Her riding and training philosophy is influenced by former employer and trainer, Ingrid Klimke, as well as her current trainer, Klaus Balkenhol. It’s all about training horses according to classic principles.
“Ask only what the horse is able to do at that time. Try to have the feeling that the horse is effortlessly working on its own; let the horse go in the test and be patient.”
She explains her magic touch: “It’s down to physics really. I’m petite, so I can’t ride horses by using pressure and I wouldn’t know how anyway. This also means that not every horse is for me: I don’t ride really lazy or strong horses very well. In those cases, I prefer to be honest with the horse owners, so they can make a more suitable match for their horse”.
Damon Hill is truly a world-class horse, and has been in Helen’s stable since 2010. It’s no secret that a change of rider for an educated Grand Prix horse can be complicated to say the least. But the partnership of Helen and Damon Hill is the exception to the rule. The stunning stallion started his dressage career with German legend Ingrid Klimke, but six weeks before the 2005 World Young Horse Championships, the dressage and eventing rider broke her shoulder and offered the ride to Helen who was her student at the time. Then aged 23, Helen triumphed and won the World Championships in the five-year-old division, crediting her trainer for the good education of the impressive stallion. The following year, Damon Hill lived up to all expectations under Klimke herself, capturing the six-year-old title at the World Championships in Verden. Klimke continued the successful training of the stallion to Grand Prix level. However, the partnership ended when the owners could not agree on a balance between the stallion’s competitive and breeding careers. This meant Helen and the chestnut stallion were once again reunited in 2010.