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Blogger Catherine Haddad Staller

December 31, 2012

New Year’s Day 2013: Out of the Darkness Into the Light

Dear Rita,

If you have ever trained proper reinback as a tool to gain impulsion, you will understand when I say that setbacks in life can be a springboard for progress if you treat them right.

I don’t know how Hotmail found me.

This time last year I was taking down the Christmas tree and trying to keep all the ornaments out of harm’s way. I had a new corgi puppy, Foxy, who kept me entertained at every turn, and life should have been good.

December 2, 2012

A Time to Give Thanks To Healers, Friends, Family and Horses

Dear Rita,

I left sunny Florida to spend Thanksgiving weekend with my husband in New Jersey. Greg was on call for his veterinary practice, Running S Equine, so we agreed to spend our holiday visiting friends between equine emergencies. Several poignant reminders of why I should be grateful in this life were presented to me as I traveled through the weekend.

Thanksgiving Day

October 31, 2012

The Order Of The Broom

Dear Rita,

In a country where one learns riding through sweeping, it could be said that those who truly learn riding, have mastered the broom.

October 30, 2012

Full Moon Over Vechta: Day Of Cat

Dear Rita,

I arrived in Germany on a full moon in October of 1993, and I am leaving Germany on a full moon in October of 2012. Full circles seem to be a theme in my life, Rita, but this has been one long circle! After a stop at the Global Dressage Forum in Hooge Mierde, the Netherlands, I am flying with my horses to Miami on Oct. 31.

Leaving Vechta is sad and hard. I grew up here (not sure “grew up” is the right term, but I did learn a lot) and became the person I wanted to be. I made good friends, learned a lot about people, and I will miss this place.

October 8, 2012

American Dressage: Four Ways Forward, Part III

Dear Rita,

Many people have wondered about my motivation in writing this particular blog about the future of American dressage as I envision it. Some people have labeled it as self-promotion, although most have viewed it as political suicide to speak out against the old, established way of doing things. Some people think I’m interested in coaching or managing the team. However, none of these assumptions is correct from my own perspective.

October 4, 2012

American Dressage: Four Ways Forward, Part II

Dear Rita,

Of the Four Ways Forward for Dressage in the USA— Training, Management, Logistics and Marketing—we have already talked about the training and coaching I hope to see for our team in the future. The U.S. team coach needs to work closely together with a team manager to help prepare future combinations for prolonged international competition.

2. Management and Preparation

September 28, 2012

American Dressage: Four Ways Forward, Part I

Dear Rita,

I’ve given much thought to the state of our sport in the USA since the London Olympics in August. Many people have offered their opinions about why the U.S. teams didn’t medal in London. I don’t believe that winning makes you right and losing makes you wrong. Sport is not that black and white. But I do believe in learning from past mistakes and in stealing every last bit of helpful information that you can from the people who out-perform you in competition.

July 16, 2012

The Schultheis Chronicles, Part 8: Learning From The Master

Dear Rita,

In the last segment of the Schultheis Chronicles I told the story of Mr. Schultheis’ death. That was a bit premature since I hadn’t really finished telling you all of the stories from my time with him, but I guess everyone knew how the story would end anyway.

May 1, 2012

Casey And Pentimento: Mental Prep For The First Grand Prix

Dear Rita,

All my life I have believed in excellence. Not in perfection, but in excellence. If you are pursuing perfection, you have already failed, for perfection exists all around us all of the time. Achieving perfection is simply a matter of perception.

Excellence, on the other hand, is something for which we should strive. It’s definitely worth pursuing and is defined both by the moments that bring us to now and by the moments that we can envision in our future.

April 17, 2012

The IDTC Meeting At Newmarket: Degree Of Difficulty

Dear Rita,

Occasionally dressage trainers get together to do something fun and a little less serious than the circles in the sand that fascinate us nearly every day.

If you are so lucky as to be a member of the International Dressage Trainers Club, you have the opportunity to do something fun with your fellow trainers at least once a year during the annual meeting in April. This year’s meeting was held in the famous little town of Newmarket in Great Britain.

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