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Kirsi LaCorte Clinic


Clinician Kirsi LaCorte works with Cissy Coleman and her horse “Unique.”

Clinician Kirsi LaCorte works with Cissy Coleman and her horse “Unique.”

Lori Hudson riding Nuggett in the clinic with Kirsi LaCorte.

Mikado, a Bashkir Curly horse, sports his curly winter coat at the LaCorte Dressage clinic.

Article & photos by Nancy Brannon

Massar Stables, Orr Road, Arlington, Tenn., hosted a clinic with Kirsi Nevalainen-LaCorte, USDF Certified Fourth Level Instructor, on February 16-18, 2018.

Kathy Massy said, “We had a great clinic - probably one of the best!  Kirsi is such a kind and encouraging teacher who worked with a beginner group with the same detail as with upper level riders.  She admitted half way through that most of her clinics involve trainers and upper level riders, and it can be more of a challenge to break things down in a different way for beginners.  She is very serious about the responsibility of being a licensed/certified instructor and feels that the welfare of the horse is always most important.  She has also been a contributor to Dressage Today.”  Her article, published July 6, 2016, is: “Prevent Your Horse from Coming Above the Bit.” Read it at: 

Born in Finland, Kirsi was a horse-loving girl who spent a lot of time at the stable. She developed her riding and soon found herself offering advice to other riders. She taught beginners at a local riding school, which sent her to the Finnish Instructor School in Upaja to take an assistant instructor course. She competed in both dressage and jumping in Finland. At age 19 she moved to Germany to become a working student for Georg Heyser. Heyser, who passed away at age 80 in January of this year, was coach to eventing riders Hinrich Romeike and Peter Thomsen who competed at the 2008 Olympic Games.

A few years later she relocated to California, where she began preparing for the USDF Instructor Exams with the help of several masters.

In 2009 she was selected to be an FEI young horse developer by the American Hanoverian Society.

She constantly works to improve her riding skills and knowledge, attending clinics and conference with such masters as Kyra Kyrklund, Maria Guenther, Ulla Salzgeber, Konrad Shumaker, Alfred Knopffhart. Among her have been Gerhard Politz and Laurie Doyle. From 2009 to 2015 she took regular instruction from Axel Steiner (FEI 5* judge) and Willy Arts.

In her approach to rider instruction, she finds that “the problem is usually in the rider” – in the seat and being in the way of the horse. She works on the rider’s position to help achieve the best performance in the horse. “But it has to be fun,” she says. “I try to find something fun for the rider” and she has a way of explaining what she wants the rider to do with easily understandable analogies. In her training, she is “very classical and fair to the horse,” she says. “I am more passionate about the horse. I like to pick out the good from everywhere. The horse is a living being, not a machine.”

Growing up she rode with the Finnish cavalry. At age 19 she went to Germany to apprentice with the German training program, then later moved to California to, again, work with a German trainer.

She is USDF Certified to Fourth Level and in Europe/Finland, she is a Certified at Level 2 dressage coach, a national level coach.

Her own horse she’s training is now approaching third level. His name is Fullbright D.G., a 16.2 hand, 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood, who she bought from Willy Arts’ barn, D.G. Bar Ranch in Hanford, California. “I love working with Willy!” she said, and with Axel Steiner and Linda Zang.

Kirsi is currently based in Olney, Maryland, back in the U.S. after a year training horses in Finland. She will be returning to Finland in March to conduct clinics there.

Find more information about Kirsi at:

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