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Clinic With Olympic Eventer Jill Henneberg


By Ali Barros

Jill Henneberg, taught a two-day eventing clinic at Cedarwood Farm in Memphis, TN on December 9-10, 2017, hosted by K-J Equestrian. Jill was a member of the U.S. 1996 Olympic 3-day Team and captured a silver medal at the Atlanta Olympics. She currently resides in Athens, Georgia where she owns and operates Nirvana Equestrian.

The winter temperatures did not deter the devoted riders who took part in the clinic. The first day consisted of dressage work and the second day challenged riders in show jumping. Riders were divided into groups of beginner 2’, novice 2’3”-2’6”, intermediate 2’6”-3’, and advanced 3’ and up.

Jennifer McCarthy, who is new to the sport, was able to gain valuable insight from Jill while riding in her first clinic.

Miranda Young, of K-J Equestrian, reflected on her experience: “Riding with Jill was one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. I pushed past limits I didn't know I could overcome. My horse, Reggie, gave me one hundred percent. The most valuable lesson I learned from this clinic is to always give one hundred percent of my effort, one hundred percent of the time. I feel very blessed to have worked with such a wonderful trainer and will be applying my knowledge from this weekend to my whole riding career, as well as passing along that knowledge to my current and future students.”

Leigh McDonald, Olivia Lawhorn, and Ali Barros rode in the advanced group, working on jumper style 3’-3’6” courses. All of the riders in the group rode OTTBs. The riders were tested over oxers with an angled rail laying on top, one stride in-and-outs, and roll-back turns. Jill pointed out the importance of being aggressive and gaining a response from what is being asked of the horse.

Leigh McDonald rode her OTTB Parker to learn several important lessons. “The biggest thing that Jill taught me was to keep the horse balanced by keeping my upper body back and using the outside aids to keep the horse balanced in his 20-meter circles and coming out of the corner to the fences. I like what she said about not being afraid of the deep spot and not rushing the horse to the fence. Jill was so cool! I thought the entire experience was great. She's a good mixture of business and humor,” said Leigh.

Riders also had the opportunity to try out Correct Connect. Correct Connect is a new rein training system created by Jill that uses hook-and-loop fastener reins and gloves to provide a steady contact with the horse’s mouth while ensuring proper rein length. Allie Edge Smith was able to put Correct Connect to the test over fences with Felix.

Jamie Kroh-Jones, of K-J Equestrian, said she hopes to bring Jill back again for another clinic in the future.

About Jill Henneberg: Jill can see the potential in every horse. As a 14-year-old child, Jill was able to purchase Nirvana, a $600 Off-The-Track Thoroughbred (OTTB), in 1988. The horse that others doubted eventually became Jill’s CCI*** Advanced mount. From Rolex to the Atlanta Olympics, Jill and Nirvana accomplished what other riders only dream of.
For more information about Jill Henneberg please visit Facebook: Nirvana Equestrian – Jill Henneberg.

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