Enclosed some impressions of the 5th Symposium of the Anja Beran Foundation 2014 "Training Horses with Feeling and Respect".
Photos: Anja Wechsler
The seminar on the topic of "Training Young Horses" took place on Thursday 29 May 2014. As the second morning work session of the year took place on the following Sunday, many visitors who had travelled a long way took advantage of the opportunity of being able to experience two events at Gut Rosenhof at the same time. This meant it was a very international event with many friends of classical dressage from Austria, Switzerland, Italy as well as from Holland and Belgium.
Following an introduction on the theoretical principles, the first steps on the lunge and under the saddle were demonstrated with the Spanish gelding "Brilliante". P.R.E. stallion "Nadal", a horse belonging to the Anja Beran Foundation, then presented supple and confident forward movement with many transitions and initial lateral movements. The gelding "Girasol" under Anna Jantscher illustrated clearly that forwards-downwards riding can actually be the completely wrong approach for some horses, especially in the case of horses with a strong forehand and weak hindquarters and, furthermore, a strong tendency to drop the neck too much, meaning that the rider has to slightly elevate the young horse initially in order to give it the chance to find its balance.
Lateral movements, cantering from walk and the first counter-canter were presented by Vera Munderloh and P.R.E. stallion "Duende". Anja Beran was also able to encourage the young stallion into doing its first piaffe and passage steps and to show an initial effort at performing the Spanish walk.
It was really pleasing that a number of professional riders attended this event and expressed their amazement at how inexperienced horses are handled with such calmness here and how particularly visible this was in the performance by the young stallion!
As an important gymnasticising exercise for the back and hindquarters, the focus of this seminar was on the piaffe. After a theoretical introduction to the correct piaffe and explanation of the most frequent sources of mistakes, different horses entered the arena. "Brillante", a young Spanish gelding, firstly had to become familiarised with the touching whip. This was then followed by overtracking at a calm walk and stroking with the whip.
The P.R.E. stallion "Duende" then showed overtracking at trot - the most important preparation for the piaffe as the horse learns to bend the haunches. Pony-gelding "Chuck" impressively demonstrated that an expensive dressage horse with superb gaits is not necessary to be able to piaffe beautifully and lightly. With diligence and expression, he was extremely impressive with his rider Nadine Kloser in the piaffe!
The "descente de main" exercise, described in depth by La Guérinière, was demonstrated by Vera Munderloh on the Lusitano "Rose". During the piaffe, she tried to release rein contact and also to stop applying the leg aids for a moment, so that "Rose" remained in elevated, active steps.
A successful presentation of lightness!
With the Kladruber gelding "Generale Cassa" a demonstration took place to show how significant the piaffe is for the seat of a young rider. It gives the rider a good feeling for the correct seat and is a valuable part of any training programme for young riders.
The rhythm of the piaffe could be heard as Anja Beran piaffed with the stallion "Ofendido" on a small wooden board – it was like a metronome ticking as he stepped diagonally on the board and then, in response to the appropriate command, stood perfectly still again!
On 3 October the seminar took place on the much-requested topic of "Problem Horses". After a detailed lecture on various bad habits and their frequent causes, Anja Beran and her team presented 5 horses. Katja Baldauf rode the Lusitano "Tango" who was considered unsuitable for riding and was so heavily on the forehand that initially he used to keep stumbling. Christine Schmiedel demonstrated the work with "Fabe", a horse which used to be a notorius bolter, and Simon Reinert presented the Frederiksborger "Sirius". Sirius, on account of his crookedness and exterieur, is very difficult to train. Katja Baldauf showed how a completely ruined Quarter Horse mare became a content riding horse again. Lusitano "Zeus" under Vera Munderloh demonstrated, how good gymnastics can transform a horse with gait problems into a horse with a perfect walk.
This session primarily focused on training the critical eye of the visitors. The difference between a genuine extended trot and contrived movement with a broken diagonal was impressively presented by showing the guests the extended trot and Spanish trot, in which the hindleg does not follow the elaborate movement of the foreleg. This is often seen nowadays in competitions, and is frequently rewarded with a high mark, despite the fact that a completely different movement is actually required.
Equally the criteria for a classical passage were explained. Here a horse must show ground cover and not confuse the movement with a piaffe forwards, raising the legs in a rather affected style.
Our employee Vera Munderloh has run a clinic in Ohio, USA. All participants were extremely satisfied and now want to support the idea of the Anja Beran Foundation having recognized the great significance of this work.
The next possibility for the international audience to learn more will be the meanwhile almost traditional Workshop "Get the spirit" at Gut Rosenhof in July. Guests from 17 countries have already attended this exclusive clinic which offers valuable insight into schooling horses from the breaking-in stage to haute école. A few places are still available!
On 23rd November 2014 the time had come again: More than 1200 interested visitors flocked to Circus Krone on this sunny autumn day and made this 5th Anja Beran Foundation Symposium the most successful and best so far. ??? A special occasion, also on account of the fact that the exchange between Anja Beran and the Junior Director of the Circus, Jana Lacey-Krone, has now existed for 25 years.
This year's main topic was the application of the aids: Communication between human and horse, from the saddle as well as in ground work - a broad field of fine communication and potential misunderstandings. In this context, the trainer may use body language and the voice as tools. For successful collaboration logical and precise application of the aids is crucial - contradictory signals must be avoided at all costs. "Hand without leg and leg without hand" as already mentioned in the old works of equestrian master Francois Baucher from the 19th century. Framing the horse through application of the aids is nothing to do with compressing the horse between pulling rains and pricking spurs. The aim is to achieve collection, but not frustration, resistance and resignation. The horse can only be supple and receptive - the result of thoughtful gymnasticising and purposeful application of the aids - when in physical and mental balance. The precondition: The rider needs a stable but also sensitive seat and must be physically and mentally in a position to accompany the horse and, if necessary, correct it. At the same time the rider must always by prepared to question his own abilities - and this represents an enormous demand on body, mind and character.
Over the course of the symposium Anja Beran and her team gave an overview of the possible forms of application of the aids, commencing with basic work with the remonte and progressing to difficult haute école movements. In this unfamiliar environment, the young Lusitano "Ciclone" showed considerable tension when he entered the arena, howe ver he responded impeccably to rider Vera Munderloh – and, despite all the distractions of such a large crowd, he always listened attentively to the commands of the lunger. The young horse has to understand the individual aids and learn to follow them. This is not only an important aspect for dressage, it is also important in the context of safety in handling the horse: "I cannot accustom my horse to everything which he will encounter on an everyday basis. It is an animal of flight and can shy at any moment. "It is only when I have my horse on the aids that I can regain its attention and re-establish control" explained Anja Beran. The fact that a pony also has a right to fine and fair application of the aids, and is also capable of progressing to haute école movements, was demonstrated by Nadine Kloser on her coloured pony "Chuck". The pony gelding presented correct piaffe steps and first attempts at passage – quite obviously motivated and in top form.
"Pferdewirtschaftsmeister" (Master of Horse Management) Marcel Egger from Switzerland and his warmblood gelding "Cadiz" were afurther highlight in the programme and made clear that classical dressage with its fine, almost invisible application of the aids, is ideal preparation and an excellent way of keeping healthy, also for sport horses, in strong contrast to the forceful training methods showing no respect for the horse, which we often find today. Marcel Egger showed a fine horse, well on the aids,which moved through the small arena with smooth steps, in correct lateral movements, the head always ahead of the vertical. An impressive picture which is unfortunately a rare occurrence on modern competition grounds - and it received thunderous applause.
In classical horsemanship the application of the aids should progress fluently from the voice aid to the body aid, in free dressage the sequence is reversed and physical gestures are gradually reduced until the horses react exclusively to the voice aids. Jana Lacey-Krone, a pupil of Christel Sembach-Krone and a master in her field, demonstrated with her two Arab stallions that this course requires an infinite amount of patience and self control – as well as an appropriate dosage of humour. Just as Anja Beran's team at Gut Rosenhof, she also trains her horses - even in circus dressage - according to the classical principles, always taking into account the character and physical constitution of the horses she is training and, in addition to plenty of praise, also gives them a generous amount of time in which to develop. Playfully, without any pressure or compulsion, they learn circus movements such as graceful twists and turns or rearing.
After the individual presentations, spectators had the opportunity to ask questions, and made optimum use of the opportunity to look behind the scenes - or perhaps we should say curtain - of professional horse training. A lively dialogue developed which was, of course, the aim of the event and also of classical equestrianism: critical questions are very much desired.
An artistic setting was created for the symposium by some presentations and a performance by the singer Nicole Ciroth, as well as an exhibition of paintings by Daniela Hubert and Zenon Aniszewski – timeless equestrian art to admire and/or purchase.
Anja Beran Foundation would like to thank all guests most sincerely because the entire proceeds from the event will go to the foundation and help an increasing number of horses to benefit from fair training.
Anja Beran and Jana Lacey-Krone are now already looking forward to the next symposium in 2015!
visited Gut Rosenhof on 16 November! After a warm welcome and introduction by Anja Beran, our guests were received by Vera Munderloh and Simon Reinert with a pas de deux on Lipizzaner stallion "Tulipan Palma" and Lusitano "Rosé"! They then enjoyed a light snack before being taken on a tour of Gut Rosenhof.
The Anja Beran Foundation is supporting a hippological rarity
What do classical equestrianism, which is what the Anja Beran Foundation stands for, and a doctoral thesis on the topic of "Horses and Princes" have in common? This doctoral thesis is much more than an academic paper of interest only to a small circle of humanities and cultural studies scholars. But it is no mere fast-food literature either. Instead, it is a high-class, detailed analysis requiring genuine interest on the part of anyone who wishes to be able to read and understand it properly. We very quickly realised that this doctoral thesis is of immense value to us - and it has great significance for the comprehensive training of our pupils. And not only that: we would like to recommend every genuinely interested rider, and particularly trainers, to take time to read and peruse this study in order to comprehend the historical development of classical equestrianism.
This book is available only in German. It has 530 pages and 68 coloured and black and white picutres and is scheduled to be published in November 2014. Price: 48,- Euro.
Pre-orders can be sent to the author, Frau Magdalena Bayreuther: magdalena.bayreuther(at)gmx.de
On 13 and 14 September 2014, the annual dressage clinic with Anja Beran took place just outside of Brussels. Motivated, advanced riders and many interested spectators made the course a very special experience. The evening presentation on the topic of "lateral movements" was also very well attended. Many thanks to all participants and visitors, and to Ilke, Lobke and Femke for their outstanding organisation!
Motivated rider and a perfect Organisation! Thanks to the organisers Malin and Beda as well as all the other riders.
This lateral movements session was interactive. After theoretical instruction, the guests were asked to follow the various sequences of movement on foot with correct positioning of the body, upright posture and the right degree of body tension - not that easy!
Naturally the practical demonstration on the horse was also important. Vera Munderloh on the Lipizzaner stallion "Tulipan Palma" impressively demonstrated what a good sequence of lateral movements, taking the horse's natural crookedness into consideration, could look like. Beforehand the visitors had the possibility to analyse the horse's natural crookedness. While a Lusitano was lunged on the caveson, they were to recognize his hollow side and rather stiff side. This lead to a real sensation of success for many guests and meant that many of them went home with new inspiration for the work with their own horse!
The right composition and dosage of feed determines a horse's health, well-being and willingness to perform. For this reason an informative presentation was held at Gut Rosenhof for our pupils. Using a "glass horse", Jörg Rattenhuber demonstrated the position of various digestive organs in 3D and thus illustrated the complex connections between the parts of the digestive tract through which food passes. This clearly illustrated how important correct feeding is - including exact quantities, the composition and frequency of feeding. With the use of numerous animations and images, the pupils and internees of the Anja Beran Foundation as well as employees from Gut Rosenhof were shown which problems can arise during digestion, what the cause of these problems can be and how they should be dealt with in urgent cases. A discussion round to conclude the presentation made it possible to address many issues concerning this multifaceted topic.
On behalf of all the participants, the team from Gut Rosenhof would like to thank the Rattenhuber Veterinary Practice for the interesting and informative presentation.