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move like a tin soldier, tense and rigid. Go for it! Pulling doesn’t work. He has to go with you. Is the back elastic and swinging enough? Is the hind leg


reaching underneath? We saw much more front leg, but also much more tension. He’s active behind, but it doesn’t go all the way through his body. The hind leg did not reach far enough forward. I would go with a solid 7. Don’t get carried away by the front legs. Look at the elasticity through the whole body. I gave a 5 for impulsion and elasticity. I blame it on the


handler, who showed in riding boots. Then with the horse free, I gave an 8. You see how much difference the handler makes. [When free jumping], in the style score, we look at the


approach, how they handle the body, the leg position, the bascule. Is the mare timid or does she attack the jump? I give her an 8 for style. She was a little careless with


the front legs, but had a very good bascule and used her neck well. With more training, she will get her front leg out of the way. We like to see that the hind leg was always up there, and the bascule was there.


Horse Breeding Breeding should be an improvement on the generation before. Know the mare’s weaknesses. If the canter is not


good enough, choose a horse that has a canter. Jump- ers have a good canter. Go to a jumper stallion, like the Ramiro line, so you can improve the canter. So you have to know the weak points, the walk, the trot, the canter. We need the Thoroughbred for more refinement, more


withers. We need a little refinement blood, but we don’t need the weaknesses. We are very critical. The hind leg connection is a critical point in the Thor-


oughbred. Thoroughbred trainers laughed at me, saying ‘We don’t care about the hind leg.’ But sport puts a lot of stress on the hind leg. And then a horse in training gets back problems. That’s why we put so much attention to it. It is very inheritable, even when the mare is crossed with a solid Hanoverian stallion.


Riding Instruction Gerd was a strict instructor. He was known for expressing his exasperation when riders did not respond. Shouting, he would throw his hat onto the ground! Don’t let him go around like a goat! He has to give


you the neck—otherwise you have no sitting position on the horse! Trot over the cavalletti. Trot the cavalletti till you are


green in the face. Your horse needs to get round before you can ever work. Otherwise he just carries you around. The horse has to go forward. Keep pushing! Every stride, push him round. Rounder in the neck, rounder in the topline. So he accepts your pushing, and so finally you are in charge. Every horse has to go over the back.


If the horse is not strong enough the neck and head go up. So the hind leg goes out backwards. The hind leg is in the neighboring county, not even in the neighboring town. Forward the riding! Every stride


in the canter, sit, sit, push him. What you feel under your seat you feel the swinging, and push him. In the canter, feel the tempo, rhythm, and lifting. React faster, when you feel you lose the hind leg, not at the second stride. Don’t lose the hind leg! Transitions test the active hind leg.


No step should be with the leg behind, in up or down transitions. Forward or downward, don’t let him pull you out of the saddle. Still, you are pushing. He has to step underneath you, every step. At home you make the horse. At the


At a 2012 clinic, Gerd coaches Dorie Vlatten-Schmitz in half steps while she rides her horse Coeur Bube by Contucci.


56 March/April 2019


show, you allow the horse to be bril- liant. When you do your homework, you can allow the horse to dance.


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