"What differentiates Dagmar from most classic dressage instructors is her relaxed and approachable manner. She connects with her students at their level and brings them along at a pace that works for them. Some trainers hold themselves in such high esteem that it is difficult to establish a bond or connection with them. Others put so much pressure on their students to advance quickly that it actually creates barriers to learning. Dagmar's exacting, yet patient and humorous approach to training actually accelerate improvement. I learn so much from her each time I'm with her because of her willingness to openly share her vast knowledge. I could never have achieved such harmony with my horse without her guidance. And I look at photos of my riding before I trained with her and now months later and can't believe how my seat and body lines have changed."
"My dream was to be a horse owner-which I now am, but I couldn’t do it without Dagmar! She has guided me from before I owned a horse and took riding lessons on hers, to selecting an appropriate horse for me within my budget and now the challenges of learning how to care for these magnificent animals. She is patient, yet firm and I have learned so much, and know how much more I have to learn. I am becoming a better rider and owner after every lesson. Thanks, Dagmar!"
Shirley Salado, mother of Catalina and Celeste
"My girls have received the best foundation in learning how to ride a horse for any discipline under the instruction of Dagmar as their horse riding instructor! I refer all new riders to her European Riding Academy."
"Not only is Dagmar an unbelievably skilled and knowledgeable horsewoman, she is the most easygoing, kind, and honest trainer a rider could work with. Dagmar feels riding and lessons should be fun, and imparts that sense of joy and positive attitude onto her students. The principles of classical dressage are taught in a clear and easy to follow manner at each lesson. Patient, fun loving, warm and friendly, Dagmar is a find!"
"When I hired Dagmar Hoffmann (now Realini), I didn’t know much about European riding or dressage, but I did know a freaked-out horse when I had one, and that is exactly what I got back from another trainer. “Red” left home a moderately high energy, sensitive young horse, and came back a nervous and high-strung emotional wreck, with no discernible under-saddle training. Not only did Red still need to be trained for riding, his mind needed to be brought back from a very untrusting and insecure place. Dagmar’s gentle, but firm manner allowed her to gain Red’s trust and develop his self-confidence, while she took him through the training process. Red and Dagmar have earned many blue ribbons and several champion and reserve champion awards in both model and performance classes at California Fox Trotter Association shows. She has transformed him into a seasoned and sensible, show, trail and parade horse. I can recommend her highly!"
Dagmar is amazing! As a child, I rode jumpers with absolutely no fear...now, returning to riding as a 40 something adult, I have some fears, and Dagmar has been amazing. When I first met her, I had recently purchased a 7 year old Canadian Warmblood, Tigger, who turned out to be quite a handful, and definitely, not a beginner horse. Dagmar has been patient, understanding, reliable and genuine with both my Tigger and me. She has worked with Tigger to teach him how to use his body correctly, and is teaching him that using his hind-end does not mean rearing; it means engaging! She is teaching me how to use basic fundamentals of dressage to build my confidence in riding again.
On another note, I have a 6 year old daughter who already as the horse bug, and Dagmar uses her pony to allow my daughter access to riding a safe, reliable, fun pony!
Dagmar is one of the most honest, hard-working persons whom I have ever met, and I am thrilled to have her in our lives...don't know what I'd do without her!
In 2005 I read an article in our small town newspaper with the headline “Princess of Pain offering riding lessons.” It had been ten years, a marriage and two babies since I’d had a riding lesson. My husband encouraged me to take a riding lesson at one of the local stables, but nothing caught my eye. Now there it was in front of me “Princess of Pain” – I just knew this riding instructor would be the one for me. Her real name is Dagmar Hoffmann (as of 2017: Realini) and she is the owner of European Riding Academy in Valley Center, California. (recently moved to Medford, OR) Born and raised in Austria, Dagmar earned her certification as a Bereiter and riding instructor from the National Riding Association of Austria.
There are no short cuts to good riding. The Europeans have known this for centuries, but typical Americans want quick results. Dagmar starts all her students with longe-line lessons until a centered and balanced seat is obtained. This is very common in Europe, where the strictest riding instructors keep their students on a longe-line for up to three years. It’s a great feeling to graduate to reins and stirrups.
Dagmar is gifted in the way of horses and people. She quickly earns the trust and harmonious cooperation of every horse she works with be it an Andalusian, Foxtrotter, Mustang, Friesian, Icelandic or Oldenburg. On any given weekend you can find Dagmar riding in a gaited horse show, coaching at a dressage schooling show, out on a trail ride or leading a local 4-H horse meeting. Dagmar gives 100% to her students (both 2 & 4-legged). She goes to work daily with a warm sense of humor and genuine love of all aspects of horsemanship.
In addition to her training horses and giving riding lessons, Dagmar finds time to volunteer at our local church, home school her two children, and participate in other volunteer activities around the community. We’re glad she’s our small-town mobile trainer helping us to ride better, train harder, sit deeper and enjoy our horses more every day. (note by Dagmar: Both my kids are now young adults)