Testimonials

Shannon-Peters

I truly believe that the art of training a horse correctly and classically can be demonstrated beautifully in the competitive arena by following the methods of one of our greatest masters, Karl Mikolka.

“For any dressage enthusiast out there, it is an absolute MUST to visit this site. There are downloadable articles, training exercises and so much valuable information you owe it to yourself (and your horse!) to check it out. There’s no one like Karl!!!”

Shannon Peters
Student of Karl Mikolka, FEI competitor and wife of Steffen Peters, one of America’s most decorated dressage riders


“I’ve been an amateur Dressage rider for 20+ years. Over that time period I’ve become fairly pragmatic about what I expect to learn at any given clinic. I figure if you get one or two gems over the course of the clinic it’s been a worthwhile experience.

I’ve just returned from my first full clinic with Karl Mikolka and feel like I’ve had an entire Tiffany vault of gems showered on me.

“By listening and trying to execute his instructions, he’s able to ride the horse through you. I’ve never experienced that level of feel and timing from the ground. I was pretty disappointed during the clinic because my horse was misbehaving. In retrospect, the misbehavior was the best thing that could have happened to us. We were able to work through some lingering submission and attention issues that have been hounding us for quite some time. After arriving back home, I found that thanks to Karl’s work with us, I’m much better equipped to handle those issues on my own.

“While observing the other riders, it also occurred to me that no lesson is the same, except for the underlying structure of the training system. Each horse and rider team is treated individually and the lessons evolve based on their needs and abilities. This was no cookie cutter clinic where everyone gets the same lesson. Was it worth the time, effort and expense? Absolutely! Will I do it again? Yes, as often as I can. Over the years I often wondered why I heard Karl referred to as “The Master”, I’m just beginning to get a glimmer of understanding and appreciation about the truth of that title. ”

Bobbi Balgobin


Judy-Westlake

“My own personal basic education in dressage began many years ago. With the traditional European instruction available in this country I brought my first horse up the levels reaching Grand Prix in 1996. I had acquired USDF Silver and Gold Medals along the way and became a USDF Certified Instructor. Subsequently I advanced a few more horses up to Grand Prix and assisted many of my own students on their journeys ‘through the levels’ but I was still feeling there was an element of trial and error in the process. I needed more answers.

“The amazing thing about this sport is that the learning never ends. The Old Masters said it takes two lifetimes to learn how to ride. I continue in this lifetime to ‘fill the blanks’ by furthering my own education. In this quest I encountered Karl Mikolka. My student Adam Cropper had been riding in clinics with Karl and he kept telling me I should really ride with Karl as his exercises were in sync with my teaching.

“My first lesson with Karl in 2002 started with Karl asking me why I thought I knew how to ride. I proceeded to tell him that I didn’t and that was why I was in his clinic to learn.

“The initial thoughts on his systematic exercises drawn from the Spanish Riding School were that they resembled piano scales. Through repetition they focus on the rhythm and timing of your aids within the rhythm. In the beginning it felt like I was at the piano again and scales were not my favorite part of playing the piano, but the results quickly became apparent. My horses started to think and actually understand the exercises. Anticipation was used in a positive way where my horses understood what was coming next. My muscle memory started to kick in and the exercises took less and less brainpower. They became second nature, similar to how posting the trot becomes second nature. Pretty soon canter zigzags were like a dance instead of a nightmare.

Karl can actually teach feel and teach horses and riders to think. His exercises have explained and simplified the training of the movements and removed the ‘trial and error’ part of the training.

“Thankfully I have been much more successful in training numerous horses and students further up the levels with less confusion and resistance.

“My students also have noticed an improvement in my teaching. The outcome has been higher scores than ever for me and my riders that earned Regional and National Awards, including two of my students being on their way to Grand Prix on horses that we trained. Many others managed to receive their Bronze and Silver Medals due to Karl’s remarkable and demanding system of specific exercises that teach horses and riders to think and to develop the essential skills to time their aids within the rhythm.

“I am looking forward to many more lessons with Karl.”

Judy Westlake
FEI USDF instructor and trainer


“Karl Mikolka’s contribution is and will continue to be the intimacy of the connection he teaches so many riders and horses – the connection to be the best versions of themselves. His contribution has a far greater effect than any other “Great” I have met, read, or watched.

Karl inspires me to aspire to the best version of me and my horse, and to accept nothing less than that.”

Shannon K. Burnett