Isabell Werth Clinic – California 2018 “An Equestrian Biomechanics Perspective”

It’s not everyday that you get to witness the absolute guru of the dressage world in your backyard and when you do you jump on the opportunity! I am incredibly thankful for the chance to sit in on this wonderful clinic hosted at Ad Astra Stables in Encinitas California, home of Trainer Duo Rebecca & David of Rigdon & Blake Stables and put on by Scott Hayes of SH Productions  – a stunning facility and a very well run event!

The legend herself needs no introduction, but for those whom love some background insight here’s some details for your reading pleasure … Isabell Werth is the WORLDS most successful Dressage rider. She has ten Olympic medals, seven World Championship titles, 13 European Championship medals and 14 German Championship Titles. You can’t even complete all of her accolades in one breath! And just watching her teach shows you exactly why she is number 1 in every way. Her eye is meticulous and she has this incredible ability to both hone in on Rider position with special attention to mechanics along with beautifully elaborating the horses mechanics and its way of going. It was like watching a poetic story unfolding with every single horse and rider combo. I couldn’t take my eye away and witnessed stunning work across the board with all 6 lucky riders.

Because of my background and profession you know my ears are pricked towards Rider mechanics and here are some of my favorite Isabell comments of the day

  • Sit back – with your seat and leg, not with your hands
  • Keep the contact but give him the chance that he can open himself
  • Don’t work too much. Trust him and let him work
  • Always have the whip in the inside hand so that you can activate the inside hind leg
  • Hold him but don’t block him. There is a BIG difference between the two
  • The horse always has to go in front of you
  • A mistake can happen, then just try to be quick and ride forwards
  • It is not necessary to ride a movement when you do not have the right feeling
  • Use your corners. Don’t lose 20m because you are not quick enough to react
  • With a better quality in the canter you will always have a better quality in the pirouette and half pass
  • Make it that you can really ride the Piaffe. Not pushed, just ridden.
  • The horse should not be going into the Piaffe because it is scared to do it. It should be ridden. Be patient and ask step by step with your leg. Bring him from your leg to the bit.


  • Think about keeping your stomach and lower back between your elbows (This is directly relating to your lower abdominal complex!!!)

I managed to get a little bit of video of a few of the riders and in order you will see Isabell working closely with:

  1. Niki Clarke
  2. Dawn White O’Connor
  3. Claire Manhard
  4. Rebecca Rigdon

All content has been cleared and consented to from each Rider

I also got to pick up my nervous fan girl pants and talk to Isabell about my custom designed P2 Rider Performance Bands system. She LOVED the concept and went home with a kit!!! Click here for more info

Till next time … it’s go time to keep working with my Riders. I’m stacked in the clinic and off to Canada and Seattle for some next level Rider Biomechanics Clinics, working on enhancing each Riders body and functioning at their absolute optimums – “Stomach and lower back between your elbows” – LET’S GO!!!!!

Britta x

Check out a few short Video snippets of Isabell working with some of the Riders here


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