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Wim Foekema Clinic


Article & Photos by Pam Gamble
Wim Foekema returned to the Mid-South Dressage Academy (MDA) on Robertson Gin Road in Hernando, MS on July 14 and 15 for a dressage clinic. This clinic is the fifth time Wim has been to the beautiful Clifton Farms, and he has developed quite a following in the Mid-South.

Anna Speer, instructor and trainer at MDA, described the most recent clinic. “We had eight participants Saturday and nine on Sunday. There were quite a few auditors, as auditing is free with our regular clinics. This is part of our mission to make dressage more accessible.”

When asked why Wim is such a popular instructor, Anna said, “It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or at Fourth level, he makes you feel like you're the only rider in the ring and that your journey is the most important thing in the world to him. We had one lesson with a beginner rider and an intermediate rider together. He was able to make it work beautifully!”

The clinic at MDA included some memorable “pearls of wisdom.” Wim likes to focus on helping each rider maximize their personal strengths according to their body shape (particularly the more petite riders); he kept reminding participants to “ride the half-halt through a tall upper body,” holding strength in the core and back. When a horse leaned on a rider's leg, Wim's instructions were to “nudge [the horse] in a very ladylike manner. If [the horse] ignores you, then all heck breaks loose!” With regards to a protesting horse, Wim told his riders to ignore it and ride through it, saying, “That's just [the horse's] baggage. He can't help that.” This playful, yet serious approach makes Wim a joy to ride with.
Wim's teaching philosophy of “Keep it simple, common sense, and hard work” was readily apparent in his soft-spoken, kind way of approaching each student. He encouraged the clinic participants to “be intrigued with the minutiae of the way the horse goes, moment to moment.” His unhurried yet demanding approach to dressage works the horse nose to tail, with a clear and respectful understanding of where each horse is and what goals need to be set to progress steadily.

Wim started riding at age nine in his home country of Holland. He followed an all around education at the ORUN in Ermelo, The Netherlands. There he received the Commandanten Diploma, the Assistant-Instructors Diploma, the Instructors Diploma and the Instructors Course. Wim is currently located at Pas de Duex South in Ocala, FL.
Wim will be returning to MDA in late September, and MDA staff members hope to keep his visits regular throughout the year. If you are interested in riding with Wim or auditing his next clinic, please contact Anna Speer at

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