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NEW 500 DPI toolbox with web address and dressage-1

The information on this site is useful if you are interested in organizing, riding and or instructing at a Tool Box Symposium. will provide organizers with a Tool Box Kit that will explain the program and offer the templates and administration assistance to create a Tool Box Symposium in your region.It is being offered for sale for $750.00, and the price is negotiable. 

Many thanks to the USDF for including the Dressage Tool Box Symposium as a the USDF University accredited program.


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 Reid Offield

Compliments of Dressage Today, October 2010

Welcome to the website where all the details are posted about a Dressage Tool Box Symposium.



Dressage Toolbox - December 2010

Dressage Toolbox – October 2010

October 2010 Dressage Today

Dressage Toolbox -November 2010

Dressage Toolbox -November 2010


November 2010 Dressage Today


Equestrian Clinics is an educational website that provides members with a

front row seat to clinics with equestrian’s top trainers.

Our goal is to bring the equestrian community together with a continuing

education program of demonstrations, exercises and life experiences. Books and

magazines are a great resource for riders of all levels. But at Equestrian Clinics,

we believe that since humans are visual creatures, we learn more from

demonstrations. Watching other riders make mistakes that we can relate to and

then watching the correction is a powerful learning tool. Having the visual imprint

of correct riding is a tremendous benefit in advancing your skill as a rider.

We are approaching trainers all over the world to allow us to “take a peek”

at their lessons and clinics. In a perfect world with money and time limitless,

many of us would travel to these fantastic clinics and watch in person. Since that

is not always possible, Equestrian Clinics brings the clinics to you. We also

encourage riders to participate in clinics personally and watching these wonderful

trainers will prepare them for their clinic.

These clinics stream on our website,, and are

available to our members (Member fees go towards covering some of the

production costs. There are no profits realized.) Each month we feature a new

full-length clinic with a top hunter, jumper or dressage trainer as well as

numerous training tips. We have shot with such trainers as George Morris, Anne

Kursinski and Frank Madden. We are thrilled to have our first opportunity to shoot

with such talented members of the dressage community with Karin Offield’s Tool

Box Symposium.

Thank you for sharing your expertise and helping us to create this

tremendous educational opportunity for trainers and riders of all levels.

Kathleen Burns Rohr

Equestrian Clinics

Your Front Row Seat to Clinics

By Equestrian’s Top Trainers

A wonderful letter received from a Tool Box participant ….after our inaugural Tool Box.

Hi Karin,
I sent this to Laura {another interested person in your Tool Box from the State of Virginia}, and then thought that a section of it could be used as a quote for you. Feel free to edit it as you want to improve it.
“The Tool Box Symposium was one of the best events I’ve attended. We, my son and I, were looking for what kind of instructor we could learn best from, and how the lessons could be shaped to learning styles. I’m interested in the teaching of HOW to teach, not just the materials. What is it that makes it worthwhile to go to a particular instructor to get the most positive transformational “aha!” moments? Or, how to get the most learning bang for the buck. The Tool Box was intense and liberating, with many opportunities to talk with everyone, be they presenters, riders, instructors, or auditors. Karin did a brilliant job of mixing people and changing their locations, so they wouldn’t get into a small rut. Having the sports psychologist was a stroke of brilliancy, as she helped all of us communicate better. The lessons just got better and better, as instructors added her new ideas, and riders felt more comfortable in describing what they felt and were frustrated in understanding. The auditors added their observations and everyone stayed positive and helped each other. There were no mean spirited comments or actions allowed, so people didn’t feel so vulnerable.
I not only would go to another Tool Box if it were handled as well as Karin’s, I would knock myself out to sign up early, sign up to be a rider and help put it on. It was that brilliantly done. Excellent all the way around.”
Big Hugs!
Robin in Virginia

A wonderful letter received from....a horse....after our inaugural Tool Box.

Dearest Karin,

I wanted to start off with telling you that this DRESSAGE TOOLBOX SYMPOSIUM’S of yours was a terrible idea, as a middle aged dressage horse I have grown quite comfortable in bamboozling my rider pretty well. It is true I have a huge ass and it is also true that I can use it on occasion but only to fight for the last crumbs in the pasture or to remove an un-abiding rider.

I am just fuming over this Symposium crap that was used to “educate” riders and to show them how to use us for a prettier picture. Frankly I am tired of getting my good name drug through the mud when in fact I am just as cool standing in the pasture as under saddle. I am really not interested in working any harder. I think I do my job quite well and standing in the arena with my ears up is my favorite and I think my most beautiful gate. I think if you polled the general Equine population in the area they would all give your Symposium a hooves down.

After my usually passive and very agreeable rider came back home yesterday she had a fire in her eyes and decided she wanted to “try something new”. I was minding my own business ready for my daily massage and little jog around the arena to keep my trophy horse figure she thought it was a great idea to try have me use my rear end.

My rear end …(…*$&#($&#(*$&()@*#&@)(&# I don’t think so, is reserved for tail swishing and fence rubbing, certainly not working under saddle. I tried to get my union rep on the phone to remedy the situation but they said that was in my original contract when I first started this gig and I should feel lucky that I have gotten away with it this long.

So Miss Offield if you ever try to do one of these absolutely ridiculous DRESAGE TOOLBOX SYMPOSIUM things again, I and others on the proverbial other side of the fence will not be supporting.



Moose (Rowan) – THE HORSE



Dear Moosey, Attached is a pyramid of training for you !



This is our local Press Release…

Contact: Karin Reid Offield

May 21, 2010

PETOSKEY, MI – “Unbelievable quality of instruction and presentation. Very inspiring;” “Couldn’t have been organized better” were some of the comments given by instructors, riders, and auditors in response to the inaugural Dressage Tool Box Symposium held May 15 and 16 and hosted by Bay Harbor Equestrian Club. Sponsored by Karin Offield of Harbor Springs,, and Barnby Notes, the symposium gave attendees a unique opportunity to advance their skills in horsemanship and share openly the “tools” that will advance their skills as dressage teachers and riders.

Dressage is the systematic training of the horse to increase it’s suppleness and athletic ability. As an Olympic level competitive discipline, dressage displays the beauty and grace of the horse and rider in partnership as they perform what appears to be an effortless mounted ballet. On a more fundamental level the foundation of dressage will benefit any rider who desires to communicate fluidly and bring out the best performance of their horse.

This inaugural clinic was open to all dressage instructors. Offield stated “the purpose was to share the diversity and range of ideas from dressage instructors; to show and tell the technical skills. The manner in which we teach and learn as students takes years by experience. As riders we learn in varying amounts every day. As instructors we are constantly examining those “lightbulb moments” to see why a certain “lesson” was suddenly learned. It’s like looking at life – but on a horse.”

Instructors with backgrounds as diverse as equine and human biomechanics,, therapeutic riding (NARHA), Centered Riding, and US Dressage Federation Gold Medalists from national competition participated. Also participating were several USDF certified judges and instructors. Each instructor taught 2 lessons focusing on a specific dressage fundamental or movement to mounted students who indicated they needed an additional perspective in refining their understanding of that particular skill. The riders were asked to list the lessons that they needed to learn.

Karin Offield, as moderator and inventor of the Symposium model was able to craft the lessons program to fit the needs of both the instructors and the riders. The auditors played an active part in the program too by changing their observation vantage point from lesson to lesson. When asked “What is the reason behind hosting a Tool Box Symposium?” Offield replied, ” I am talking about getting a region together to introduce, to discover, and to work together so that all of our instructors skills and tools, our clients horses, and our dressage tests are better. For all of us to meet the instructors in our region is super. What better way than this to make sure that we are all training our horses in a modern, respectful and intelligent manner!”

Special guests from Michgan State University attended. As experts in their fields of teaching and learning, Dr. Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS, professor and McPhail Chair in Equine Sports Medicine; Karen Waite – Equine Extention Specialist; and Narelle Stubbs – research associate and Physiotherapist from Australia and England helped us see the subjects more clearly. “It was fun and very enlightening.”

Local participants in the Harbor Springs area included Nancy Williams riding her rescued Thoroughbred Trakehner cross, Dreamer who won the group’s heart for his wonderful work ethic and athletic ability. Karin Offield also rode William’s little gelding in a session on developing the canter pirouette. Prix St. George competitor and USDF “L” judge, Kim Aikens from Petoskey instructed. Young riders Suzannah Simon from Charlevoix and Miles Hayes also wowed the crowd. Other participants came from around Michigan and as far afield as Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, and Virginia. There were 55 attendees.

The symposium goals were twofold; one, that all participants go home with new “tools” added to their collection of both teaching and riding skills and two, that the program serve as a model for additional Tool Box Symposiums to be held across the country. Unlike many European countries, the United States does not have a regional national training center program for dressage riders and young horses. Offield hopes that by creating the Tool Boxes this need can be addressed and a 2 year pilot program of National Training Centers can be initiated across the United States. The choice of Bay Harbor Equestrian Club was an easy choice for Karin, “It has all the amenities a person could want to hold large events and be educationally proactive. The staff at Bay Harbor were terrific. We were in good hands. ”

For more information on the selection of a facility as a site for a future Dressage Tool Box Symposium in 2010 and 2011 please contact Karin at The Tool Box was designated a USDF University accredited program and the organizers and participants were very pleased with their support. For more information on the USDF University please click on this link:





Sign up, tell your friends, choose your lessons….ask your students which lessons you should teach…ask your instructors what you need to learn, arrange your transportation. We will welcome you.

1. “Bay Harbor Resort and Marina” needs to be changed to “Bay Harbor Village Hotel” as of January first they changed the name.

2. Refund Policy:

3. Airports convenient to Harbor Springs, Petosky and Bay Harbor Equestrian Center are:Pellston, Michigan the closest and an approximately 35 minute drive from the airport.The other alternative is Traverse City, Michigan an approximately 1 1/2 hour drive.There is also a private air strip located in Harbor Springs.Rental cars are easily arranged at all airports, however Avis is the only rental car company that services the private field at the Harbor Springs airport.

4. .We are proud to be able to offer this USDF Accredited Program. If you wish to tell people about signing up to receive credit from the USDF University, please refer to the Symposium in the following manner. See details below the REGISTRATION FORM

5. Lunches and Costs: The procedure was as follows for the Buck Branaman event. Participants ordered in the early morning off our Take Out menu Lunches were delivered and paid for in cash or check by each of the participants on the spot. ($5.00 and up )Our delivery people brought a change bank to facilitate payment. This worked well from our perspective and we would be happy to repeat the process for your event. Thanks for choosing Galley Gourmet.It will be yummy !

6. Entries are beginning to arrive. We have approximately 30 stalls available

7. This Symposium is for Young Riders too

8. I have some riders that are looking for a horse to ride. If you have a schoolmaster that would be suitable, contact us.

9. I have had some questions from riders asking about if they have ridden 2-3 level but their horses are lower level …can they ride and participate ? Absolutely if we have room !

10.I am encouraging you to bring the schoolmasters, you and your students can have multiple rides on a horse.

11. DOWNLOAD HERE LUNCH MENU At registration, have your order ready for Saturday and Sunday lunches.

12. I am searching for a trailer ride for two horses from the Lansing Michigan area. Please contact us immediately. These young riders want to join in !

13. Directions to event are below. Please free to Cut and Paste. We can also email you these directions.


Please go to the bottom of these pages for more information. Thank you

TOOL BOXPDF2 to download the Tool Box Symposium PDF to print multiple copies. ONE registration per person.

Read carefully and fill out the Registration before calling or emailing us. We will post your questions here, on


WELCOME TO THE COMMENTS AREA…....I used social networking for 80% of my advertising and networking. My thanks go out to COTH on the Chronicle of the Horse for allowing me to use the dressage site to spread the word. One week prior to the event the threads were unfortunately removed by the moderator. I begged COTH to allow me to continue the “discussions” but they refused. I encourage any readers to encourage COTH to rethink their decision , as I firmly believe that the Tool Box Symposium is a helpful tool for our cyber world of networking and learning. The format is intended to be a place where regions of riders, instructors and auditors can all meet on common ground, at facilities of national importance, size and consequence to advance our sports, the correct and modern styles of teaching and learning and riding of the horse. kro 10/4/2010

Mary Phelps on Dressage Daily offered her help, and I received more than one thousand hits from her site. Thank you Mary !

Wintertime 2010

As the co-sponsor and a riding and instructor participant, and the creator of the event, I am looking to contact Dressage Instructors in our area. I want to encourage you to sign up and enter. Its going to be a great program. I am working with MSU and the UDSF has given the Symposium it’s thumbs up for University credits. Additional details are frequently added to this website as queries come in. You can down load , print and register. We advertised only on Mary Phelps Clinic site where you can go to Dressage Daily and learn about the Symposium. I am also signing up as a Upper Level rider, and I have asked Hillary Clayton work with me and 2 other Upper Level Riders on explaining and learning the horses foot falls, a lesson all about the mechanics of my horses 4 feet, more specifically during my transitions. We are having special educators and guests on Friday and Saturday night.

The Symposium is open to lower level riders, auditors, Upper Level Riders, and Instructors. This thread is to get the word out and encourage the Instructors around our region to register, participate as a teacher and/or a rider and send their students to either ride or watch. For riders, space is limited and we will close the entries on May 1st, doubling the inexpensive fee of $50 pp and $50 per horse thereafter.

I appreciate any help in spreading the word, please feel free to cut and paste this post and repost elsewhere. I personally am making no money from this event, so freely…spread the word.

It occurred to me today while I was speaking with one on my students that I should clarify several details about the Symposium so I get lots of Instructors to enter up.

The riders in their “group of riders” they teach (there may be one – three riders chosen per session) will be demonstrating the dressage lessons that the Instructors have listed on their entries that they can teach well. This means that if the Instructor feels their style of teaching a shoulder-in or a good halt is effective, these 2 lessons will be taught to riders who feel they need to learn those movements better. I remember when I was taking a lesson from Steffen Peters. He worked with me for an hour on the shoulder-in. It was bad, I could not “get” what he was telling me, over and over again. We both felt awful.

It was not until I tried to learn the same lesson, several instructors later, that the style of the instructor and his lesson made all the difference in my understanding the “shoulder-in”. ! I called Steffen and we laughed and laughed.

A far cry from my “crying” that took place over those hard lessons !

All the auditors and riders watching the Symposium will be getting a glimpse of teaching and learning styles so I want you all out there to encourage your Instructors you love to join me and enter. I have picked out 2 lessons I think I am good at teaching….so let me know if there is someone out there I can call and “talk into registering” . It’s going to be fun and you will all hopefully leave the Symposium with lots of new Tools !


Originally Posted by mbm viewpost.gif

just out of curiosity – how are you going to deal with the differing “Schools” of training? because i cant see the benefit of learning little bits of many different programs. that will only confuse everyone?

shouldn’t it be finding one program and then teaching it in great detail?

This is about teaching and learning. Everyone learns and hears differently. You can hear something said a million times, but not phrased in such a way that you “get it”. Some teachers will rephrase something until the student get the “aha” moment of comprehension. Sometimes one has to hear it from someone else. The most important point is to “get it”, if you have to go to someone new to get it, there’s nothing wrong with that. The goal is to learn from whoever works for you. Nobody’s perfect and we’re all unique in our learning styles. It’s just how we learn, that’s all. The opportunity to see the same thing taught in different styles and language is a wonderful idea.

I RECEIVED THIS COMMENT FROM AN INSTRUCTOR who I asked to register and enter the Symposium…

HE SAID : ” I am not sure about the two lesson concepts…often riders will show up at a clinic I’m giving to get help…say on flying changes with a horse that has been “late” behind on one side for years. The problem is not in the way the aids are applied …their whole training is bad…incorrect connection. I think people need to learn a SYSTEM of training…not pieces…when there is a good system, the pieces fall into place. That’s my ten cents worth.”

Here is my response to that. When I watch a dressage competition what strikes me…. is not how the horse and rider are trained, or how or what system they have trained in , it is the way the horse and rider together present the movements, and how each individual movement is strung together to make a Dressage test. Their “system” at that point is to me secondary. I cannot pretend to think I could possible fashion a clinic that can fix all…I am interested in learning about and teaching the details of dressage. That is how I progressed up the ladder to Grand Prix, detail by detail by detail. Steffen, Michael Poulin, Robert Dover and Anky didn’t have time to teach me a complete system. It was my responsibility to work hard on all my instructors’ advice and ride my horse to the winners circle.

I am talking about getting a region together at this facility, to introduce, discover and to work together so that all our tests, our clients and our instructors skills and tools are better. In Region 2 we are all quite spread out. For example my farm is 2 hours north of Traverse City, which is in Northern Michigan. Bay Harbor, the site of the Symposium, is 15 minutes south across the bay. The bridge to Mackinaw Island and the Upper Peninsula is only 30 minutes away ! Canada is very close to us. For all of us to meet the instructors in our huge region will be super, and what better way to make sure that we are all training our horses in a modern, respectful and intelligent manner than to meet for a clinic in May.

If we had a clinic with an instructor that taught an entire system, will more people attend or will people decide to stay home because they already have a system ? The difference between 1st , 2nd and 3rd place in dressage are the small details, and those details come from years of experience teaching, training and riding. As the OP of this thread I am looking for Instructors in this region that are willing to share what they are confident in teaching….thus the “two lessons”. Everyone always wonders…what is the secret to success… answer to this is ….”it’s in the details”.

Hope this info helps the understanding of the Dressage Tool Box Symposium in May in Northern Michigan. Please write to me at and i will answer your questions and post them here on the Tool Box at Register soon, by May 1st or earlier, please.

Karin wrote this on COTH:

I am going to fill out my registration form this week, it may take me a while to decide exactly what lesson I want to teach….I may teach the use of the dressage arena and the warm-up areas. That’s a lesson that took me many years to learn and a subject I feel very confident in talking about. The way that you present your horses prior to entering the dressage arena is also a good choice. I have a couple weeks still to decide what I am doing….

I received an email today from someone that wants to come to the Symposium to ride and teach…this is what she said..

” I am not a high level rider or instructor, I have been however, a student who has struggled with ‘getting it’ over the years based on how something is taught or said and then how I percieved or interpreted the lesson. These two things can be miles apart and leave students frustrated, in tears, and with the fear that they may never be able to reach thier goals. Over the past 30 years I have met many such students of many disciplines, schools of thought, and from many ‘systems’ of training both themselves and their horses.”

She confirmed today that she will be one of the instructors !

This is how she decided what to teach.

“For the two lessons; my students were polled and suggested the sitting trot and lengthening/shortening stride changes.”

Remember I have announced that Hillary Clayton will instruct – I have told her that the riding lesson I want to take is to understand more completely the mechanical steps of my horse during the transitions – like into the canter, into the piaffe/passage. I have watched Hillary’s photo lecture but as an upper level rider I must comprehend the movement of the horse more clearly, while i am sitting on the horse. Hillary agreed to teach that lesson. I want to find more riders that are interested in details like this.

Let me know if I need to make some calls to encourage the riders or instructors to register, pm me or send a reply. If you know of someone that should attend, or has some great “Schoolmasters” contact us asap. As we say in some of the letters sent out….”Because Karin sees her mount Lingh as her greatest teacher, she encourages participants to bring their “school masters” to the Tool Box Symposium.” Several riders may ride the same horse. Hope this info helps.


Working Hunter

Join Date: May. 16, 2008

Posts: 141

Wow, this really does sound like a cool, and unusual, symposium. I agree with Whicker that some very knowledgeable dressage instructors lack the ability to re-approach their teaching/explanations when a student doesn’t “get it.” I’ve been the student who doesn’t “get it,” (and been yelled at) and I can tell you how frustrating it can be for both teacher and student.

As a teacher myself(not dressage, college writing) , I always try to reexplain/reapproach/refine my explanations of writing concepts when students don’t get it, but I think some dressage instructors simply don’t have enough language/images in their “toolbox” to do this effectively.

I’d love to attend, and ride–if I can borrow a horse (I’m presently horseless!)

.We are proud to be able to offer this USDF Accredited Program. If you wish to tell people about signing up to receive credit from the USDF University, please refer to the Symposium in the following manner. See details below the REGISTRATION FORM

o Dressage Tool Box Symposium, accredited through USDF’s University program


o The USDF University accredited program, Dressage Tool Box Symposium


o The USDF accredited program, Dressage Tool Box Symposium

This is the Organizer Checklist: To receive credit we MUST

1. Have all participants/auditors requesting credit print their names and sign the enclosed roster. They must be current USDF participating, group, or intercollegiate/interscholastic members at the time of the program in order to earn USDF University credit.

2. Collect $5 from each current USDF member requesting credit. This # is IN ADDITION to the registration fee.

3. Have each program participant and auditor sign a state specific waiver of liability.

4. Return all signed waivers to USDF.

Lower Level Riders and Auditors – Creating interest !

A Colleague suggested that I increase the awareness of the Symposium to the Lower Level riders ( intro through first level) and to the non riders who may sign up as auditors. I would like to do this, but need your help ! Tell everyone that you know that is interested in Dressage in our Region about the Symposium and tell that the Symposium organizer is making sure that their experience at Event will be worth their time and money. Suggest they go to the website to view the Registration. Everyone attending the Symposium will need to sign up and register ahead of time.

The auditors will be engaged in the discussions and will take an active part in the Symposium. There will be discussion sections where the viewpoints of the seated auditors will be necessary to both the instructors and the riders. The goal for the auditors and the the seated participants is to increase their observation techniques.

So – please sign up soon and register. There are special events planned for Friday and Saturday nights and an entertainment feature is being brought in that should be fun.


Karin- My trainer would like to participate in the symposium – she falls a little

outside the parameters of your description for riders. She is at a show and asked

me to email you to see if she could apply. Here is the info on her and potential


1. She has successfully evented through Advanced. She checked the current dressage tests and her advanced and Intermediate tests fall approximately in

the 3rd level.

2. She has 2 horses potentially she could bring. A 16 yo KWPN mare that she evented to advanced that I am currently showing in dressage this season at first

level ( schooling 2nd level). Or a DWB mare 17 yo whom she owns and is currently eventing at Intermediate.

So the question is : Should she bother to apply. The tests for the KWPN mare would be hard to find because she has not evented her for the last 3 yrs.

We are currently working with Bruce Mandeville who lead the

Canadian Olympic team in Athens and Sydney in Eventing. We are also working with

Sara Michaels, a S level dressage judge and Grand Prix rider, if that helps any with

her “qualifications”.

Karin’s answer….





Everyone that registers will get the benefit of some great mentorship in the Dressage World. The latest person to commit is Beth, and I am thrilled she will be joining us as an instructor and a lecturer. My MSU researchers are finalizing their work and I have worked diligently to bring to all participants educational tools from these experts in their fields.

Beth Baumert operates Cloverlea Farm in Columbia, CT where she trains horses and riders from Training Level through Grand Prix. The family farm has been a dressage training facility for 37 years. Beth is a USDF Certified Instructor through Fourth Level and an “L” graduate with distinction from the USDF judging program. Beth was the initial editor for Dressage Today magazine and has served as their technical editor for fifteen years. In that capacity, she is in constant contact with the best dressage riders in the world as they discuss and write about our sport. She is on the Board of Directors of The Dressage Foundation (TDF) and has administered the FEI Young Rider Olympic Dream Program for them since 2000. Cloverlea Farm has a strong young rider program, and Beth has served as the chair of the USDF Junior/Young Rider Program.


I have been asked if the Instructors need to be USDF Certified…and I have said no…this clinic is open to ALL dressage instructors. The purpose is to tell and show the diversity and range of ideas from dressage instructors ..the technical skills and the manner in which we teach and learn take years by experience. Riders learn in varying amounts everyday, but we are constantly examining those lightbulb moments to see why a certain “lesson” was suddenly learned.

I would like the help of the instructors and riders in this area to participate so we can all examine these issues. The special guests are experts in their fields of education, teaching and learning. They will be in attendance to help us see the subjects more clearly. It will be fun.

A friend of mine said yesterday that she was really nervous about participating. She also said that riding at shows was difficult for her too. She pointed out that it was so rare that she could participate in a Symposium and ride…she always went to Clinics to watch other people ride in front of a Instructor. I told her that what made me a better competitor was to try things, to try new things, and that this Symposium could really be good for her riding – and she thought about it for a bit, and signed up !

I need to begin giving numbers in attendance, so sign up now and not wait, it will make our job so much easier !!

I hope this info helps…

I spent today working on the Tool Box (and opening my stable to boarders) and reviewing the entries. This is going to work out very nicely….I have quite a few riders – but not too too many… and I could use several more instructors…a good number of auditors have signed up ( I want many more)….so now I will begin the job of creating a “not to be missed” symposium. Thank you all for your interest and support – keep those registrations and checks coming in…and fill out and include all of the data I need. It’s really important for me to receive your “dressage tests” because it is those tests, along with your “lessons” that you want to learn that I need to have in my hands to craft the program. If I find that 3 riders want similar lessons, then I am able to examine the riders judged tests and see where there is room for improvement, in my opinion, and that info will help me build the dressage lessons program. This is how I imagine it to work….so like I say, keep those fully filled out registrations coming our way. Also, don’t forget to pay for the Saturday night dinner. Half educational and some entertainment…it will be a good evening of learning and fun.

The Symposium is shaping up. I could use 2 more Instructors, though I have a full program of Instructors already that pleases me, and several USDF certified Instructors, enough upper level riders to make it interesting and I did accept one very ambitious Lower Level Rider that submitted four great lessons. The wonderful thing about this clinic is that we can always add in more participants. Allison Brunelli from Barnby Notes is bringing us an amazing Notebook to use.

I am still looking for the transport from Lansing, Michigan for my 2 young riders. Help !!

A few details….The price of shavings is high up here. Bring extras, the stalls will be bedded, but if you want your horse to enjoy deep beds – bring some extra ! I recommend bringing your own hay too.

If you are gong to be requesting USDF University credit please send us an email to confirm. (You must be a USDF Member in order to receive credit.)

Horses can begin arriving at 1 pm on Friday 14th. The arena will be open until 6 pm on Friday evening. DO NOT ARRIVE EARLIER than 1 PM on Friday.

Our vaccinations list is as follows,

Vaccinations (REQUIRED)

• Tetanus

• Rhinopneumonitis

• Eastern and Western Encephalitis

• Influenza A1 and A2

• Rabies

• Negative Coggins Certificate


• Strangles

• Potomac Horse Fever

The Dress Code is relaxed but I prefer that you wear solid colored or white long sleeved shirts, belts and gloves, and helmets. (BTW This is where Courtney grew up and everyone loves her here !) Please wear your best boots. Dressage Today will be covering the event, it may be filmed (they are getting back to me !) and there may be new to the sport auditors that need to be impressed….lets !

Braiding is optional. I really want our horses to look nice, so it could be fun….but this is more educational that “showy”.

For the evening dinners, the Club does not have a liquor license so please if you want to include some refreshments, byob. The evening dinners will end at about 8:30, so it will be early enough for some folks to drive home. The Sunday program ends at 4 PM.

I have gone back and forth about posting the participants information in a “clinic list” . …I think that while it may be useful to know who is attending for catching a ride or such, it is not for the purpose of the Tool Box to announce it. I want the Tool Box to be a place to visit, not a decision to attend or not that is made because you admire certain people attending. I will make it worth while to attend. I will try very hard not to disappoint anyone. It is about the subject of dressage, and us finding the tools we need to become better riders, trainers, ground crew. The Dressage Tool Box Symposium is for everyone if they can make time in their schedule for it. We prepared this press release that was sent out all over Michigan.


PETOSKEY, MI – Karin Reid Offield, Bay Harbor Equestrian Club and invite local horse enthusiasts to attend a unique opportunity to advance their skills in horsemanship. The inaugural Dressage Tool Box Symposium will take place May 15 and 16 at Bay Harbor Equestrian Club. The Symposium is intended to be a place where instructors, riders, and auditors can observe, experience, and share openly the “tools” that will advance their skills as dressage teachers and riders. Instructors with backgrounds as diverse as equine and human biomechanics, therapeutic riding, Centered Riding, and regional and national competition will participate. Several are US Dressage Federation certified judges or instructors.

Each instructor will teach 2 lessons focusing on specific dressage movements or theory to mounted students who have indicated they need additional perspective in refining their understanding of those particular skills. Auditors will be actively included in the discussion and analysis of the lessons. The goal is that all participants go home with new “tools” added to their collection of both teaching and riding skills.

Dressage is the systematic training of the horse to increase it’s suppleness and athletic ability. As an Olympic level competitive discipline, dressage displays the beauty and grace of the horse and rider in partnership as they perform what appears to be an effortless mounted ballet. On a more fundamental level the foundation of dressage will benefit any rider who desires to communicate fluidly and bring out the best performance of their horse.

For more information or to register as an auditor for the Symposium: contact Leah 1-231-439-7100, email: or go to for event details and to learn about the famous stallion Lingh, the event sponsor.