As soon as I saw Ingrid Klimke was to be hosting a Cavalletti Masterclass at Wellington Riding Centre, set in the beautiful estate belonging to the Duke of Norfolk, I just knew it wasn’t something to miss.
Olympic German eventing rider Ingrid Klimke really needs no introduction; competing in 5 Olympic Games between 2000 to 2016, Ingrid’s a real inspiration and was a complete joy to observe throughout the masterclass, built around the importance of using Cavallettis’ to develop basic training, to improve the horses paces, athleticism and strength.
In traditional ‘horsey-friend’ style both Katie and I (having birthdays in February) were gifted the tickets from our lovely friends and we were all set for our horsey day out. Arriving at Wellington Riding Centre at 9am sharp the sun was just starting to warm up, and we were in plenty of time to grab a seat and a coffee as we waited in anticipation, for the day to start.
The masterclass was held in the indoor arena, which is open on one long side, so we were still able to enjoy the glorious sunshine. Although the stands were practically full, it still felt intimate and interactive. Ingrid had various horse and rider combinations throughout the day, including eventers and dressage riders. Each combination was set to a different Cavalletti exercise, with both horse and rider (perhaps rider moreso!) put through their paces.
The first combination of relatively young horses (5 & 6 if I remember rightly) started with stretching exercises, to warm up their horses without too many expectations. She’s known to say, each horse should look like a four-year-old when they start and I think that runs true for everyone – no matter what level of riding you’re at!
“3 year-olds belong in the field”. My love for Ingrid grew when she said this. I loved her attitude towards letting horses be horses and for this to come from top was so heart warming – so down to earth.
Watching all of the cavalletti exercises being used ‘live’ was incredibly interesting. Seeing both the horse and rider, ride the exercise and then have Ingrid’s knowledge and experience to guide them to improvement.
The exercises included simple walk and trot poles in a straight line, cantering a related distance and lengthen and shortening the strides, a combination of trot and canter poles on each half of a circle, using the poles at each of the 4 points of the circle, riding figures of 8 with the poles to name but a few…!
At lunch Ingrid gifted a very generous half an hour slot for book signings. Of course, we took the opportunity to get our books signed. I aptly arrived at the table with my ‘Cavalletti for Dressage and Jumping Book’ and it’s a truly lovely memento from the day and I’m a sucker for a keepsake.
Ingrid has a real way about her, a presence. The way she taught the riders was so effective, honest and matter of fact but only ever with constructive criticism. I have to admit, there were many a comical moment that day and like many of the other riders, I most certainly would have had my stirrups taken away from me, had I been riding in the demo!
The masterclass ran on until around 5pm but it certainly didn’t feel like it. The day just flew by and there was so much to take away, I know my brain was fit to burst (not that I’m complaining!). I’m not ashamed to admit I did sit and take notes throughout, as I am sure there’d have been too much for me to remember.
Although Hamish isn’t actively schooling or competing anymore, there was so much to take away from the day that I know I’ll be able to use in years to come. Ingrid really covered the basics and I think anyone could put her principles into practise and see fantastic results. Admittedly, I did leave feeling as though I needed to purchase my own cavallettis… Perhaps I’ll put them on the Christmas list.
Have you been to any masterclasses which you really enjoyed? Do you have a particularly memorable day with a top rider? I would absolutely love to know. Or, have you got any masterclasses / clinics which we should have in the calendar?