Christophe Theallet's Dressage Program Harmonizes With Riders and Trainers
Friday, June 26, 2015
Posted by Betsy LaBelle
Dressage coach, trainer and mentor Christophe Theallet has a 30-year history of understanding how a horse thinks and moves and he uses his knowledge to coach and train dressage riders and horses up though the FEI levels to Grand Prix. He learned his craft by studying and training with riding masters from France’s legendary Cadre Noir, the prestigious French National Riding School in Saumur. His education continued as he was mentored by the world-renowned French horseman and Cadre Noir member, Patrick Le Rolland, who passed away unexpectedly last year. “Patrick was a true master and an elegant rider who taught the fundamental principles of riding,” Theallet said. “Traditional and classical, the essence of his training was an art form that had a profound impact on me. He was not only my coach, trainer and guide, he was a friend.”
Theallet also worked with the renowned Rudolph Zeilinger. “I went to him with my horse to train and compete in Germany,” Theallet said. “He was an excellent instructor and extremely informative and I was mesmerized by his dedication to the sport. My classmates from North America at that time were Tina Konyot, Susie Dutta, Evi Strasser and Ed Borreson.”
Theallet now owns and runs an inspirational and motivational training and coaching clinic in Spokane, Washington, with his wife Marie, who is a Swedish rider and FEI competitor also educated in Europe.
Boosting the Kasey Perry Target
He has also served as coach to the up-and-coming U.S. dressage superstar, Kasey Perry, for the past four years and has helped her formulate her path to success.
Four years ago, he began to coach the very green but ambitious Perry who progressed from Third Level all the way to Grand Prix in a very methodical manner by taking lessons three hours a day, six days a week. Two years ago, he decided he needed to assess her from a judge’s perspective to ensure that she would rise to the top. He enlisted Anne Gribbons to help once a month.
“Those two years were instrumental in Kasey’s progress,” he said. “Anne has an incredible eye and strategically helped us plan for a winning outcome. I love working with her. We make a good team.”
Becoming solid in their work, Perry and her two horses, a young Grand Prix horse named Goerklintgarrd’s Dublet and a seasoned competitor named Scarlett, relocated to Florida for several months to compete for a spot on the U.S. Dressage Team. Their strategy included Perry and the horses training at Gribbons’ farm Knoll Dressage in Orlando for the month of December in a “boot camp” before heading three hours south to Wellington for the 12 week Adequan® Global Dressage Festival competition series.
“The most amazing thing is that it worked!” he said. “The strategy worked!”
Christophe and I enjoyed a pleasant time of cooperation for more than two years , working together to further the education of Kasey Perry. Kasey spent winter months with us in Florida, and I would travel to Spokane to clinic." said Anne. "It was fun working together and I feel our system was beneficial to Kasey. Christophe and I never got in each others way and I would gladly work with him again. When a collaboration such as ours is founded on mutual trust and respect, it can work quite well for a competitor who is looking to get as much information as possible from experienced sources. "
Perry has recently returned from a six-week European competition tour with both horses, and she hopes to qualify for a coveted spot on the U.S. Dressage Team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Perry was not the only high performance dressage competitor to benefit from a team effort with another trainer. This winter, he coached Charlotte Jorst to victory at the 2015 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. “When Andreas Helgestrand came to help Charlotte with her new horse, he suggested that I would be a great coach for her,” Theallet explained. “It’s been wonderful to coach her. She’s very talented, very driven and eager to learn. There’s no doubt in my mind that both she will make it to the top.”
The Christophe Theallet Philosophy
“Our sport is difficult because the rider is only as good as the horse,” he explained. “It’s all about opportunity but, sadly, opportunity is money in our sport. I do believe, though, with hard effort and the right coaching there are realistic possibilities.”
He focuses on the willingness in the horse. “While I do have a proven strategy for creating an exceptional rider, I also think the same is essential with the horse,” he said. “Riders must understand just how different they must be with each horse and that the basics are fundamental to a pair’s future. The rider must train classically, always ride with a plan in mind, and do good basic work with good transitions and with a good position. And, know that less is more.”
Wanting to be recognized as the trainer who perpetuates the tradition of correct classical riding, he explains, “The position precedes the action. The bend of the neck equals the bend in the body. Rider legs mean go. Hands mean back. Legs without hands. Hands without legs. Speed Control. Less bend is better at the beginning for the horse. And, the importance of understanding shoulder control. Nobody pays attention to these things because they are the little things and they are boring but, truly, they are the building blocks for their future.”
He has designed a program for riders whose goals may include the top competitions. He has the knowledge, the practiced eye and the ambition to fulfill riders’ goals. He always has the well being of the horse and rider in mind to train them classically and correctly and his quiet demeanor helps build the confidence and strength in both rider and horse. He cares deeply about the process and has the ability to teach all talented riders. He not only wants to be known as a trainer, he genuinely wants to share his knowledge.
Both Christophe Theallet and Marie Theallet are available for clinics, training and horse-buying trips overseas.
Available for clinics throughout the USA and Canada by virtue of his training reputation and success, Theallet also displays his beautiful equestrian hand-painted artwork and sculptures he does for relaxation. See below:
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