Latest Report from Germany

A few weeks ago, we were honored to participate in the Straightness Training Seminar in Germany, with Dr Gerd Heushmann, Gabriele and Klaus Schoneich, Elizabeth Eversfield and Martin Hanni.

Klaus Schoneich spoke first about the differences between the natural and the ridden horse and explained the biomechanics changes that had to take place for the horse to become a content and healthy athlete under saddle.
Gerd Heushmann, veterinarian and bereiter, explained once more, the importance of the biomechanics of the horse, according to the old classical riding principles. He stressed the importance of keeping the horse soft and supple, and a willing partner. He quoted Xenophon: “Your horse should be a trusted friend to you, and not a slave”.
He believes that the horse should move balanced and travel straight throughout his entire body, no matter what its age is, or its level of training. Dr Heushmann feels strongly that the horse’s anatomy and psyche will determine its way of training, and that you should always be in search for the right philosophy and appropriate training for that particular horse, according to its own biomechanics. His message: “Never accept training methods that are based on constraint and subordination of the horse by force.”

Kerry was the next lecturer, and the German audience got fascinated but the effects of crookedness on the musculo-skeletal system, and some admitted never having looked at the symmetry and balance of muscles, tendons and ligaments in that manner. Quite a few people came after the presentation to ask him if he had a book out. It sure is in the works…that is, if one can make him sit down long enough to write it.

Martin Hanni, trainer/rider at the ARR Zentrum and Elizabeth Eversfield-Koch were the demonstration riders, illustrating what had been explained earlier on. Elizabeth is a member of the Swiss dressage team and has been working with Klaus Schoneich for the past 10 years. She is the “finished” product of the straightening system promoted by Klaus and Gabriele Schoneich. She competed at WEG, in 2010 with a 17yo horse, that had had major health and training issues when she first acquired him. She ended up taking that horse to the ARR Center for retraining and then over the years, followed the Schoneichs’s straightening principles. At the seminar, she did a presentation with a relatively young mare for her. It was a delight to see a horse perform at that level, harmonious dance between horse and rider, just a soft giving hand which invited the mare to come through with an upswinging back and rhythmical suspended gaits. She proves that it can be done, even at the highest level. Dressage or even plain riding, doesn’t have to be “push and pull” or “kick and hold”. These 2 riders demonstrated that harmonious riding with flawless communication between horse and rider does exist.

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