With over 20 years of FEI national and international experience, the Hasslers have helped younger trainers recognize their strengths and weaknesses and provided opportunities for the young equestrians to ask their colleagues for guidance when needed. Scott described the concept that behind the Young Dressage Horse Training Symposium there was a lot more than just hosting another typical clinic or symposium. It was about developing younger professionals to have the training skills and standards necessary to train a young horse up the levels properly in order to be capable of high level collection. The main training objective at Hassler Dressage is to guide each horse toward a positive thought pattern in order to optimize its talents without compromising its well-being; this objective was always mainstream at each YDHTS.
Since 2005, YDHTS has gathered talented riders and trainers with professional ambitions to develop horses progressively through the USEF National levels or the FEI Young Horse levels. While the Symposium delivers quality education and thought-provoking discussion, it primarily inspires camaraderie and friendships among trainers throughout North America. In association with sponsor Harmony Sporthorses, the Hasslers have enjoyed providing this specialized program to help develop and energize the professional community focused on the young dressage horse.
Each year, the focus of the YDHTS concentrates on a different subject matter, the type of horse and its development, and the best way for it to reach the upper goals. The typical format included a half-day on Thursday and all day Friday and Saturday. On Thursday the activities begin with identifying the strengths and weaknesses in the participant horses, addressing the training plan and sending the participants home with evening assignments to prepare for the next days’ training activity.
Scott Hassler and the renowned Dr. Ulf Möller and Ingo Pape were the original training conductors. As time went on, they would come to include such luminaries as Anne Gribbons, Michael Klimke, Steffen Peters and German Young Rider Coach Oliver Ulrich.
The tenth year anniversary celebration of the Young Dressage Horse Trainer’s Symposium was held in early November, 2014 and was staged at the impressive Riveredge training facility, home to Hassler Dressage since 2010. At this 10-year celebratory event, all past participants were invited to attend three days of trainings and festivities. Unlike other years, where new ‘blood’ was added to the group by invitation or application, the 10th Anniversary event was exclusively for alumni.
Five out of the many guest conductors who had appeared at prior annual events, seventy trainers and ten riding participants shared this special occasion. The guest conductors offered invaluable guidance and other beneficial information to the participants. In addition to the training sessions, Anne Gribbons, Michael Klimke, Oliver Oelrich, and Ingo Pape all gave individual attention to participant trainers in a newly created ‘One-on-One’ meeting. It was an opportunity for these participants to ask business or training questions and tips on life in the industry. With open communications warmly welcomed, many shared their life lessons in the sport.
Seven $5000 Training Grants Commemorate the YDHTS 10th Anniversary
Through the continuing, enormous generosity of YDHTS partners John and Leslie Malone, a beautiful sit-down commemoration banquet provided a festive opportunity to announce and award a powerful educational opportunity. The Malones had agreed to allow the Hasslers to award seven $5000 training grants to select alumni so that they could personally work with conductors of past Symposiums: Scott Hassler, Ingo Pape, Michael Klimke, Ulf Möller, Anne Gibbons, Steffen Peters and Oliver Oelrich.
Reese Koffler-Stanfield was awarded a grant to train with Michael Klimke, which she utilized during the 2015 Florida season, Brendan Curtis went to Germany to train with Ulf Möller for the month of April in which the big international CDIO Hagen took place. J.J. Tate was awarded a grant to continue her training with Scott Hassler and Katie Poag received a grant to train with Anne Gribbons. Eliza Sydnor-Romm received the support to travel to Germany to train with Oliver Ulrich, and Brandi Benedict from Region 1 was awarded the grant for Steffen Peters’ time. Kathi Haworth of Reno, Nevada received the grant to work with Ingo Pape.
It is gratifying on many levels to recognize that the primary objectives of YDHTS have been met: to educate, inspire and connect promising trainers in an effort to continually raise the standard of training and sport in North America.
Many participants have gone on to compete in the Markel USEF National Young Horse Championships and at the FEI World Championships for Young Horses in Verden, Germany. Some have become team members for their countries at the highest levels of sport. The ‘give back’ mentality was a resounding lesson emphasized through each symposium. Recognizing that such an educational opportunity would traditionally cost participants thousands of dollars, the YDHTS participants have all been encouraged to give back by actively being a resource to their own training communities. The positive spin offs from YDHTS continue!