For dressage enthusiasts, winter in Wellington is the best way to usher in the new year. Each year, familiar faces and new ideas, steeped in longstanding traditions, are a big part of the equestrian community celebrations. And 2013 will be no exception, especially with the debut of the Dressage Summit, a three-day unprecedented event bringing together the best of classical dressage, competitive dressage training and natural horsemanship methods presented by five of the top names in the business.
Scheduled for Feb. 9-11 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and featuring Klaus Balkenhol, Walter Zettl, Christoph Hess, and Linda and Pat Parelli, the Dressage Summit will focus on working together to build stronger horse/human partnerships in classical dressage. These renowned presenters will demonstrate how to apply the fundamental principles of classical dressage to every level of the sport while respecting the dignity of both horse and human. This groundbreaking collaboration between dressage masters and top horsemen provides an exciting new perspective where dressage and natural horsemanship converge to enhance the training of the dressage athlete.
“Dressage is not only about the fancy piaffe,” Hess said. “It is about the art of the simple essentials like transitions, good riding and the careful training and development of the equine athlete.”
Hess is an FEI “I” judge in both dressage and eventing, and is currently the head of instruction and head of the Personal Members Department at the DOKR, or German National Federation, which is the German equivalent to the United States Equestrian Federation. He is actively involved in the education of judges and instructors in Germany and worldwide. Hess will be presenting a tremendous amount of information gained over his years of experience.
Balkenhol will also share his insight during the Dressage Summit. Balkenhol is a German dressage trainer and rider with multiple Olympic medals to his name. He won Team Gold and Individual Bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and Team Gold at the 1998 Atlanta Olympics.
Linda and Pat Parelli will also be contributing their vast experience with equine behavior, psychology and training. In recent years, Linda Parelli has devoted herself to the study of classical dressage with Zettl. Through this collaboration, and using her extensive knowledge of equine psychology, she has developed a systematic way to teach contact with the horse.
Pat Parelli is known worldwide as the founder of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, and his ability to transform extremely challenging horses in any discipline into willing partners has kept him constant demand. During the summit, the Parellis will focus on the mental and emotional aspects of training horses, and how to use this knowledge to train successful, willing athletes at any level of competition.
Zettl has a lifetime of valuable experience that he will be sharing at the summit, including his belief in the importance of cross training for the horse, patience for the rider, and the development of trust between them. His long list of global accomplishments includes numerous awards and medals.
Topics for the Dressage Summit range from developing the basics in any horse, overcoming training issues, developing a confident, willing horse, practical application of the dressage training scale for any horse, developing a physically and emotionally fit athlete to for competition, and applying psychology for the horse (and rider) to improve the partnership.
Dressage Summit sponsors Premier Equestrian, Dressage Today and the United States Dressage Federation will also be onsite to ensure attendees are treated to three days of elegant, exciting education. Three-day tickets for the 2013 Dressage Summit are available for $195, and one-day tickets cost $95. Limited VIP tickets are available for $395 and include catered food, complementary beer and wine, as well as the chance to mingle with Dressage Summit presenters. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.dressagesummit.com or call (855) 727-3554.
Above: Christoph Hess and Linda Parelli school Emily Wagner aboard the 6-year-old AWR stallion WakeUp.