Stuttgart CDI5* Update: Fourth In The Grand Prix!

Nov 19, 2010 - 5:34 AM
Winyamaro gets a reassuring pat on the neck in Lyon last October. Photo by Dominique Robert.

Breaking News: Winyamaro finished fourth in the Grand Prix behind 1) Isabell Werth/Satchmo 2) Ulla Salzgeber/Herzrufs Erbe 3) Hubertus Schmidt/Dark Diamond. Full story after the freestyle!

Dear Rita,

Winyamaro and I find ourselves in Stuttgart, Germany, this weekend for the CDI5*. We are accompanied by our trusty assistant trainer, Gizmo, and Winny’s beloved groom, Anna Pettersson.

Anna made the eight-hour trip yesterday with horse, dog and truck while yours truly took a direct flight from Bremen to get here. We all arrived in good form, got a good night’s sleep and put in a great training session this morning before going to the vet check at lunchtime.

Stuttgart is one of my all time favorite horse shows because this show is all about equestrian sport. When a spectator buys a ticket for Stuttgart, he does so to watch the world’s best equestrian athletes compete for big prizes with high honors in the disciplines of dressage, jumping, driving and vaulting. Oh, the organizers throw in a few entertainment shows to fill the rare moment between competitions, but most people come to this horse show to watch the sport.

Every year I come here expecting incredible organization, and every year my respect and admiration for the organizing committee is doubled. As a competitor, I receive a schedule via email approximately two weeks before the show. It usually looks a bit like this:

7:00-9:13 a.m. Warm-up in main arena for dressage
9:13-9:25 a.m. Footing maintenance
9:25-11:30 a.m. Jumping 145m, 125 starts
11:31-11:42 a.m. Arena maintenance
11:43-11:56 a.m. Ribbons ceremony
11:57-1:30 p.m. Grand Prix for freestyle, 16 starts

I’m not making this up, Rita! Two weeks before the actual event, the German organizing committee knows when all 150 competitors from 15 nations with 300 horses in four disciplines with 26 classes will enter the main arena, perform, exit and receive their prizes over a period of four days. At any given moment from the time that the show opens, the OC knows when the arena will be dragged, who will remove jumps and set up the dressage arena, where the winner will be interviewed, and which horses are due for vet check.

And it WORKS, Rita! In all the years that I have shown at Stuttgart, I have never seen the schedule change. The show runs like clockwork, precision clockwork.

What is truly amazing is the economy of space in which all this organization takes place. There are two arenas here—one for warm-up and one for competition. Not only is the competition arena fully booked to the last minute, but the warm-up as well. And for all disciplines!

On top of all that, the OC at Stuttgart takes care of its riders. We are provided not only with free hotel rooms, three fabulous meals per day and an excellent shuttle service, but also FREE MASSAGE during the duration of the show! I love it here. Why show anywhere else?

This clip will give you an idea of the general layout at the Schleyer Halle. 

I put a bit of the early morning training on here as well. The Grand Prix for freestyle starts on Friday at 9:45 a.m. and the freestyle starts on Saturday at 1:40 p.m.

You can watch the competition on live streaming at

But wait, Rita! At some point this weekend I am going to try to capture on film the warm-up arena during the four-in-hand competition. Just wait. This is something to boggle the mind!

I’m Catherine Haddad, and I’m sayin’ it like it is from Stuttgart, Germany.

Training Tip of the Day: Take the lessons from your last show and use them well to produce a better result the next time around.



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