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Blogger Catherine Haddad Staller

June 20, 2010

Schindlhof: Postcard from Swarovski in the Austrian Alps

Dear Rita,

There are moments in life when one considers oneself very lucky indeed. Rather than make the long drive back to Vechta, Germany, from Achleiten, Austria, last week, I asked Evelyn Haim-Swarovski if I could drive over to her stable, Schindlhof, in the Tyrolian Alps. Winyamaro’s next show—Fritzens CDI****—takes place at Schindlhof, June 25-27.

June 15, 2010

The Schultheis Chronicles, Part 6: Contact is the Fifth Leg of the Horse

Dear Rita,

My first months riding at the Schultheis stable were of course without stirrups. I had already developed an elastic, rhythmical seat, but Mr. Schultheis wanted me to take it a step further and learn how to use my seat to create contact as opposed to simply following the horse’s motion.

Whenever a serious student comes to me for training, this is also the first step I require of them. After I see improvement in the seat, we talk about contact.

June 13, 2010

Achleiten: Party at the Castle

Dear Rita,

Winyamaro gives me many reasons every day to celebrate life, but most of them are not obvious to the public eye. Today he was really, really good in the Grand Prix at Achleiten, and we had witnesses. Still a long way to go, much to improve, but I think we are on the right path.

June 10, 2010

Austria, Austria

Dear Rita,

Austria is not normally on my showing tour, but I seem drawn to it this summer! We drove through the Austrian Alps to get to Lipica two weeks ago, and this weekend finds all of us (Danielle, myself, Gizmo and W) back on the road. This time we landed at Schloss Achleiten, the home of Victoria Max-Theurer in Austria.

June 2, 2010

Levity in Lipica

Dear Rita,

I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun at a horse show! Good times with good people and a bit of success as frosting on the cake!

Winyamaro was wunderbar in the Grand Prix. I was able to ride him with a much better frame and more self-carriage throughout the test this weekend even though I know we still have a long way to go. Be patient, W fans, he is only 10 years old!

June 1, 2010

Lipica CDI-W/CDI3*

Dear Rita,

Lipica is a wonderful horse show. I have heard a lot about this place over the years, and I always wanted to show at the home of the Lipizzaner Stud in Slovenia. This year I was able to check it off my list of “Shows to Do.” It took two days to drive the 750 miles to Slovenia, which is bordered by Austria, Italy, Hungary, Croatia and the Adriatic Sea.

May 25, 2010

About the Saddle: It's Always Been Stübben

Dear Rita,

At last, the long awaited blog about my saddle. My saddle is actually Willi Schultheis' saddle—the Stübben Tristan Extra with a 31 tree and 18” seat. If specifically ordered as a “Schultheis saddle,” it arrives with these dimensions in light brown, full grain cow leather, four short girth straps for use with a long, cord girth and absolutely no knee rolls. A patch of brown suede marks the flap where the knee roll-that-isn't would be constructed on any other saddle.

May 21, 2010

Dressage for Life: Carola Koppelmann (Germany)

Dear Rita,

Carola Koppelmann is one of Germany’s most talented and well-trained riders. She’s made her way to the top of international dressage sport with hard work, dedication and commitment to good riding.

Carola was born in 1978 in Stade, a city located near Hamburg in northern Germany. She grew up not far from there in a small town called Freiburg. The family business—a training and sales stable run by her parents Willi and Barbara Kopplemann—was also Carola’s playground in her younger years.

May 16, 2010

Hamburg CDI3*

Dear Rita,

I got home late last night from a fun and successful weekend at the Hamburg Dressage and Jumping Derby. It was an unseasonably cold, blustery weekend in Hamburg—the coldest Derby weekend in 30 years according to the bartender at my hotel!

Always famous as a jumping show, the first horses negotiated the renowned Derby Wall in 1920. This year, more than 70,000 spectators wandered the Derby Park to watch some of the world’s best in jumping and dressage.

May 12, 2010

The Daily Routine and Some Common Extras

Dear Rita,

My daily routine is really normal for an average stable in Germany. My staff arrives at the stable between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. The horses are fed, the boxes are leveled, the aisle is swept, my first horse is tacked up, and the staff members wander off to breakfast in the kitchen while I start training.

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