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

"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."
John Bowen, Dressage
BE and BD accredited international trainer

John has been training riders at Contessa on and off for 20 years in dressage and show jumping. He has gives lectures and demonstrations at the Centre. He trains riders in all disciplines from grass roots to international level. John has helped Tina with her horses on different occasions.

John has trained Jeanette Brakewell for the last 11 years, the rider of Over to You and one of Team GB – our Olympic team. He is also Irish National Eventing Team Coach for Young Riders and Juniors – training individual gold and silver medallists.

He has competed to Grand Prix in dressage and evented internationally. John takes clinics at Contessa every two months where riders can enjoy his charm and wit while working hard on correct methods of training. A word of warning to all riders: just don’t click to your horse.

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John Bowen, Dressage
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John Adams, Show Jumping

John started his training with Brian Young before going to Germany to work and ride. He later returned to the UK and produced a great many horses from Novice to Grade A. He now trains riders of all calibres.

John holds monthly show jumping clinics at Contessa and is a wonderfully encouraging instructor, who coaxes the best out of horse and rider and gives great confidence to his pupils.

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John Adams, Show Jumping
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Derek Williams, Western
UKCC Level II Western Coach

Barrel Racing Champion, trainer and all round horse expert.

Derek is a UKCC Level II Western Coach and has many Western Riding titles to his name including being a Barrel Racing Champion & Working Cow horse champion! Derek is an affiliated Western Judge for Western Horseman’s Association Senior Judge including Cattle work.

He has been trained in both English and Western. Derek has more than 30 years of experience with horses. Derek currently trains, competes, and rides both in English and Western including backing and schooling horses with problems or youngsters. Derek also uses his methods to train all riders and in all disciplines.

Derek currently rides his own Paint Stallion Boysie who he has had from a weanling and Derek is hoping his 2yr old Quarter Horse Colt Harry will follow in Boysie’s Hoof-prints.

Derek holds regular sessions here at Contessa on a range of horses at our popular Equine Communication sessions on the first Saturday of every month.

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Derek Williams, Western
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Amy Panter
Vaulting Coach UKCC Level II

Dance trained from a young age Amy took up the sport of equestrian vaulting aged 12. She quickly joined the Scottish squad and went on to be a part of the British Equestrian Vaulting Team competing at a national and international level until she retired at the age of 18.

She then went on to train as an aerialist on the Degree Programme at the National Centre for Circus Arts in London, specialising in Aerial Hoop, graduating in 2007 and has been performing ever since. She has performed in large scale shows including the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony as a Mary Poppins, aerial hoop in the Paralympic Closing Ceremony, aerial silks on the Royal Variety Performance in 2013, aerial hoop on X Factor, and many more national and international events including corporate, cabaret, theatrical productions, film and television, award ceremonies and private events.

She also works as a circus consultant training specialist skills for film, theatre and TV. These include; training celebrities for 2014’s BBC Tumble, aerial trainer and supervisor on the set of the movie “Victor Frankenstein” and working with the lead cast of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2015 Peter Pan and Wendy. Along with her performance career Amy still keeps up her vaulting training and performs with the female equestrian display team “Jive Pony”, and has been working with them since 2011. Jive Pony and their team of of Highland ponies, miniature Shetland ponies and zorse they perform free vaulting, Roman riding, liberty and trick work.

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Amy Panter
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Sarah Gemmell, Vaulting

Sarah has been vaulting since she was 11. She competed at her first British Championships in 1992. This lead to a successful career within Britain, achieving many titles including Pairs in 1995, 1996, 2001 & 2002, and Advanced Team 1997 & 1998.

She first competed at an international CVI** event in 1997 in Holland. Since then she has competed at CVI**s in France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Germany and Italy. She was also selected to compete for Great Britain as an individual at the European Championships in 2001, 2003 and 2005, the World Equestrian Games in 2002 and 2006, and the World Championships in 2004.

She has a Level 3 Coaching Award and achieved International Candidate Judge Status in November 2010. Her training and competing took place alongside studies at Coventry University, where she graduated with an honors degree in Fine Art in 2004. She then had a change of career and Qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in October 2009.

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Sarah Gemmell, Vaulting
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