The queen of dressage

She is always on the world dressage podium. With Parzival she has for many years been nurturing a dream wish. Of Dutch nationality, Adelinde Cornelissen talks about herself, horses and dressage


  • #dressage
  • #Dutch
  • #champion
  • #olimpic games
  • #WEG
  • #european championship

Susanna Cottica Animo

Adelinde Cornelissen, winner of several medals and queen of international dressage, lives in Nijkerk, in the Netherlands, at her stable, Landgoed Balkenschoten. She started riding on a small pony bred by her parents. As a child, Adelinde practised many other sports, tennis, gymnastics, judo and boxing; she also had an interest in horse thanks to her mother, a biology teacher, who since childhood has transmitted to her a love for animals and nature. Gradually, however, her passion grew and began to focus in particular on riding. At twelve riding ponies Adelinde began taking part in competitions of show jumping, eventing and dressage; in dressage especially she has achieved important results including winning the Holland Championship. Then came her first horse, Innovation, with which Adelinde went on to compete in the three disciplines. Parzival arrived at her stable as a horse for show jumping. "He had a difficult character, I couldn't handle him on the jumps, he was out of control, so I started to work a lot on flat to improve his management - recounts Adelinde - It was at that point that with my trainer, Johan Hamminge, we became aware of the incredible talent he had. Parzival soon became the great champion he is. Since 2004, the year of his first victories, he has continued to progress up to the highest levels of world dressage". Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival have for years been one of the best pairs in the world with an impressive resume.

"In recent years the dressage has evolved extraordinary both in terms of the technical level and the quality of the horses – Adelinde explains - Finding top horses isn't easy so you have to devote yourself to the younger horses. When choosing a horse, you need to identify his talent, even if it is not enough to make him a champion. The same goes for the riders. Talent needs work, daily and constant, otherwise it is a useless gift. A horse that begins to work at the age of three or four can reach Grand Prix level at the age of nine or ten. You need patience, time and dedication. Horse riding is made up of the details and not just the work of horse training. A priority is the care of the horse that deserves the utmost attention in every aspect. The work requires extreme precision, you have to know what you are doing and what you hope to achieve. Accuracy also in the planning and organisation of the competitions. Everything under control. And not only in the practical aspects but in the presentation of both horse and of ourselves. Everything must be done to the maximum: to become champions you first have to feel like champions! In high-level dressage you have to be precise, it's all a matter of communication, details and feeling. Finding horses like Parzival is very difficult. He's a champion, always at the top of the rankings. Yet at the start he was very shy, he was afraid of everything. Over time he has become increasingly self-confident, becoming the champion he is today. The European Championship in Herning (individual bronze, Grand Prix Freestyle bronze and team silver) was perhaps the greatest satisfaction that I have had so far. Not only for the results but for the way I felt about the horse, a perfect union, the most a rider can hope for. I dedicate the maximum attention to my horses and listen to their every need. My horses are in the paddock every day, their work also varies, I take them for long walks and even do some jumps with them when the opportunity arises. They have fun! And it must stay that way. The horses must be well and happy. They must want to be with you, to do things together. This is the secret to forming a winning pair: to want to be together. Riding was my passion but didn't use to be my work - concludes Adelinde. In fact, until 2008 I was an English teacher. Then I began dedicating myself solely to riding, to my horses and to my team. I get up at 6 in the morning and I go running, then breakfast and immediately to the stable. I ride six to eight horses and in the afternoon, from 4 to 7 I dedicate myself to my students. Then to go back to my horses for a last look, to check on them and to spend a little time with them. This is my life, this is what makes me happy! It's like always being on holiday because I'm doing what I love doing".

Info on Adelinde Cornelissen