German inspiration behind ’17 BD National Convention

British Dressage has today unveiled the concept for this year’s British Dressage National Convention, Britain’s highly respected dressage training forum, in association with Harrison Clark Rickerbys.

Held at the world-class Hartpury College International Arena in Gloucestershire over the weekend of 25/26 November, the influence for 2017 comes from a country which has dominated dressage since records began: Germany.

British Dressage Training Director Paul Hayler has entitled the two days ‘The German way forward: innovation, inspiration, insight’, as we look to discover the secrets of their success.

Over the Olympic, World and European Championships, a total of 162 medals have been claimed by German riders – but in the early part of the millennium they suffered a rare dip in form, which saw their tight grip on gold turn to silver and bronze. At the World Championships in 2010, the unthinkable happened and the individual podiums didn’t even feature a single rider from Germany and the team only narrowly won bronze from the USA. It was time to re-group and re-think.

And they’ve done just that. In 2016 and the early part of this year, the German riders have dominated with a new approach. Using the insight of classical training as the heart of their methods, they’ve taken inspiration from the riders and horses who rose to the top and added a degree of German innovation to present horses in a new, light, modern way, which is being duly rewarded by judges and bringing riders back to the top step on the podium.

British Dressage is delighted to announce two of Germany’s leading trainers and riders, Dr Ulf Möller and Michael Klimke, will head up the two days of instruction, debate and, hopefully, revelation. Both are steeped in German dressage history as riders and producers of young horses, but also in training riders to get the best out of each horse.

Seven-time Bundeschampionate winner Dr. Ulf Möller won the World Young Horse Dressage Championships with Don Davidoff and the now legendary stallion Sandro Hit before retiring from competitive riding in 2011. Also a qualified veterinarian, he spent 19 years at Hof Kasselmann where he oversaw the production and selection of the dressage horses for sale in the world-renown P.S.I. Auctions – so he has one of the best reputations around for selecting, training and producing a horse from young classes through to Grand Prix level.

A professional lawyer, Michael has a dressage pedigree like no other, as his father was Reiner Klimke, one of Germany’s most successful Olympic dressage riders – and he’s still based at their Munster family home. Mother Ruth was an accomplished horsewoman in her own right and sister Ingrid has won two Olympic gold medals in eventing. He enjoyed many successes in the nineties and was selected as the reserve rider for the 2000 German Olympic Team with his iconic partner, Entertainer. After a decade away from competing to focus on his legal career, Michael returned in 2015 with a new string of talented horses. His training methods mirror that of his father: classical, but always looking forward, with the horse’s welfare of prime concern.

Michael commented; “It’s an honour for me to be invited to be a part of the weekend.  My last trip to Britain for such an event was two years ago for the Hester/Davidson convention where the audience was fantastic.  I’m looking forward to sharing my ideas on training and discussing the important hot topics in our wonderful sport.”

 

Paul Hayler commented; “Through our own process of evolution, Britain has climbed the ranks to sit proudly among the top dressage nations, inspired by our German counterparts. Now, they’ve enjoyed a resurgence to the top, so we’ve invited Ulf and Michael as hosts this year to see just what’s behind the ‘new look’ and see what secrets we can discover.

“Both have legendary status in Germany and there are not many better producers of horses and riders through the grades around, so it promises to be a captivating few days. Neither is shy about putting their opinions across, so there should be some lively debate and contributions over the course of the weekend. Please do come and join us; whatever level you compete, judge at or train others to, you’ll be guaranteed to take home fantastic tips, insight and knowledge.”