Christophe Theallet, Dressage Coach, Trainer and Mentor
Written by Betsy LaBelle - In Dressage Directory - Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Coaching and training dressage riders and horses to Grand Prix and through FEI levels, Christophe Theallet has a thirty-year history of understanding how a horse thinks and moves. His knowledge base was built on studying and training with riding masters and graduating from France’s high-level, legendary and prestigious National Riding School in Saumur, France.
He went on to be mentored by the world-renowned French horseman and also Cadre Noir member Patrick Le Rolland, who passed away unexpectedly last year; a moment of silence was held at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, “Patrick was a true master and an elegant rider who taught the fundamental principles of riding. 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.”
Learning from several different trainers, Theallet also worked with the renowned Rudolph Zeilinger saying, “I went to him with my horse to train and compete in Germany. My classmates from America at that time were Tina Konyot, Susie Dutta, Evi Strasser, and Ed Borreson.” Theallet praises Zeilinger highly, “He was an excellent instructor and extremely informative and I was mesmerized by his dedication to the sport.”
Having competed in FEI competitions throughout Europe, Theallet owns and runs an inspirational and motivational training and coaching clinic in Spokane, Washington with his wife, Marie, a Swedish native, educated in Europe and an FEI competitor.
As coach for the last four years to Kasey Perry, the up-and-coming rider for the United States Dressage team, Christophe formulated the rider’s path to success. This year, he coached both Kasey Perry and Charlotte Jorst to their victories at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, “This winter when Andreas Helgestrand came to help Charlotte with her new horse, he suggested that I would be a great coach for her. 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 and Kasey will make it to the top.”
Boosting the Kasey Perry Target
Christophe went to Andreas and found two horses for Kasey, a young Grand Prix horse named Goerklintgarrd’s Dublet and seasoned competitor Scarlett. Just returning from Europe for a six-week competition tour with both horses, Kasey hopes to qualify for a coveted spot on the US Dressage Team for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Christophe has been instrumental in placing Kasey in a good position.
Four years ago, Christophe began to coach the very green but ambitious Kasey who progressed from third level all the way to Grand Prix in a very methodical, slow way by taking lessons three hours a day, six days a week. Two years ago, Christophe decided he needed to look at Kasey from a judge’s perspective to assure that Kasey would make the top four placings for a US Dressage Team. He obtained the assistance of Anne Gribbons once a month, “Those two years were instrumental in Kasey’s progress. 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, Kasey and her two horses then relocated to Florida for several months to compete for a spot on the US Dressage Team. Virtually unknown within the sport at the time, the strategy included Kasey and horses training at Anne’s farm in Orlando for the month of December in a form of “boot camp” before heading three hours south to Wellington for the twelve week Adequan® Global Dressage Festival competition series. Christophe shared, “The most amazing thing is that it worked! The strategy worked!”
Kasey is now completing a very successful six weeks European tour on the US Dressage Team Pan American Games Squad.
The Christophe Theallet Philosophy
“Our sport is difficult because the rider is only as good as the horse. 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.”
Christophe 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. Riders must understand just how different they must be with each horse, 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 means go. Hands means 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.”
Christophe has designed a great program for riders whose quests may include the top competitions. He has the eyes and caring to train both rider and horse classically and correctly and the ambition to fulfill goals. His quiet voice brings out the confidences and strengths in both rider and horse.
Caring deeply about the process and coveting the ability to uniquely teach all talented riders, Christophe 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 successes, Christophe also displays his beautiful equestrian hand-painted artwork and sculptures he does for relaxation. See below: