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Brighton Stables
Dalenko's Classical Dressage
School of Horsemanship
About our School
(what and who we teach)
The horse's movement starts with a powerful hind quarters that pushes through a well-developed top line into a light forward-reaching stride.

The goal of the rider is to enhance the natural beauty of the performing horse by first learning to be flexible and move with the horse, and then communicating through the aids (reins, legs, etc) to ask the horse for impulsion (forward motion), rounding and collection,  and extension, and that often talked about but rarely understood engagement "on the bit".

We teach the rider as an equestrian athlete to:

> balance and center on the horse and to focus on direction;

> keep flexible in the ankles, knees, lower back and hips, elbows and wrists; and

> blend with the horse's rhythm.

Through this process, the rider:

> develops steady hands and quiet lower legs for a more effective use of the Classical Dressage aids;

> learns to "listen" to and be sensitive to the horse's response to the rider;

> learns to use half-halts with a steady outside rein and a soft and responsive inside rein;

> to ask softly and reward a correct response.

Through the process, horse and rider develop mutual trust and respect, an amazing level of communication nearly invisible to the observer, and perform in harmony as a team for the ultimate human-equine experience.

This is what we do at Dalenko's Classical Dressage School of Horsemanship.

Carol customizes each lesson with exercises and imagery to help develop skills that are not only essential to enjoy a safe riding, but that are also useful in training and schooling the horse for what we ask it to do. 

Carol's teaching program involves a progression of steps to perfect the rider's balance, flexibility, and movement in harmony with the horse, and then moves onto the Classical Dressage aids to develop communication with the horse for the desired discipline.  Then we can start the really fun and fancy stuff.  :-)

A minimum of one lesson a week requires some reinforcement of prior work.  To maintain steady progress, Carol recommends a lesson twice a week, or at least one lesson with a practice ride in between.

Our students tend to be professionals in a medical field, high tech area, business management, and education, as well as college students and talented teens and 4-H gals.

On occasion, Carol also coaches horse trainers and instructors who want to advance their skills, and horse owners who want a "keen eye for perfection" to build smoother movement over fences or to perfect an upper level dressage movement.

Carol's instruction is not for everyone.  Her lessons tend to be intense and focused, much more than simply "directing traffic" in the arena.  She also keeps a positive attitude to build on what the rider does best.  We go beyond teaching the rider to be a good passenger on the rail.

Carol's philosophy is that a rider cannot improve who blames the horse for not understanding or takes their frustration out on the horse.   We "listen" to the horse and how it responds.  Our students must have compassion for the horse and for what we're asking it to do that is not natural.  The horse might rather be out grazing with its buddies.  It is our responsibility to communicate to the horse what we want and to find exercises to help both the rider and the horse understand. 

We believe the horse really wants to please its rider and do what is asked, and that the horse enjoys the eventual bonding in harmony with its rider as much as we do.  That's what we do here.

Carol started riding when she was 10 yrs old at Brighton Stables in Brighton, Michigan.  At 18 yrs old, while a student at the University of Michigan, she worked with her first instructor, a prominent trainer, learning to break and schooling TB hunter-jumpers.

Carol eventually graduated with a Ph. C./A.B.D. in physics from the University of Michigan and joined the Physics faculty at the University of Illinois where she did research in neutron star matter and the Vega pulsar in the Crab Nebulae.  In her spare time, she rode horses for other people.  Later, she freelanced around the U.S. as an interactive computer graphics analyst for techical applications, until "retiring" to Raleigh in 1985 with her first horse "Saddi", an Arabian mare "Dolly", and her young colt "Classy" who became her foundation sire.

  Please call Carol, 919-632-7700.

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