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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"The strength of our team is each individual member. Passion and individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes our team work and our horses and clients happy.
At Contessa we are very lucky to have a mix of passionate people with different talents so every rider and horse can benefit from our variety of experience and specialism."
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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Leila Khaldi
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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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Wanda Bendisch
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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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Emma Slater, BHS AI
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