Contessa Riding & Training Centre

Contessa is a leading Dressage Centre in Hertfordshire, providing Advanced Dressage lessons Lusitano stallions and warmbloods as well as riding for all levels

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A fun and friendly structured club in which you can learn how to ride and look after a pony.

We are:
A Pony Club Centre which gives children who do not own their own pony an opportunity to

  • learn to ride.
  • learn to look after a pony.
  • participate in exams, competitions, rallies, camps and much more.

We offer:

  • A fun and structured scheme providing a progressive way of learning to ride and look after a pony.
  • Instruction from our qualified staff who are regularly briefed on the latest regulations and receive ongoing training.
  • Third party liability insurance for Pony Club members.
  • Organised trips to major shows such as Badminton, Olympia and Horse of the Year Show.
  • Private lessons after school as assessments for group allocation and for nervous riders.
  • Four different levels of group lessons on weekdays and weekends.
  • Sessions working towards specific achievement badges e.g. grooming, mucking out.
  • An insight into many different equestrian discipline such as Dressage, Show Jumping, Western, Vaulting and Side Saddle.

Leila Khaldi
BHSAI UKCC II, Office, Yard Coordinator & PA

BHSAI Instructor with multiple skills including side saddle and western.

Leila is no stranger to Contessa! She started her training here in 2006 gaining her ABRS ITA and her PTT. After working at various yards, from private competition yards of Para Dressage riders as a competition groom to a big college yard where she was the assistant manager, Leila returned to Contessa with her BHSAI and is working towards her BHSII. Leila has recently gained her BHS Stage 4 Care certificate. “I returned to Contessa to for fill my ambitions and further my equestrian knowledge from the best people in the industry who are also now dear friends. Contessa is a rare place and is a way of life not just a work environment”.

Leila loves teaching riders of all abilities and ages and is especially good at building peoples confidence while riding. Leila has her own event horse who she has introduced to western. She has plans that he will learn side-saddle this year.

Leila is currently competing her horse ‘Time for Change’ (Wills) in affiliated dressage and is scoring well. Leila also shows a keen interest in natural horsemanship. As our office and yard coordinator, she is a key part of our team organising events/shows secretary & is PA to Tina & Dawn. Leila can be regularly seen riding on the majority of all the current clinics with her colour coordinated outfits. Leila was also short listed for the ABRS Golden Spur Award 2015 & a an ABRS training scholarship.

Leila runs our sucessful evening Jump Club groups on Mondays, 6pm Novice jump group & 7pm Intermediate Jump group

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Wanda Bendisch
ABRS TC, UKCC II, Yard & Marketing Manager

AI Instructor

Wanda started working at Contessa in 2014 after working in different riding schools in Germany and London. “Riding schools in the city are limited in terms of space and horses”, she says, “Contessa has extraordinary trainers and facilities and a variety of horses for everyone plus schoolmasters trained to Grand Prix level and is still easily accessible from London.”
Wanda is originally from Germany where she started riding at the age of 6.
After years of teaching in a German Dressage Riding Centre in Northrhine Westphalia and studying business & law Wanda came to London in 2012 and worked in an environmental & human rights law firm. She obviously missed the horses and started working in different riding schools including Hyde Park Stables and Mudchute Equestrian Centre.
Wanda has a busy teaching schedule and focuses particularly on the riders position and the understanding of the riders aiding to improve the horses way of going.
As our Marketing Manager she recently developed Contessa’s website and writes our newsletter. She is also our Student Liaison Officer and supports our students with their exams. She loves to ride our Advanced Dressage Horses and especially our Lusitano stallions and mares from Portugal and Spain. Wanda is available for lessons both weekdays and weekends.
She also runs our Balance & Coordination Evening Class ( Tuesday 7pm). Wanda holds her ABRS Teaching Certificate and UK Coaching Certificate and is one of our lucky ABRS scholarship holders.
She is currently breaking in her 3 year old German Warmblood Sir Sandokan who she therefore moved to Contessa and wants to train him not only classical but bilingual!

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Emma Slater, BHS AI
BHS AI

Emma enjoys helping our younger riders develop, she assists our Pony Club events and runs the popular weekly Friday Evening Class group. Emma started her equestrian career at Contessa gaining her BHS exams up to Stage  II. She then furthered her experience at other UK Equestrian centres and riding schools. After gaining her BHS III and PTT, Emma took on another adventure and bought her own horse, Schmitt, a 3 year old warmblood. She brought him on slowly and now participates in competitions, clinics and camps around the country. She especially loves working with tricky horses and ponies, helping people with their confidence and finding a connection with the more sensitive horse. She also supports the Contessa Vaulting team utilizing her gymnastic skill and her teaching experience.

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Lucy Naish BHS PTT

Lucy has recently returned to Contessa after working at a large competition yard for a year. She is keen to focus on her teaching and riding so that she can help many different riders and horses. Ultimately, she is working towards taking her BHSAI and competing her own horse Shortbread.

Lucy’s passion for horses began in childhood, when she started riding aged 7. While at University, she continued riding and volunteered for riding for the disabled (RDA). She began working with horses full time in 2012 and has been responsible for liveries, competition horses, youngsters and riding school horses. During this time she also has taught a variety of ages and abilities, and particularly enjoys giving people a good grounding so they can become thoughtful, responsible riders.

She is pleased to see how much the Contessa clients have improved, and looks forward to teaching many new riders. Lucy is also organising the Pony Club rally’s and training days.

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Saffron Bradshaw

Saffron is currently one of two lucky apprentices at Contessa. She has been wanting to work in the Equestrian industry since a very young age. Having worked in different livery yards and stables in Hertfordshire in the past she is now working towards her BHS exams. Saffron was originally taught how to ride at Contessa when she was only 7 years old and ever since her passion for horses has only grown.  Saffron is particular good with our younger riders as she is very empathetic and patient and the kids love her.

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Lilly

Lilly is a happy, popular and friendly mare. She is a great confidence giver especially when it comes to jumping. She loves the fuss and attention that she gets around the yard and especially being given lots of carrots and apples from young people.

Lilly is not only a talented jumper, she excels at teaching riders the basics of dressage.

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Solo
Welsh

A well schooled advanced pony.

Solo is one of the more advanced ponies who is very well schooled enabling us to teach children more about lateral work. He is a strawberry roan though we often call him ‘pink’. Solo has been at Contessa for many years.

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Tally
Welsh

A great pony to learn on.

Tally is a 12.1 hh Welsh Section A pony, who is a very good pony to learn on. She is an elder resident who has been with us for many years, giving many their first chance to ride a more educated horse, this helps the children gain knowledge about equestrianism.

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Millie

Gentle, forward going and best friends with Toby.

Millie is a gentle forward going pony. She shows a talent in teaching both children and adults a correct contact and the beginnings of lateral movements. Millie is also a keen jumping pony.

Millie joined the Contessa team with her friend Toby a few years ago, they are both very valuable within the school.

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Moonie
Arab X Welsh

Popular amongst both children and adults, he loves all types of work.

Moonie is a 13.2hh Arab X Welsh and is a long standing member of Contessa. He has taught many to ride. He loves all types of work, but is particularly talented at jumping. He is the perfect size to be ridden by both children and adults; this enables us to use him for more advanced work, whilst  keeping a steady approach of teaching.

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Toby

Sweet natured gelding who loves jumping and Dressage.

Toby is a sweet natured 13.3hh caremello gelding. Since joining Contessa he has showed a great ability towards all aspects of the sport. He loves nothing more than going over jumps and going out in the field. Toby is also very willing to participate in Dressage, being able to do basic lateral movements. He has also competed as part of the Contessa Dressage Team.

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Toffee
Welsh

Toffee enjoys jumping and hacking.

Toffee is a younger pony who is training at Contessa, he is a wonderful horse for those smaller talented riders.

He joined Contessa in late 2014 and enjoys jumping, hacking and going in the field. Toffee is also finding pole-work and jumping lots of fun!

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Brontë
Welsh

A lovely little pony who likes to canter, jump and be groomed.

Brontë a 11hh Welsh Section A, is a relatively new edition to the Contessa Pony Team. She is a fun little pony who enjoys cantering and jumping. She loves being groomed which is fortunate as she also loves rolling in the field and getting extremely mucky!

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Pony Day (1/2 day)

£28 Ride x1 and
lectures / games 10am-1pm or 1pm-4pm

Pony Week (3 days)

£125 Ride x2 and
lectures / games 10am-4pm

Pony Days

Half day £28 Ride x1 and lectures / games 10am-1pm or 1pm-4pm

Whole day £50 Ride x2 and lectures / games 10am-4pm

Week (3 days) £125 Ride x2 and lectures / games 10am-4pm

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