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Blogger Catherine Haddad Staller

March 8, 2010

Dressage In The Time of Cholesterol

Dear Rita,

This is for the people who have asked me to explain the difference between LDR and HF. LDR—low, deep, round—is a position of the neck. HF—Hyperflexion is an extreme flexion of the poll normally performed in an LDR position of the neck.

In my stable we ride BPS and HA. Riders learn to IAS on the longe line before ever taking contact with the bit. No matter what method you choose to use, you can’t get started until you IAS. Learn to sit before you learn to hold the reins.

March 3, 2010

World Cup Freestyle

Dear Rita,

I’m going to ‘s-Hertogenbosch at the end of the month to watch the World Cup Finals. The IDRC is meeting again at the show, the FEI is holding a forum for all dressage stakeholders, and the competition itself promises to be incredibly well fought this year. I’m excited to see it!!

February 28, 2010

The Schultheis Chronicles, Part 4

Dear Rita,

There I was, riding across the threshold into Schultheis’ arena. I had clambered over his garden fence, left footprints in the rose beds, trespassed on his property on horseback, and somehow he still wanted to see me ride. Looking back on this now, I am dumbfounded.

February 24, 2010

Dressage for Life: Catherine Haddad

Dear Rita,

When I was first learning to sit the trot, Reiner Klimke was coming off his big win at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Over the following years, he spent a lot of time teaching people in the United States about dressage and its benefits to the health and well being of horses. I was training with Bodo Hangen at the time, and I got to experience firsthand the physical and mental benefits of the training on the horses in his stable.

February 22, 2010

Neumuenster CDI-W: Totilas and the “WOW Factor”

Dear Rita,

I just watched the freestyle at the Neumuenster CDI-W. Notice I said “watched,” not “competed in.” I didn’t qualify for the freestyle with Maximus, so I sat back and watched the competition today. The test actually finished a good hour ago, but after watching Totilas, I have been speechless until now.

I have seen Totilas compete live four times. The first time was last July in Hickstead. I thought I would never be more impressed by a horse. Then I saw him go in Stuttgart and in London and continued to be impressed. Today at Neumuenster, he rocked my world.

February 17, 2010

Small Trophy For 2009

Dear Rita,

I just got home from the annual Vechta Athlete’s Banquet sponsored by our regional newspaper, Oldenburgishe Volkszeitung. Athletes from all the recognized sports in our area (over 42,000) are observed throughout the year and then given awards in three categories:

1. Women’s Individual Sports
2. Men’s Individual Sports
3. Team Sports

This year I was voted the second most successful Female Athlete of the Year.

February 15, 2010

The Schultheis Chronicles, Part 3

Dear Rita,

It’s funny. Every time I start to write about Schultheis, I sit a little deeper in my chair. Hah!

Where was I now? I had sat through a morning of training at the Schultheis stable and then gone to ride my own horses...

February 12, 2010

The Daily Routine

Dear Rita,

I know you are sitting on pins and needles to hear the next episode of the Schultheis Chronicles, but I’m off on another tangent!

Dressage is a sport of ritual and routine (much of mine I learned from Schultheis), and since living in Germany for over 16 years, I am no exception to this rule. My routine begins the moment I wake up, which is a surprisingly flexible hour since I almost always adjust my day to wake up with the sun. That means 8:30 a.m. in the depth of winter and 4:30 a.m. during the longest days of summer.

February 10, 2010

The Schultheis Chronicles, Part 2

Dear Rita,

I shot off on a longer tangent than I expected! Let’s get back to some fun stories.

That impertinent afternoon when I jumped the fence and asked Mr. Schultheis if I could watch the training at his stable (see blog from Feb. 2, 2010) was a turning point in my life.

February 8, 2010

Ulterior Motives

Dear Rita,

You know, sometimes when I sit down to write, I have to admit to having ulterior motives. I don't know if y'all noticed, but the FEI is meeting at Lausanne today to discuss Rollkür. This controversy has become insanely heated on both sides with rational thinking and logical argument mostly thrown out the window.

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