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Kladrubers in the Snow


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P.R.E. Napolean

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Content Highlights PG 28

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This month we look back through the lives of riders such as Klaus Hempfling and Herr Walter Zettl to see where the equestrian world was, where it is and to explore where we want to be. On behalf of all of us at Horses For LIFE may the gift of the horses be with you always.

All material copyright protected by Horses For LIFE Publications. Please contact us for information, suggestions, comments and submissions at or 1-306-383-2588 Thanks to all of those who signed our petition. Read our editorial in this edition to see some of the incredible responses by others, or just click on the “Signatures� tab at the petition site, to see who else has signed and make sure to read the many wonderful comments left by riders from all over the world.. and add your signature in our worldwide petition to the FEI We are very excited to announce that our ADD YOUR VOICE feature is back up and running. We have revamped the software and you will now find that your comments will be posted within 24 to 48 hours after being manually approved. So check out past issues, and again in this issue, and you can once again share your invaluable insights. Please note that this is not available in our page flip format but only available online online on our website. We look forward to your comments and your thoughts and experiences. Horses For LIFE

Klaus Ferdinand H A Life’s Journey HFL:

Hello Klaus. How are you doing?


Good evening, Nadja, hi, how are you?


Good. I hear you’re going on a boat trip.

Klaus: HFL:

It is in the planning, yes. So when are you planning to go?

Klaus: We are doing a lot of research and we’re trying to check out who could be interested, who’s there giving maybe some interesting connections support, etc., so this is where we are at the moment. Yes, by sending out our video clip, we already got quite a lot of response from people who are interested and would like to share even connections they have to many people, all over the world. It’s developing quite interestingly. HFL:

It sounds like it. So, what made you think about doing something like that?

Klaus: The funny thing is that I tried already within the theme of the horses, because according to all these old researchers, things are happening in a way that we should try to leave a lot of space; they’d say leave a lot of space for what has to be done to destiny, etc., etc. So this is the way I came finally to the horses. This is the way I wrote my book, Dancing with Horses, and this is the way I try to work with them, to say, hey, I’m open and I am trying, together with time and space, and with this fantastic guy in front of me, to find the next step. To check out in which way we can maybe really move in the same, identical spot, spiritually and, in fact, on the ground. So this is the same thing with my boats, with my ocean trip. The funny thing is that, to make it short, I really came to this ship as we say in German, ‘like a virgin to the child’. So I don’t know if this is an English or American expression as we say it in Europe. In fact, more or less, the whole idea of this ship did come some three or four years ago to me and I had, actually, absolutely no idea of ships, of shipping or sailing or anything like this. This is like with the horses, when I came to the horses I had absolutely no idea and no plan and no purpose, in a way. At least to be in this way with the real horse, a part of the mythology which I had already in my mind . So the ship came to me. Finally, I got this big 20 meter ship and tried to manage it half way; it’s so unbelievably big, an unbelievably demanding responsibility without any question. The ocean is very dangerous, like horses. And finally, this was more or less the main reason why we ended up on the island here because I would have never come to the idea of living on an island like this one. You have to imagine where we are, this island is one and half kilometers


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Andalusian vs Lusitano

Last month Anja began to sh Andalusian, we continue thi

Anja: With the Spanish ho is normally very clear in his much. And if I work the ho problem to use the horse, rid

With the Portuguese horse, i mally, it’s very, very, very se easy because it’s very impor we have a problem. And for work with the horse too muc

Anja Be

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orse I like very much that they are comfortable, that the horse s mind. Very, very friendly. Very gentle. That I like very, very orse in a full classical way, it’s later for the owner normally no de the horse, it’s no problem.

it’s more difficult, and if I ride the horse in a classical way, norensitive and the owner maybe later finds it difficult; it’s not so rtant that the owner does everything very correctly later. If not, r example, with the Spanish horse, if I have a client who doesn’t ch, for example, he works with him four times a week, and the


Photo Credit Christiane Slawik

hare what she say as the differences between the Lusitano and the is month with more insights from this trainer.

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Eleanor Russell: Sharing the works of a Master Eleanor: You originally got to know me because you emailed me about Nuno Oliveira. HFL: That is absolutely correct. Eleanor: I can remember very clearly wondering how on earth anyone could run an RDA [Riding for the Disabled Association] in that climate and I thought, this woman needs help. I could not have done what you did. HFL: Why don’t we reverse and start at the beginning, just because there are going to be lots of people who read the magazine that don’t know anything about you. You just pretend you’re talking to a total stranger and just let’s start from the beginning, like how you got interested in horses, how you got involved with Nuno Oliveira. And then we’ll talk about what you’re doing now and that kind of thing. Why don’t we start there? Eleanor:

I got into horses because my parents, like every other teenager child or daughter, said NO !!

HFL: Yes, mine did that too. Eleanor: When I was due to go to university, I was booked into doing medicine, I flipped and went and got a job and worked overtime to get my first horse. HFL: That sounds familiar. Tell me about your first horse. Eleanor: HFL:

I bought an ex-racehorse.

So did I! Wasn’t that the brightest thing to do for your first horse?

Eleanor: I don’t know. I had an old translation of Museler’s Riding Logic and it became my Bible, I could actually follow what he said to do. Anyhow, I worked my first horse and I worked him consistently and he won in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne Royals within the next two to three years. I got married and my family convinced me to sell him for probably the biggest price that had ever been paid for a hack - this is a long, long while ago, because he was a gelding and therefore, what use. And it broke my heart. And the woman who bought him is a friend and in the end has been a friend ever since. She’s another judge. When I got married the second time, she was getting divorced and she rang me and said Nor, can you take this mare in for me, I need a home for her. And she became one of our foundation mares - a really good family we have, which is interesting for me. HFL:

So, you’re breeding horses right now?

Eleanor: Yes, we run about 40 horses, as we breed from between ten and twelve mares each year and have done so for about 30 years, specializing in soundness and in great temperament.


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So, first of all you bought a nice racehorse and you said you won. What were you showing at?

Eleanor: I showed him as a hack and riding classes, that sort of thing in those days. I didn’t jump with him. He was a beautiful, beautiful horse and that’s why he won. Plus the fact he did work. He didn’t have most of the problems the other ex-racehorses seemed to have. Franz Mairinger came to Australia and I got very interested in dressage right at the very beginning. I liked the elegance, the careful training and the symmetry of it. But mostly the elegance. HFL:

So did you start riding with him?

Eleanor: Yes, I went to clinics. He became our first national trainer and trained the teams that went overseas, the 3-day event teams. He had been the head rider at the Spanish Riding School before the War. It was an interesting story - he emigrated to Australia after the war. I don’t know whether he was a displaced person or not, but they found him working on the wharfs and someone knew who he was and grabbed him. A lot of people who immigrated to the country after the last World War did some fairly ordinary jobs, they did the jobs the government said to do, until they got themselves established. Anyhow, I forget the name of the man who knew him and gave him a job and gave him a couple of horses to train and then our very infant Equestrian Federation employed him as a national trainer until he died, which was about ’78, I think, ’77 – ’78. HFL: What was he like? Eleanor: Clearly knew what he was doing. One of my main memories is riding around an indoor school with about 6 or 8 or 10 people in a class, no stirrups, a knot in the reins, doing exercises on the horse at walk, trot and canter. Arm out, arm up, then down, touch your toe, put your arm Horses For LIFE


A Piece of Equestrian History “Excellent...”


“I’ve been watching it again and again!”


“What a treasure!”


“It is... a dream come true to observe Oliveira at work�

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Philippe Karl has signed it. Bea Borelle has signed it. Pat and Linda Parelli have signed it. “Voices for Horses supports this petition” Emma Kurrels Have you signed it? If you were not with us last month, are you wondering what both Philippe Karl and Pat Parelli would possibly sign together? Would it surprise you that they both signed the same petition? Well they did! Three cheers for all of you, the thousands that did sign. The petition response came as a bit of a surprise. Actually, two surprises. One, the incredible response within days of its release. The support of such notables as Walter Zettl, the Parellis and Philippe Karl. Truly when you present something like a petition online there was a part of me that thought, well, we will probably be lucky if we get four signatures. And within one day we had 400! I couldn’t believe it! I was surprised, delighted and feeling blessed on behalf of the horses. “Without horses, where would we be... ? We need to be kind and fair to them, and this rule is so very important in those regards.... I say get rid of nosebands altogether!” TAMMY FIFER Then I received my second surprise. Considering the viral nature and exponential power of the internet, one would have thought that from 400, with so many sharing on so many different lists and sending the link on to so many of their equestrian friends, that hundreds would have translated within days to thousands. And that didn’t happen. It really made one stop and think and wonder. While the concept itself might need some tweaking, with some suggesting to going to no cavesson and others wondering how skinny the fingers would end up being measuring the release of the cavesson, as well as some other wonderful suggestions that require some careful thought and consideration, this after all is a petition not a final rule. The time for considering and debating the final wording of any such rule is a long way off. Not that I cannot but concur with many who suggest that it is time to throw out the rule that we need cavessons at all. If we so choose to ride without a cavesson at a competition should that not be the individual’s choice? But while it may take time to work out a final wording, one wonders, while some are so enthusiastic and willing to sign, then why is it when this hit a well-known classical riding list, so few signed. Sadly the thought crosses about how many truly walk the walk. It is easy to talk the talk. Talk can be so cheap. But how many can actually walk the walk? “About time! Properly schooled and trained horses do not need to be strapped down!!” Mel Raven You can talk about training classically. You can follow someone who says they are a classical trainer. You



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Editorial: Petition Response

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can even find the teachings that you believe in, written down by someone who is considered a classical master. But.. This doesn’t necessarily make it good. It doesn’t make it right. One, there are many past practices that we have abandoned altogether. The father of classical dressage, La Gueriniere for example, talks about how the solution for a horse that puts his tongue out the side of his mouth is to cut it off. Secondly, there are many versions of classical. Thirdly, someone can call themselves classical, but not truly understand the nuance of what classical really is. In the end it is only classical if, through the experience of time, we can show that this works for the horse. If it doesn’t work for the horse, how can it be classical? There are many so-called classical and other trainers that are not training for the horse first. How many riders are there today, even those that claim they are classical, can train without somehow in some way tying the horse’s mouth shut? They are many different ways to tie the horse’s mouth closed, to keep his head down, and none of them are a solution to the problem you may be having anyway. “There is nothing less attractive than a horse that’s forced instead of trained.” Susan Glock We know that horses can be trained to ride with no bridle. We see so many incredible examples of this today, from Nevzorov to many others. We know the number of nerve and blood vessels that come to the surface just below the cheek bone. We know that strapping the mouth shut is a way to stop the voice of the horse - a horse that no longer can tell you that what you are doing is hurting him. That you are using too much pressure on the bit, that your aids are mistimed, that he needs to stretch his neck, that he needs to raise his nose to breathe and bring in more oxygen, that he needs to see! “Everybody who knows enough regarding the density of nerves in the horse’s face has to sign this petition!” Dr.Dorothe Meyer “I cannot agree more that the 2 finger rule should be upheld. Riders, including myself, should be held to the most healthy and correct standards for not just themselves, but for the most important reason, the well being of their horse.” Nicolette Hall Tying a horse’s mouth shut, as the Purple Pony said last month, is like tying our own hands and mouth shut. It is a horrible barbaric practice that has no place in a world where we now today have the leisure and the duty to and the time to figure out how to work with our horses in a respectful and kindly manner. We no longer have to know, no matter what lack of skill we might have, that the horse will listen to us as they pull the wagon to town, or as they carry our children to school. We can take the time to discover, to spend years if necessary, to find understanding and trust between ourselves and the horse. Those today who use horses, do so because they want to, not because they have to. “We cannot continue to expect these most beautiful creatures to be subjected to thoughtless measures that compensate for our lack of knowledge, care or independent balance in


the pursuit of recognition for our own glory.” Julie Wright “I think it is time for a horse’s welfare to come first, and rules should be established, so that riders CANNOT use harsh extreme mechanical restraint, just for the sake of points, and appearance. Cruelty should not be overlooked , in the face of competition or otherwise.” Anonymous See for yourself who has signed the petition. See what others have to say. Read their comments. See if you can find it in your heart to help the horses that we all love so much. “We must do everything we can to preserve the principles of classical dressage training. We must promote training based on serving the best interest of the horse.” Anonymous “What saddens me the most, is that this very subject even needs to be petitioned against! It should be just common sense” Ryan L. Hopkins The rule that was never written down, needs to be written down today. But only will be if you care enough to make a difference. “These are training practices that are physically, emotionally and mentally detrimental to the horse. Since we know people will stop at nothing to “win”, “be at the top”, “world champion”, etc., it is our human duty to enforce the rules that will deter those few people that disregard any human authority for their own personal gain.” Regina A. Cranmer And we have to agree that... “Please ban the incorrect use of nosebands. A 2 finger rule is a start, but by no means should this be the end result.” Anonymous “This should be a rule in all competition, not just dressage!!!” Catherine And yes, we do hope that the two finger rule is just the beginning.. It is up to you. Please feel free to print, post at your local barn, or share the link with anyone who you think can help us begin to find the way back to doing what it is right for the horse. It may only be a beginning, but is it not time to change the tide? Horses For LIFE


Horses For LIFE

Exercise for Success Base Position


any times we hear instructors tell us that we are riding unevenly, that we need to straighten our backs, that we are slouching, that we need a stronger core, and most of all that we need a better seat. Many riders, in a effort to ride better, turn to exercise programs to help them find the strength that they believe they need to ride better. But too often we are never given direct assistance. Too often we are not, as riders, given specific exercises to correct our very specific riding problems. While being engaged in any exercise program is truly excellent, there are few exercise programs that are designed specifically to address the needs of the rider, and in this case what we actually mean is the needs of the horse.

Movement Enabling or Range of Motion Any exercise program that is being designed specifically for riders needs to address their specific needs, and the needs of the horse. They need to be movement-enabling for the horse and support the horse in doing his best.

Low Impact One of the wonderful things about riding is that it is often considered an isometric exercise, and as such, a low impact exercise. Low impact exercise can improve health without harming weight-bearing joints. An exercise program for riders benefits if it can be low impact as well. A low impact exercise program ensures that everyone, regardless of age or abilities, is able to participate and gain from the exercise program. Basing an exercise program on low impact ensures that even those with a minimal physical fitness status can begin to participate and gain the benefits.

Can Work for Any Fitness Level or Strength It is important that any exercise program ensures that it can be done by anyone at any fitness level and by those with minimal physical strength. Strength will be gained as a process of working consistently on a daily basis with this and other exercise programs. Many programs are designed with a basic assumption that those participating have a certain level of flexibility or strength from the very beginning of an exercise program, often leaving those that need a regular exercise program most, out in the cold. Many exercise programs progress the individual through increased repetitions. While lengthening the time exercising is excellent, it is also helpful if the exercises can be designed such that the same exercise even without repetition can begin to have more and more benefits to the individual over time, as that individual begins to


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enjoy a healthier body. We already know the incredible benefits that can be found to healthier bodies through riding, so it only makes sense to look for an exercise program that mirrors the many benefits of riding and can build upon and support the benefits to be found.

Help with Understanding How the Rider’s Seat Works One of the areas that are the most misinformed and misunderstood is the seat. To understand how the seat can work, we need to understand the full range of motion in all three dimensions that are available in the seat and how that is directly and completely dependent on other parts of the body. It can be exciting to find exercises that directly address learning to understand and feel what your body can do and how it can be done. It can be eye opening as we isolate different range of movement in the seat, especially discovering our own limitations, especially between the right and left side of our bodies. Limitations that can be affecting our horses and their own handiness.

Self-Evaluating Problem Areas Isolating movements is also excellent for self-evaluating individual differences and problems with range of movement in different planes and in individual joints and different areas of the body, then we can take the time to focus on one joint or one side of the body or the other and help our own individual problems. With knowledge and awareness we can also become aware of not only which area to target but aware how our own problems and limitations may be affecting our horses. We all, for example, have a tendency to weight bear on one leg or the other; this has endless consequences throughout our bodies, including the ability to flex individual joints and the ability to weight bear when flexed.

A Good Seat is NOT Static To return to the subject of the seat, everyone realizes that this is one of the most important elements of any rider, but it also seems to be one of the most misunderstood areas by the majority of riders. Too often instructors will position a rider as if riding is a static activity. When the opposite is actually true. Anytime that we try to position ourselves into some imaginary perfect position we are doomed to failure. As any perfect position can only be perfect for either a horse at a halt or for one very brief moment in time once the horse begins to move. The more we begin to understand about the movement happening in the horse’s back, the more we understand how complicated and intricate this movement is, which in turn translates that we must ensure that our seat can accommodate and release to this intricate movement and provide the horse with the freedom that he requires. Understanding the seat has to start with understanding the largest bone in the seat, which is the pelvis. The pelvis is a very big, very heavy bone. It is very solid. Understanding the seat has to start with beginning to understand what the range of movement is in the pelvis and how that movement is enabled by the rest of the body. And that is key to understanding that this large bone is being moved by other parts of the body, from above with the flexibility of the spine and the individual and diverse abdominal muscles, and below by the movement of the femur and the attached muscles as well as the range of movement available in our knees and ankles. We will be going into great detail in future articles and exercises Horses For LIFE

using hands-on activity to demonstrate how important this is. The femur is a tremendously strong and long bone. It is strong for a reason. Strong because the muscles that are attached to it need to be able to work and push against the pelvis and move the pelvis from below. You will see more of how this works as you go through the series of exercises. How much the leg muscles are important to the range of movement in our seat. Most riders and instructors, when they talk about the pelvis, tend to talk about it in only one dimension, such as the tilting forward back and forth of the pelvis. Or they talk about the hips moving the pelvis. Which is actually quite incorrect. The femur joins the pelvis. There is no separate hip bone. What we perceive as the hip moving is actually the shifting of the pelvis. Which is why it is so important to understand how the pelvis is moved around by our own body - what and how individual muscle groups control this incredibly large bone.

“Understanding the seat has to start with understanding the largest bone in the seat, which is the pelvis. The pelvis is a very big, very heavy bone. It is very solid. Understanding the seat has to start with beginning to understand what the range of movement is in the pelvis and how that movement is enabled by the rest of the body.�

The Base Position In this first of a series on this excellent exercise program, we begin with the base, a place we will return to again and again and again throughout the exercises. The basic position consists of the feet facing forward side by side, the knees soft, the pelvis tucked, the chest raised, the spine stretched upward, followed up by a shoulder shrug, with both shoulders coming first forward, up and then down, then relaxing and settling the shoulders behind the raised chest. Keep the shoulders relaxed and the knees soft. This home position has so many far-reaching benefits. It ensures that the spine is in a neutral and thus protected position - a wonderful place to start from. But much more than that, it is the beginning of creating awareness for those who may carry an exaggerated arch in their back - a common problem for many riders. The tilting of the pelvis under is the beginning of the correction for the rider who is often being told to straighten their back. Telling someone to straighten their back does not create a solution, as the rider usually just ends up pulling shoulders and chest upwards and they tighten overall. This can’t be held by anyone for any amount of time and actually often makes things worse as muscles lock up. How frustrating for those that are really trying to change


and become straighter. Over a period of time, as the rider returns to the home position again and again, a change begins to happen. This, combined with very specific exercises targeting the many different individual muscles that make up the pelvic, stomach, hip, back and torso region, create success in overcoming this common problem. Standing or sitting for long periods of time has us often relaxing our stomach muscles, and losing basic abdominal strength (this is what is often referred to as core strength) allowing our pelvis to drop down - the bottom of the pelvis to tip back, the top of the pelvis tips forwards - and this is what causes the increased arch in the rider’s back. Even those, or perhaps especially those, who have struggled with this problem for years, can create a real difference once the different muscle groups begin to be addressed and activated. As you become aware of what it feels like to straighten and stretch your spine and try to put it in a more neutral position, think about this as you sit in your chair at work, in the line up at the grocery store. Take the feeling of this base position into your everyday life.

Soft Knees In the description of the base position we mention that the knees should be soft. Well, what exactly does that mean? This is one of the areas that you will find that will end up being completely adaptable to your own particular fitness level. For someone with limited range of motion or other issues that involve their knee joints, they may find that soft means a feeling that they can feel, but that no one else can see. To someone else looking on, it may look as if the knees are completely straight. But it is important to allow what softness of bend that you are comfortable with. As your fitness level develops or if you have a more advanced fitness level, you may find that you are quite comfortable in keeping a slight bend in your knees at all times. How long again completely depends on your fitness level and development and your own particular body type. How much of a bend again depends on where you are comfortable and your own personal fitness level which can be different even day to day. Ensure that you are comfortable and challenge yourself gradually in any and all of the exercises. Remind yourself to challenge yourself in between and see if today you can take it one step further. If you are not able to bend your knees at all, or even just slightly when you try each new exercise as it is introduced, challenge yourself periodically and see if things have changed yet. As you begin to work with the new exercises, you might find that as these muscles begin to develop, one day you can and one day you can’t. That is no surprise and is much the same for your horse as you take him through his own exercise and development program. Give yourself and your body time to build up muscles slowly. Be joyful as you find every new small success and have realistic expectations. It will take weeks, even months for your body to slowly change. But your horse will thank you for it. As with any exercise program please check with your physician first.

Horses For LIFE

Wild Hoofbeats takes us deep into “Adobe Town” in Wyoming’s Red Desert and one of the largest remaining wild herds in America. With stunning photographs, Carol Walker convinces us to take the future of these elegant, exceptional animals to heart.


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Preview Issue Subscribe Online 2 Horses For LIFE Advertisement Kladrubers in the Snow 4 Horses For LIFE Advertisement P.R.E. Napolean 6 12.9...


Preview Issue Subscribe Online 2 Horses For LIFE Advertisement Kladrubers in the Snow 4 Horses For LIFE Advertisement P.R.E. Napolean 6 12.9...