In a country where one learns riding through sweeping, it could be said that those who truly learn riding, have mastered the broom.
At Turnierstall Haddad in Vechta, Germany, my stable was often referred to as “Little America” since most of my staff spoke English with an American accent, and some of them were indeed from my red, white and blue homeland. While we communicated with each other in American English, the language of the Broom was spoken in the stable. Those who learned the language, learned to ride.
Casey Nilsson was the Master of the Order of Broom for most of my years in Vechta, and it is to her that I hand over the sacred Broom as I leave Germany. She and her husband, Christoffer Nilsson, will start their own training business in Vechta now, and they have earned their rightful place in this industry through hard work and dedication to the sport.
My broom is taking me back to America. Nine of my horses are loading up on a Martin Air flight this afternoon, and I hope that without much ado we will all land safe and sound in Miami on the evening of Halloween. Seems an appropriate time to fly!
My trusty groom, Anna Pettersson, and my next protégé, Austin Devlin, are arriving at the same time. The three of us should arrive in Loxahatchee, Fla., at the beautiful stable of Jorge Gabriels, Casa Lusitana, on Thursday, and we will be ready to receive the horses from quarantine by Friday afternoon.
We will be joined by a new working student, Michelle Brady, on the same day. Michelle has not earned her broom yet.
The New Order of the Broom will not be complete, however, until my husband, Greg, makes the drive down to Florida with Gizmo and Foxy, my beloved corgis. They are hanging out in New Jersey right now, supervising the hurricane recovery. Corgis are very good at supervising!
I’m starting an exciting new chapter in my life, Rita! I hope that we can share more adventure over the next years. I hope to see everyone this winter in Florida!
I’m Catherine Haddad Staller, and I’m saying it like it is from the Martin Air Cargo Terminal in Schiphol, Amsterdam!
Training Tip of the Day: Ride like you sweep—with purpose, attention to detail, rhythm and a solid core.