Attending the recent two day seminar at the legendary Vorweck stud (Gestüt Vorwerk), Portuguese judge and dressage rider, Frederico Pinteus, felt it was an honor to be surrounded by so many dressage masters and a great opportunity to watch in detail some of the great trainers and riders in action.
“For me the aim of the two days was to gather together a range of top dressage professionals (trainers, riders, judges, media, veterinarians, researchers) and share experiences, ideas, knowledge and points of views, with the common purpose of promoting the correct training, the respect for the welfare of the horse and, consequently, the development of dressage,” says Frederico.
“It is not every day that you have the opportunity to watch closely such a wide range of wonderful professionals (Jo Hinnemann, Conny Endres, Katrina Wüst, Isabell Werth, etc.) working in such an expert/knowledgeable environment.”
Frederico believes that what came out of the seminar was that these kind of initiatives are of paramount importance in establishing the right understanding and development of dressage.
“It is important that all professionals can meet on a regular basis, and address and discuss, in an open manner, their ideas and points of view about different issues related to the development of the sport,” says Frederico.
Frederico says that there were so many great guest presenters it would be unfair to pick just one, and he enjoyed discussing the many different aspects of dressage today.
“Watching Mr. Jo Hinnemann working with different horses of different ages and morphologies, identifying the strong and weak point of each horse, and finding, through the equitation/dressage, the best and more correct way to improve those weak points, was simply amazing, “ says Frederico.
“The study of Dr. Rachel Murray regarding the research about biting and bridles was mind blowing. Dr Rachel Murray highlighted the importance of taking decisions based on serious and independent scientific researches Vs fashion/trend,”
I thought this was interesting. A lot of the pressure points that we assume cause more stress on the horse have actually been proven that they were not accurate and we must adjust accordingly for the comfort of the horse!
“(…) while you should never have the noseband too tight, loosening it too much can cause more pressure behind the ears of the horse which is a more sensitive area.” adds Frederico.
As a result of this research Fairfax have produced the first “scientifically proven” bridle that they say reduces pressure by up to 84%!
“It was also very interesting to hear Jan (St. Georges) talking about the relationship between media and dressage and through his speech see some paradigmas that need to be broken down”, says Frederico.
“On the second day, watching Mrs. Condry Endres leave all the audience delighted with the excellence of her children riders (13 and 14 years old) and their beautiful and wonderfully trained ponies.
All movements were so supple, relaxed, elastic, harmonious, easy and accurate. It was just stunning…
The way she gives the instruction to those young riders was so calm, precise and with such a candour in her voice – it was like “poetry in motion”,” says Frederico.
I thought this was interesting to note as we have all had that screaming instrutor and I always wondered how that helped maintain a riders centre…I agree some riders need a good shake up sometimes but i think that is unique to each student and a trainer must cater to each one individually.
“The presentation of Mrs. Katrina Wüst regarding the new developments in dressage was very interesting and helpful.
Judges normally take the “most critical” (so to say) part of the dressage sport, but in this presentation it was clearly evident all the work and effort that judges are putting in to make all the process more transparent, understandable, accurate and interesting. An example of the new system “paperless judging” was showed during the presentation.
Mrs. Katrina Wüst identified some reasons why sometimes there is some dissatisfaction among riders and judges, also some possible biases in judging, the importance of the trainers as a link between the riders and judges, and some ideas of possible solutions to facilitate the understanding between judge, trainer and rider,” says Frederico.
This I agree with as so many times you hear riders complaining about the judging without trying to understand the comments or learn from them.
“Closing the seminar we had 4 hours with Isabell Werth training horses of different ages (3 to 7 years old). It was quite interesting because we had the chance to watch different horses with different difficulties (and not just easy, well balanced amazing horses) showing not just competition aspects but also everyday training regimes.
In my opinion Isabel was very honest and straightforward during those hours and clearly showed why she is “simply the best”,” Frederico adds.
Frederico says that the major theme repeated by those elite professionals was the importance of the basics (rhythm, suppleness, connection, transitions, corners…) – “without basics there is no high competition”!
I think too that it’s a great thing when people from lesser known dressage nations get involved in these seminars..
“I believe that spreading the experience, knowledge and ideas can benefit all of those who are willing to listen/learn,” says Frederico.
“Portugal is a bit far from the center of Europe, and sometimes we run the risk of creating our own small world of “big fishes in small ponds”…
If we want to develop in a serious way, we need to have the eyes and ears wide open to everything that is happening in the center of Europe and in the world.
Of course that due to our geographical location, small size of the country, and reduced number of athletes, we have to allocate more time and make more sacrifices, however nowadays technology shortens the distances therefore, as we used to say, if we really want something we will always find a way, if not we will find an excuse…”
With two CDI’s being held back to back in March of next year in Cascais, Frederico says they are doing their best to bring the best judges and foreign riders over for what will be an amazing week in a beautiful country, with top facilities!!
“In terms of facilities (arenas, footings, stables) and organization (schedules, timetables, results, communication) we have already proved our merits. Now we have to convince the foreign riders to come to Portugal ” Frederico adds.