2018 Continuing Education Recipient: Krystal Wilt

It was such an honor to receive the Barnett Continuing Education Grant to allow me to participate in the USDF Instructor/Trainer Workshops through ENYDCTA this past year. What an incredibly educational experience it has been! Participating in this program allowed me to meet like-minded young professionals, and to develop a network for trouble-shooting and professional development amongst ourselves, in addition to the educational aspect of the actual workshop weekends.

Our first weekend was the Riding/Training Workshop, and this one was a bit overwhelming, as we all struggled to wrap our heads around the details of the program and how the testing would occur. However, the group of six participants all quickly became a cohesive team of peers, and shared many great ideas and training exercises for a variety of situations.  This workshop also made me more thoroughly assess my training goals for each and every training ride that I have had since the workshop, as well as my own long-term goals and those of my students. 

Our second workshop weekend was the Teaching Workshop, and this weekend was so insightful on many different levels. We were able to see so many incredibly effective exercises for both horse and rider, as demonstrated by the workshop leader’s valuable demo lessons, and each of my peers lessons that they taught. This workshop also gave us a chance to sit as a group of professionals and discuss some of the difficult aspects of running a business, such as determining rates and setting up a successful business. These conversations were priceless, as the amount of honest sharing and support that occurred was rare among a group of professionals.

Our third workshop was the Lunging of the Horse and Rider, which was such a fun weekend. By the third weekend, the participants were much more comfortable with each other and the format of the weekend, and everyone more openly shared their thoughts, ideas, and questions. I found the lunging of the rider sessions to be incredibly helpful in assisting me to develop my eye for rider position flaws and how they impact the horses’ balance. I also learned some unique exercises that I had not seen before to help correct a variety of rider position flaws, and I have already seen that my personal students have benefited greatly from my newly acquired knowledge since this workshop.

I cannot express my gratitude for this grant enough, as the Instructor/Trainer Program would not have been a financial possibility for me without the Barnett Continuing Education Grant. I am hands down a much more professional and effective rider and trainer after completing the workshop series. I have really enjoyed working through the required reading list, and continue to reference those texts on a regular basis. I also now have a larger network of peers that I can trust to ask for ideas for various training situations, and a wonderful network to help study for the Final Exam. We have been practicing together via the internet on a regular basis since our last workshop, and have plans to also practice together in person over the winter. 

Many of my riding students have commented that they have really enjoyed the lunging exercises that I have now incorporated into our regular lesson routine, and I have seen their position, and therefore, the effect of their aids, greatly improve. I believe very strongly in the power of furthering your education, and this workshop series was undeniably empowering to me as a dressage professional, and the ripple effect throughout all of the trainers in attendance was very obvious. Thank you again for giving me this amazing opportunity!