After a bad horse accident, I was riding with a great deal of fear. I thought that I could work through my issues alone or with the occasional day of instruction. When I met Debbie the first time, it was just for an excise to take a lesson at the venue where I would be competing my horse. After that lesson, where she helped me through some pre-show jitters (a term that doesn't come close to describing how I was feeling), I quickly realized that I was much better prepared than I had been in a long time, due to her instruction.
Debbie has since been giving me lessons once a week (without fail, in rain and foul weather). She has promised to keep me safe, and she has done so. As a result, I feel much safer on my horse, and we are making progress in dressage. I am hoping to have a great show season without the fear of getting hurt.
Debbie Marriott sets high standards for our lessons and for my riding, and what is so great is that she gives me the tools, inspiration and confidence to meet those high standards. While I often felt in the past that my progress was 'two steps forward and one step back' at best, my riding improves with each lesson I have with Debbie. She breaks down hard-to-explain processes so I can follow them, and she interprets my horse's language and behavior for me. If I listen to what Debbie is telling me, I am able to ride the exercise and steer clear of undue risks and danger. Debbie Marriott is a trainer I trust completely, and I feel blessed and honored to call myself her student.
Rebecca Brown Thompson
I have been training with Debbie for over 5 years. The best part about Debbie is her ability to assess and analyze both horse and rider and provide truly customized training that works for both of you. She puts an incredible amount of thought and consideration into each lesson, which makes every training session productive. I have a very unique horse who certainly has his share of training challenges, and Debbie has successfully guided us from First Level to Prix St. Georges. Best of all, Debbie is always positive, motivating, encouraging and upbeat!
Our daughter Rachel has been training with Debbie since she was 9 years old. Debbie showed Rachel that although riding is often difficult, it can also be so much fun. Debbie creatively taught Rachel to develop her riding skills as well as confidence, compassion and responsibility in communicating with her horse Zack. Debbie has always treated Rachel and Zack with patience and respect, which allowed Rachel to grow and love riding and dressage. Rachel is now 21 years old, and Debbie has the foundation to take her riding as far as Rachel is dedicated to go.
Mother of Rachel Hamblen
I have had the great fortune of having Debbie as my trainer for several years now. I was lucky enough to find Debbie when I was at the 'end of my rope' and ready to quit riding altogether. My horse and I were not connecting! I lacked the riding skills I needed and Debbie patiently taught me how to communicate with my horse to become a real team. I developed a deep, solid seat and learned to trust my own feeling. Although I am not a huge competitor, I love learning and improving my riding to be the best I can be in dressage. Because of training with Debbie, I now love riding again!
I want to thank you for being such an awesome teacher. You've truly taken time with me, yet never pushed me, to where I can even canter now. That was truly a fear for me, and it takes a special teacher to get a person over their fear. Callie and I are starting to have fun now when we ride. The changes you've made in her have been far reaching and incredible. Not only that, Callie is happy in her work. Know that you are blessed with a really special talent that few people have. You have a unique ability to be able to explain complex things in an easily understood way. I appreciate all you've done for me and Callie.
Debbie took our daughter and her young Connemara, both new to dressage, and helped them excel in their first year of competition, winning the VADA / Nova Championship Show at the Junior Introductory Level, VADA / Nova Year End High Point Junior Intro Division and VADA State Year End High Point Junior Intro Division. She did this by teaching our daughter many things, not the least of which were how to: (1) exercise her horse between lessons so he would develop the needed muscles; (2) analyze a test to identify the likely places a rider can gain or loose points; and (3) work in her training route to the point that show day is exciting and fun, not scary. Debbie did this all in a friendly, fun manner that was respectful of our daughter's abilities as well as her horse's, not to mention our family's circumstances and limitations. We can't say enough about how wonderful Debbie has been for Teace and Sonny, both in the ring as well as out. We would need a much larger space to do justice to all that Debbie has come to mean to our family over the past year. We look forward to many more years together!
Brian & Holly Markwalter
We consider Debbie Marriott to be one of the finest dressage trainers it has ever been our pleasure to work with. Our daughter is a very visual learner. By constantly communicating in positive terms and details during lessons, Debbie ensured that Laurel fully understood what she was seeking to accomplish. Debbie was able to assess and focus on Laurel's abilities and use them to better communicate with her horse. Lessons were very collaborative, with these results: Laurel and Artagon were able to move up to 3rd Level in both classical dressage and musical freestyle, they achieved consistent scores and were honored as Champions at both the VADA / Nova and VADA state levels for 2012. Debbie's upbeat, positive and energetic lessons deserve (as she so often exclaimed to Laurel in a lesson) a 'Well Done'!
Don & Angela Minnick
I have been working with Debbie Marriott for over four years now, and she has been working with my horse even longer. I have learned so much from Debbie. I am in college and am on my school's Intercollegiate Dressage Association Team. Whenever I am home, Debbie always makes sure I can get a lesson or two during school breaks. Thanks, Debbie!
Within the local equine world, there are many talented teachers, trainers, owners, etc., that if you're a horse enthusiast you would want to be around and get to know. Debbie Marriott is at the top of the list as a 'Who's Who?' and the ONE you need to get to know first.
As a 'returning empty nest' equestrian that was searching for a trainer to 'refresh' my basic skills and heighten my confidence, Debbie, with her very positive and encouraging techniques, had me comfortable in the very first lesson.
Debbie is a rare mix of insight and intuitive understanding of both horse and rider and is a gifted teacher. She uses gentle, positive reinforcement, and I found it easy to gain confidence, because she respects the horse and rider's limitations and strengths. She truly is a 'horse whisperer' and innately knows what is going on inside their heads. She translates that into her teaching style. She is not pushy or forceful or disrespectful of what stage you're in, but will heighten and excite you to be the best you can be. Debbie brings a wealth of qualified experience and is a very talented competitor, owner and trainer. She understands the agony and ecstasy and competition and ownership. Debbie also has the exceptional capacity and experience to understand and relate to a broad range of expertise of both horse and rider. Young or old, beginner to advanced, Debbie Marriott is 'The Real Deal' and a total package.
I am 62 years old with many back and health problems. I was dealing with such a bad back that I had considered giving up my horse and riding. I had moved to a new farm and gave a last ditch effort to be able to continue riding.
Debbie had offered to teach a clinic at the farm to support Breast Cancer, and I thought I would give it a try. I would have never thought Debbie would take an interest in me. We talked, and she offered to give me lessons. I never through that this woman, who I have always watched teach, would take on a person who can't stand up straight or even stand for long periods of time.
In the first year, I became stronger and was even able to sit up straighter on my horse. We have made so much progress that we rode a musical freestyle at one of the shows at my barn. It was a terrifying prospect, but there we were making our way in the ring with many of the boarders from our barn cheering me on. It was an amazing and gratifying experience, and it would have never been possible without Debbie. It was all thanks to her and her encouragement. This is a prime example of therapeutic riding. I know Debbie has hope for me, and I give her all my respect and love for all she has done for me. I know we will remain friends for a long time to come. I owe her so much.