Buy, Sell, Spend, But Always Enjoy The Gift

Mar 18, 2010 - 5:50 AM
Maximus: Half-pass in passage, under the sun. Photo by Barbara Schnell.

And a little contest for the up-and-coming World Cup.

Dear Rita,

It’s St. Paddy’s Day! Yes, we celebrate that lively Irish saint’s day here in Germany as well. Is there any place in the world where you can’t find an Irish Pub?!? I’d like to be down at the local Kneipe drinking cool, green beer but alas, I still have work to do.

My day started out with a lovely ride on Maximus, which culminated in a practice Grand Prix run in…are you ready for this….my very own outdoor arena! Yes! The snow has melted, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming and the sun is shining on my dressage arena! Winter might not be fully over, but it got a serious kick in the butt today.

I rode all my horses outside this morning, and they felt fresh and inspired by the sunshine. Or maybe it was the gardener with his weed wacker or the crane from the construction zone. Or the baby carriages, cyclists and joggers that frequent the path at the short end of my arena. In any case, the scenery was inspiring, and I had a morning full of impulsion!

After that, a local BNT arrived to try a few horses. (In this neighborhood, a BNT has to have been to the Olympic Games at least once to earn the title. Rita, I am a SFBP.) We pulled out six horses from age 4 to 10, greenbroke to advanced, small to large, flashy to practical—and presented them for evaluation and test riding. The BNT and I finished up with a discussion of prices and possibilities over the obligatory cup of sales coffee, and then I jumped into the car and drove a few hours to look at horses myself.

I need a bigger bank account. I found one horse that could disturb my REM sleep tonight, but after the obligatory cup of sales coffee, I remembered that I have a trip to Gladstone and a whole summer in the USA to finance. All investments in the future will just have to wait. Big sigh.

It pays to remember that all horses are gifts. It does not matter how much they cost us in the short or long run; they are all gifts in our lives. And nothing beats that feeling of sitting astride a powerful passage with a back full of bounce and the sun reflecting off a proud neck. I love this sport!

I am very much looking forward to watching the top end of our sport next weekend. The World Cup Final takes place March 25-27 at Den Bosch in the Netherlands. That is only about three hours from here, so I am driving over for the competition.

I have another little contest planned for my blog during the World Cup, Rita. After the Grand Prix results are in and the starting list for the freestyle is published, I’m going to predict the final placings on my blog. And not just first place, Rita! All 15 placings. Everybody else can publish their predictions in the comments as well. (We are NOT going to get a betting pool going, but that might be an interesting idea for the future.)

Whoever gets all 15 placings in the correct order gets a free month’s subscription to I have more than 20 training videos on that site, so if you are interested in my training methods, here is your chance to win a free viewing! I’m just forewarning y’all so that you will pay attention next week!

In the meantime, I’m Catherine Haddad and I’m sayin it like it is from Vechta, Germany.

Training Tip of the Day: If a horse is resistant in learning reinback, try to use the momentum of a relaxed turn on the forehand to deftly redirect the motion backward.


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