At the fourth annual Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic, sponsored in part by Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids program this weekend in Wellington, FL young riders got the chance to ride with legendary dressage trainers Robert Dover, George Williams, Charlotte Brendahl-Baker and Laura Graves.  Many of the participants traveled from a afar and were unable to bring their own horses to the clinic, that is where generous local owners and trainers stepped up by supplying them with mounts for the  clinic held in the Van Kampen Arena at the Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center from Saturday, Jan. 3 through Wednesday, Jan. 7.

Mattie Zepernick, 17, from Lafayette, Louisiana. Rode Leandro, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Rebecca Reno and trained by Marcel Van der Burgh.  Leo is a barn favorite at Empire Marcel known for his goofy faces and sweet disposition. “He’s a really good horse but it’s been very hard for me to get used to him,” Zepernick said. “All my other horses are so forward thinking. It’s been very different but it’s been an amazing experience.” On Sunday Mattie rode with Dover and Saturday with Charlotte Brendahl-Baker in the clinic. “Marcel was so generous to lend him to me,” she said. “It was a little scary but I’m glad I had the opportunity.”


Mattie Zepernick and Rebecca Reno’s Leandro Photo: Sue Weakley

Van der Burgh said he wanted the horse to gain some experience and that it’s important for young riders in this country to get experience as well. “I think it’s important for me to be supportive of this group,” he said. “She did very well on a borrowed horse she didn’t know. She just flew in and didn’t even have a chance to ride him before!”

To check out the clinic schedule for the rest of the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic, click here. Auditors are welcome to attend and a daily $25 donation to Dressage4Kids is encouraged.

For a complete story on all the horses lent to riders at this event visit