Schumacher gives dressage clinic at Cross Creek Farm

Published 2:30 pm Monday, May 11, 2009

Conrad Schumacher, a former German national dressage team member, recently gave a dressage clinic at Cross Creek Farm in Columbus. Schumacher has trained under the late Joseph Neckermann from 1968-1978. After winning the Hessen State Championships in 1982, Schumacher has

focused on teaching and coaching.

Among those who have become his famous proteges are the following: German native Sven Rothenberger, who has won the team silver and individual bronze medals for the Netherlands at the 1996 Olympic games; Rothenberger&squo;s wife and 1996 teammate Gonnelein-Rothenberger and Dutch rider Ellen Bontje, who also won the team silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

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Since 1991, Schumacher has given clinics to the upcoming talent in the U.S. Dressage Federation&squo;s (U.S.D.F.) Junior Young Riders Foundation; conducted the U.S.D.F. National Dressage Symposium in 1999 and 2002; and conducted the inaugural Kentucky Horse Park Dressage Symposium. Schumacher has also given

the U.S.D.F. Instructor Training Workshops and he continues to coach the American Advanced Riders to numerous medals at the North American Championships.

During the 2002 symposium, Schumacher stressed the development and training of the horse in a &dquo;Through the Levels&dquo; format. In 2004, Schumacher addressed the development of the rider on &dquo;The Overview of the Horse and Rider.&dquo; He continues his training of advanced young riders for the United States Dressage Federation program and has stressed the importance of rider education.

Schumacher trains with the system developed by the German Calvary and adopted by the German Equestrian Federation, which he believes is the kindest and most proven system for the warnblood horse today. The training pyramid includes: rhythm, relaxation, suppleness, contact, impulsion, straightness and self carriage.

The first rider in the clinic was Jennifer Baumert of Cloverlea Farm and Descartes, an eight-year-old Oldenburg stallion recently imported from Germany. Holding the rhythm in the trot and canter with a soft swinging back and correctly bent neck at the poll were the goals for this horse and rider combination. Descartes came in front of the rider&squo;s leg and was allowed to stretch down and swing his back with elasticity as the ride progressed.

&dquo;Let him seek mushrooms,&dquo; was Schumacher&squo;s direction.

A happy horse with foam in his mouth and long strides at the walk, trot, and canter were part of the beauty and structure horse and rider were able to maintain.

Another horse, Fabiece S, a 12-year-old Hannoverian Grand Prix mount, ridden by Krista Bailey, was the next ride in the Friday clinic.

&dquo;The horse needs to be rounder in the neck with a supportive rein,&dquo; said Schumacher.

The goal was to have Fabriece going forward honestly and soft and round at all gaits. This was accomplished through the exercise of turn on the forehand at the walk in a volte and then a canter from that exercise.

&dquo;We tell the horse by our body that they must understand our inside leg aids and the outside rein, and when they give in the pull, the softness and roundness is rewarded by our feel in their hands,&dquo; said Schumacher. &dquo;Everything that is difficult comes first. Roundness in the neck, even feel on both reins, softness of the mouth, and a relaxed swinging back. Once you have all these elements in your horse correctly maintained, you soften with your hand and reward the horse.&dquo;

&dquo;I like what you do&dquo; and &dquo;Keep the walk active&dquo; were remarks most noted during this ride with Schumacher.

‐ article submitted