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Riders jump at chance to learn from Olympian

ALASTAIR PAULIN
Last updated 14:37 17/01/2013
Sophie Williams
ALASTAIR PAULIN/FAIRFAX NZ
LEARNING FROM THE BEST: Motueka rider Sophie Williams tackles a jump at Marchwood Park under the gaze of Jonelle Richards.

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When Olympic medallist Jonelle Richards taught jumping and dressage at Marchwood Park on Monday, her 24 eager pupils were just one step removed from the best riders in the world.

Jonelle is taught dressage by Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin and gets jumping lessons from Mark Todd, regarded as the greatest horseman of the last three decades.

Organiser Janet Morgan said having Jonelle teach them was a rare opportunity for local riders to learn from the best.

"Jonelle is so good because she's done it all herself. She's a Mot girl who's worked really hard and achieved - I think that's just amazing."

Motueka rider Sophie Williams, 17, said Jonelle had "been there and done that so she knows what she's talking about."

Stanley Brook's Helen Palmer said she had been stuck on some riding problems and a two-hour session with Jonelle couldn't have come come at a better time.

"I couldn't find that key and she found it for me," she said.

On the day after her three-day wedding festivities, Jonelle was in the riding ring at Marchwood Park from 8am till 7pm. She said she tried to pitch her lessons to what each rider was trying to achieve.

"Sometimes people don't want to hear what you're telling them. It's finding the balance of what each person wants to get from it."

She said the wedding at Charlotte Sound's Furneaux Lodge "went without a hitch". She returns to England on Friday.

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