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Blogs - Catherine Haddad Staller

September 2, 2014

Notes On The Summer Of 2014: Getting Our Riders To Europe

Dear Rita,

This is going to be a long story, Rita, so brew a fresh pot of coffee and dig in for Part 1.

I learned something last spring from a client and good friend of mine. When I was agonizing over the decision whether to go to Europe straight from Florida at the beginning of April, she said to me, “That’s the nature of the game. When you have the horse and you have the opportunity, you have to drop everything and go.” 

May 13, 2014

A Visit To The NRW Landgestuet In Warendorf

Dear Rita,

I became known in Germany for my breeding horses long before anyone recognized me as a competitive rider.

In 1997 I bought my first broodmare from a well-established breeder of both Oldenburg and Hanoverian horses, Ewald Grotelueschen in Wardenburg, Germany. He had a famous mare line originating from the old blood Efendi and Goldstern that he had crossed with Figaro, a descendent of the famous Furioso II.


April 17, 2014

A Conversation With My Mother

Dear Rita,

Please don’t be insulted that you found out I went to Europe with Hotmail via social media. It was a snap decision, and there was no time amid massive and frenetic logistical planning to call even my closest friends. My own mother did not know until today!


21 weeks 3 days ago

ROTFL... my grandma was the

ROTFL... my grandma was the same way without her hearing aids. My mom's cousin, whose name was "Mary Jo" became "Joan" to all of us after my Grandma misheard us when we introduced them. :) And hey, I think I like Scottsdale better than Hotmail... :D
April 13, 2014

Moving Up: Be Fierce

Dear Rita,

The last time I wrote, I had a story to tell about the morphing of Mane Stream Hotmail into a Grand Prix horse. We were mid-season at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Fla., and I knew that his career was about to take off.

March 9, 2014

From Here To There

Dear Rita,

Grand Prix horses are made, not born. And my horse Mane Stream Hotmail is no exception.

Pieces of this story you already know. Mane Stream Hotmail came to me in late spring of 2012. He was 10 years old, a bit stiff and resistant in places, but not without charm. He was a third level horse who was scoring 62 percent in Denmark at national shows on a good day. 

January 7, 2014

Enter: The Year Of The Horse

Dear Rita,

If you happen to follow the Chinese zodiac, you already know that we are about to enter the Year of the Horse 2014 at the end of January. All I can say is, “Hasta La Vista, Baby!” to the Year of the Snake 2013! That was a tough year for me, Rita, full of incredible highs and devastating lows. Quite frankly, I prefer the middle way.

Now I happen to think that every year is the Year of the Horse, but I am very excited about the beginning of this one.


Lynne De
33 weeks 10 hours ago

Promoting Dressage

Your “call to action” inspired me to put this idea out there to see if it is worth pursuing. If the purpose of dressage is to develop a horse through a systematic, progressive and humane training (and conditioning) program; then rewarding that commitment would be another way to promote the sport and purpose of dressage. Learning to be a good rider is a great achievement and the USDF recognizes that with the Rider Awards. However, transferring those skills to developing horses should be recognized as well. My thought is to have a USDF Training Award such as: • Bronze medal for a horse and rider combination that achieves 2 scores of 64% or better for each level – Training, First, Second • Silver medal for a horse and rider combination that achieves 2 scores of 64% or better for each level – Third, Fourth, PSG • Gold medal for a horse and rider combination that achieves 2 scores of 64% or better at Int. I, Int. II and GP • Platinum medal for a horse and rider combination that achieves 2 scores of 64% or better from Training thru GP. The cost to create this award could be minimal since the database is already there. This type of award may result in: increasing memberships, encouraging riders to strive for proficiency at each level, increasing exhibitor attendance at shows, opportunities to promote professional riders/trainers/instructors, benefit breeders by showcasing trainability of offspring, and possibly other opportunities to promote the purpose and significance of the sport.
December 18, 2013


Dear Rita,

I’m not talking about giving on the reins today. The holiday season is here, and giving is what we do. Have you finished your Christmas shopping?

Personally, I don’t like to give material gifts to my family, friends or clients. But every year I try to connect with the special people in my life around Christmastime. I like to share a tale or two and get at least one in exchange. A glass of wine with good friends has always meant more to me than a basketful of gifts.

Having said that, sometimes we really need a special gift for someone in our lives.

September 30, 2013

Mane Stream Hotmail Finds His A Game On Perfect Footing

Dear Rita,

I know I am starting to sound like a broken record but I JUST LOVE the horse show at Devon. I am so pleased that the facility continues to upgrade the footing and stabling. The renovations and improvements made this venue competitive with rest of the world’s horse shows!

August 16, 2013

Mane Stream Horses: Winyamaro and Hotmail

Dear Rita,

Winyamaro, my World Cup horse and generally too cool for his shoes Grand Prix horse, and Hotmail, my up-and-coming star, have had an official name change. From now on, the horses will be called Mane Stream Winyamaro and Mane Stream Hotmail.

My horses and I are giving our professional names to a worthy cause. And we hope that through our future success in dressage sport and the publicity that goes with that, that we can get more people interested in Mane Stream’s mission.

August 8, 2013

Dressage And The Glass Bead Game

Dear Rita,

I don’t think anyone can argue with this universal truth: The basics are everything in dressage. In fact in life in general, learning the basics is what everyone must do in order to achieve any performance goal we set for ourselves. Last week, I had to learn the basics of accounting in order to prepare my tax return. It was painful, and I am not yet good at it.


1 year 6 weeks ago

After 20 years

Until recently I spent the last 15 years out of the saddle, but I still remember the basics you taught me as a teenager in Michigan, 20 years ago, on my not-so-fancy Arab. "Treat your horse's mouth like fine china" still goes through my head every time I get on! Thank you for that.
1 year 6 weeks ago

Catherine, Catherine, Catherine...

You don't believe in the classical school of see-sawing? I am SO offended! Get ready for the soup kitchen, because no see sawers will EVAH take lessons with you again! And if you would get a good, supportive saddle with a high cantle and big knee rolls, you wouldn't feel the need to work so much on your seat. Saves energy for the sawing... Regards, Rita
Catherine Haddad
1 year 6 weeks ago


1 year 6 weeks ago

CHS, you're posts are

CHS, you're posts are refreshing! If I'm spending $75+ an hour for a dressage lesson I hope to be learning the correct way and progressing. It's sad how many trainers you have to go through before you find one that's honest.
1 year 6 weeks ago


I meant to say "YOUR" posts, not "you're". My bad! Does that annoy anyone else out there?
1 year 5 weeks ago

Fondest Memories...

I consider those first lessons with you some of the most productive times that I ever sat on a horse. I remember, in vivid detail, the moments of the correct connection, as well as the moments of flying gloves! :) I will never forget, nor would I want to, the feel that I developed in those lesssons.
1 year 5 weeks ago


Perhaps those angered or annoyed by truth should further evaluate from whom they gain their 'knowledge'. A gold medal accomplishment doesn't mean so much these days if it can be gained by going to one day shows. Riding in young riders on a horse already accomplished at that level and above doesn't make anybody a trainer either. So,for those preaching about dressage being an amateur dominate sport- you're right. Its dominated by people with the misplaced moniker of 'trainer'. To their students, its the biggest shame, because they are being taught incorrectly. Please don't cry amateur tears, just find better people to ride under, and do your homework to find out who and what the person you spend money with really is.
1 year 5 weeks ago


I find Ms. Haddad's direct communication in her blog quite refreshing and thought the comments aimed at her Train the Trainer piece quite nasty. Regarding this posting and the basics - and being direct myself - what I found missing here was an emphasis on rider fitness. most riders at the lower levels I find are not fit. No this is not necessarily about weight. I don't care how good your trainer is at teaching the basics - one lesson a week without at least three more practice sessions AND out of the saddle conditioning - sitting the trot ON a big mover is nearly impossible. Even on a smaller mover it will take much longer to do well. I have found that many in the dressage world complain they would be riding at a higher level if they had an expensive warm blood, or more money to get more lessons - and certainly these things CAN make a difference - instead of complaining about what they may not be able to change ($) - they don't focus on what they could be doing currently to help their situation. I don't know if it is instructors not telling students this due to their fear the student will be offended and thus they will loose the client or just ignorance. I asked my trainer what else I could be doing to better myself and i was told get fitter, particularly in the core, and work on your flexibility. I had to ask - but I followed the directions and my riding has improved significantly. Another basic worth my opinion
Reese D
1 year 5 days ago

Coming to the Game Late

Catherine, I read with amazement your last blog and the sh-tstorm it aroused. I had my first riding lesson last September at age 55. Fear, yes. Excitement, yes. Self-doubt, double yes. But thanks to a local trainer I have a basic seat with sooooo much more to learn. On behalf of an over-the-hill, un-toned, and green rider I must thank those of you who train us. It must be painstakingly slow at times for you. But much more so for those craving that wonderful connection with a horse. I admit my goals are simple: to be near horses, to feel them breathe under me when riding bareback, to mount, walk, trot, turn and stop. That's it. This forum provides me the mechanism to thank those who don't discard the older person who through good karma unearths this passion for riding. It's been such a blessing. Thank God I found this path and the people who are helping me to achieve more than I ever dreamed possible. Blessings to you and yours.