A DRESSAGE clinic with top world rider Adeline Cornelissen, presented by Dressage at Hickstead last Friday, attracted a capacity audience and provided some invaluable tips for seven volunteer riders and their horses, as well as spectators.
The event was the latest in a series organised by Dane Rawlins under the Dressage at Hickstead banner in his vast indoor school.
He said: “We are delighted that Adeline could fly over from the Netherlands for this event.
“She has taken over world number one slot in the dressage rankings. Our aim at Dressage at Hickstead is to enable all levels of dressage riders here benefit from the experience of top riders in the sport. We shall continue doing these clinics and have more planned for the future.”
Adeline used to combine dressage competitions with her role as a teacher in a village school, But now that her Olympic prospect Parzival has reached the top ranks, she devotes her life entirely to dressage.
She has ridden the five-year-old Dutch bred gelding (by Jazz) since he was a five-year-old. Now 14, Jerich Parzival and Adeline are reigning European Champions.
Seven riders, with their horses, had volunteered to be in the spotlight as Adeline gave them pointers to improve their riding.
Daniel Timson, a leading UK dressage rider with Donner Romeo. They reached the National Championship this year at Medium level and Donner Romeo combines competition with stud duties.
Marsha Webb riding Lizzie Davis’s Saffier II, a 12 year-old which competes at Advanced Medium. Marsha works for Classic Dressage and rides for Rebecca Hughes.
Damian Hallan riding Serupgards Salut, a seven-year-old, co-owned by Damien, Lesley Kaye and Douglas Hibbert, who qualified for the National Medium Championships this year.
Bobbie Hayler, riding Diamond Jubilee, who is on the World Class Programme and is training for the 2012 Young Rider Team. She has been a European team member at both Pony and Junior level. Bobbie also had a second slot riding Aldoborough Rubinhall, a nine-year-old stallion which competes at Young Riders/small tour level.
Kirsty Mepham, a member of the British Dressage team at the Sydney Olympics with Dikkiloo. Kirst is a List 1 dressage judge and was riding Ann Baldock and Rebecca Vinter’s Cadleron, a Danish stallion currently competing on the Internation Small Tour.
Paul Hayler an International rider and List 1 British Dressage judge was riding Fabioso, a nine-year-old which competes on the Small Tour and has just started Grand Prix level.
The audience was able to ask Adeline for advice for their own problems.
One said her four-year-old was sharp on the leg, running forward if she tried to use it, and was told to try a little bit of contact with the leg at all times, so that he was not oversensitive to it.
“A horse needs to trust the leg and needs gentle contact. Don’t squeeze, just touch all the time,” recommended Adeline.
The art of warming up a horse was another issue Adeline dealt with, saying it was important to check the balance of a horse.
Good posture was important because it achieved good balance and it was important to be able to keep to the same speed in both a trot and a canter, using the same stride.
“If you cannot control speed, it will be the source of future problems. Use either hand or leg to control a horse, but never both together,” she warned.
Transitions had to be smooth and speed control meant that a rider could slow a horse down or move forward whenever and wherever needed.
The aim was to make a horse more flexible and into an athlete by controlling speed and building up muscles in the right scale.
“A horse may perform well three days in a row, but may be slightly wrong on the fourth day.
“Never become complacent and think it doesn’t matter because he has been working well. It does matter and the horse needs constant training,” she said.
The event also raised money for the Mark Davies Injured Rider Fund and sponsors were Strutt and Parker of Lewes, represented by Kate Moisson, and Flowers by Samantha Jane, of Chertsey.