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Dressage Tool Box Symposium – 2012


My vision is that a series of Tool Box Symposiums can build synergy within regions across the United States. Ultimately, the goal is to see this lead to a designated two-year pilot program of national training centers for young horse, young rider and amateur education.

The symposium is for and about instructors. I am looking for instructors in each region that are willing to share what they are confident in teaching. The goal is to create a program where all professional equestrians have a venue where they can teach.

I am convinced that the manner in which we instruct can be improved. There are many ways to be taught, many roads to Rome to reach an understanding of a subject, and many ways for a student to learn a lesson. I hope that the Dressage Tool Box Symposium becomes a vehicle for and a place where equestrians improve their teaching, their learning and technical grasp of communication.

Additionally, the symposium is just as much for riders. Riders sharing the lessons that they need to learn, either better or differently, often by listening to a different instructor entirely. Many riders are hesitant to learn from nearby instructors or take part in events like this. To be afraid to take a lesson from a different instructor in your region or to be reluctant because your instructor might get mad, is not smart. Education and grasping experience from others is what is so amazing about life—it’s never ending. The Tool Box gives local riders the opportunity to learn from many teachers.

The symposium is also about the auditors: how they can learn to observe more carefully and see the tools in action more clearly. One of the ways to facilitate this is by asking auditors to move to a different seated vantage point for each lesson, thereby gaining multiple perspectives. Many of the auditors are riders and instructors that for various reasons are not riding at this time. We are all in this together. Every single participant should leave the symposium having made a contribution and gained new tools.

I hope that these reports about the Tool Box Symposiums will encourage you to contact me to schedule a Tool Box Symposium in your region in 2012 and 2013. First choose an amazing facility in your region that can stable up to 10 horses. Next collect 10 to 12 instructors including several university professors who specialize in learning and teaching techniques. Then find one sponsor who loves the idea of being involved in a Tool Box Symposium. Contact me at and I will help you build your tool box, an affordable, fun, two-day event that brings you closer to your sport and your equestrian goals.—Karin Offield

Compliments of Dressage Today, October 2010