Dressage is considered the “highest expression of horse training”, and in general dressage riders have some of the highest expectations when it comes to everything about their horses. A dressage rider wants the best farrier, veterinarian and most importantly the best training barn for their horse. But what if you and your dressage horse just moved from Florida to East Hampton? How do you figure out which dressage boarding barn is best for you? We wanted to simplify the process of what a dressage rider should be looking for in their dream training barn.
Arenas: A good arena to a dressage rider is like a good kitchen for a chef, both are necessary to create the best product. If you are trying to look for a barn in the New York area, you really must have a barn with an indoor. Without an indoor, there will be months you won’t be able to train consistently. Furthermore, an ideal indoor should have mirrors in it, so you can make sure your piaffe and passage are always on point! At Stony Hill, we have a lovely indoor arena with mirrors, an outdoor dressage arena, as well as multiple jump school arenas you can ride in. Most importantly, all the footing at Stony Hill is state of the art and groomed multiple times per day!
Turnout: It is important for your horse’s well-being to be able to get turned out. But, dressage horses seem to get hurt a little more than the rest, so the fields for turnout need to have options that are variable in size depending on your horse’s temperament and excitability. It is also important to have individual turnout options, both of which are offered here at Stony Hill.
Stable: Dressage horses tend to spend a lot of time in their stalls, especially in the winter months up in New York. A proper boarding barn should have large stalls, plenty of ventilation, windows for the horses to hang their head out of, and rubber matting on the stall floor. Our 21-stall barn has all of these features to make sure your dressage horse feels right at home!
Training: Training dressage horses is what we all live for, the ability to get the perfect flying change or the perfect immobile halt. But to achieve perfection in dressage, you need to have a good trainer. There are a few credentials that should be considered before moving to a new dressage boarding barn. First, what type of USDF certifications does the trainer have? Are they a gold medalist or a bronze medalist? If you want to make it the FEI levels one day, it’s more likely you’ll need a USDF Gold Medalists to achieve those goals. Stony Hill offers top dressage training with the owner of Stony Hill, Wick Hotchkiss. Wick is a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist that still competes herself. She’s trained with dressage hotshots like Robert Dover, Carol Lavell, Pam Goodrich, Alfredo Hernandez and Lars Peterson. If you are looking to up your dressage game in the New York area, Wick has all the credentials to help you achieve your dressage goals.
We know how hard it is to find the perfect dressage barn for you and your horse. There are so many variables to consider, and having the right type of training barn to board at will only help increase your chance of succeeding and passaging down the centerline one day. At Stony Hill, we can offer you a little slice of New York heaven, where you and your dressage horse can be right at home!