Adelinde Cornelissen, Dutch dressage rider

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Adelinde Cornelissen was born on 8 July 1979 and started riding as a child at the local riding school “Manege Smit” in Pesse, the Netherlands.

She first hit the big time with her home-bred pony Ayesha, a Welsh pony by Valentino. Together they won both the indoor and outdoor national pony dressage championships in 1995, a feat Adelinde repeated in 1997 on Mr Pride.

After school she studied English at College. Her parents are both teachers and she eventually followed the same route, following a gap year where she worked at a yard in Canada – the perfect way to combine riding with perfecting her English.

She worked at the AOC Terra College in Meppel until March 2008, when she gave up teaching to concentrate on competing. Adelinde was selected as the Dutch reserve rider for the 2008 Olympics with Parzival, but did not compete. Adelinde has ridden the Dutch-bred Jazz gelding since he was a five-year-old.

The pair represented the Netherlands at the Windsor Europeans in 2009, winning team gold, individual gold in the grand prix special and individual silver in the freestyle behind Edward Gal and Totilas.

They were selected for the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, but were eliminated from the competition when the judges spotted blood in the horse’s mouth during the test. The Netherlands still won team gold with their other three riders.

Adelinde and Parzival won team and individual gold medals at the 2011 European Championships in Rotterdam.

The partnership won back to back FEI World Cup finals in 2011/2012 and were ranked no.1 in the world going into the London 2012 Olympics.

Adelinde and Parzival made their Olympic debut at London 2012 Games, winning team bronze and individual silver behind Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin.

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Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk