Para-Dressage Symposium Brings Forward Notable Dressage Trainers Including Catherine Haddad Staller, Clive Milkins, Hanneke Gerritsen, and Gil Merrick

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Posted by Lindsay McCall


Catherine Haddad Staller with Hotmail speaking to the Para-Equestrians about proper saddle placement and correct body position. Photo was taken at Catherine's facility in Florida. Photo by Lindsay Y McCall
Catherine Haddad Staller with Hotmail speaking to the Para-Equestrians about proper saddle placement and correct body position. Photo was taken at Catherine's facility in Florida. Photo by Lindsay Y McCall
Lyman, Maine - The 2013 National Para-Dressage Training Symposium hosted by Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports in Lyman, Maine will feature many top trainers, clinicians, and experts in the equestrian discipline. Scheduled May 29-June 1, the weekend will include a Train the Trainer program with the "SmartPak Coaches Forum" and a riding symposium for Para-Dressage riders from Grade Ia-Grade IV. The unique aspect of the weekend is the ability to have world-renowned trainers under one roof for four days. Four of those trainers include talented rider and trainer Catherine Haddad Staller, Clive Milkins who coached the Gold Medal Great Britain Para-Dressage Team, Hanneke Gerritsen who is an FEI 'O' Judge, and Gil Merrick who was the High-Performance Director and U.S. Dressage Team leader for multiple years. Carlisle has partnered with the United States Equestrian Federation, United States Para-Equestrian Association, and SmartPak to make the symposium an educational package.Educating young athletes and building upon veteran athlete's skills is what builds an internationally competitive team. Accomplished Dressage rider and trainer, Catherine Haddad Staller has experienced top international competition, she has developed horses from the ground up, and she has successfully overcome many obstacles in and out of the show ring. Her experience and education for the future of Para-Dressage will be imperative for the United States high-performance Para-Dressage team. Over the symposium weekend Catherine will work on techniques for the horse and rider in the ring while focusing on mental preparation before the trip down centerline.
Catherine Haddad Staller expressed, "I am honored to have the opportunity to work with such dedicated and determined riders in Para-Dressage. I hope that I can share some insight on the mental preparation I find so helpful and necessary when faced with international competition."
Catherine's work with the Para-Dressage team over the weekend will not be the first time she has advised the Para-Equestrian Dressage riders. During the AdequanGlobal Dressage Festival CPEDI3* in March 2013,Catherine dedicated her time to the U.S. Team. Before competition she spoke to the riders about mental preparation in the ring. On the following day, she had her riders demonstrate a variety of movements on Catherine's own top horses. The USPEA was thankful for Catherine's dedication and looks forward to the Maine symposium and working with her more in the future.
Clive Milkins and Hanneke Gerritsen are both internationally acclaimed mentors. Clive Milkins led the Great Britain Para-Equestrian Dressage team to a gold medal at the 2012 London Paralympics including top performer, Grade Ia rider, Sophie Christansen.
Hanneke Gerritsen is a World-class FEI "O" Judge and Olympic Technical Delegate. Her experience judging around the world will be invaluable to the Para-Dressage riders.
Gil Merrick, Former USEF High Performance Dressage Director and National Clinician will talk about how collaboration is a beneficial part of a winning team. He will also speak about how educational tools like HorseShow.com can help each rider in between international competitions.
Gil Merrick noted, "We are excited about this opportunity to let the riders, trainers and coaches learn about the educational tools we have available for them at HorseShow.com.  These tools allow the riders to submit videos of their training sessions at their home facility and receive personal coaching from our country's top trainers without having to travel.  They are able to submit videos of themselves riding a dressage test in the comfort of their own ring and receive a complete scorecard along with personal coaching from international judges.  These web-based video learning tools can become an integral part of a rider's program to qualify and prepare for the upcoming World Equestrian Games in Normandy."
Equestrians, trainers and coaches who have questions and who would like more information on the symposium can contact Carlisle's Training & Leadership Program Director Joyce Brown at jbrown@carlisleacademymaine.com, or at 207.985.0374. Questions can also be directed to USPEA President Hope Hand at Hope@uspea.org.
About the 2013 Para-Dressage Symposium Leaders:
Hanneke Gerritsen, World-class FEI "O" Judge and Olympic Technical Delegate
Hanneke Gerritsen will share her extensive judging expertise with participants of the Train the Trainer program, through lecture, rider demonstrations and video critiques. Hanneke will be available as well to coach and mentor clinicians as they work with Para-Dressage riders. She will teach lessons to riders who are not planning on trying out for the 2014 World Equestrian Games, and a limited number of private lessons for non-symposium participants will be available as time allows. Hanneke began her career with horses at her father's farm while continuing a career as an interior designer. Now she spends all her time coaching, judging and performing a number of executive functions in the Para-Equestrian disciplines. In addition to judging international qualifier competitions worldwide, Hanneke coached the Dutch Para-Dressage Team from 2000 to 2004. From 2005 through 2010 she was a member of the ground jury at a number of international championships including the 2008 Paralympics in Hong Kong. She was the Technical Delegate at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. In addition to her Para-Equestrian pursuits, Hanneke is a Grand Prix judge and a selector and trainer for new dressage judges at all levels. She has bred several talented dressage horses and is a trainer and coach to several talented students in Holland. Hanneke gives clinics all over the world.
Catherine Haddad Staller, International Dressage Competitor & Trainer
Catherine Haddad Staller's international expertise as both an FEI competitor and trainer will enrich the riders' experience. She will be available for private sessions, as well as two lectures on How to Train the Walk, and the Competitive Mindset. In 1993 Catherine was stationed in Germany where she represented the United States in competitions throughout Europe at both national and international levels. With Maximus JSS, Cadillac, and Winyamaro, she accumulated over 100 top ten placings and awards in Grand Prix. In 2006, Haddad Staller was alternate for the US Dressage Team in Aachen at the World Equestrian Games. In 2007, she became the first American dressage rider to qualify in the Western European League for the World Cup. With Maximus JSS, she finished seventh at the 2007 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas. In 2009, Haddad Staller won nine Grand Prix with Cadillac and Winyamaro in European competitions. In 2010, she was Reserve for the US Dressage Team for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky and won the CDI-W at Dressage at Devon which helped her achieve a nomination to the FEI World Cup Final in April of 2011.Winyamaro and Cadillac went on to win two tests in the USA at the Saugerties CDIW/CDI3* in New York, September 2011. Haddad Staller returned to the USA in 2012 and now runs a training facility in Loxahatchee, Florida.
Clive Milkins, a leading Para-equestrian dressage coach from Great Britain was instrumental in leading his team to a gold medal at the 2012 London Paralympics. He began his work with the RDA (Riding for the Disabled) in the late 1980s after volunteering at Moreton Hall Group while at Warwickshire College. Clive was the trainer for the British team at the 1990 World Championship and Games for disabled riders. He has since coached riders competing at Paralympic Games (Athens and Beijing), European Championships and World Championships. Clive coached triple gold medal winning rider, Sophie Christiansen, at the 2012 Paralympics. Clive has been nominated for numerous awards since his career began: Groom of the Year, 2005; The Queen's Award for Equestrianism, awarded for 'Outstanding Services to Equestrianism'; and the Kuster BEF Groom of the Year in 2006.Clive will share his international Para-Equestrian coaching experience with an emphasis on working with Grade 1 & 2 Para-Equestrians. In a lecture, he will also share his perspective on the British system for developing Para-Dressage riders.
Gil Merrick, Former USEF High Performance Dressage Director and National Clinician- Gil will kick off the Para-Dressage Symposium with his keynote address, A Team Approach, sharing his knowledge of organizations, national teams, and why collaboration will create a winning team. Gil will also be available for on-site video critiques, a function he fills as a featured dressage coach at Horseshow.com. Gil is an accomplished dressage rider and trainer and conducts clinics and seminars throughout the country. Gil brings over 30 years of management experience including extensive international business experience. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management and German from Hiram College and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Cleveland State University. Gil served as Managing Director for Dressage at the United States Equestrian Federation from 2005 through 2009, and is a highly recognized equestrian. As the High Performance Director, he was responsible for administering the process of selecting and training the US teams that competed at the international shows. Gil served successfully as the team leader for the U.S. dressage teams at the 2006 World Equestrian Games (Aachen, Germany), the 2007 Pan American Games (Brazil), and the 2008 Olympic Games (Beijing, China).