Robbie Carpenter Dressage Training

Classical training with contemporary coaching and consultancy

About Robbie

"An intuitive, talented and understated British trainer and rider" - Emile Faurie, olympic rider and world class trainer

Robbie Carpenter, Dressage Trainer

My story

When I was eight years old I sold my Scaletrix racing car track to buy my first pony, and riding has been my passion ever since. I was a GB talent spotting finalist in the mid 90s and competed nationally and internationally as a GB Young Rider. Completing my Law degree I continued to ride and train dressage in the UK, Mexico and South Africa before returning to England to settle down in the beautiful Sussex countryside at Belmoredean, West Grinstead. I was trained classically from an early age and have continued training with various elite trainers including Emile Faurie and Conrad Schaumacher.

For me there's nothing more satisfying than training a novice horse through to Grand Prix. Of course it's nice to win at a competition too - winning the Hickstead Masters was a great day! At present I ride a few selected horses in my stable ranging from novice to Grand Prix and spend the majority of the day training clients.

Educating a rider to train a horse in dressage is very rewarding when results start to happen. Having been a British National trainer, an under 21's trainer and British Dressage Young Riders Dressage Scheme trainer, it's been fantastic to help some riders reach their potential.

Video - Robbie riding

Watch Robbie riding and training at home in West Sussex, UK

Robbie Carpenter, British trainer and rider

The Way I Work

Keeping it simple is my number one priority! Dressage can sometimes feel like rocket science due to the vast amounts of variables that can be affected…but it doesn't have to be like that!

The clearer the level of communication between trainer, rider and horse, the more effective the training.

I start training the rider on how to educate the horse to respond to the aids in an effective manner. Once the horse clearly starts to understand the application of the rider’s aids, a clear, simple yet flexible system needs to be put in place. This system needs to be based along the lines of ‘the scales of training’. With rider consistency this helps to improve the horse’s gymnastic way of going and muscular strength. In time this will allow the horse to perform the movements required at specific levels required in dressage and unleash the horse and rider’s full potential in line with realistic expectations.

Video - Robbie teaching

Watch Robbie training one of his clients

Robbie Carpenter, Dressage Rider


What can I do to improve my riding?
The rider’s physical and mental wellbeing is crucial to training. Leaving any emotional baggage and stress at the mounting block is essential if you are to have a productive training session. Being physically fit and cross training off the horse will help your effectiveness on how to apply your aids at the right time for the right reason helping to make your seat more independent. Cross training really helps for balanced core strength and to lose the muscle memory that riding may induce making for stiff shoulders, hips and hamstrings. Educating and making the rider mindful of their body, fitness and health (I became so interested in riders' fitness that I qualified as an international personal trainer in 2012).

How can I improve my horse’s way of going?
The horse’s mental and physical wellbeing is the first thing to examine. Just because a certain routine and feed works for one horse doesn't mean it will work for another! Make sure the tack is correctly fitted and the horse is pain free. Specific management of the horse to achieve the goals that you want to achieve is paramount to success. Understanding your horse’s needs will improve muscular and mental development e.g. turnout, nutrition, recovery time, hacking and the right bit. Remember that not all horses are born to be successful competition dressage horses but most horses can be trained to improve their dressage ability and enjoy their training!

Why am I not seeing results quicker?
Train, train and train some more! (and remember to rest in between!) Consistent, correct training and setting realistic short term goals will help with progress.

What can I do to stop getting nervous at competitions?
This is a state of mind. If you've done your work at home and practice what you do every day in the warm up arena you should be fine! Of course horses are unpredictable but that's what makes it interesting! Top Compettion riders have a cool attitude! One mantra that I really teach (and try to follow!) is this... ‘If you continuously compete with others you become bitter, but if you compete with yourself you become better!’

I really want to do dressage to music but don't know where to start. Can you help?
Yes! I work closely alongside music composer and producer Nick Reeve to devise choreography and music from prelim to international Grand Prix level, having repeated sucess at all levels. We run DTM clinics regularly here at Belmoredean or can hold them at another venue if enough people come together (some riding clubs organise this). It starts with me devising a bespoke floorplan for you according to the level that you wish to compete at, finding all the movements that you enjoy and incorperating them into the required movements. Nick will then take your horses tempo in all the gaits, video you and discuss your musical tastes and what themes may suit you and your horse. We can also organise a music licence for you.

+ Nick Reeve - Dressage to Music
+ Belmoredean Dressage

Some riding clubs hold DTM classes, also there are Affiliated dressage classes for DTM. We are trying our first unaffiliated music class here at Belmoredean's unaffiliated dressage series in August 2014.

"if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got!"
- anonymous

What they're all saying

"With Robbie’s help and strong belief in correct and consistent training, we have bought on an unlikely candidate from a green horse to a successful dressage horse competing nationally - in three years" - Frances Morrissey

Over the years Robbie has been responsible for riding, competing and training horses to the highest Grand Prix level. He has done all of these things in England and also in South Africa for several years. He has combined this with teaching and I have always been most impressed with his special ability as a teacher. He is enthusiastic and inspiring and has a very special ability to transmit these abilities to his pupils. They can certainly expect to gain a huge amount of knowledge. As well as training people, Robbie has a very calm and successful method which he passes on to his horses.

I find that my main inspiration to continue riding and gaining knowledge always comes from Robbie. I find that I am always surprised that one can continue learning something new every day. In conclusion, if Robbie trains you, you can expect to be enthusiastic, inspired and successful.
Louise Hartnett
Brilliant lesson today thankyou. You are a very gifted trainer - and take that from someone who trains people :-). You know when to be tough, when to praise, can find something complimentary to say in the face of little evidence and manage not to let your frustration show - a great skill ;-). I learnt a lot today thanks again.
Mel Kenney
My horse is not an uncomplicated, ready-made dressage horse but under Robbie’s tuition I have learnt the feel and techniques to school at home in between lessons to prepare for competitions. In 18 months we have progressed from Prelim to competing successfully at Novice and aiming for our first Elementary at the end of this year.

Kerry Upton with William
Kerry Upton with William

Robbie explains everything in terms of the overall way of going and impact, in respect of the scales of training, on the horse and pushes me to achieve better results each lesson. I leave feeling completely inspired and wanting more. I know I am a better horsewoman as a result of having lessons with Robbie.
Kerry Upton and William
I had recently purchased a young horse with no dressage experience. I myself had competed up to BD Regionals on my previous horse but only to Prelim level. My goal for my next horse was to keep him long term and to school him up through the levels. Little did I know how quickly success would begin to follow after starting my training with Robbie.

I had purchased my horse in August 2012 and by March 2013 I had won the BD Prelim Regionals and was on my way to Nationals. This was followed by achieving a seventh place at my first ever Nationals topping an incredible first six months of training with Robbie.

Joanna Moyers with Ratty
Joanna with Ratty at the Nationals

During my lessons, Robbie uses a combination of clever analogies alongside a common sensical approach which for my horse and I has produced brilliant results. Robbie has also introduced me to the wonderful world of Dressage to Music, something I had not previously explored. With Robbie’s help in creating a floor plan and then the help of music producer Nick Reeve, I am throughly enjoying the world of DTM.

As a result of my continued training with Robbie, I have now qualified for both the BD Novice regionals and the BD Novice Dressage to Music regionals. My future plans consist of moving up the levels and with Robbie’s continued help and support I see a bright future ahead. Many thanks to Robbie for all the hours put in so far, long may they continue!
Joanna Moyers
Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou! I had the most wonderful time at the DTM clinic. You gave me so much confidence to do something I had only ever dreamed of doing! I love the choreography and the music just lights up Billy! I ride to the music now every day at the end of my schooling to give me something to look forward to!
Zoe Banks
I had my first clinic with Robbie six months ago with my young horse and it left me so amazed that my horse could go that well that I am now hooked on Robbie's lessons and have one whenever a slot is available. He has a way of getting you to work with your horse that is incredible and that few other instructors can achieve. We take steps forward in every lesson and have those 'click' moment where everything falls into place. He has motivated me to push myself and my horse further than I thought we could ever go and has an endless dedication and enthusiasm for dressage and in helping others achieve their goals. He has the right balance of encouragement and firmness in the clinics that makes you leave feeling confident and ready to put the training into practice at home. I can't thank Robbie enough for what he has helped my horse and I achieve.
Gez and Spring
I had no previous experience with dressage and had never shown it the interest that I should have done. From the very first lesson, Robbie was honest and encouraging. He has not only taught me everything I know now, and certainly more to come, but he has instilled in me the dedication that is required and constantly inspires me to be a better rider and horsewoman.

Frances Morrisey
Frances Morrissey, National U25 Champion

Robbie has taught me about the importance of a rider’s physical health, including diet, fitness, balance and core strength. He has taught me that we are not teaching our horses to do ‘tricks’, we are working muscle groups, we are training our horse to be athletes following a schedule of training. Robbie shows a passion and understanding for the horse’s well-being; always concerned with their management, to enable the horse to perform at its best.

With Robbie’s help and strong belief in correct and consistent training, we have bought on an unlikely candidate (a pure-bred Friesian) from a green horse to a successful dressage horse competing nationally - in three years.
Frances Morrissey
I've trained with Robbie for 7 years and during this time he has always been professional, enthusiastic and honest. His training methods achieve results and with his help I have achieved many successes at BE Eventing. I have also qualified for many Riding Club Championships in DTM, Dressage and Riding Test. I highly recommend him to help you achieve your riding goals.
Susannah Givons
My lessons with Robbie have been a real turning point for me in my riding and how I approach my training. I felt I stagnated for a long time prior to receiving training from Robbie - he pushes me hard in lessons and simply won’t accept second best from the rider – that said his lessons are always great fun and I thoroughly enjoy them! His instructions are clear and the reasoning behind them is always explained in a way I can fully understand and work with. I would genuinely recommend Robbie to anyone who really wants to improve their riding.
Claire Carr
Robbie personally invests in everyone he teaches and we all benefit from his desire to develop his own skills. I really value Robbie as a person with whom I can share experience and knowledge and particularly his enthusiasm for learning and self-development.
Liz Eaton BHSI
Oh wow! i got a 9.5 for my music and 9.2 for choreography. Robbie and Nick - you're geniuses! Thank you so much. now we have qualified for the championship!
Patricia Small
The RC DTM went really well today! No problem with speed of music or volume! He got 77% and won! He got 8.5 for the music and 9.5 for choreography!
Tess Seed

Keeping the complicated simple

Getting in touch

Interested in working with Robbie?

UK riders

Robbie is based in West Sussex. Please use the form below to enquire about -
Private training and coaching
Lecture demonstrations
Music choreography
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