The old saying goes, "You hit the nail on the head!"
It took years of listening to my mentors, and I will gladly share that foundation learning with you and your horse. I can pinpoint your training needs in a fraction of the time.
Earning My Masters in Dressage by Training with the Masters
After receiving his initial training through the German pony club and local instructors, Christian continued his career as a dressage rider and coach with the help of some of the best dressage trainers and horsemen in the world. Christian highly values the plurality and depth of advice he has received and continues to seek – as it has enabled him to develop a sharp awareness of the subtleties of each and every horse he works with.
Hans-Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen
Hans-Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen H.H. Meyer zu Strohen is the German National Junior Young Rider Coach. As a young auction rider and again later. in life, Christian worked with Hans-Heinrich. Christian found his interaction with clients and coworkers to be exemplary and has been positively influenced by him since. Christian was introduced to a new level of discipline in his work with Hans, discipline toward himself much more so than the horse.
Rosemarie Springer, the five-times German Dressage Champion and member of the 1960 German Olympic Equestrian Team, herself a student of Willi Schultheis, recognized Christian’s talents during his stay in Boston in 1988 and was instrumental in referring him to the great Herbert Rehbein for further training.
Herbert Rehbein is recognized as one of the greatest trainers – often in conjunction with his wife’s (and student’s) Karin Rehbein’s successes, amongst others, with the famous stallion Donnerhall. Rehbein won the German Championship of Professional Riders seven times and the Hamburg Derby nine times and received the title “Reitmeister” and the gold medal of the Swedish Equestrian Federation. He also put the Dressage and Training Center Grönwohldhof on the map as a hub of international caliber training.From him, Christian learned amongst other things how much Dressage is actually a team sport.
Willi Schultheis is considered one of the greatest dressage masters of his time. As a professional rider, he was unable to compete in the Olympics at the time, but the horses and riders he trained were competing successfully. In the 70s, the German team under his tutelage won two Olympic gold medals, two World Championships, and three European Champion titles. Schultheis was also the first to receive the title “Reitmeister” (Riding Master) for having trained more than 50 horses to international Grand Prix successes). Willi Schultheis impressed on Christian that learning never ends – not even at age 60 or 70.
and Georg Wahl
Swiss rider and trainer; Christine Stückelberger won multiple Olympic medals, including Gold in Montreal. Her trainer; the late, Georg Wahl has been chief rider (Oberbereiter) at the Spanish Riding School, and is considered one of the great masters. While training with
them in Switzerland, Christian gained further insight into when exactly and for what purposes work in hand is useful. Also, for horses who are physically capable, it is generally better for the neck to remain high rather
than being ridden down, as horses find better self carriage and learn to take responsibility for their own balance.
Eric Lette is a prominent dressage judge and former Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee. Christian will always remember his mantra “always forward, but slowly” – reminding him of the difference between running a horse off his feet vs. balanced forwardness. This has become a principle throughout all of Christian’s training and something he continues to work on himself.
Dolf-Dietram and Manuela Keller
Reitmeister Dolf-Dietram Keller, former German National Young Rider Trainer, and his wife Manuela and daughter Kathleen run a successful training stable in Luhlmuehlen, Germany. Dolf has also won the German Dressage Derby on the famous stallion De Niro. Christian credits his work with them for consciously removing the ego from the training process and including the viewpoint of the judges in the show preparation, without losing sight of the over goal of a classically trained horse.
Eva-Maria and Hans Pracht
Evi Pracht, Olympic and Pan Am Games medal winner, and her husband Hans discovered Christian’s capabilities for teaching and coaching early during his work in Canada. Their call: “Not that much!” is still relevant to Christian as it is for every ambitious rider.