Richard Williams began riding in Canada at the age of eleven. He was introduced to Dressage at fifteen, and has since devoted his life to the promotion of Classical Horsemanship. Mr. Williams is widely-read in equestrian literature and has attended many lecture series and symposiums on the subject. He has completed judges' forums, instructors' seminars, and other significant educational events dealing with classical equitation. Since 1983, Mr. Williams has instructed private students in dressage, and has presented clinics in many different states.
Currently, Mr. Williams continues the work of Xenophon Press founder, Ivan Bezugloff. Xenophon Press is alive and well bringing historic and new classical equestrian works to print in the English language. This has further increased the knowledge base Mr. Williams uses in his teaching and training process.
Mr. Williams has written and published articles on the subject of classical equitation. He supplied many of the admired equestrian photographs in Mr. de Kunffy's books. He edited three of these books, thereby reinforcing the clarity of his equestrian theoretical knowledge. His academic depth regarding the subject is exceptional. Mr. Williams has taught for many years with great success. Always asked to come back, and to expand his riding clientele, he works with many successful and dedicated equestrians.
Mr. Williams' strengths are founded in his thorough understanding of the classical riding tradition. He has the skills and courage to apply these age-old principles in his daily training and schooling work with popularity and success. His instruction is always well-targeted because of his ability to correctly diagnose the needs of his riders and their horses. His insight and skills in applying the correct remedies enrich his instruction. He is an exceptionally talented practitioner, who can transmit his knowledge to others with verve and lucidity. Mr. Williams has successfully trained, campaigned, qualified, and competed horses at state and national dressage championships. Now based on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Mr. Williams has many loyal students at all levels that have been studying with him for years. His current focus is to travel to a limited list of clinic locations where students show commitment to the on-going learning process. He and his spouse Frances train student and horse combinations at their facility, Williams Dressage at Hillcrest.
- 1995 - Present Private Intensive Instruction with Gyula Dallos, Olympic and World Cup competitor; Budapest, Hungary
- September 1994 - Equestrian Course, Reitinstitut Egon Von Neindorff; Karlsruhe, Germany
- 1982 - Present Private Instruction with Arthur Kottas - Heldenberg, Chief Rider of the Spanish Riding School; Vienna, Austria
- 1978 - Present Continuous Instruction on Riding, Teaching and Training with Charles de Kunffy, International Instructor, Judge, Author and Lecturer; Northern California
- 1977 - 1980 - Private and Quadrille Lessons with Rex Rhodes BHSA; Kelowna, Canada
- 1997 - Present Co-teaching USDF certified instructors course
- 1989 - Present Popular clinician in California, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Colorado
- 1986 - Present Instructing local students in California
- 1983 - Present Co-teaching Equestrian courses with Charles de Kunffy
- 1980 - Present Training and showing horses continuously for clients
- 1973 - Present Riding a wide variety of horses from diverse breeds
- 1991 - Present Articles for Dressage & CT magazine
- 1990 - 1994 Edited manuscripts for Athletic Development of the Dressage Horse, Ethics and Passions of Dressage, Training Strategies for Dressage Riders by Charles de Kunffy
- Charles de Kunffy; Palm Springs, California
- Gyula Dallos; Budapest, Hungary
- Arthur Kottas-Heldenberg; Vienna, Austria
FRANCES WILLIAMS' BIOGRAPHY
Frances Williams began riding at age nine years old with the Junior Fox Hunts in central New England. After ten years of riding hunters and jumpers, she moved to Colorado where she lived and trained at Iron Horse Stables, one of the finest quarter horse breeding and training facilities in the western United States.
From highly-regarded cutting horse trainers Robbie John and Cindy Parker, proteges of Tom Dorrance, she learned the classical art of starting horses for any discipline. Many horses were bred, born, and started at this top-notch facility. Simultaneously, Dr. Williams continued riding, learned the science of developing a breeding program while concurrently pursuing medical studies in Denver. She not only backed for the first time countless quarter horses, appaloosas, and Arabians, but learned from the Parkers (and the cows) the techniques of cutting cattle.
Dr. Williams moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to study dressage with Charles de Kunffy and Richard Williams, during which time she continued horse-starting, and began a business rehabilitating thoroughbred horses from the racetrack for a future as sport horses. She showed superior progress in dressage, and, over the next five years of training, was named by Mr. de Kunffy “most improved rider” in California in this discipline.
The reason for this improvement is centuries old. For hundreds of years, the Spanish Riding School of Vienna has utilized a protocol for the complete training of the rider. Dr. Williams lunged five days a week on multiple horses for literally the next five years, without stirrups or reins, performing all the exercises in all the gaits which are to this day performed at the Spanish Riding School by young trainees. This method was recommended to her by Mr. Williams and Mr. de Kunffy. She took this advice literally, went to the Spanish Riding School to observe the training directly, and performed the same protocol as her mentors advised.
This is the creation of the "independent seat," so often discussed in articles and documents about riding. The torso, through a combination of strength and flexibility, learns to work and influence the horse's back and torso without depending on reins or stirrups for security. After complete mounted security is developed, the rider then learns “quiet lunging,” where the aids are applied and made increasingly subtle. In this manner the seat can deliver aids without the “noise” of unnecessary motion or inappropriate rigidity. This method of teaching imparts torso stability, physical and mental discipline, and rider confidence, and is a cornerstone of Dr. Williams’ current teaching methods.
After studying pathology in San Francisco, she moved to Louisiana to study primary care medicine, and furthered her studies with Mr. de Kunffy and Mr. Williams, hosting and attending many of their clinics throughout the South. She also received sabbatical time for study with her two mentors in California, and for studies in Europe at the Reitinstitut Egon Von Neindorff, Karlsrhue, Germany; and at da escola Pedro Sao Luis in Montargil, near Lisbon, Portugal. She furthered her studies in the French method with Miguel Pineda in Viseu, Portugal.
After returning to California, Dr. Williams became assistant trainer to Mr. Williams, and after an exciting horse-filled collaboration (and courtship) they married. Together they have trained and shown horses for clients since 1998. Dr. Williams has traveled repeatedly and extensively to Austria to ride FEI horses at top barns and most notably to Budapest, for further training through the FEI levels with Gyulla Dallos, rider for the Hungarian team.
As a medical fitness and nutritional biochemistry expert, Dr. Williams brings an ever-growing base of biological knowledge to a preexisting art form which otherwise has progressed very little, if any, over the centuries. With devotion and dedication to the well-being of every horse, and to maximize the physical capabilities of every rider.
Dr. Williams continues to pursue her vision and skills as a top trainer, medical doctor, and rider of horses. She strives to develop an attitude of improvement moment-to-moment, both within herself and for her horses from training level to Grand Prix, focusing on symmetry, relaxation, clarity, and rhythmic integrity.