David Donnelly French Light Dressage

Does anyone have any experience with David Donnelly of French Light Dressage in NY state - he was recommended to me by my trainer (who is out of touch on a clinic now) and I am lookind for a trainer and facility near enough to me in Albany - specifically is his farm Oak Hollow equestrian center in Greenbush or Graywood Stables in Greenville; thinking of bringinng my horse up here in the fall. Any experience or interesting tidbits would be nice. You can PM me if you want. Thanks!

Wasn’t he in California awhile back? There was a thread here some time ago, I think it’ll give you all the information you need…

Thanks, I looked for threads but the search function here these days stymies me (doesn’t take much…). Yes, think I had heard he was in Calif previously. I will take some lessons this summer and see how it all goes. Moving my horse up here in the fall, looking for trainer and barn, etc. If anyone comes up with the link to the old thread mentioned above, that’d be great.

Stay away.

There was a thread about him a couple months ago too. It stated the same thing. Check with barns he has been at in California, Vermont, and New York…He is not good for the horses, his clients nor his bosses when employed (i.e., not independent).

There are much better and honest trainers in the Albany area.

If I recall correctly, the previous thread was started by someone who had just joined CotH. It was their very first post, sort of like horseluvers’ post above. Usually this is the behavior of someone with an ax to grind who doesn’t have the nerve to express their opinion with their name attached.

Not usually the best source for information, in my experience.

The OP asked for people’s experiences. I suggested she check with his previous employers. He advertises with videos of horses he worked with at those facilities. Then she can form her own opinion. So it is easy to check. What is wrong with that?

If he has nothing to hide, he shouldn’t be worried then.

I suggested via PM that she check him out in person – watch some lessons and training sessions. Then she can make up her own mind.

I have at least met the man, though I have not witnessed his teaching or training. Horseluvers, have you ridden or trained with Mr. Donnelly?

nhwr has a point learned from experience. Me? no dog in this fight.

No I have not. But, I have talked to several different people who have. That is why I decided not to send my horse to him.

I agree with your suggestions but also what I suggested previously.

I was trying to help out the OP. I will say no more.

No one In the area that i know of, knows much, if anything, about him. And the website raises more questions than answers. So who knows? Might be worth watching a few lessons.

Have no knowledge of him…but It is an interesting combo…french light and AvG??? How do those things go together?

These types of threads are so nasty.

Gossip and innuendo presented as fact from anonymous people .

Don’t know the guy but when you have alters or new posters without any personal knowledge ZERO! (admitted) joining up just to slam someone with gossip , it is useless and potentially very harmful information.

I hope the OP gets some input from people with personal experience and no axe to grind but always best to go visit and watch some training with anyone you are considering for training or coaching.

The OP asked for people’s experiences.

so having none, you were inspired to join CotH and weigh in, horseluvers? :lol:
You are a fool or a liar or both.

OP, go look at his program, maybe take a lesson or 2. You’ll get reliable information that way.
Horses don’t lie :yes:

Oh I have seen and heard plenty regarding DD and FLD. Some of us try to learn from other people’s mistakes without having to experience them themselves.

nhwr…Kind of interesting that you call me very harsh names without knowing me, but I don’t see your name anywhere either? Pot calling the kettle black? and, how well do you know him?

Again, I just strongly suggest that the OP talk to his previoius employers. Facts are facts. I did that and learned more than I needed to know.

Also, interesting that he calls it ‘French Light’ but he uses draw reins almost all the time on the horses in training. Feel free not to take my word for it - ask him straight out.


I don’t have a problem with your user name, horseluvers. I have a problem with your intentions. Dave Donnelly is friends with my former trainer and he trained in the same region that I live in. I’ve known him casually for a number of years. He is an affable guy. His horses seem well cared for. I have had some theoretical discussions with him but don’t know much about his training methods.

I’ve been posting here for more than a decade on a variety of topics.
But you? Just this one. And you keep steering people towards his previous employers, which leads me to suspect you are one of them. Doesn’t sound like an amicable parting, but I’d be careful. In a lot of states, intentionally damaging someone’s business reputation is a tort and your user name isn’t a very large fig leaf.

1 Like

I thought you were going to “say no more” after post #9, horseluvers. OP’s not looking to hire DD’s old employers, she’s looking to hire HIM. Best way to learn if he’s a good fit is to “interview” HIM.

Nothing he ever said on these boards raised red flags for me. I found him funny and insightful. Naturally, your mileage may vary. Not all instructor/trainers suit all clients.

My thoughts too. I am also in the area and was wondering.

He has his bronze and is half way his silver according to center line scores, his median score on fouth level is a pretty high 67 percent or so, and there are horse names to follow at least some of his riding and searches on you tube.

I’ve met him, in So. Cal, though haven’t trained with him. He has a good sense of humor, is very knowledgeable, and cares about the horses.

My take on the whole Sonoma thing is that, because he never drank the koolaid of the some witch burners, back in the day, he was targeted before he even set foot on the place. Those people are no longer on COTH, having been banned, which tells you a lot about their venom. The witchhunters made sure his name was mud and he never stood a chance in Sonoma. It’s hard to run a business with the nasties spreading vile. Unfortunately, nasty rumors always spread faster and louder than good thoughts.

Best thing is to go and watch someone teach. Look at the condition of the horses under a trainer’s care, and go with your gut. You can always change your mind, but don’t let people with axes to grind make up your mind for you.

who are the “people in sonoma on witch hunt who were banned”?

as for trainer is question- he used to post here are Don Rolkurista or some such.

my suggestion - as i would suggest with any trainer - is go watch him ride and train - do it more than once … usually watching someone ride multiple times will show you what kind of rider/trainer they are good or bad.