Classical Dressage

Anja Beran, Asfaloth und Michaela Hempen

I always had a passion for dressage. The harmony between horse and rider, the magical connection, a communication invisible to the outside. But I had no access to it, didn’t know how to achieve that.

As a young girl, I rode mostly lesson horses that were not well educated. But once, I was allowed to ride my instructor’s horse, a big gray called “Falke”. That was quite a remarkable difference as he reacted to each of my uncoordinated weight shifts by putting himself back under my center of weight. I wanted more of that.

But it was only in 2011, that I discovered my road to learn classical dressage when I met Anja Beran. I attended her first annual International Workshop have not missed any since then.

What inspired me then was her skill to use dressage therapeutically. She presented a number of horses, and continues to do so, that were destined to be pasture mates at best. Yet these horses were in excellent condition, presenting exquisite piaffe and flying changes. She explained how she achieves this transformation by applying the principles of good classical schooling with lots of patience, love, and skill. Since that workshop in 2011, I knew that I wanted to learn as much as I could from Anja.

In 2012, I gathered all my courage and travelled with Asfaloth across the Alps to spend one month with Anja. What I learned during that time has directed Asfaloth’s training until today. Anja gave me the guiding principles that help him align his body in a better balance. My job was to find a way to teach him (and me).

This is how it all connects to clicker training.

Read on to find out how the puzzle pieces came together.