Skip to main content

2022 Major Anders Lindgren Instructor Grant Recipient: Viviane Pilicy (MA)

Photo by Chelsea Lothrop

After a turbulent year with my horses’ health, I wasn’t sure I would have the funds to make a fully planned winter season in Wellington, FL, happen. I started looking into The Dressage Foundation and its fantastic grant programs.

I found the Major Anders Lindgren Grant which was specifically geared towards licensed instructors. Since I had completed my USDF Certified Trainer/Instructor program in 2019 it was an interesting option for me to apply. My philosophy has always been to continue to learn and grow in the sport of riding. Not just as a rider but as a horseperson and instructor.

Receiving the Lindgren Fund grant gave me the opportunity to fully immerse myself in an intensive three-month training and showing program with the Christoph Koschel Dressage Team.

Everything I learned I also learned and reflected on for my students and their horses in training.

My students and I often speak about how to communicate and give feedback when they come out of the show ring. Everyone receives feedback differently, and we all know this is a very mentally demanding sport. A lot of mixed emotions can come out of a five-minute test ride. Joy, frustration, pride, relief… you name it. In the Instructor/Trainer program, we learned to give positive feedback first and then constructive feedback and a plan. Sometimes this is hard to do in the mix of a horse show situation. But when I first showed under the guidance and coaching of Christoph and came out of the ring, we had a full 15-minute conversation about every single movement of the test and my individual scores. All emotions were set aside. You do not get these moments back of coming out of the ring and having just experienced and felt that ride. I felt that his feedback was very helpful in the way we broke out every single detail. We were able to talk about immediate action plans of how to ride certain movements differently the next day and other movements that will not be fixed in a day but need to go back in training to work on those.

I learned about clearly separating short-term and long-term improvements. Meaning what you can ride better or differently immediately versus what needs to be corrected in training which also mostly means going back to the basics in some sort. Or simply the routine missing for a newer movement.

This leads me to my next subject, and we have all heard it. The basics in dressage are where the foundation is laid for everything. Sometimes we don’t realize the level of perfection is needed in the basics of certain subjects until we get to a higher-level movement. Working on the canter pirouettes and going all the way back to the amount of bend and elasticity I need in the warmup for a better pirouette was a fantastic experience. This was a tip that I could pass on to my students right away! When the foundation was set with a much higher emphasis on correctness in the beginning, it makes the work later so much easier.

I feel very blessed to have received a Major Lindgren Instructor Grant. It gave me an incredible opportunity to fully immerse myself in an intensive three-month training program in Wellington and Loxahatchee, Florida. We had such a valuable time training from the very best.

Photo by Susan J Stickle