David Donnelly's Biography
David Donnelly began dressage training in 1978 at the Potomic Horse Center's (PHC) Horsemasters Course. His first classical trainer was Pamela Goodrich. During that time, Goodrich trained with the late Nuno Oliveira who was in residence at PHC. The rare opportunity to observe Oliveira on a daily basis gave David the inspiration to pursue a lifetime of dressage training.
After graduating from PHC, David worked at the Royal Lipizzon Stallion Show and was a working student for both Chuck Grant & Eicke Von Velthem. He went on to train classical Andalusians at the Kingdom of Dancing Stallions under Spanish Riding School's trainer Wolfgang Dellefont. From 1985 to 1988, David worked as "bereiter" in a top German sales barn, and was also a working student at Reitinstitute Von Neindorf, Karlsruhe, Germany under the German master Egon Von Neindorf.
In 1997, David started French Light Dressage in Orange County, CA focusing on classical dressage. His students have ranged from juniors and amateurs at all different levels, to professionals from dressage and eventing. Since the founding of French Light Dressage David has continued to clinic and study with many of today's accomplished trainers.
Professional trainer and instructor with over 30 years experience, David's philosophy specializes in a holistic approach, practicing techniques of the French and modern classical schools to train horses and riders in all levels of dressage. He is also skilled in gymnastic longing, work in-hand, and long-reining, as well as pillars. David has worked in France, Germany, Denmark and the US. He is a member of the United States Dressage Federation and the United States Equestrian Federation. He has an accomplished USDF show record, and has trained horses and coached students successfully to championships.
Clinics and Trainers
1997-2006: Jean Claude Racinet, Jill Hassler, Paul Belasik, David Jay, Nick Wagman (former assistant trainer to Anky Van Grunsven), Carl Hester 2004 and 2006 Southern California clinics.
2006 to present: Jane Weatherwax, Manolo Mendez, Nick Wagman, Sabine Schut Kery, Herbert Seiberl (Spanish Riding School), Andreas Hausberger.
2009 to 2011: Weekly lessons with Lilo Fore.