The riding coach who teaches dressage in Zoom calls

Two of Vanessa Way's clients have been selected to represent New Zealand at the World Equestrian Games in Denmark next month.

VANESSA LAURIE / Stuff

Two of Vanessa Way’s clients have been selected to represent New Zealand at the World Equestrian Games in Denmark next month.

When Covid hit, Taranaki’s equestrian trainer Vanessa Way thought she would lose her business and everything she had worked for years to build.

But thanks to Zoom, robotic video cameras and Apple Watches, Way was able to transition to online coaching from his location in Oakura.

And the move paid off, with two of his clients – Gaylene Lennard and Melissa Galloway – set to head to the World Equestrian Games in Denmark in the first New Zealand team to compete since 1988.

Lennard, who lives in Waikato, said the transition to online coaching has been great.

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“I bought a robotic camera with three eyes around my carousel. I also wear a watch and the camera automatically follows me as I ride and wear headphones to hear what Vanessa is saying.

“Once you fix it, it’s really amazing. Normally I would have one a month, but I had two or three online classes a week. »

Gaylene Lennard and her horse, Jax Johnson DW, travel to Denmark to represent New Zealand in dressage for the first time.

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Gaylene Lennard and her horse, Jax Johnson DW, travel to Denmark to represent New Zealand in dressage for the first time.

Lennard grew up around horses and said his family had been involved in the sport his entire life.

But the World Games is the 58-year-old’s first time representing New Zealand in dressage, which was “really exciting and really terrifying”, she said.

The equestrian trainer moved his business online when Covid hit and uses Zoom, video cameras and Apple Watches to provide live commentary.

VANESSA LAURIE / Stuff

The equestrian trainer moved his business online when Covid hit and uses Zoom, video cameras and Apple Watches to provide live commentary.

Way could take a lot of credit for getting her there, she said.

“Vanessa was my turning point with my riding.

“She’s been with me since day one on this horse, so that’s pretty awesome.”

And Way’s online lessons won’t stop when Lennard arrives in Denmark in July, either.

She will give Lennard some last-minute advice via Zoom Internet before flying out to train him in person, before the competition begins on August 6.

“I’ll be there on August 2, when the pitch opens, so I’ll have a few days with her, but we have to keep her fit. [until then]said Way.

And after the World Games, Lennard hopes Way can take him to the Olympics in two years.

Clyde P. Johnson