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Blogger Catherine Haddad Staller

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.

July 31, 2013

It's Time To Train The Trainers

Dear Rita,

New Jersey’s heat wave has finally broken, and we are blessed with breezy days in the mid 70s. While the horses find their energy again and my riders feel like they can breathe and think, our daily work continues at our base, the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters in Gladstone. Winyamaro and I won a Grand Prix last week. Hotmail (extraordinaire!) continues his onward storm toward his Grand Prix debut with me in August. All is good in New Joisie.

June 28, 2013

Oh Baby, What A Comeback!

Dear Rita,

Have you been wondering where I’ve been? Much time has passed since I last wrote. Where were we, Rita?

Florida, February, back injury, out of competition for the entire CDI season. What a bummer! I had just gotten Hotmail ready to go Grand Prix, Winyamaro was back in action, and I’d hoped I could qualify both of my horses during the winter shows for a short tour in Germany this summer.

February 18, 2013

You Know You Are In Florida When…

Dear Rita,

Now that I’ve moved to Florida after living in Germany for 20 years, everyone wants to know what I find different here. Fair question! It’s taken me a few months to articulate this, but put your tongue in your cheek. Here we go!

You know you are in Florida when…

The orange juice tastes better than the water.

You stop checking for bicycles at street crossings.

You start checking for polo ponies at street crossings.

February 13, 2013

Feeding the Top Athlete, Part I: Fiber With Flair

Dear Rita,

In a blog last fall I touched briefly on the fact that we need to provide better management for the horses we expect to compete in top sport. I would like to delve into some things I have learned about nutrition in recent years.

February 1, 2013

Open Training Day

Dear Rita,

A few weeks ago I spontaneously held an open training day at my stable in Loxahatchee, Fla. Lendon Gray brought along a group of eager young riders, I opened the seminar to the public, and all in all about 40 people showed up on short notice.

December 31, 2012

New Year’s Day 2013: Out of the Darkness Into the Light

Dear Rita,

If you have ever trained proper reinback as a tool to gain impulsion, you will understand when I say that setbacks in life can be a springboard for progress if you treat them right.

I don’t know how Hotmail found me.

This time last year I was taking down the Christmas tree and trying to keep all the ornaments out of harm’s way. I had a new corgi puppy, Foxy, who kept me entertained at every turn, and life should have been good.

December 2, 2012

A Time to Give Thanks To Healers, Friends, Family and Horses

Dear Rita,

I left sunny Florida to spend Thanksgiving weekend with my husband in New Jersey. Greg was on call for his veterinary practice, Running S Equine, so we agreed to spend our holiday visiting friends between equine emergencies. Several poignant reminders of why I should be grateful in this life were presented to me as I traveled through the weekend.

Thanksgiving Day

October 31, 2012

The Order Of The Broom

Dear Rita,

In a country where one learns riding through sweeping, it could be said that those who truly learn riding, have mastered the broom.

October 30, 2012

Full Moon Over Vechta: Day Of Cat

Dear Rita,

I arrived in Germany on a full moon in October of 1993, and I am leaving Germany on a full moon in October of 2012. Full circles seem to be a theme in my life, Rita, but this has been one long circle! After a stop at the Global Dressage Forum in Hooge Mierde, the Netherlands, I am flying with my horses to Miami on Oct. 31.

Leaving Vechta is sad and hard. I grew up here (not sure “grew up” is the right term, but I did learn a lot) and became the person I wanted to be. I made good friends, learned a lot about people, and I will miss this place.

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