Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dream Angels

Tuesday night I get a private message from a lady that I booked a training lesson from if I'm going to make it for the lessons. !?

The ranch is on the other side of the Danube well above Passau in the Bavarian Forest, above the flooded cities of Passau and the blocked Autobahn. (On Monday all our streets were closed due to flooding and land slides.) I booked this in January, with the most famous Western trainer in mainland Europe, the man who brought Western riding to the German speaking world back in the 1960s.

Fast telephoning, and my good friend who studied with Walter Lukas (my trainer that passed away and was a student of this man) also, says YES, let's do it, we can make it. Quickley arranging a trailer, she picks me up in the morning, I provide the horses (since her 22 year old well trained Quarter Horse passed away 2 weeks ago). Road Trip! (Through major flood lands no less.)

We leave at about 6 a.m., and weave our way avoiding flooded areas and traffic jams, it takes us 4 hours. We arrive at just before 11 am. He's there. His horse is saddled, he's relaxed and gives us time. He's 78 years old, I guess time is relative. We unload settle the mares in a open box stall provided for us, and let them drink and relax. We start brushing, saddling, bridling. And, down the arena we go with him.

We walk our horses around the arena, we lunge Diamond a bit to test her level of stress. Relaxed, if a bit looky loo. My friend mounts Lark, I mount Diamond, and our dream of private lessons with Jean-Claude Dysli come to fruition. Two days of lessons. The first day, a lesson in the morning and the afternoon, and the second day only in the morning. He must go in the afternoon, to a clinic in Munich (he also has to cross the flooded Danube and the mess of closed Autobahn) we're amazed we made it. Learned a lot, lots of tips for us amateurs. Time to work on what we learned.

After a break, we drive back looking at the flooded plains, and the traffic all the opposite direction of where we are going.

When Angels travel.

Karen Zierler (Austria)


  1. Glad you had a safe trip! What kind of things did you learn?

  2. Basics Susan, he looks at your whole picture with horse and rider, and brings back to small basics. We worked on passive shoulder, active shoulder, the canter and the stop, and the beginnings of roll-backs. He works in a very precise and fair art for the horse. The horse's head must be UP not on the ground (no peanut rollers) and the rein signals are light vibrations on the rein with loose reins, however the signals need to be recognized by the horse.

    I learned all this from our trainer, but he passed away in 2007. It was time for me to do some refreshing California Vaquero style. Lark is a school horse (ie. she's ridden by my students) and so no longer reacts properly to leg aids. She knows me and reacts to my seat and head, but if we want to do higher level work, I need to fine tune her again. I'm now supposed to work with spurs according to him (I never worked with spurs) with Lark. So, I've started now. Of course, lightly, not strongly. And, we are working on the hand again. The canter was very exhausting, because she's not responding to leg aids anymore.

    We also had Diamond with us, and with her it was the same thing, finer reactions with the hand and better leg aid responses.

    The horses respond to the aids, but not precisely, and we wanted to work on that, and also we wanted to know his opinion of what the next phases should be with horses that are going forward, turning, trotting, cantering, and riding out on trails, but need more higher work, what's the next steps.

    He is very actively exposing abuse in the Western Riding scene, peanut rolling, hard spurs and horses rolled up like a pill bug, are incorrect and bad for the horse long term. He's helping us to avoid this and teaching us classical riding, Caliornia Vaquero style (most of the people in America would think "Buck".)

  3. Oh, and the best thing was, both horses were very relaxed, standing there waiting for the next step to start. We would stand and listen to him, and he would says, "Beautiful horses." And, he said, he saw Curlies once 20 years ago in Germany, but he could not remember where. And, then he'd look again at Lark and Diamond and say, "Beautiful horses." It was the best compliment, now whether that was just marketing or not, I don't know, but I doubt he'd say it that often. He really liked our Curlies.

  4. Oh, and of course, we worked a lot on backing :)

  5. Wonderful post, Karen! What an awesome opportunity! I had no idea there was that much flooding over there, and to think you made it anyway! Yes, the angels were watching over you.

  6. Thanks Janeen. Yeah, both my friend and I said Walter was watching over us.


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