Carol Kurtz Darlington,

Art2Ride Associate Trainer

Carol loved riding horses as a girl over the hills in the California Bay Area. In high school, she rode hunter/jumper horses. When she had children, she made sure they took riding lessons and eventually had a pony of their own. Later on, she became a student of riding and eventually found dressage. After studying dressage for several years, she saw a short video clip of Will Faerber explaining the correct movement of a horse’s back. This began a transformational journey that sparked a passion for true classical dressage. Reading old books about classical horsemanship convinced Carol that the current state of equine sports has changed dramatically since that time, and not for the benefit of the horse.

As Carol and her daughters began studying classical foundation training, they found the work hugely beneficial for their Paint mare, Sky. Carol attended clinics and submitted critiques and eventually became certified as an Art2Ride associate trainer. She began helping others learn the method for their horses. “I see these time-tested principles working for all breeds of horse in all disciplines, not just dressage, and eliminating the need to ‘throw away’ a horse due to damage sustained from overwork and incorrect riding. I developed patience training Sky, who was ridden upside-down her whole life and had never even used her back properly before. This made any other horse I worked with seem easy,” Carol says. She and her daughters Tracy and Carrie (C. J.) enjoy helping horses of any age and background to reach their full potential.

“I love seeing a horse when it first realizes I am going to allow it to move comfortably for the first time,” she explains. “Once the horse gets there and feels that he can actually use his back and his neck the way he was created to use it, the horse becomes a willing partner in the work. That is what keeps me going and compels me to help as many horses and riders as I possibly can. No one could love my horse more than I did, so that is always on my mind – that, like I did, riders often use resistive methods and gadgets because they do not know better.” Learning from the old masters and Art2Ride about classical foundation principles has changed her whole approach. Carol is convinced that with patience and time this method will help every horse become the best it can be in any discipline. “My job is to let people know, so they can help the horses they love too.”

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