Coventry Equestrian Center

Our Background and Philosophy

Our Background and Philosophy
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Our Passion is Dressage!

Kristin has been involved with horses since childhood, and learning dressage for over twenty years. She came to Pittsburgh from New England in 1978 to train with an FEI trainer.  She has taken lessons/clinics from over 20 international trainers, ranging from Olympic rider Michelle Gibson to Centered Riding instructor Sally Swift* (See list below) She schooled in Guadalajara, Mexico for a winter, plus rode in Germany at the Bad Sooden-Allendorf riding club in Hesson, of which she is still a member. She even went hacking with Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis when she was a groom/exercise rider at a fox hunting stable in Essex County, New Jersey!

Kriston showing Pernod.

To date, Kristin has produced 14 champion riders during the last six years who show at local events. Kristin has proven herself as a competent instructor/trainer.  She has shown Second Level on her self trained horse Pernod, scoring in the mid-60s. In 1989 she was a USA Equestrian/USDF Adult Amateur (six state) champion at Training Level on her imported Trakhenar mare named Erle's Bliss. (See pictures of Bliss illustrating Kristin's articles Riding the Quarterturn, and Developing a Green Horses Canter Under Saddle.)


Kristin graduated from one of Pittsburgh's finest schools, Chatham College. However, instead of pursuing a career within the "normal" work force, she chose to concentrate as an equestrienne. With a degree in English Literature/ Communications, Kristin has utilized her education by incorporating the skills of communicating to teach not only how to ride, but the technical aspects of harmonious riding, such as dressage offers!


Kristin was certified as an Assistant Instructor in 1975 on Long Island, N. Y., and has since attended two of the United States Dressage Federation's Teacher/Trainer seminars - once as a participant (1989), and once as an auditor (1985). She also attended the classes for the Learners Judges Program for dressage in 1991.  She has studied Yoga and the Alexander Technique, both body work disciplines for improving riding position. She has over forty articles published about training and/or horse people, and has been published in several leading journals such as the USDF Bulletin, Dressage Today and The Chronicle of the Horse.


Presently, Kristin manages, teaches and trains, plus hosts shows and clinics at her Coventry Equestrian Center.  She is currently on the board of the Western Pennsylvania Dressage Association after a short break, and has previoiusly been on their board for over eight years. This position taught her the grassroots value of her passion, which is dressage. Basic dressage is a skill any rider can utilize and all horses will benefit from training.  Kristin emphasizes working with the horse's biomechanics and is quite skilled in not only training, but, in teaching her students how to train their horses. A lot of pride is taken in the fact that most of her champion riders have trained themselves by taking only weekly lessons.


Our Philosophy

We like to see our students be successful in the dressage show ring riding their own horses we have taught them to train themselves. This training also makes a horse more pleasant to ride even if it is not destined for the show ring, dressage or otherwise. We are proud of the fact that many of our students are successfully showing in many disciplines including hunt seat, eventing and dressage.  Dressage is like Yoga for Horses, it benefits all horses.

Why Should You Learn to Ride Dressage?
  1. Be in greater harmony with your horse
  2. Improve rider position and use of aids to best influence the horse
  3. Utilize dressage to keep the horse off the forehand
  4. Bend and relax longitudinal and lateral muscles
  5. Improve gaits, transitions and canter departs, and to develop the topline...

Learn all this from Kristin (with a little bit of work on your part!)

List of Clinicians/ Trainers Kristin has schooled with:


Robert O. Mayer; Hubert Rohrer; Major Butterkay; Carol Grant-Oldfield; Dr. Kent Vasko; Jan Ebling; Roanne Denny-Winent; Dr. Deb Bennett; Linda Tellington-Jones; Sally Swift; Eicke Von Velt Heim; Linda Oliver; Roy Como; Ken Larson; Gerald Kirsch; Violet Hopkins; Dorothy Sashey; Bill Woods;  David Wispelaire; Michelle Gibson; Jane Savoire; Peter Kellerup; Fred Weber; Hannah Johnson;  Diana Miller-Howard; Krista Tyco; Pia Helsted, Robin Birk, Ken Borden, Dana Fiore, and Lisa Hall...

Kristin and Blythdale
Riding partners during the 1980's!

Kristin & Blythedale
In this picture Kristin is feeding her favorite horse, Blythdale, a Thoroughbred off the racetrack who was given to her as a gift. After several successful years with Kristin, he passed away and now rests peacefully on a private farm in Smithton, PA where Kristin trained during the late 1980's with Roanne Winnett, wife of the famous Grand Prix rider John Winnett. Roanne, at one time, was a trainer of Queen Elizabeth's event horses in Great Britain.
Blythdale was named after a book by Nathaniel Hawthorne entitled "The Blythdale Romance", and Kristin, in Blythdale's memory,  uses his name as her username for this website!

Kristin was included in the Who's Who Among Rising Young Americans, 1990 Edition.
Also in 1990, Kristin and Erle's Bliss won AHSA/American Bankers Insurance Company, Zone 11  ( six states) Champion, Adult/Amateur Training Level Dressage.

In 2012 and 2014, after 23 years of not showing, she and her horse Bracchus won the USDF All Breed Award for the Spanish Norman Registry!  And, in 2012  was the Highest scoring Spanish Norman horse in the country.

Coventry Equestrian Center, 452 Old Hickory Ridge Road, Washington PA 15301