February 2008
To Go Beyond, You Need the Best
Reinhard Dorsch Teaching dressage the right way.

To Go Beyond, You Need the Best
By Ingrid Edisen

San Antonian Bill Askins knew he’d hit a wall in his dressage training three years ago. He had all the right stuff—the horseflesh, his own physique, tons of riding experience after racing across polo fields, riding cow ponies, riding in modern Pentathlon competitions, jumping five-footers, and had already taken in some dressage lessons and clinics. His wife, Janet, a dressage rider herself, had encouraged him to really learn how to ride by studying dressage. But he needed that sin qua non--that special, intelligent guide who could take him to the upper levels in a classical way. Then, as luck would have it, he attended a clinic in Boerne one day and met Reinhard Dorsch.

Reinhard discussing a lesson
Reinhard had been taking a break from horses by following “adventures in the global business world” as he put it and was easing his way back into the horse world—a world he always had loved. After Bill watched Reinhard instruct for ten minutes he knew he had found the real thing—a hidden treasure, actually. Bill has found him to be a mentor that has helped him with his Hanoverian Angelo and assisted him in training his Akhal-Teke Helm to Prix St. Georges level, cresting on Intermediare.

A visit to Reinhard’s website (see below) shows how much “post graduate” work he has done. It documents a lifetime of pure, classical training most folks in the U.S. never get to experience. He is soft-spoken and secure in his knowledge. And why not? He’s learned from the best and literally taught around the world. For five years he was the driving force behind the international touring show “The Royal Lipizzaner Stallions” with headquarters in Charleston W.VA. now being “The World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions” with headquarters in Orlando, FL. Reinhard served as the director of riders and horses. Not only was he in charge of the training but he also choreographed the numbers and selected music for the arena shows. Additionally, he was in charge and performed in a second unit at major state fairs in the U.S. and Canada for crowds of up to twenty thousand people.

Reinhard Dorsch For him, first there were the years of absorption. Originally Reinhard started out as a jockey, going on to win against one of Germany’s top horses who had just won the Union Race the year before. The Union Race is equivalent to the Preakness in the U. S. Unfortunately, his body grew too much to remain a jockey. With the help of Hans-Günter Winkler, Germany’s foremost Olympian, he became the first apprentice at the renowned German Riding School in Warendorf. This included years of instruction and influence under such legendaries as Heinrich Boldt, the father of Harry Boldt. Harry Boldt held championship titles in European, world and Olympic competitions. Reinhard also was trained by H. H. Brinkman who was one of the best of jumper riders of the German Cavalry and the German National Team. Thereafter, he received his Bereiter FN License. “FN” stands for German National Equestrian Federation. Continuing with his riding education, he became the youngest instructor in charge of a riding school in southern Germany with special permission from Warendorf. Due to the success he had; he was the only Bereiter FN invited to a Reitlehrer FN seminar in Warendorf by General Niemack who was in charge of the training program at Warendorf. He eventually moved to Vienna and linking up with The Spanish Riding School’s chief rider, Johann Irbinger, who taught him much about the “Airs Above the Ground.”
His background includes competition in dressage and combined training among several future Olympians in Europe and Mexico—such as riding against Christine Stueckelberger who went on to win gold and silver for Switzerland in the 1976 Olympics.

Then there were the years of giving back. Although his native language was German, he was hired to prepare a German-speaking Canadian for the Munich Olympics and flew across the Atlantic to fulfill his new duties. This new setting, being trans-continental, interested him so, he relocated to Mexico City to accept a position as a trainer for a private stable with the option to train riders bound for the national team in eventing and dressage. Some of them went on to compete in the Pan American and Olympic games. Naturally, he found he was becoming multilingual by now. And of course, his skills as a trainer were displayed en masse for the public to enjoy after he moved into his post as primary trainer for riders and horses for the Royal Lippizanner Stallions Show.

And now there are the years of what Reinhard simply describes as “fun.” For anyone eager to learn dressage the right way, wishing to take lessons with an even-keeled master, Reinhard may be just the instructor for you and your horse. After years of teaching higher-level riders and professionals he now enjoys teaching riders and training horses of all levels. He has already worked not just with European warm-bloods but also with Thoroughbreds, Andalusians, Lusitanianos, Arabians, Friesians, Lipizzaners, Morgans, and other breeds. Having seen so much, he can cut right through to the core issue at hand.

You may reach Reinhard at (210) 859-4959, or e-mail him at reinhard@classicdressagetraining.com. His website is www.classicdressagetraining.com. Marcetta Darensbourg in College Station hosts some of his clinics and can be reached at (979) 776-8993.

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