Jennifer Grant had the great fortune of growing up riding in mountain forests and open prairies on horseback, starting colts in the round pen, and competing in versatility events. After exploring many other facets of the horse world, she discovered dressage and became a working student for Pam Goodrich. She is currently a USDF Certified Instructor through Second Level, an L Graduate with Distinction, and has earned her USDF Bronze and Silver medals. Jennifer provides a custom program for each individual with practical application of classical theory and horsemanship. From seat lessons on the lunge line to providing tools for progressive learning of the movements, Jennifer provides thoroughness, compassion, and dedication to harmony and joy in the horses and riders she works with.
How I got started in dressage:
Dressage principals were introduced to me by an Arabian trainer I worked for in high school, which piqued my curiosity. Developing suppleness, balance, and symmetry were magical! After earning my BA in Liberal Arts, I explored a variety of career options, and did a semester of graduate school for the love of learning. I also continued to ride horses in a lot of different venues, including patrolling the Boston parks as a park ranger. But when I had the opportunity to pursue dressage further at a Morgan breeding farm, I jumped on it and haven’t looked back. Dressage feeds my intellectual needs as every horse and rider brings new challenges and new discoveries. The combination of art, discipline, and sport bring all my strengths as a person into play.
I wanted to get certified because:
When I first started teaching, I encountered so many students who were confounded by (and had never heard of) the most basic principles of dressage. These were students who had taken a lot of lessons before coming to me. My first instructor (Cynthia Spalding) had told me about the German system of certification and I knew I wanted to be a part of a unified system. It was clear to me that here in the US we need some continuity, integrity, and a community of professionals who have the same vision.
What surprised me the most about the certification process:
By digging into theory via all the required reading, much of what I understood in a practical sense was clarified and solidified. It improved my ability to explain things to students and gave me a fuller vision to apply to all of my work. The testing itself forged a level of confidence in the education I had received and my ability to share what I had learned.
My early career in dressage involved riding and competing Morgans, Haflingers, Connemaras, and Aztecas. I have also competed with Warmbloods successfully in recent years. But I still have a special place in my heart for ponies and the less likely suspects. What I love about dressage is the way it can transform a fairly ordinary horse into something spectacular. I was recently blessed with a competitive partnership with an extraordinary Friesian cross mare. Her conformation did not suggest success. But the mare had a heart of gold and ability beyond all expectations. She competed successfully through Third Level, and was schooling piaffe, passage, and pirouettes last year when she found her forever home with an adult amateur. My current personal horse is a very clever Appendix Quarter Horse schooling Fourth Level.
Trust the process. We all need eyes on the ground and a person who has been there before us. There is a path forward that is tried and true. It will sometimes be frustrating, messy, and seem like it will never lead to the harmonious vision you hope for. A good coach will help you feel your way through the counterintuitive, keep you in touch with the basics, and push you out of your comfort zone so that you will grow and improve.