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classical baroque dressageTESTIMONIALS FROM STUDENTS OF THE ACADEMY

It is with pleasure that I provide a testimony to the talents of William Sanders of the Academy of Baroque and Academic Equitation.  William shares generously his knowledge and high school stallions to those students willing to seek a different way of riding and training that is based upon his fundamental belief “for the sake of the horse”.   I have been riding for 40 years; starting out with the typical Shetland pony named “Silver”, riding in competitive trail rides and local 4-H shows, engaging in modern dressage for a decade only to abandon it due to failure, frustration, and lack of fun, seeking to improve my relationships with horses through the natural horsemanship movement and finally discovering classical training and riding with William Sanders.


I have been studying with Bill since January 2007 weekly.  His teachings have improved my skill as a rider and trainer significantly.  I went to him with relatively simple goals never realizing the transformation which was in store for me. My riding has forever changed and will continue to only improve with my application of the fundamental teachings provided by Bill and his horses.  I went to him to ‘learn how to ride better’. However, I am gaining the genuine knowledge of how to train any horse in lightness with self-carriage, self-impulsion, and self-collection.


Overtime, as an idealist teenager to a realistic adult, I have spent excessive amounts of money on chasing the dream of being a better rider.   It is an elusive goal when using the tools of modern dressage and/or ambiguous instruction.  However, it is my certainty that exposure and application to Bill’s teachings and use of his trained horses allows any individual to develop into a horseman who is a better rider and trainer. With a beginner’s mind, perseverance, and resolve, any open-minded person can expect to improve under his tutelage.


With each lesson, I am continually amazed at what I am learning, another layer of complexity is added or removed, my personal horse responds to the ‘feelings’ I gained through Bill’s horses.  Bill is patient and will wait for the long and ugly ‘middles’ to end.  He is very astute as to when to add difficulty to the experience.  His horses will respond honestly and are very tolerant of the learner’s fumbling of the aids.  Each week, regardless of the complexity or ease of the lesson, I am elated for the knowledge obtained.  Every lesson is a novel experience;  I learned something about riding, training, or myself at EACH AND EVERY lesson.  Every horse offers a chance to learn from it.  It is my belief to truly learn how to ride a horse; the student needs two things, a competent teacher with varied experiences and trained horses that are honest in their response.  The teacher guides you through the process but it is the horse that confirms the application of the process. There are very, very few individuals willing to offer their trained horses to the learner.  Seize the Day TODAY!


Lastly, Bill has developed a distance learning program for his students. This program has educational support material which I have for my library. The material includes a book and several videos created by Bill. All of the material is founded in classical training particularly Baucherism. Topics addressed in both the book and videos are jaw flexions, communicative lunging, combined effect, the Mother position, lateral movements, and the counted walk.  This learning material greatly aligns with his one-on-one teaching and provides additional support to the student.

 

Sincerely,

Lynne Murray

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Dear Will,

I have finally had a chance to watch the footage of your work with your horses that you sent to me. I am sorry it took so long, we had a very busy time here, with late nights and a 60th birthday to prepare. I am looking in wonder at the beautiful work you are doing with your horses. There is such a bond between you and the horse, understanding, harmony and lightness beyond measure, for the watcher who has no idea, it is true magic. That kind of work is enjoyment and beauty, and something we cannot get enough of, and which has much more value than any so called competition awards. Thank you very much for sending the DVDs to me.

 

Max and I of course are far away of something so light and beautiful. In fact at the moment I am wondering if I am too strict with him. I have a clear picture of what I am asking, and I do not let him do many false steps and any unnecessary rounds. He is very nervous right now, and I think a little overwhelmed. However, I am sure that we need to go through this, just carry on, and repetition will show him that there is nothing to be afraid of or nervous about. I do not see any sense in letting him go with an easier life, because then, without the training and the work, nothing will ever happen. Please, tell me that I am thinking right, also for a horse, and share with me your philosophy when you have such a fine and sensitive horse as Max in front of you. I am known as quite a tough taskmaster in my life, and I do not want Max to loose his motivation.

 

I have to say though, that now Max starts to show some more energy. He is funny when at the halt on the lunge line for example, his leg is trembling because he can barely wait for my signal for him to walk or trot again! It is a question of bringing that out of him more, and chanelling it into the right form.

 

Thank you very very much for your inputs. I know that we are in the right hands and on the right path with you.

 

Yasmina

 

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After 42 years of multiple riding disciplines, I have found the Academy of Baroque and Academic Equitation through a dear close friend, who has shared her on going experience in her learning process with classical riding through William Sanders.
This exposure through a third party encouraged me to seek enrollment as a student into the Academy. This innovative structured home study program developed by Mr. Sanders allows me to participate and learn the classical art within the comfort of my own facility, allowing me to learn at my own pace and give each horse the attention they need to develop completely.


This program includes literature, with how to DVD’s packed full of information to get you started. You will also have access to Mr. Sanders for questions, including monthly lesson plans for his critique and feedback of your progress. 
I am learning the classical training methods of Baucher, with all the ingredients needed for riding in lightness and harmony. How the bit becomes a tool of relaxation for the horse and not a weapon of torture to fear. I am also learning the importance of how position precedes action for the horse and the rider, aimed at changing and enhancing balance. This program will change your thought process not just your skills.

 

JoAnna Bryant, Virginia

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My name is Marie Drizin. I am 42 years old and I have been riding since I was 10. I rode in a riding school in Sweden (where I am born and raised) and when I got older I got an instructor education in natural horsemanship and worked as a horse trainer there. A lot of horses that came to me were horses with some kind of problem. So I learned to read horses and how important it is to have a feel when you working together. Now I work together with my husband as a horse trainer at our ranch in Tucson AZ. We work with any breed, but most horses that come here are gaited. We breed Paso Finos, and also have a lot of clients with Paso Finos. So when I found Mr. Sander’s website and saw that he is training Baroque riding and also has Paso Finos and a trote y galope, I just had to contact him.

 

I went to train with him two years ago for 3 days and it was a wonderful experience. Mr. Sanders goes through what to work on step by step and is easy to understand. And his horses are a joy to ride and learn from. How he works fits totally into my thinking of working. He just takes it to the next level. When I lived in Sweden I had the opportunity to ride in a clinic with Jean-Claude Racinet. That was my first experience with Baroque riding and after that I wanted to learn more.  It was really hard to find somebody here in the states and close to Arizona where we live, that I wanted to train with.

 

So I was very happy that I found Mr. Sanders, but he was just a little bit too far away for me to be able to go and take as many lessons as I wanted. So when I got the news about the new riding school that I can take part in long distance, I just had to do it.

I have gotten the first video about jaw flexions and the book. The video is interesting with a lot of information on the history and the purpose on jaw flexions. Mr. Sanders also shows in detail how to make the jaw flexions in different positions and different exercises. The video is very informative and easy to understand. The book is great, it has a lot of pictures that shows you how it's done and is easy to read and understand. It's easy to work with, watch the video and then read the book and if you forgot something you can always go back and check it again.

 

I am excited to be part of the new riding school as a student and looking forward to getting the other videos and have Mr. Sanders comment about me and my horses on the work we do. It's an excellent working situation for me.

 

Marie Drizin, Hacienda del Sol Paso Fino horses

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I began my riding journey thirty-five years ago at the age of twenty-three.  I have rigorously studied the classical Germanic style of dressage since 1998.  Twelve of those years were spent training and competing in Germany.  I read the Masters and attempted to unravel the gordish knot of "more forwards" while holding the horse up in front and spurring and whipping with pounding legs and a driving seat.  Sweat poured from horses and riders on even the coldest Bavarian evenings.  Frustration was my companion.


Since returning to stateside, I have been searching for a lighter way of riding.  In February of 2007, I discovered Mr William Sanders and his Academy of Baroque Equitation.  My philosophy and riding methods have changed forever.  Mr Sanders possess all of the qualities of an excellent instructor.  He is knowledgeable, patient, able to communicate and responsive to his students.  He is sincerely committed to the success of horse and rider.  Learning from Master horsemen and his talented Baroque stallions has been like coming home.


Betty Toussaint, Student

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To prospective students of the Academy of Baroque Equitation:
"If you really want to ride in the true classical manner, you have come to the right place.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I have been looking for this school for nearly 30 years.  I have spent countless hours reading the books and listening to clinicians and instructors searching searching vainly for that elusive feeling of lightness and collection.  Everyone talks about it, but no one actually rides that way.  Then I met Bill Sanders and his incomparable horses.  There is truly no substitute for getting excellent instruction on real schoolmasters who have been trained to the classical principles.  Be forewarned, however - you can never go back!  Once you have experienced riding in lightness on these magnificent animals, you will not be satisfied with anything less.  The good news is that the knowledge imparted by Bill's patient instruction will transfer right over to your own horse.  I have been riding at the Academy for nearly five months now and the improvement in my own two horses have been astonishing to me.  It is like finding the key to the secret garden.


I cannot say strongly enough what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to ride horses of this caliber and to get this type of quality instruction.  Bill and Linda Sanders are doing the serious riding community a great service by opening up their school to us.  I will be forever grateful!"


Heidi Bonnard, Student

 

Hi Bill, Walker
Here is a picture of my Tenessee Walker--he has changed SO much since being worked the classical way. The owner has a picture of him before and after and it does not look like the same horse. Before he had a pointed butt and his spine stuck up--like his back was a rooftop. His neck was completely upside down with a huge underside and puny topline. Now he is totally muscled up and soft and round. We are working on his piaffe. I've also taught him
to gait with very short, energetic steps. What a difference it's made to his balance.

 

Sarah, Student

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Bill,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to experience what riding in balance and lightness is all about!  You have set the standard by which I will now judge instructors and trainers.  I will keep you posted on my progress in working with my horses. 

Faith, Student

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When I go trail riding with my friends, the most frequent compliments that I get about my horse are on her remarkable strength and endurance. My friends think that I spend all my time on the trail and that my horse must have had 100's of trail miles put on her to get her into such peak condition. She consistently outperforms other horses that are on the trail with us especially on hills and in arduous conditions such as soft sand.  What they don't know is that I do not have the time to hit the trail that much.  Most of the time, I ride my horse in a gymnasium called the dressage court. It is in this arena that I spend time developing my horse's muscles, sinews, tendons, and bones into an indestructible structure which stands up to the rigors of the trail, and the demands of distance.  Using the principles of Baroque Equitation I learned from William Sanders, and drills and fundamentals of Classical Dressage, my horse is transformed from a low necked, long backed, fragile creature prone to injury into a power house of endurance, agility, and resilience.  Forget riding dressage for ribbons. Train your horse with discipline and structure, and let mother nature be your arena for the only judge who's opinion really matters is the one you're riding.

 

Robin Shen, Student

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When I first spotted an ad for the Academy of Classical Baroque Equitation back in 2006, I thought…..”This is it; this is what I have been looking for all of my life”.  And it was.  Never before have I learned so much in a short time. Bill Sanders has a true gift and passion for kind and correct training for both horse and rider. Whether you go to his school and ride his school master horses, or participate in his new video program you will learn a great deal. Through this man and his magnificent high schooled stallions, I was able to fulfill my life dream of feeling a perfect passage, piaffe, counted walk, you name it, his horses did it.  Bill incorporates many of the teachings of influential instructors such as, Racinet, Baucher, Olivera, and Luis Valencia, plus many more. 


In his recent training booklet you will find photos and diagrams he has collected through the years that are the best images for visualizing the moves in high school training. It makes it much easier to see what you are trying to do. It is a great study guide that is easy to take with you to the barn because it has a soft cover in plastic so it won’t get ruined in bad weather. You can put the booklet on the fence, pick your lesson for the day and refer back to it at anytime from horse back if needed!  This study guide is great for the visual learner. Bill’s personal method of instruction, described in this book is, very sensitive, sensible, and possible for all of you to aspire to. 

 

My thanks to Lynda and Bill Sanders for the best riding years of my life.  My thanks to Lacerote, a patient saint. Lacerote is the Palomino Stallion you will see in many of the photos on Bill’s website and in his book. This magnificent animal passed away last year. 


Sherri Boteler Curtis/San Diego Ca.

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I just wanted to write to let you know how much I have enjoyed reading and using the information from your book. This is like no book I have read before. What sets it apart is that it has a logical progression of skills to train my horse to do and the important thing is that I can actually do it. With your book I have trained my horse on the jaw flexions, standing perfectly to mount, backing in a balanced and light way, moving forward starting from the inside hind leg, and flexions of the croup one step at a time. My horse has also become lighter and more balanced.  He likes the exercises and to top it off my horse actually piaffed the other day.  I can’t thank you enough.

 

Lori S. Student

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