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Klaus Balkenhol: The Man and His Training Methods Hardcover – 30 Nov 2007
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A celebrity of the international dressage world, Klaus Balkenhol has an impressive record at the highest levels of competition. With two Olympic gold medals and an individual bronze, along with innumerable German, European, and World Cup wins to his name, he was a legend long before he assumed his present role as chef d'equipe of the US dressage team. So involved is he in the sport, one cannot separate his personal story from his training and riding philosophies, which are grounded in the timeless art of classical riding.Now, in this beautifully illustrated new book, you learn about both the man and his mission, as his biography is brilliantly interwined with his views on training the dressage horse. From fascinating personal anecdotes and reminiscences of Balkenhol's most famous mounts, to practical tips for choosing the right horse, adjusting the training scale to accommodate different rides, and even correcting specific upper level training problems, this book delivers both engaging memoir and relevant education.
About the Author
Dr Britta Schoffmann is a journalist, recipient of a gold German riding badge, Grand Prix rider, competition judge and instructor. She is the author of various horse books that focus on the value of a strong mutual bond of trust between a person and a horse.
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That the American dressage team has improved so dramatically, is down to their immense good sense in grabbing the opportunity of Balkenhol as team trainer, and it is a great pleasure to watch a rider such as Debbie MacDonald, and her perhaps not so naturally extravagant mare Brentina, perform with such fluidity and elegance.
I was present at the 1996 WEG at the Hague, when Balkenhol and ex police horse Goldstern, were in the opinions of many of the crowd, myself included, that he was cruelly robbed of the gold medal, winning only silver. I have never felt an atmosphere of such anger and disappointment on his behalf, at any international dressage competition, as on that balmy night in Holland, and I have never witnessed a kur performance like it, before or since. If ever a horse and rider danced, Balkenhol and 'Goldi' did that night.
Explanations are very clear, and with case history/anecdotes to illustrate and overcome the various training problems met when teaching the horse these movements, it makes the book exceptionally readable.
Balkenhol's love and respect for the horse shines throughout the entire book. Each horse is treated absolutely as an individual and the key to training him found, always without force.
This book is an absolute must for anyone aspiring to the higher levels of dressage.