YoungStar Spotlight Tour was Incredible!!

Returned with our troop last week from tour, wow, it was a whirlwind and packed with powerful, insipiring education and tools. Attached are a few pictures, I will let the participants tell you what it was all about in their own words, watch for their posts in the next few days!

German FN, private tour and industry discussion.
Westphalian State Stud
Reisa with Dr. Ulf Moller
Scott having a go at driving my bus!!
Susan Pape, Bundeschampionate
Ingo Pape and Scott Hassler, play by play for us in the stands
Michael Klimke training for us at his farm
German tradition needing to be brought to America! Everyone should sip well deserved champagne after such a ride!
Peter Holler, German FEI Judge, educating our eye!
Group pic outside of our fabulous tour at the Westphalian State Stud. It was like going to Disneyland!

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Author: admin

Founder and CEO of Founder and CEO of Amateur Dressage Rider Mother of two boys, Zack and Gabe. Mother to 1 horse, World of Fashion, aka: Karl, 2005 Hanoverian

4 thoughts on “YoungStar Spotlight Tour was Incredible!!”

  1. Dear Reisa and Scott,
    Thank you for making the trip of a lifetime such an educational and amazing time! Im amazed with what we were able to see, visit and do in a matter of 5 days. Having the opportunity to watch some of the worlds top riders, meet with international judges, observe training sessions of top class trainers and see what it takes to make it to the top, was incredible. It was a truly inspirational trip, on an indivudal level and I believe for our group as a whole. I think I can speak for us all in saying that we felt motivated, inspired and incredibly forutnate when were making our trip home! Thank you again. Sincerely, Lauren Tisdale

  2. Wow, what an amazing trip this was! I left Thursday morning to board my flight from Washington D.C to Atlanta, where the entire group met to fly directly into Duesseldorf on the same flight. I imagine that is what the kids on MTV’s Real World must feel like when they meet for the first time at random locations. Luckily, Brandi Benedict lives very close to me, so we were on the same flight to Atlanta and were able to start our adventure together. Once in Atlanta, the group met pretty quickly and smoothly, even without really knowing what we all looked like. I guess horse people just recognize each other…
    We arrived early Friday morning in Germany and boarded our next transportation, a gigantic bus. Needless to say, it was huge and we felt like little kids in the back seat as Reisa and Scott were sitting up front. Said bus was driven and maneuvered (and parallel parked!!) through tight streets, turns and eventually parked pretty much in front of the main arena at the Bundeschampionat by our fearless leader Reisa! Respect! As we arrived at the show grounds late Friday morning, we see Ingrid Klimke school her stallion Dresden Man in preparation for the six-year-old finals. What a welcome! Ingrid was only one of many well-known riders in the arenas, but it sure was amazing to see her ride! Her horse looked relaxed, yet expressive and very correct in everything that was asked of him! Very soon after watching Ingrid, we met Ingo Pape, who dedicated A LOT of time to giving us a tour of the entire grounds, which are amazing! The Bundeschampionat represents Germany’s best young horses in dressage, jumping and eventing! All during the same show! Of course the quality of the horses is amazing, but also amazing is the interest of the public in equestrian sport! The bleachers were packed and the audience consisted of all kinds of people, all coming out for a weekend of fun and entertainment. Of course it also means big business for breeders, trainers and riders as the equestrian sport is such a respected industry in Germany. We continued to watch some three- and four-year-old horses, made ourselves familiar with the show grounds and also ate some very good Currywurst mit Pommes! Our group was just in awe of the quality of the horses, the riding, the breeding and the life that the grounds represent. It truly was very special to be there! As the first day came to an end, we made plans for the rest of the trip, which included a trip to Michael Klimke’s barn, PSI, Oliver Oelrich’s barn, the Westfalian State Stud, as well as a private tour of the FN, which is pretty much the German version of USEF and all other organizations combined.
    So the next morning we had a wonderful German breakfast and headed to Michael Klimke’s barn. Michael is still at the same barn were his very famous father Rainer trained. The barn aisle was full of ribbons and plaques won by both Michael and Rainer Klimke, dating back to early successes. It was surreal to stand there, this was the place where Rainer Klimke trained his horses. Really? Amazing! I even recognized parts of the arena from training videos with Rainer, Ingrid and Michael! Michael was very welcoming; he showed us his barn and his horses and then allowed us to be part of his daily training on two of his horses! All of his horses warm up on a big track outside, where they walk for 15 minutes and then warm up in trot and canter before they go into the arena. It was truly amazing to watch Michael work with the horses. One thing that stood out to me was his timing. He made corrections so quickly and effectively, yet tactful and never in a forceful way. What a treat! After spending the morning at Michael’s, we headed back to the show to watch more amazing horses and riders and continued to be inspired! Day 3 and 4 deserve their own blog entry and I will get to that in the next few days.
    I want to express a heartfelt thank you to Reisa and DTO for giving us this opportunity, and also want to thank Scott Hassler for all of his guidance and planning, it was truly a trip of a lifetime!

    Happy riding!

  3. First of all, I want to extend a huge thank you to Reisa and Dressage Training Online for sponsoring such an amazing trip! I came away really impressed with Reisa’s dedication to expanding the educational horizons for the entire dressage world, and I mean that literally. It is really wonderful to have access to so many great clinicians at the click of a mouse, where it would be otherwise incredibly expensive to travel the world to see these clinicians. Dressage Training Online was incredibly generous to organize and fund this trip…it was absolutely amazing!

    Before I go into details, I also want to thank Scott Hassler for being such a wonderful tour guide. Scott is enthusiastic, fun, and incredibly knowledgable. It was such a treat to be introduced to so many of Scott’s friends who are so highly regarded in the dressage community. Through Scott, we were able to see slices of life of dressage in Germany that we wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.

    It was also really great to meet other young horse trainers from around the country. It was really an honor to have been selected from such an accomplished and talented group, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Lauren, Benny, Brandi, Jamee, and seeing my friend, Kelly again.

    My impressions from the trip…where to start?!

    I have a few take home general ideas of inspiration from the trip. The first is an appreciation for the difficulties that we face as a country given our huge geographic size. It would be great for the future to find a way to consolidate information for the dressage community, and it is really important for the future of dressage in our sport to find a way to help connect breeders to trainers, buyers, etc. One of the people who we were lucky to meet was Klaus Meisner, the director of the breeding division of the FN (German national federation for equestrian sport). It is interesting that in Germany, the FN has an entire division for breeding. Some things aren’t possible in the US, like state owned studs, for example, but the organization of breeders and associations is something to consider emulating. Also, the representatives of the different breed registries were present at the show and are very active in promoting their breed’s horses. Another interesting and important idea that hopefully, we can expand on here in the US.

    Another take home is a greater appreciation for the quality of horses and the quantity of horses bred in Germany. Breeding is serious business, and they produce a huge number of quality horses every year. I am probably botching this statistic, but I believe that Klaus told us his breeding division records 50,000 foals born every year.

    Another interesting realization was that while there are many great riders in Germany, there are also plenty of less skilled riders too. At the horse show, it was eye opening to see that not everyone rode brilliantly, and so, yes, the European riders are just as human as the rest of us. Not a criticism at all, but I think that we sometimes put European riding on a pedestal, and while yes, the top riders are incredible, the countries are populated with just as many less skilled riders as elsewhere. Hope for the rest of the world?!

    What really amazed me was the horse show itself!! It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Tons of people, spectators who yelled at someone for disrupting a riders test (how awesome is that?!), the crowd booing in disapproval of a judge’s score, so people who were really engaged with what was going on. There were so many people, so many vendors…mind boggling. The show also seemed to be a fun social event too…lots of food, beer, and socializing. It was really a wonderful feeling to be part of a huge gathering of horse people enjoying beautiful horses and all of the fun of the show.

    As for the horses themselves, the quality was stunning. So many great horses all in one place. One of the horses that was really the talk of the show is Furst Fugger, a 4 year old stallion…exceptional quality trot and canter, and huge scores from the guest riders. I also really liked a lot of the Damon Hill offspring that I saw. The bloodline that is so prevelant, is of course, Sandro Hit. Sir Donnerhall offspring are also having a lot of success. The Sandro Hit x Donnerhall cross seems to be very successful too…maybe the new Donnerhall x Pik Bube? One concern is the amount of Sandro Hit blood out there…there are worries that too much Sandro Hit will diminish the gene pool.

    There was so much that we saw and did, that I’m still rambling on with so much more to reflect on….

    The visit to the Westphalian state stud was fantastic. The highlight had to be either meeting Florestan or seeing 24 (I think!) stallions all together in an indoor arena practicing for the stallion show with pairs of one ridden horse and one driven horse in front. See Reisa’s photos….

    The trip to PSI was great too…what a facility and stable! It was very generous of Mr. Kasselmann and Ulf Muller to let us visit. It was very interesting to see the place, which is stunning and to see some of their horses, which were super quality.

    Ingo Pape was very kind to sit with us and discuss different horses, training, etc. He gave us a lot of his time at a very important show…hugely grateful to Scott for setting that up.

    We also got to sit with Susanne Meisner during some of the rides, and her insight into the judging and training was a real treat.

    We also travelled to Oliver Oelrich’s barn, and it was nice to see that a top level barn in Germany, while absolutely functional and nice, was nothing over the top. They had only a 20x40m indoor arena, and they are still able to knock out great Grand Prix…. I was told that a 20x40m indoor is more the norm than a full sized indoor.

    One of the highlights was meeting Michael Klimke and seeing his stable (the same place where his father, Reiner, trained as well). Like his father, Michael is a practicing lawyer, and he trains out of the local community barn. I was impressed by Michael…very down to earth, very much about the welfare of the horses, and very kind to his horses. I really appreciate the way that he rides and trains his horses. Very gentle, and his approach brought some contrasts to the way that the horses were ridden at the show, which also raises a really interesting observation.

    My impression from observing the Bundeschampionate is that the show is primarily a showcase for the breeding. It is a place for young stallions to make their name and be seen. Quaterback, for example, won the 3 year old and has never competed again because of his resounding success as a youngster. Breeding is big business in Germany, unlike here, and those horses that do well at the Bundeschampionate make big money as breeding stallions. It is also a way to generate a buzz on sales horses. Some horses who do well at the Bundeschampionate go on to be international FEI horses, but it’s also important to realize that a lot of them don’t. Not because they’re not extremely talented, but it’s a different focus. It’s an intersting question about the young horse classes that doesn’t have an easy answer and that was talked about often on the trip: is the emphasis on the young horse classes beneficial for the development of top FEI horses? It’s an open ended question that can be argued either way….

    So, I am sorry for the very long reply, but there was just so much to take in!!! Fabulous trip, I would recommend it for anyone!! And, coming home, I’m inspired to try to help and promote US breeders, US competitions, and the relationships between trainers and other supporters of dressage.

    Thanks Reisa!!!

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