What People Are Saying

"I am fortunate to have been training with David Donnelly at French Light Dressage for almost a year now. A weekly private lesson on David and Tory’s highly trained, sensitive horse, Hank has been a tremendous learning experience for me.   The first thing David asked me was, “what do you want to get out of these lessons?”  My reply was I want to be able to do some smooth moves.  His first assignment was to read “Racinet explains Baucher”, because at FLD you don’t just get riding instruction you also get history lessons. This is actually important in order to gain an understanding of the FLD philosophy and what inspires David and his system of training.  David Donnelly brings over 35 years of professional experience and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of equestrian arts.  This includes the contributions of influential masters and various schools up to and including modern day dressage. Like every rider, my goal is to ride a relaxed horse with supple gaits, light to aids and happy in his work."

"Through my journey, I continue to improve in ways that are only possible because of the quality of instruction I have received.  David shares insight into a system of training horse and rider to lightness.  One key to this result is that a soft mobile jaw promotes a soft supple neck, back and communication, resulting in energy, self-carriage and lightness through transitions and during exercises.  Another key has been is to position the horse and set him up for success.  I have come to understand why these basics are so important.  This enthusiastic instruction and encouragement has made me think about my riding in a new way."

"Many instructors focus on what the horse must do. While it is important for me to know what the horse must do, it is more important that I learn what I must do for the horse. David has a great eye and can identify where I am weak or falling apart and explain it to me.  He is also very good at demonstrating what needs to be done differently, when, and why.  His horse Hank is kind, soft, willing and knows what he is supposed to do.  This has been an opportunity for me to really focus on improving my skills."

"Sometimes, when my lesson is over, I will sit on the bench, watch and learn while David works with his horses in training. Often this includes in hand work or ground work.  So much of what is trending as natural horsemanship has its roots in classical dressage traditions.  The indoor riding arena, the facility and staff at the barn are all very Zen and it is a perfect learning environment for me and for the horses in training there.  David has a great sense of humor and is a kind person who is very good at what he does."

-Deb (weekly lessons on "Hank")

"I just have to say how much I love my lessons with my dressage instructor David Donnelly. Thank you for being a positive and reward based trainer who leaves me feeling excited for the next lesson and really wanting to learn more about the ART of dressage! I've taken lessons with so many angry, non-motivating instructors, this is honestly the first time I've been this happy with the work I'm doing with the boys and it's because of your teaching methods."


"David Donnelly starts with the absolute basics for ANY discipline (free forward movement) and builds from there in the most systematic and fair way I have ever seen.  He asks of his equine partners just enough so that the horse makes progress but does not get sour with the work."

"For our lessons, David typically rides and "sets" my horse up so that when I get on her, I can feel a difference in the way she goes.  This really helps me understand what I'm working towards and he is one of the only people I can say that about."

-Kathy T

"I just want to take this opportunity to thank you on the positive and productive experience I had while I had my PRE Andalusian in training with French Light Dressage."

"I've  had several horses in training all over the country over the years and I would recommend you as a well versed and talented Dressage horse training instructor."

"From the moment of delivery you immediately went right to work with my horse. In my previous experience, typically trainers will wait till I left and institute an acclimation period wasting days before doing anything with my horses.I was impressed to see your charisma and "lets get to work" ethic. You are very kind to your horses and I was at peace knowing that my horse was not being mistreated or abused."

"In a short time I could see rapid improvement in my horses ability and movement. There was no doubt that my horse was "in" training and not just sitting around in his stall being tuned up before I arrived. Its apparent that your skill level and knowledge of dressage horse training  puts you in a category with few others as a World Class Horse trainer."

"You are a breath of fresh air in an uptight and hyphenated dressage world of trainers where it just goes to show that you can be talented, cool and down to earth without ripping your clients off with over inflated training fees and extra charges."

"I would recommend to anyone, anywhere in the country to send you their horses for dressage training. And to have the trust in you as I did to school their horses of any breed for maximum results in a safe and caring enviroment."

- Barry and "Luke"