My ethos for The Crystal System is about giving you the tools to be your own riding coach.

Becoming ‘instructor dependent’ is a soul destroying place to be! I know – I have been there, hopelessly unable to replicate the good work that I got when having a lesson.  Why? Because your instructor is not allowing you to feel your way, you are too mechanical in your aids.

What the Crystal System blog is aiming to do is to steer you to find a path through the overabundance of information that is out there; so many methods; so many viewpoints on how it should and shouldn’t be done; so many opinions.


In my research for The Crystal System I have read hundreds of books about riding and dressage (really, there are that many).  What I discovered was that each and every one of them had something to offer, but that none of them had it all.  It showed me that I needed to keep an open mind, listen to others and then make my own decisions about whether I wanted to do it that way or not.  No rights or wrongs, just is this for me or not? (well, a few wrongs but hey, I’m trying not to be judgemental!)

My conclusion? – The Crystal System could not be another method of training – a do this, do that system; a this is right and this is wrong style, but needed to help the rider find their own way and develop their own system that works for them, by asking – what are you struggling with?; by encouraging experimentation; by suggesting good ways of doing things and giving feedback when things are not quite right.  Blindly following the system that works for someone else, who has had fantastic results, will not necessarily work for you!

The Crystal System is about finding your own way to train that brings the results you want.  This means accessing all sorts of resources, instructors, coaches, methods and taking from them only what you want, only what you need, only what you can use and then … making it your own!

This is why I am investing in arena mirrors from Mirrors for Training

I am a visual learner, when I explain something I have to have a picture or I say … ‘imagine this’, I start doodling and drawing to show people my point.  If I am to become my own coach, if I am to be able to train my horse myself, if I am to become independent of my ‘instructor’, I need a visual feedback.  I NEED mirrors.

1 Fat Rider

So, here’s what to do … If you can only afford just one mirror you should invest in one, if you can afford more, get more!

I am not saying that they are essential, clearly not as I have come this far without them, but if you really want to wean yourself off that instructor, replace him with your own ability to train your horse and become your own coach, mirrors will, without doubt, aid that process.

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster



9 Responses

    1. Yes indeed Simon, video playback is also good, but it is the immediate visual feedback that mirrors gives you that gives them the status of ‘ultimate traiing aid’
      Patricia x

  1. I don’t have an arena or even a barn at our new farm…. so no where to PUT mirrors, but thought I’d throw out this tip. Check with folks who do work on mobile homes. So many of them have a master bath with a stupid “garden tub” surrounded by polished steel “mirrors”. We did some work on one a few years ago and removing the tub and the mirros and I was shocked to find they were not real mirrors, but they’d be awesome as arena mirrors… and very safe.

  2. So very true – thank you for the insightful words of coaches and books. I took a several years long break from dressage, returned recently and discovered to my great pleasure that the wisdom of 100’s of books and many coaches have ripened inside me and amalgamated to a “method” of my own that works! Now I just need a MIRROR.

  3. This is so true…..Only by becoming more independent can you really start learning and actually think through the process of what you need to achieve. You need confidence to believe in yourself and ability as well.
    Thank you so much for your very practical advice

  4. Maybe a silly question but wondered where best to but the mirror, horizontal or vertical, at the end of the long side, across the short side. Tips will stop hubby from tearing his hair out if I ask him to put them up and then change my mind…..

    1. A real dilemma! lol. I pondered this for ages. It really depends how many you are having. My view would be a single mirror would best be suited vertically at the end of the long side. More than this would probably be better horizontal. But you still might want to start at the end of the long side, like I have. This allows me to view my riding coming towards the mirrors on the long side and check out the bend in the corner.

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