Karla Knapp Dressage
Bringing dressage to the real world
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This is the case study of my longest standing client, Gemma Cornford and her horse Egyptian King (Pharaoh).  It is written in her own words.
"I have owned and trained my 15.1hh Anglo Arab gelding for 10 years, with Karla as my main trainer for the last 8 of those.  Pharaoh does not have the best conformation for dressage being built naturally downhill and on the forehand, but after a bad experience with a previous purchase I fell for his personality and size.  We started learning the basics and the picture left shows us in 2003 at a Prelim competition.
As we worked we found Pharaoh's trainable attitude and willingness to try meant we were constantly surprised by the ability and potential he showed.  We have learned together and have gone through the levels of first unaffiliated and then affiliated dressage.  Karla has always been there for inspiration, technical advice, crash test dummy and sometimes just an ear to listen as I moaned about the current stumbling block!  Her training is very versatile and adaptable, Pharaoh was sometimes in the mood and sometimes not... so she always tailored the lessons for us to get the best from him, without spending the session fighting each other and achieving nothing.
It was around the time I started competing medium level that I discovered my position wasn't always conducive to Pharaoh's best work.  The more complex movements and the fact we were expecting him to remain in self carriage highlighted the need for me to improve my core strength and tonal posture.  Karla suggested I had a series of lunge lessons over the winter, during which we worked only on my positioning.  This helped so much in making me aware of not only where I needed to be in order to best influence and aid the horse, but also where my horse was putting me in order to evade those instructions!
The photo right is us during a lesson in 2009, showing Pharaoh developing a great reach in his shoulder-in.
The last few seasons have been amazing and with Karla's help we achieved the following:
Riding for Team Southern at BD Inter Regionals (Novice)
Qualifying for Petplan Area Festivals at Medium, Advanced Medium (x2) and PSG
Competing Dressage Masters Semi Final at Hickstead (Advanced Medium)
Gaining my Group 3 rider status and not only competing at PSG but achieving six scores of over 60%
The support I have received from Karla over the years is second to none, even outside of lessons.  She was there at the Petplan Area Festival at PSG, which was my ultimate goal and last official competition.. even shedding a tear at our final salute!  Our final conquest was to train Pharaoh to be able to ride an Inter 1 test.  This was our final test to retire on and thanks to Karla's time and patience along with blood, sweat and tears (mostly mine!) I rode my 20 year old pony through a mistake free Intermediate 1 test for a score of 54.47%
Pharaoh is now happily retired to hacking, but we achieved so much more than we ever dreamed and Karla never lost faith in us.  She pushed when she needed to and there was no such thing as 'he can't because he is not a dressage horse'.  Every time he showed a glimpse that he could do more we tried to develop it, but also backed off when it became overwhelming for him.  We just kept going to transform him from a weedy prelim horse to an athletic Inter 1 horse.  The pictures speak for themselves....."
June 2011  
               Inter 1 Pachesham EC  October 2012