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   "When I watch Rick going about his daily work, the only word that comes to mind is, 'devotion'; really, he is entirely obsessed and it is a good thing. His excitement about this sport is easily perceived in the way he trains, in the way he talks about theory, in the way his expression lights up when he has a breakthrough with a horse. When I first came to Eagle Crest Farm and had a lesson with Rick, I thought, 'this is how it should be' and I could never understand why I thought it should be any different in the first place. We do this for fun, and no matter how demanding competition can be, or how frustrated we can get, it is so important to return to this fundamental concept. Rick understands this; training is serious stuff, but a lesson with Rick is always coupled with his clarity, awareness of the horse and the rider, and great sense of humor. I have been more successful in a year of training with Rick than I have ever been and I think that it was possible because I am able to relax and focus. I have always loved horses, but competing and training could easily blow my mind and the stress could really deter me. But I am never worried when I train with Rick, I am always confident that he will be straightforward and honest and that whatever he asks me to do will work for me as well as my horse. I go to the barn knowing that I’m going to learn something and I go to a show knowing that I am going to have fun. There have been more than a few times when I have arrived at the warm-up totally frazzled and Rick could put me back on track within minutes with his calm, methodical plan. There really is no one I would rather have on the rail- he is a wonderful coach! He truly cares about his clients, whether it means teaching until 8 PM on the weekends to accommodate a businessperson who cannot make it out during the week, or coaching two students at once while warming up his own horse when times are inconveniently close at a competition. His focus on classical riding and the training scale is prevalent throughout all his instruction, however, there is nothing else generic about the way he trains; his approach is created to best suit the individual horse and rider combination, producing excellent results. What else can I say? - He is New Jersey’s best-kept secret!"

~ Nicole DelGiorno, FEI Jr/YR
Hammonton, NJ

Individual and freestyle champion of the North American Junior and Young Rider Championship 2009
USDF Bronze Medalist
2009 USEF National Championship, FEI Junior 5th Place Overall
Region 1 FEI Junior Champion 2007 and 2008
2007 NAJYRC Team Bronze Medalist
USDF Youth Executive Board Region 1 Representative & Secretary

Nicole DelGiorno
Nicole DelGiorno
Photo by SusanJStickle.com

"When I decided to build Eagle Crest Farm and Dressage center it was going to be a horse friendly state of the art facility. A place to encourage young riders, amateurs, and professionals to share the art of Dressage a sport I truly love. But to find someone that shares the passion and commitment that can also teach the rider and horse to become one in harmony, is not easy task.

But with a little Irish luck and a lot of research I found Rick Klaassen. Rick shares my belief that every rider no matter what their level deserves a dedicated skilled and proven trainer to take them as far as they want to go. I am happy that Rick is here at Eagle Crest with me to share our commitment and encourage our students to reach for the gold."

~ Maryann Pokus

  "In the traditional equitation in Portugal, I achieved to compete with some success. Then my Country joined a few Mediterranean nations which created an equestrian discipline that simulated the work with cattle on horse back: the Working Equitation. In this sport I competed and coached nationally and internationally.

  When, around 10 years ago, I moved into Dressage, my first competitions were a disaster and I felt like I did not know how to ride. Luckily, I met Rick Klaassen who showed me the way into this beautiful sport! With his motivation, experience, and deep knowledge on training both rider and horse, Rick explained the Training Scale as the solution. I could then profit from my previous experience and maturity, but bordered by the system which scores.

  Rick is a passionate teacher and rider, which often do not live together on the same person, with an amassing capacity to understand all riders, but also all horses, any of any level aiming to reach Grand Prix!"

~ Bento Castelhano, Portugal, 3/20/09

European Champion in the Indivdual Divison and as coach for the team that won Team and Individual, European and World Championships.

Bento riding Volapie
Bento Castelhano

Jorge riding Ofi
  "I am a professional rider, started to ride 31 years ago at the Portuguese Riding School under the direction of a great Master, Dr. Guilherme Borba and as well with Master Luis Valenca.

  Through my life I had the privilege to ride always with top trainers. To me, a good trainer is the one who always follows the same method, respecting the basics, the horse and provide the rider with "tools" to keep training when alone. Such "tools", knowledge and method we can use with all the horses.

  Rick is such a trainer. Since I met him he has helped me improve my riding and my way of training a lot.

  My horse, Ofi ds Lezirias, was doing PSG and Rick has been a great part of the reason now he is competing at Grand Prix Internationally with success. Besides that, it's not possible to be Rick's pupils and not become his friend. Great sense of humor, always ready to help, and by your side when you need him."

~ Jorge Pereira, Professional, Portugal

Successful Grand Prix rider, teaching not only in Portugal, but England, South Africa and the United States.

  "January 2006 was my first lesson with Rick. Immediately Rick recognized our biggest Issue, the connection (thoroughness of the throat latch).

  After his instruction with the leg yield, I already could feel a big progress after the first session. Especially, because of the diagonal aids, Alaves got more closed and better to the hand. Today, we still ride with the method Rick taught us and use his tips in our daily work. Rick has shown us the crucial way in our training.

  Many thanks."

~ Michael Djedovic, Germany

Successful Haflinger at 3rd level.

Michael Djedovic

Cara Tozour


  I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful training and support. Luzern is a very challenging and sensitive horse.

  Before we started to work together, in April 2008, we could barely get low 60s at 2nd level. With your training, we were able to accomplish USDF All Breed KWPN Open Champion, and rank 15th for USDF HOY at 2nd level.

  It is wonderful to find a trainer that customizes the trainer program based on the horse and rider. I very much look forward to working together and our continual success.

  Thanks again!"

~ Cara Tozour, Woodbine, New Jersey

Teaching in South Jersey and organizing shows at her facility,
Fidler Run Farm.

"Dear Rick,

  By this way, I will thank you for the time I was allowed to work with a trainer of your caliber. You improved my sitting and riding enormously, in spite I am not the most talented pupil.

  It was always a pleasure to follow your lessons and to see you working with other riders. You too showed me a great deal of working in hand that was very educating for me, as if the old masters has come alive again, "steinbrecht-Podharsky-Teodorescu". I can use a great deal of it in educating my own horses.

  Rick I hope the Americans will discover your qualities and that you get the riders and horses you deserve.

All yours,"

~ Herman Wouters, the Nederland

Herman Wouters


"My husband Ron Kubica and myself have had the pleasure of working with Rick Klaassen on a regular clinic basis for a number of years. We have ridden various horses at various levels from training to Prix St Georges. Rick teaches systematically and professionally. He is demanding and intense, unwilling to accept less than best effort from his students. He is also loyal, kind, and at times funny. Above and beyond his dressage skills, Rick is a horseman through and through. We consider working with him an honor and hope to keep up the regular work as long as we both are riding."

~ Christine Campbell, New Mexico

Adult Amateur riders and Hosts of clinics in
Algodones, New Mexico

  "Rick Klaassen uses his great riding ability and rich practical experience to give you clear instruction. Soon you are having success and Rick has put a smile on your face. He enjoys working with amateurs and green horses as well as seasoned horse and rider combinations.

  Rick is a positive, patient trainer who wants his students to enjoy the riding/training process. He is always willing to answer questions and give encouragement. He is certainly a trainer you can trust.

  The atmosphere at Eagle Crest Farm is always welcoming! Everyone is friendly, caring and most important, 'supportive'. I always look forward to training at the farm. I know that while I am learning I will be having fun."

~ Denise Rotko, Pennsylvania

Adult Amateur and owner of several FEI horses.


"I have been riding all my life and began riding dressage in the early 1990's. I started attending Rick's clinics in new Mexico, in 2002, with my semi-retired 4th level/Prix St. Georges Arabian.

Although I have studied with a number of dressage trainers, Rick was the first to teach me the real foundations of dressage, and over the years has helped me close the key gaps in my knowledge and skills.

He began working with my American Holsteiner, Cagney, in 2004. Cagney was a very late maturing horse, looking and acting like a 4 year old when he was 8. Work under a previous trainer had not helped and he seemed "stuck" as permanently immature and not able to get solidly into 2nd level. In 2008, I sent Cagney to New Jersey to be in full-time training with Rick.

During his time with Rick, Cagney finally matured into the beautiful, powerful, capable dressage horse you see here. He came home to New Mexico and I resumed showing him here in Region 5.

I continue to get comments from long time fellow riders:
'Wow, Cagney looks great!'
'Cagney looks so powerful and supple.'
'I always thought he was nice, but now he looks like he will go to FEI!'

Cagney is earning his 2nd level qualifying scores easily, and should place well by year's end, with 3rd level in easy reach.

My rider scores have going from 5 and 6 to 7.

I am delighted with the results we both have achieved with Rick. We will continue to work with him at his clinics and continue to move up.

If you have a horse that needs to make a break through, send him to Rick."

~ Maureen Baca, New Mexico

Adult Amateur

In 2001 I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Rick Klaassen. By that time I had already heard about him, and the regular dressage clinics that he continually performed in Portugal, but we hadn't yet had the chance to meet each.

By this time I was a non professional rider, not very talented, with a horse without great potential, and besides that I didn´t have economical resources that would make me a desirable student/rider; so, I was not the type of student/rider that a trainer usually wish to have. This situation created in me a lot of doubts about the worth in participating in a dressage clinic with such a well known trainer, because, in the first place, I didn´t know if I had the requested level to participate, and, in second place, if it would be worth-full, because of what I described before, it would be very possible that he would not pay me too much attention.

However, in 2002 I wrote up for Mr. Rick Klassen's dressage clinic, and in good time I did, for, at the end of the first lesson all my doubts had vanished, and in effect, Mr. Klassen revealed himself to be a dedicated, hard working, and equipped with a know-how and experience that enabled me to believe in my horse, and gain a work methodology, which quickly produced very positive results, bring me the sense of accomplishment and great satisfaction.

Some of my friends told me to - give-up on my horse, that he wasn't worth the effort, for he would never go very far... However Mr. Rick Klassen's reply was simply "if you don't have another, why not bet on this one! Let's get to work, and the results will soon appear."

From that day on, we have worked together regularly, every year we've had 4 to 5 clinics in Portugal, and 2 consecutive weeks of training in Germany. During these times of training and competition, I have experienced moments of sheer joy, and a wonderful feeling of "a job well done " and even, " better is impossible" and sometimes "(...) well maybe it’s not worth the effort", "maybe this level is too difficult for us..", " will we make it? ", and during all these moments of joy and doubt, I never forgot one of Mr. Klassen`s sentences - "lets continue working, and more results will come..."

I must confess that, when I first went to Rick's clinic, my main goal was to learn how to teach my horse in doing flying changes. It may appear a little low on ambition, but believe me it wasn't.

Today, 7 years later, me and the very same horse have already achieved many placing at Prix St. Jorge, and are currently competing at Grand Prix level. Besides this the same horse competed simultaneously from 2003 to 2006, with a young student of mine, having won 3 national championships (infant and juvenile), all this made possible due to Mr. Klassen's professionalism, commitment and dedication, and it has been a true honor for me.

There was this one episode which i mustn't leave out: in 2005 another horse was lent to me, and 2 years later, following Rick's same methodology, and work discipline we where qualified to compete in Verden - Germany, for the "World Breeding Championships for Young Dressage Horses". Besides the good results, it is very rewarding and gratifying to hear different vets and quiropractores saying that the horses I ride are well muscled and in great physical form.

For this and much more, it is impossible not to acknowledge Mr. Rick Klassen's merit, quality, results and true professionalism, and highlight how thankful I am for his dedication and friendship which has accompanied me, and which has allowed me to reach goals I never dreamed possible.


Thank you Rick"

Portuguese version

"Em 2001 tive a oportunidade de conhecer o Sr. Rick Klaassen. Eu já tinha ouvido falar do seu nome e das frequentes clínicas que vinha ministrando em Portugal, mas ainda não tinha surgido a oportunidade de nos conhecermos.

Eu era um cavaleiro amador, não muito talentoso, com um cavalo sem grande potencial e para além disso não possuía meios económicos que tornassem um aluno desejável; assim, não era propriamente o tipo de aluno que normalmente um treinador ambiciona. Esta situação fazia com que tivesse muitas dúvidas sobre se valeria a pena participar num estágio com um treinador de renome, pois, em primeiro lugar, não sabia se teria nível suficiente e, em segundo, se seria proveitoso, pois, em função do que atrás descrevi, era possível que não me fosse concedida muita atenção.

Porém, em 2002 inscrevi-me num estágio do Sr. Rick Klaassen, e em boa hora o fiz, pois no fim da primeira aula todas as minhas dúvidas tinham desaparecido, efectivamente, o Sr. Rick Klaassen revelou-se dedicado, empenhado, possuidor de um know-how e experiência que me permitiu acreditar no meu cavalo e ganhar uma forma e método de trabalho que se veio a confirmar proveitosa e compensadora.

O cavalo que levei ao estágio de 2002 tinha-me sido emprestado por um criador no ano de 2000; era um cavalo cuja conformação, a mecânica e a força não eram as mais adequadas para quem procura obter algum resultado na dressage.

Vários amigos me disseram - “desiste desse cavalo”, “não vale a pena”, “nunca chegarás muito longe” -, porém a posição do Sr. Rick Klaassen sempre foi, “Se não tens outro, porque não apostar neste! Vamos trabalhar e os resultados vão aparecer”.

A partir desse primeiro estágio trabalhamos em conjunto de uma forma regular, cada ano tivemos entre 4 a 5 estágios em Portugal e 2 semanas consecutivas de treino na Alemanha.

Durante este tempo de treinos e competições vivenciei momentos de intensa alegria, de sentimento de missão cumprida e de melhor é impossível, mas também outros onde disse, “ provavelmente não vale a pena”, “talvez este nível seja já difícil para nós” , “será que conseguimos?” , mas em todos estes momento uma frase era sempre repetida pelo Sr. Rick Klaassen “(…) vamos continuar a trabalhar e mais resultados vão aparecer”.

Posso confessar que, quando fui ao primeiro estágio o meu objectivo era conseguir ensinar aquele cavalo a fazer uma passagem de mão. À primeira vista parece pouco ambicioso, mas acreditem que não era.

Hoje, a 7 anos de distância, eu e esse mesmo cavalo já obtivemos várias classificações em Prix St. George e estamos actualmente a competir em nível GP, para além disto, nos anos de 2003 a 2006 este cavalo competiu, em simultâneo, com um aluno meu tendo ganho 3 campeonatos nacionais (iniciados e juvenis), tudo isto devido ao profissionalismo, empenho, dedicação e um enorme altruísmo que tive a honra de receber Sr. Rick Klaassen.

Existe ainda outro episódio que não posso deixar de relatar: no ano de 2005 outro cavalo foi-me emprestado e, 2 anos depois, seguindo o mesmo método e disciplina de trabalho, sempre seguido pelo Sr. Rick Klaassen, independentemente da distância a que este se encontrasse, obtive o apuramento e competi no World Breeding Championships for Young Dressage Horses em Verden - Alemanha.

Para além dos bons resultados obtidos, é ainda reconfortante ouvir diferentes veterinários e quiropatas dizerem que os cavalos que monto se encontram em óptima forma física e clínica.

Por tudo isto, é impossível não reconhecer o mérito, qualidade, resultados e profissionalismo do Sr. Rick Klaassen, e salientar o quanto agradecido lhe estou pela forma dedicada, empenhada e amiga com que sempre me tem acompanhado, e que me tem permitido alcançar resultados que jamais pensei serem possíveis.

Obrigado Rick."

~ Fredrico




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