Alicia Fielmich

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Alicia Fielmich, on her Talented Obelisk gelding in Holland Alicia Fielmich, on her Talented Obelisk gelding in Holland
It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your dressage experience is, with the correct guidance…the sky is the limit! Alicia Fielmich had mostly young horse dressage experience under her belt, so decided to go to Holland to learn all she could from the best riders in the world. It’s nerve-racking enough to commence training with someone new, let alone travel to the other side of the world to do so! So it was with some trepidation she committed to train with Annemieke Vincourt at her stables in Veeningen, The Netherlands. Annemieke is an international Grand Prix competitor who was selected to represent Holland at the 2009 FEI World Breeding Championships, competing alongside riders such as Edward Gal. She is also an accomplished Federal Trainer. Annemieke trains with Johan Hammings, The Netherland’s former head trainer and coach of the famous combination, Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival, who won individual silver and team bronze at the London Olympics. Alicia enjoyed the chance to train at the highest levels, and commence competing at international dressage events. With this in mind, she organized Annemieke to visit Australia to coach and inspire her fellow dressage enthusiasts. The clinics were attended by a variety of riders ranging from beginner to elite riders, and young through to Grand Prix horses.
Nicole Tough and Dante at the QLD clinic Nicole Tough and Dante at the QLD clinic
Queensland’s Nicole Touch attended the clinics and was blown away by what was her first experience with a Dutch trainer. “Annemieke was a truly wonderful coach. She was articulate and passionate, challenging my position and thoughts on every level,” Nicole commented. “Her focus in the warm-up was similar but subtly to what I’m used to. She asked that the horses move small and normal in the warm-up, instead of forward and big, emphasizing that the start of the session is about understanding between the ‘gas and the brake’, meaning the control over the tempo and the hind leg.” Annemieke’s philosophy is to activate the hind legs and develop collection and reaction so the horse’s frame can shorten and lengthen. Warming up consisted of closing and opening using gymnastic exercises with the goal of opening the frame and ultimately the movement. She prefers to start horses deep, round and seeking contact, but pointed out every horse is individual and sometimes needs a slightly different approach, depending on its balance. Annemieke was adamant about not holding in front and pushing with the leg at the same time, explaining that this blocks the horse and gives them nowhere to go, that when you make a horse short in front, it goes down in the back an d the neck comes too high. When you open the horse, it lowers the croup and can carry the rider’s weight. She encouraged riders to restrain only using the seat aid–sit tall and deep–with no rein. When it came to developing the paces, Annemieke got the most from the horses’ trots by working with the canter. By making the canter better, the trot work was also better. It was the same with the walk…when the trot and canter were more gymnastic, the walk was also better. Her take on the walk was refreshing, saying don’t push the walk SO forward. “The walk needs to be functional,” she said. “Annemieke was pedantic about balance and told me when the rider pushes, they actually push the horse out of its natural balance,” Nicole said. “She called the big collected trot the ‘second trot’ which comes from the power and activity behind. When the horse is balanced, both the expression in front and the contact will improve.”
Jayden Brown and “Leurch” attended the QLD clinic Jayden Brown and “Leurch” attended the QLD clinic
Annemieke pointed out that flying changes had to be expressive, and that there was no point practicing lots of flat or little changes. “We worked on making the canter more gymnastic, which then resulted in some expressive sequential changes,” Nicole continued. “Annemieke had some wonderful exercises to develop the canter pirouettes, again insisting on gymnasticing the canter by opening and collecting the canter many times before moving into a small pirouette, proceeding to a bigger canter pirouette and back to smaller again. “She also encouraged changing the bend within the pirouettes (without the horse losing balance) to supple and strengthen the horse.” Annemieke also had some excellent half pass exercises. For example, going from half pass right–sharp response into leg yield (with right flexion). Half pass on the long diagonal changing the bend/flexion several times, but maintaining the shoulders on the diagonal line. Annemieke encouraged opening the frame in piaffe, and exercises ‘collected trot–2 steps piaffe–collected trot’ to encourage forward anticipation in the horse, and ‘collected trot–3 steps passage–collected trot’ for the same reason. She insisted on an hour to work with the horse and rider, and when it came to practicing each movement of the test, her attention to detail was fastidious. Annemieke’s Clinic’s were so popular she is returning to conduct three clinics next year to include two three-­‐day clinics in Victoria during February, July and November. Stay tuned!
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