It’s been such a pleasure to teach Karen on her two horses this winter via Zoom! I have seen so much improvement and confidence building with her horses.
Karen is in Arkansas and keeps her horses at home. She has really shown dedication and persistence to laying a good foundation for her two mares. And, thanks to her husband who handled the iPad for the zoom lessons! Team work!Ruth Hogan-Poulsen
Karen Quirk, a 59 year old adult amateur, started dressage lessons in Hawaii after retiring from the Navy sixteen years ago. She started working with Ruth in 2019.
“Although I always loved horses and rode friends’ horses when I could, I didn’t get my own first horse until I was 45,” she shared. “I moved from Hawaii to the wilds of Arkansas in 2009, no easy access to dressage training, and struggled mightily to be my own trainer.”
Karen first trained with Ruth at the East Hill Farm Adult Dressage Camp in May 2019 when her good friend Dolores Arste gifted her a camp slot, an offer Karen couldn’t refuse, even with the travel commitment from Arkansas to Vermont!
“I loved the camp so much, I came back again in September 2019 and would have continued yearly if COVID did not cancel camp!” enthused Karen.
She learned that Ruth was offering remote coaching (through this newsletter!), and in December 2020 Karen and her two mares started zoom lessons with Ruth.
Karen and Ruth are working with Karen’s two mares, with such different personalities, training and history, but both progressing well.
Firefly, a 10 year old Arabian, is super high energy, highly reactive and athletic but recovering from founder. Karen started Firefly herself with zero prior experience.
“Ruth is helping me fill in a lot of holes in our training while keeping it safe and building a steady, calmer horse.”
Sky, an 18 year old Quarter Horse, is new to Karen. Her previous career was spent mostly in trail riding in a typical western shank bit.
“Ruth is helping us build a connection in a snaffle. Sky started out overweight, out of shape with a weak left hind. In just a few months working with Ruth, Sky’s weight is good, she’s in much better shape and we’ve got her straight in the bridle!”
Karen credits Ruth with instilling a more correct body position through all 3 gaits and working on steadying Karen’s hand connection.
“Taking the weight into my back, not my hands and forearms was a game changer!” exclaimed Karen. “I had heard the words for years, understood it intellectually, but with Ruth’s way of explaining it and coaching, I achieved the physical aspect truly for the first time.”
“The biggest impact on my horsemanship came when we started the zoom lessons,” explained Karen. “It was astounding how much I learned in such a short time!”
“I wanted help getting my horses ‘on the bit’, but Ruth said we needed to get them straight before we could ask that. So, we spent the next month of weekly lessons with Ruth discussing left vs right dominate sides in horses, stiff sides, which hind leg was weak, why it was more difficult to bend one direction vs the other, etc…and then how to systematically ride the horse to address that. She taught me what to look for, what to feel for, so I could tell when the training was working and could recognize when we were ready for the next piece.”
Karen looks forward to continuing her training with Ruth and on her own from Arkansas.
“Ruth offering remote lessons has been beyond wonderful for us! I now combine our dressage with a lot of trail riding and it’s been great.”
Interested in remote coaching? Ruth occasionally has slots become available. Contact Ruth directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to her remote coaching waitlist.