I have been a student of Gina’s for the last 7 years following a strong interest in learning dressage after decades of trail riding. I couldn’t be more pleased with my progress and, particularly, with the excellent foundation I am learning through Gina’s Topline Training program. Gina has the ability — and, importantly, the interest — in training riders of all levels, from across disciplines and at all ages. I came to dressage in my 50’s and Gina has worked with my level of fitness (not to mention years of bad riding habits) to help me achieve my goals. I also appreciate that Gina is happy to work with all breeds of horses and to help those owners realize their dressage dreams!
Working with Gina and her riding program has literally changed my riding career. I came to Gina desperate to push myself beyond being a decent second level rider. I had been stuck for such a long time and feared that my riding would never get better. Gina gave me the opportunity to work with her and be around world class training and thinking, to learn hands on about the importance of correct equipment, groundwork, and so much more.
As a rider I struggled for years with my position as I suffer from scoliosis and used to have many issues with my riding fitness. Gina’s methodical and correct program worked me in a consistent manner allowing both my brain and my body to understand what I needed to do in order to fix my issues and get to the next step. Her understanding of biomechanics is excellent.
The most amazing anecdote is the story of my horse. I brought my 8 year old warmblood to Topline Training as his last resort. I had been told by past professionals that he was unsound, aggressive, and needed to be retired immediately. In less than six months my horse went from not even being able to hold a canter lead to showing and scoring in the high sixties and receiving “7”s for his canter work with much room for improvement. I think he will make a good high level horse , but, more important than that, I finally have my horse back. He is happy at Greenville (thanks to their excellent care) and I feel like he trusts me again.
Even though I have worked with and for multiple Grand Prix trainers and FEI riders, no training program has helped me as much as Topline Training has. Gina has given me the confidence to pursue my professional equestrian career once more.
When my daughter, Izabelle Gnovel was about seven years old we asked her to pick a sport and she said she wants to ride a horse. I laughed and told her it is not a sport and that she has to pick a real sport. She was adamant and told us that she wants to pick horse riding and that it is a sport.
First, I took her trail riding and sent her to summer horse camps thinking that she will soon get bored and pick a real sport. After a year she had still not given up the idea of picking horse riding as a sport. She even showed me dressage videos and some Olympic Dressage clips.
My wife was only convinced that we should send her to a Riding School. I did not know where to start and I just googled for Riding Schools near me. After some research, I was convinced that Gina Duran of Topline Dressage Training would be a good fit for my daughter. Not only is Gina an accomplished rider but she had trained juniors to regional and national awards. We knew in our heart that Gina was the right person.
The journey started with me calling her to inquire about her riding program. Right off the back, Gina told me that she is a very serious instructor who only takes committed students as well as parents who are committed to the program. She stressed that it is a lifetime commitment and wanted to make sure we were committed. It almost felt that she was discouraging us but I knew that she took her profession very seriously and that is exactly what we wanted for our daughter.
The program started with an interview of us and a tryout ride with our daughter. Than we signed for once a week lesson and I could tell that Gina was not ready to give us her commitment until she was sure that both our daughter and we were willing to fully commit ourselves to the riding program.
After about six months, Gina met with us and discussed our next steps. We told her that we wanted to compete in the regional level. She stressed that we would need a horse and recommended that we did a half lease. She worked diligently to find the right horse. She rejected the first few horses after the initial tryouts and finally found a horse that she felt comfortable. She worked on a timeline and told us that we will be showing in about two years.
We never looked back. Within two years, my daughter started winning shows and qualified for the CDS Northern California Dressage show. She won both the training level and First level as well as the Seat equation. She even won a few Show top points. In 2019, my daughter was placed top 10 on the National young rider award.
Right after she won the CDS Championship, Gina met with us and discussed next steps. She wanted to prepare us for the nationals. We discussed about the timeline and she also encouraged us to buy a horse. She felt that my daughter was ready to own a horse and gave us the commitment to work with our horse and our daughter to take care to the Nationals.
We panicked at first as we did not know where to start but Gina assured her that she will hold our hands throughout the whole process and that she will carry the burden for us as well.
That process was crazy but Gina made it look so easy. First, we started with my daughter flying to Pennsylvania with her assistant to look at horses. That trip itself was crazy as they drove to three different stables covering three different states before they found the right match. My wife and I flew out to the barn in Maryland and Gina held our hand walked us through the whole process from the Veterinarian checks, the sales process, and the transportation process to finally receiving the horse at our stable.
We could have never pulled it off on our own. She trained my daughter on horsemanship, helped us with the transition, setting up everything that is needed in owning a horse.
Within 8 months, my daughter started competing with the new horse and started winning shows. She qualified for the CDS Northern California Championship and won the 1st level and seat equitation. We are on target to going to the Nationals.
Gina not only worked with the horse but also with our daughter preparing her to be emotionally prepared for the big shows. Even for me a spectator, it is nerve wrecking. It is a disciplined sport and it has benefited was daughter in so many ways outside of riding. The life lessons are incredible and Gina balances everything so well. Everything you read about Gina is what we experienced and I am so glad she agreed to accept my daughter as her student.
We know that my daughter will be riding and competing for years to come and none of this will be possible if not for Gina. My wife and I have never had horses or been near a barn growing up and now we are horse owners and my daughter is an accomplished junior rider.
My daughter, Gabby, was eight-years-old when she began riding with Topline Training’s beginner lesson program. Gina has helped Gabby grow tremendously as a rider with her innate ability to communicate clearly the fundamentals of dressage and focus on the small details that make the difference between a good rider and a truly great rider.
Two years ago, with Gina’s guidance, we bought Zodessa, a six-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare with whom Gabby could move up the levels. Gina designed a specific training program for the two which has paid off with huge successes, including winning the First Level USDF Junior/Young Rider of the Year 2010! And eight years after her first lessons with Gina, Gabby rode in the 2013 Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships with Gina by her side all the way.
Gabby has specific goals and dreams she wants to achieve with Zodessa, and Gina is the perfect trainer to support her toward many of these goals. Gabby and Gina are a great student-teacher combination. They share the same strong work ethic, love each other and their horses, and have their own way of communicating and understanding each other. As a parent and rider, I am grateful to have Gina Duran as Gabby’s coach and mentor.
As an educator, I am fortunate enough to be able to spend my summers as a working student for Gina Duran, and have done so for the past three years. I pride myself on being extremely meticulous and detail oriented, and when I met Gina, I was happy to see that she was as well. At Topline Training, the horse’s health, well-being, and happiness are the upmost priority. Gina’s thorough care of all horses in her barn is priceless to peace of mind. I never worry about my horse and know that she will care for him as if he were her own.
Gina Duran is meticulous to detail, especially when it comes to the care of her horses. Gina’s skill as a rider and trainer is undeniable, but equally as important, Gina treats every horse as if they were her own. This is evidenced in her daily routine and in her expectations of her helping hands. The barn is kept immaculate, the aisles are swept each morning and afternoon, and the wash stall cleaned daily, and feed and tack rooms neat and organized. Saddle pads and boots are washed weekly to ensure horses do not contract fungal infections. Bridles are cleaned to remove sweat and bits are cleaned. Horses are thoroughly groomed and vacuumed prior to each ride and legs are examined for any signs of stress or strain. After workouts, legs are reexamined, horses are hosed if needed, and every few days tails are shampooed and conditioned.
The care goes far beyond the daily training sessions. Horses are grained daily; a diet which promotes overall health and fitness is a key component to a horse’s success. Gina ensures that shavings are swept away from the grain buckets, so that any grain spilled by the horse can easily be eat on off the stall mats instead of the horse having to pick through the shaving to find grain. In addition to automatic waters, which are routinely cleaned by barn staff, horses also have outdoor troughs. These are emptied and scrubbed as often 2-3 times a week and even more often in times of warm weather. Mental well-being is another consideration. Gina believes that a horse should be allowed to be a horse! Horses are turned out daily, as to allow for roomy environment to stretch their legs at will. With that said, horses in turnouts are closely monitored to insure safety.
I have been riding with Gina for about four years now and I love it! Not owning a horse, I was looking for a competent dressage instructor that could teach me on a schoolmaster. Under Gina’s tutelage, I was given the opportunity to ride multiple, highly trained schoolmasters including her former Grand Prix horse. I have particularly enjoyed Gina’s teaching style which greatly contributed to my constant progress in dressage.
Gina is always looking for clear and concise ways to explain the complex concepts of dressage that resonate with her students. She offers a teaching environment that fosters confidence and trust and supports her riders’ goals. Her feedback is very thorough and she never compromises the fundamentals of dressage in her training.
Because of her deep knowledge of classical dressage I can apply what I have learned to horses in Europe when I go back home. This is a testament to the quality of her work. Under her coaching, I have made great progress in my riding and my understanding of dressage and I can’t wait for my next lesson!
Gina turned a misstep into a big step forward…..I know this is a journey and that it is important to look always at the big picture and not just a single ride but my last show experience was so bad it was impossible not to focus on it. I had plans for a big break through and instead it was a big letdown. Well I landed with a thud.
Now 48 hours have gone by and my temper tantrum has subsided enough that I can talk about it and try to learn from it. Well Gina took it to a whole new level and informed me today she felt the show was a huge success from the standpoint of what it has propelled me to do. While I have tried to be focused and disciplined in my lessons and rides, I am now on a mission. That does not mean there is no more fun at Greenville. To the contrary, now it will be clear when the ride is for fun and when we both, Klon and I, need to be focused. This waffling in the middle is a thing of the past.
So again I say thank you to Gina for her perception, persistence and push. Without it, Sunday would have remained a misstep rather than a step forward on our journey.
I began riding with Gina Duran in May of 2012. I had been riding for a number of years with a number of instructors and I had always had the goal of acquiring my USDF Bronze medal. What I immediately noticed about lessons with Gina was they were strongly structured and straightforward. Within three lessons she had paired me with one of her horses and I was given the opportunity to lease and compete. By the end of the summer I had obtained my Bronze medal and a much deeper understanding of Dressage. Gina was exceedingly patient, not only in our lessons but also when my busy schedule would interfere with training. She was always very flexible with me and would many a time adjust her schedule and plans to make sure I got the time in the saddle I needed to achieve my goal.
For 2013, I have the goal of competing at the Preliminary level for Three-Day Eventing, in addition to my first CCI* with my Thoroughbred Fly. Gina has already been a fantastic help for me and continues to improve both my horse and myself so we can work toward my next riding goal. Additionally, I have brought my three year old Oldenburg filly for lessons with Gina. The strong structure that predominates Gina’s program has been wonderful for my young horse and given her the foundation that any future sport horse needs to be successful.
Gina is very knowledgeable and encourages me to reach for a higher standard in my riding. It always amazes me what she can see when I’m riding. There’s no sneaking ANYTHING past her! Thank goodness she has more patience than I do. She helps me calmly get past those points when I get stuck trying to learn something. At shows, she provides the positive coaching that helps me deal with show nerves. By the time my warm-up is finished, I feel ready to ride up centerline. Perhaps what I love best about her is that I know that she’s there at the sidelines, genuinely rooting for my horse and me.
I first decided to call Gina when I came to a crossroads with my horse riding abilities. I had just bought a new horse, Mickey, who came from a negative background and who needed a positive training direction. My riding skills needed to improve and so I thought this would be the perfect time to learn dressage, which I have always been incredibly interested in. When I first spoke to Gina on the phone I knew she would be the perfect instructor for me. She had a very positive and open-minded outlook on training. She also had school masters which I could learn dressage on first before I decided to introduce it to Mickey. Gina has not only significantly developed my riding skills, but has also enabled me to bring home the tools I’ve learned during my lesson on her amazing school masters and apply it to Mickey. I believe it is because of Gina’s passion for dressage and clear way of communicating that has improved Mickey and I so greatly. She always thoroughly explains everything and takes the time to answer any questions I may have. She has a great way of making analogies that seems to make all of my lessons come together. I always leave my lessons really motivated and eager to see what the future brings! I couldn’t be more excited about the progress I have made since I’ve been taking lessons with Gina.
My current horse Farallon, is my dream horse! I have Gina Duran to thank for matching me up with this beautiful mare. Two years ago, Gina contacted me and said there was a special horse for sale she thought I would be a good match with. I was not looking for a horse at the time but out of curiosity, I went for a quick ride to try her. Well, I had a smile on my face the entire ride and really felt a true connection with this horse. Needless to say, I am now her proud owner and partner.
As an experienced professional, Gina is excellent at evaluating and pairing horses with riders. With her knowledge, she understands the strengths and weaknesses in both and has the ability to create great partnerships. Finally, she has an innate talent to identify important factors such as trainability, rideability and movement that I now realize are critical to dressage.
I am so thankful and appreciative I received that phone call two years ago!
I have been riding with Gina for nearly four years and am amazed at the progress that Reggie and I have made. When I started with her, I was so afraid that any time Reggie pricked up his ears, I was struck with terror and dismounted. Through Gina’s patient and gentle reinforcement, I gained confidence in both my horse and myself. Last year we were ranked third nationally at First Level for the Danish Warmbloods, and we are well on our way to moving up to Second Level. Thankfully, I have moved beyond fear and am now learning about collection, straightness and balance.
Through Gina’’s ability to explain the fundamentals of dressage, as well as consistent and supportive feedback, I am finishing my lessons on cloud nine after floating half passes and lovely walk pirouettes.
Gina is not only an excellent rider; she is also a wonderful teacher. She is passionate about teaching, committed to her students and dedicated to focuses on teaching the principles of correct riding.
Since I have been with Gina, I have become a better partner to my horse. Also, he looks completely different in one year because of the superb training she has put into him. I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had with my horse and we are truly enjoying our dressage journey.
After riding with Gina for 5+ years and leasing several of her lesson horses, I’ve decided to buy a horse of my own. Though buying a horse is a daunting experience, I feel confident that I will find the right horse with Gina’s guidance. Gina takes the time to help research, investigate and ride horses to help find the right horse for her client. She seems to know if personalities are going to mesh or clash, and if a rider’s ability fits the horse. She works with all budgets, ages, sexes and breeds to find a great companion for her client.
When Conner and I came to work with Gina we had been hopelessly stuck at First Level for three years. Within a year and three months I had my USDF Bronze Medal. Six months later I successfully showed Fourth Level.
Gina developed for us an individualized program based on relaxation, strengthening exercises, and the specific needs of Conner, all which contributed to helping me take Conner further in his training than most others had thought possible. Gina is scrupulous about the softness and correctness of the rider’s position affecting the horse’s way of going.
Gina focuses on the quality of the gaits in a very detailed way. I believe this attention to quality allows me to be so successful with Conner in the show ring; it truly sets me apart from the other competitors. Besides being a good friend and completely honest business partner, Gina has helped develop me into a feeling, analyzing, and attractive rider.
As Gina’s student, I feel supported and listened to, and on the road to being the best possible partner for my horse. Lessons are demanding, but always enjoyable. There is a plan and logical progression to our work which enables me to build on what I learn. My “aha!” moments come more and more frequently. My relationship with my horse has changed too: I feel that we are becoming a team, not just horse and rider.
She is a thoughtful, intuitive rider — very fair, and always quick to praise and reinforce his learning. I am confident that she will develop his full potential. And he’s doing wonderfully: healthy, fit, and relaxed.
As a parent and educator of a young rider, I have been most impressed with Gina’s skill as a communicator. She has achieved successful results due to her innate ability to communicate with both the horse and rider. Secondly, Gina cares about becoming a better rider and trainer. By participating in a variety of clinics and competitions, she brings new ideas and enthusiasm to our door front.
My daughter Mara and I ride at an eventing barn where Gina Duran is a clinician. When we bought our backyard pony Skittles, we recognized her sweet disposition and lack of training, Mara started with Gina once a month. Gina was able to pinpoint what Skittles needed and fix it in the one-hour, once a month training sessions. What could Gina do with Skittles if she had her full time? We decided to make the sacrifice and give our pony to Gina for three months.
When we brought Skittles home, she created quite a commotion. Other riders couldn’t believe how Gina changed Skittles from a cute, safe child’s pony with a lack of skills and rough transitions, into a shining, polished show pony with a bright future. We are forever grateful to Gina and her assistants for tapping into Skittles potential and bringing out the best in her.
Greenville Equestrian Center
4180 Greenville Road
Livermore, CA 9455
Phone: (925) 858-3933