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FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 – Reining Preview

FEI Aachen 2015 European Championships GermanyFEI European Championships Aachen 2015 – Reining Preview
Aachen (GER), 13 August 2015

Europe’s best reiners gather in Aachen for FEI European Reining Championships 2015

By Simona Diale

Europe’s best reiners are in Aachen, Germany, for the FEI European Reining Championships 2015, nine years after the hugely successful competitions were held in the framework of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2006.

Athletes representing 10 nations – Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden – will be vying for the coveted FEI medals.

Some 40 horse-and-rider combinations will enter the arena when the team competition and the first individual qualifier kicks off on Friday, 14 August, at 10.00 CEST.

All the nations, with the exception of Austria, will be competing with full teams including the defending champions from Germany who took team gold on home ground in Augsburg in 2013.

On Saturday 15 August, the second individual qualifier will begin at 18.15 CEST.

The second qualifier will give riders who did not make it in the first qualifier a chance to participate in the individual competition.

Closing the Championships will be the individual finals on Sunday, 16 August at 10.00 CEST, when the Individual FEI medals will be awarded.

Champions past and present

Europe’s best horses and riders have qualified to represent their country in this year’s FEI European Reining Championships. In the last held two years ago.

Team Germany;

  • Alexander Ripper/Wild At The Bar;
  • Grisha Ludwig/Custom Del Cielo;
  • Volker Schmitt/Smokin Mifillena;
  • Sylvia Rzepka/Hot Smokin Chex – took the gold.

Grisha Ludwig and Volker Schmitt will be back next week to defend the title riding their 2013 mounts.

Team Italy;

  • Massimiliano Ruggeri/Spat Split And White;
  • Pierluigi Fabbri/Rooster Nic;
  • Giuseppe Prevosti/Chic Magnetic;
  • Mirko Piazzi/Cody Glo Phoebes claimed the silver.

Fabbri will be back riding Broadway Jaba.

Team Austria;

  • Rudi Kronsteiner/Whizoom;
  • Tina Kuenstner-Mantl/Heza Sure Whiz;
  • Martin Muhlstatter/Chic N Roost – completed the podium claiming the bronze.

Returning for Austria is Tina Kuestner Mantl who will be competing as an individual riding Nu Chexomatic. She will be joined by fellow countryman Klaus Lechner also competing individually aboard Cody Rooster Delmaso.

Alex Ripper of Germany riding Wild At The Bar took individual gold in 2013. Belgium’s Cira Baeck aboard Colonels Shining Gun were runners up.

In 2013, bronze medal honors went to Germany’s Grisha Ludwig and Custom del Cielo.

Joining Europe’s best reiners will be Dutch Dressage great Anky van Grunsven who will be on team Netherlands riding her own Whizashinningwalla BB.

For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen visit

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Beginning Trot Poles

Beginning trot poles

Beginning trot poles.

The natural length of your horse’s step this is, usually, between 4 feet and 5 feet, but this varies depending on your horse or ponies height. When you introduce, the ground poles do your best to set them to match your horse’s natural step. You might need some help on the ground to accomplish this but once you figure out the distance, measure it and memorize it and use it for future reference.

Begin this exercise by breaking it down to the most simple elements. The goal in the beginning is to introduce your horse to the trot poles. Do not start by trying to get your horse to change the length of his/her step. Let them have an opportunity to figure out where to put their feet without having to edit their stride. Figure out your horses natural step and if your horse has a 4-foot step then set your poles 4 feet apart.

If you or your horse have never worked through trot poles, then walk through poles until you are confident. Set your goal to keep your horse going forward through the poles. Another option is to set one pole out for your horse to step over then add a second pole continuing to add poles until you have four to five poles in place. The addition of poles does not have to happen all in one day. Depending on your and your horses experience, add poles accordingly. Take as much time as you need to get four poles in place.

When you have your poles in place, and you have ridden your horse through the poles at the walk. Pick you your working trot and start using your half halts through the corners to get your horse attentive, forward and soft in the bridle. Riding through the corners use your eyes to find your path. Try to keep looking in the direction you are going, using your eyes to define your path. Before you begin turning half halt your horse if necessary, then continue around the corner. Try to keep your horse balanced and bent in the direction you are heading. When you come down the long side approaching the ground poles, half halt if necessary, to help your horse remain balanced, try not to speed up while keeping your horse straight through the middle of the poles.

When you ride through the ground poles, make sure to allow your horse to adjust his step and feel the swing in your horse’s stride. Adjust your hips and try to be soft and accommodating to your horse’s step. Try to keep your upper body tall and centered over your hips and keep your hands, and arms supple following your horse’s mouth. Avoid pulling or gripping with your hands or legs. If your horse speeds up through the ground poles then make your adjustment in the arena where there are no poles and enforce the halt-halt and as you approach the ground poles. When you gain confidence, continue riding the ground poles in both directions changing rein through the diagonals.

Trot poles require more energy than simply trotting, and you want this exercise to be fun for your horse. Give your horse frequent breathers and quit while you are ahead. You are much better off working through any exercise accurately then excessively.

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