Olympic Dressage Legend Shares Expertise with Young Riders and the Jumping Mechelen Audience

Gold Cup Clinic featuring Kyra Kyrklund (powered by Fields of Ellis)

As horse enthusiasts face the winter weather, Jumping Mechelen is ready to warm them up with a diverse program. Alongside show jumping, the event will feature shows, driving competitions, and dressage.

This year, dressage fans are in for a treat. In partnership with Fields of Ellis, the event brings the renowned Kyra Kyrklund to Mechelen. On December 29 (10 a.m.), she will share her knowledge in the Christmas Arena, offering a masterclass to some fortunate, promising young riders.

Champion of the FEI World Cup Final and Esteemed Olympic Competitor

Kyra Kyrklund’s status as a Finnish dressage icon is undisputed. A three-time Olympian, she has shone at European and World Championships.

Her impressive track record includes a second place at the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm (1990) and fifth at the Seoul Olympics (1988). However, her most remarkable feat might be winning the FEI Dressage World Cup Final (Paris – 1991), a trophy highly coveted by Jumping Mechelen’s most ambitious dressage stars.

Regarding the FEI Dressage World Cups, Kyra comments: “It’s only natural for the absolute top riders to have the FEI Dressage World Cups on their wishlist. These competitions are always atmospheric and excellently organized, from the stables to the footing, ensuring everything is perfect. They hold beautiful memories for me.”

© Hippo Foto – Sharon Vandeput

Sought-After Expertise

After a successful sporting career, Kyra became a leading trainer for top-level riders. She began giving clinics during her seven-year tenure as head trainer at the prestigious Swedish state stud Flyinge.“The board thought there would be interest in sessions where I shared my methods and philosophy, and I was immediately intrigued. The program, which spanned six hours and attracted around 2,000 enthusiasts, consistently sold out twice a year. It’s a time I remember with great fondness.”

For me, a clinic is successful if not only the participating riders but also the spectators return home with inspiration and practical tips they can implement.

Kyra has since coached talents like Cathrine Dufour, Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, Emma Hindle, and Jan Brink. Now, the Jumping Mechelen audience can enjoy her expertise , which, true to a champion, sets high standards. Kyra states, “For me, a clinic is successful if not only the participating riders but also the spectators return home with inspiration and practical tips they can implement. I focus on the basics needed for Grand Prix riding. These are the keys to everything, even if you’re not active at that level. I approach the riders with an open mind, , as I don’t know the horses and riders in advance. All I know is that it is about young talent at different levels. It’s about quickly diagnosing and addressing the most important work points.”

Belgian Dressage on the Rise

Kyra is looking forward to conducting a clinic in Belgium: “I often see your Grand Prix riders in action. For me, Belgium is one of the smaller, ‘upcoming’ countries in international dressage.”

Belgium is mainly known globally as the epicenter of show jumping, but dressage has indeed been gaining ground. This progress is thanks to countless passionate trainers, organizations, riders, breeders, and more. Sponsors with a love for the sport, are indispensable. Heidi Desmet and Stefaan Brauwers (Equestrian Concept Store De Baian, Fields of Ellis, Joli Lodger), are also indispensable in such a story.

This year they launched the “Gold Cup” project, challenging young riders while enriching their knowledge and skills. Heidi says, “Supporting young talent in a structural way is crucial for the development of any sport. Our Belgian national youth teams have delivered excellent performances at international competitions in recent years. We want to continue driving these great results. That’s why this year, with the help of other sponsors and organizers, we set up the Gold Cup project. It consists of 5 high-level competitions in Belgium. Riders participating in all these events elevate themselves by continually benchmarking their skills against one another. Additionally, the best performing rider-horse combinations receive extra support in the form of group training and sessions with renowned trainers and judges. The clinic with Kyra Kyrklund at Jumping Mechelen is one of those. A great end to the year, but certainly not the last thing we have in store for our youth.”

Crash Course for Young Talents

The young talents Kyra will be working with in her clinic are certainly eager to contribute to Belgium’s international dressage success.

Louise Brauwers
Liezel Everars

One of the talents from the Gold Cup is 20-year-old Young Rider Louise Brauwers. She has already achieved impressive results and dreams of making a big impact in the U25 circuit: “It would be amazing if I could take away some tips from the clinic to perform more stable tests. My flying changes still need work. I hope Kyra can give me some tips. It’s going to be fantastic. I’ve never competed at Jumping Mechelen before and anticipate a truly unique experience.”

15-year-old Liezel Everars, currently shining among the Juniors, will also participate in the Gold Cup Clinic. With her pony Capelli de Niro, she has competed in five European Championships. However, the session with Kyra will be extra special for her: “I’ve participated in the Youngster Cup at Jumping Mechelen before: unforgettable! When I heard I could ride there again and receive tips from Kyra Kyrklund, I was over the moon. Kyra trains many Grand Prix riders and is a role model for all of us youngsters. I hope she can help me improve my lateral flexion and give tips for riding flawless tests. My horse Vigo Gold NA is already in top form!

Don’t miss it!

Don’t want to miss Kyra Kyrklund’s clinic? Then reserve your tickets now for December 29 (session 7).

Following the clinic, the Jumping Mechelen audience can enjoy a demo with young horses and the climax (Freestyle) of the FEI Dressage World Cup. It’s a day not to be missed for dressage lovers! Also, mark December 28 in your calendar. At 10:15 a.m., you can see all the participants of the FEI Dressage World Cup in action during their first Grand Prix test.

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