Del Mar, CA - As the Del Mar Horse Park began to clear of flower boxes and white arena borders, Para-Equestrian Dressage riders prepared for a hands-on clinic with Mette Rosencrantz. Each rider was given 45 minutes with Mette allowing a large amount of time to work on short-term and long-term goals. During each session riders demonstrated specific parts of their tests that they performed during the 2012 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire CPEDI3*. With only three months until the 2012 London Paralympic Selection Trials Mette gave insight on what types of goals an athlete should start to focus on. Clinic duos included: Holly Bergay and Rubino Bellissimo (owned by Violet Jen); Mary Jordan and the Knabbstrupper Stallion VPRH Pegasus vom Niehaus-Hof (owners Patrick and Diane Truxillo); Sydney Collier and VPRH Pegasus vom Niehaus-Hof ; Laura Goldman and VPRH Pegasus vom Niehaus-Hof; Barbara Adside and 1999 Pan Am Gold Medal Winner, Jazzman (owned by Donna Richardson); Allyson Gagnon with her Fresian Stallion Kobi; and Iana Gonzalez and Kobi.
Hope Hand, President of the USPEA commented, "The clinic was phenomenal. I noticed the riders were very pleased with Mette's style of teaching and great personality. I wish more riders could have taken this clinic. We look forward to developing a future working relationship with Mette and I want to thank her for all of her dedication to the Para-Dressage discipline."
Quotes from the Mette Rosencrantz Clinic:
1. "A common issue many riders have when they try to turn is that they pull on the horse's mouth too much on the inside rein, regardless of the test or the gait of the horse. The more the rider pulls on the inside rein, the more the horse's outside moves out away from that rein, this turns the horse into a banana (referring to the shape of the crescent)."
2. "Turning a horse is like driving a bicycle because you use both hands when you turn. If you hang on one side of the bicycle you would fall down or go in a circle. Instead, when you make a turn, make the turn, and then go straight again, don't hang on one side. An exercise that is good for turning is to split the ring into four serpentines. Once you know where your lines are for each serpentine, you know if you overshoot a turn you are going to have to work that much harder to make the next turn."
3. "When you work a horse it's like bodybuilding. Someone who is trying to build muscle doesn't tell themselves it's too much work for that particular movement so they aren't going to do it. Instead, they work on each different piece of equipment to make the body whole. A good exercise at the trot is to do sets of... trot, trot,walk...trot, trot, walk....trot, trot, walk. These sets are difficult for the horse to do and they are like doing sets on a dumbbell. At the canter you can make one large circle and then one small circle...one large circle and one small circle...then you may add in a third circle which is much smaller."
4. "For best results from the horse, and to engage the entire body, start from the bottom of the horse and work towards the front. Imagine toothpaste and work the toothpaste from the bottom to the front."
5. "As athletes you have to ask yourself a question right now. Do you want to be on a team, do you want to aim for a spot? If you say you want to be an athlete and achieve the highest standard in this sport, then you have to practice 10's every time. You don't try to be like everyone else and you don't skip movements just because your horse didn't do it perfectly. You practice 10's at every moment so that when you go in that ring that is what you know."
About Mette Rosencrantz:
Since 1992 Mette Rosencrantz has been based out of the Mill Creek Equestrian Center in Topanga, CA. Mette is originally from Sweden where she was a member of the Swedish National Dressage Team twice. Although Mette is an accomplished Dressage Rider with top international dressage horses, her specialty of dressage instruction and training has been an expansive part of her life. Mette was the youngest rider ever permitted to enter Stromsholm, Sweden's prestigious school for instructors. In 1980, she became the head instructor with a University degree in Physical Education.
In the ring, Mette has accomplished winning the Grand Prix Invitational at the 2007 World Cup, earning multiple accolades at the 2010 USEF Regional Finals and 2010 Dressage Festival of Champions in Gladstone, New Jersey, and earning many other international competitions. When not competing, Mette is working on training her own horses, her students, and of course conducting clinics around the world.
Mette noted, "It is very exciting for me to be able to teach riders and horses. I believe it is about establishing a good foundation and realizing that there is no quick fix to a problem. I like to encourage riders to learn why a problem may occur and work on ways to not only fix that issue but challenge themselves past that."
While instructing and riding in Sweden the Para-Equestrian program had grown to a point where it was usual to see the Para-Equestrians riding alongside the international dressage riders. Mette commented, "Whether you're an international Dressage rider, a para-dressage rider or you are working with a green horse, the philosophy is the same. Each athlete and each horse has it's own challenges and whether the rider is handicapped or not you are still working towards a bigger goal."
For more information about Mette Rosencrantz or clinic information please visit: http://www.metterosencrantz.com/
Photo Credit: All Photographs taken at the 2012 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire CPEDI3* in Del Mar, CA at Del Mar Horse Park. Photo © 2012 Lindsay Y McCall