exercises to work on that you do. He thinks exactly like you. I loved him, but you will always be #1."
Disclaimer: though I loved hearing the other trainer an I were on the exact same page, I definitely am # 2! But I love that we have such a great personal relationship that she feels this way. -Valerie
"Valerie is simply the best. Her professionalism, knowledge, expertise, and dedication to her students and clients are unparalleled. She is the trainer you always hope you find.
Before I started training with Valerie, I had several unfortunate experiences with other trainers. Plus I was still dealing with emotional and physical injuries from a serious fall from my horse. Essentially, I felt defeated and wondered if I’d ever be able to simply ride my horse--much less realize my dream of moving up the levels of dressage.
Valerie was able to work with my physical limitations and get me past my fears. She was also able to understand they way I learned concepts. Her ability to provide explanations comes from an astute understanding of dressage history and theory and equine biomechanics. And, her ability to motivate me and her genuine belief that I could realize my dreams has provided me with the confidence I needed.
One of the best things she ever said to me was, “If you only believed in yourself as much as I believe in you…” Enormous inspiration came not only from the words, but knowing she truly meant them."
"Helping others, helps us grow ourselves."
After a lesson:
"(Husband) got home early tonight and i think i just yacked his ear off for an hour. I believe if i say one more thing about my lesson he'll get a hotel. :) It was a good lesson. I got a lot out of it."
"You are a really, really good teacher- that's why I ride with you!"
I've been watching the WEG video from Universal Sports. As I watch the dressage components I have to thank you for all your training. I mean not just of me and the riding I did, but also as I listened to you explain what was (supposed to be) going on with all levels of dressage. Your education absolutely allows me to understand what I'm seeing and to compare one horse/rider from another. I'm very grateful!
"After hearing so many wonderful things about Valerie, I decided to take a lesson. It didn't take me long to realize she has earned her positive reputation.
Not only did I learn a lot from one lesson, but found her to be quite an 'explainarian'; helping me understand her concepts easily. Her new arena is second to none. She is a well welcomed asset to the Lexington area and I will be back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths, etc."
"I am a lower level eventer and was stuck in a bit of "training level" rut and not having much fun with dressage. After working with Valerie for the very first time I felt like my dressage work had been jump started.
For the first time in a very long time I was actually enjoying flat work again and feeling like I was making progress. Valerie is so great at being able to see the little flaws in your position that are affecting your horse. She is superb at explaining how and when to make corrections and I absolutely love her imitation of lengthen trot! (If you haven't seen her do it, make sure you ask about it in your next lesson)
She puts her heart and soul into teaching and truly wants her students to excel. She is also patient and kind and hasn't made me cry once! She has inspired me to push myself and my horse to the next level and she has made dressage FUN again!"
After I rode her mare 4 times:
"I can already tell a difference- she's more supple. Thank you."
Thanks for all the help yesterday - really appreciate you!
"Are you a miracle worker? I think so!"
"GREAT JOB!!! We had a blast! I loved Valerie. She had the best test comments I have ever received. Please invite her back again!"
FROM THOSE JUDGED
"Many compliments on your remarks, you get an "atta girl."
USEF "S" judge
By the way, we loved your dressage judge! The comments she gave were great for the kids to learn from and the whole experience was a positive one.
Thank you for an awesome first experience. The judges were AMAZING with Isabelle. She is so excited for her next show and is anxious to practice!!
I can provide a long list of references of show organizers who have repeatedly hired me, including Gretchen Verbonic in the Tryon, NC area; the TTC shows in Mocksville, NC; Apple Tree Farm; Sporting Days Farm; Jumping Branch Farm; Augusta Riding Center; Wind Ridge Stables; Spotlight Horse Shows in Alpharetta; Tidelands shows in Charleston.
I have also judged at Full Gallop Farm in Aiken, Softwinds Farm in Hopkins; and Cedar Ridge Farm in Blythewood, to name a few.
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