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Blogger Catherine Haddad Staller

May 25, 2010

About the Saddle: It's Always Been Stübben

Dear Rita,

At last, the long awaited blog about my saddle. My saddle is actually Willi Schultheis' saddle—the Stübben Tristan Extra with a 31 tree and 18” seat. If specifically ordered as a “Schultheis saddle,” it arrives with these dimensions in light brown, full grain cow leather, four short girth straps for use with a long, cord girth and absolutely no knee rolls. A patch of brown suede marks the flap where the knee roll-that-isn't would be constructed on any other saddle.

May 21, 2010

Dressage for Life: Carola Koppelmann (Germany)

Dear Rita,

Carola Koppelmann is one of Germany’s most talented and well-trained riders. She’s made her way to the top of international dressage sport with hard work, dedication and commitment to good riding.

Carola was born in 1978 in Stade, a city located near Hamburg in northern Germany. She grew up not far from there in a small town called Freiburg. The family business—a training and sales stable run by her parents Willi and Barbara Kopplemann—was also Carola’s playground in her younger years.

May 16, 2010

Hamburg CDI3*

Dear Rita,

I got home late last night from a fun and successful weekend at the Hamburg Dressage and Jumping Derby. It was an unseasonably cold, blustery weekend in Hamburg—the coldest Derby weekend in 30 years according to the bartender at my hotel!

Always famous as a jumping show, the first horses negotiated the renowned Derby Wall in 1920. This year, more than 70,000 spectators wandered the Derby Park to watch some of the world’s best in jumping and dressage.

May 12, 2010

The Daily Routine and Some Common Extras

Dear Rita,

My daily routine is really normal for an average stable in Germany. My staff arrives at the stable between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. The horses are fed, the boxes are leveled, the aisle is swept, my first horse is tacked up, and the staff members wander off to breakfast in the kitchen while I start training.

May 6, 2010

Dressage for Life: Tinne Wilhelmsson-Silfven (Sweden)

Dear Rita,

My latest victim for the Dressage for Life series happens to be another Swede, Tinne Wilhelmsson-Silfven, 43, of Stockholm, Sweden. Tinne is a mother, manager, professional rider and a mainstay for the Swedish Dressage Team.

May 5, 2010

Clinic at Wallstanäs Gård

Dear Rita,

I just got home from a lovely pair of days in Sweden. Malin Andersson, a Schockmöhle Sports distributor, asked me to teach a clinic at Wallstanäs Gård, Stockholm, Sweden, after listening to a presentation I had given at my own stable in Vechta last year.

April 29, 2010

Dressage for Life: Michal Rapcewicz (Poland)

Dear Rita,

Michal Rapcewicz, 28, rides for Poland and has managed to work his way from a relative unknown to a household name in Western Europe over the last few years. Coincidentally, I saw him ride for the first time at the Hagen CDI3* in 2007 and was able to interview him at the same show last weekend.

At that show in 2007, Michal was testing gears on Randon who was very young and green at the time. But despite a variety of errors in that test, this pair caught my attention, and I will never forget my first impression of Randon’s piaffe and passage. Wowza!

April 26, 2010

Hagen CDI3*/CSI3*/CDN 2010

Dear Rita,

I don’t know if my ears are frostbitten or sunburnt! The weather gods were extremely kind to us over the weekend in Hagen—no rain, endless sunshine, mild temperatures—but an icy cold wind sometimes swept across the show grounds and froze everything in its path with the power of Medusa’s stare. My ears got in the way!

April 20, 2010


Dear Rita,

I can’t believe it is the middle of April! I have actually started planning my trip to Gladstone for this summer. While I am chipping away at the logistics, I would like to tell you about the second horse I would bring along in the best possible of all worlds where money is not an issue: Winyamaro.

April 15, 2010

Dressage for Life: Patrik Kittel (Sweden)

Dear Rita,

Here is another top rider to add to my “Dressage for Life” line-up: Patrik Kittel, 34 years old, riding for Sweden.

Patrik grew up in Sweden where his first equestrian experience mimicked my own on the back of a Welsh cross pony. He quickly moved on to bigger horses and dallied in a bit of jumping and dressage. Competitive at an early age, Patrik competed in several junior and young rider championships before declaring his path as a professional rider.

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