Photo: ©Erpelding Horse Photography
A trip to Florida for the Global Dressage Forum of North America this past January is the latest example of Susann Regalmuto's conviction that dressage is a lifelong learning endeavor. Advanced riding and training certifications from both her native Germany and the U.S., which she's called home for 18 years, underpin an already solid knowledge base, but Susann believes there is always more to learn.
"It was very interesting to watch international trainers with different educational backgrounds and approaches to training interact with the panelists and even the audience," Susann says of the Forum, a first-time event in the U.S. "Let's face it, we all want to become better riders and trainers and this was definitely a successful venue to go to. Education leads us to success and education is a never ending process in our lifetime."
All that she learns is passed onto the horses
and riders in her training program at Middle
Ranch in the Los Angeles area's Lakeview Terrace. And it enables her to embody the root of her training philosophy, which is to "be an advocate
for the horse."
"My wish for the horses is that they always stay sound, happy and healthy. Each horse is an individual and I always want to help my students understand their horse's strengths and weaknesses and learn to ride in a way that brings out their best. To me, it's not just about riding, it's about helping them develop an ongoing partnership and harmony between the horse and rider."
Photo: ©Lee Locke -
The most tangible aspect of that training philosophy is Susann's use of the German training scale. Its building blocks are rhythm, suppleness, contact, impulsion, straightness and collection and these serve as the foundation for the harmonious partnerships Susann seeks.
She challenges her students to strive toward advancing up the levels. "I want them to explore, then push themselves out of their comfort zone a little and keep moving up."
"It's a big commitment to train a dressage horse up the levels," Susann points out. "These horses are athletes and they need to be out five to six days a week and working on a specific program. Not every amateur can make that commitment, but with the help of their trainer they can still achieve that."
Each horse and rider training program is highly customized. "I want them to really benefit from it and keep that kind of quality training going on when they ride," she continues. "Sometimes that means I warm up the horse for the rider, to help them feel what we are striving for in their horse's gaits. Whatever it takes to help them be effective in their riding and to produce a horse that is in true balance. That is when the horse can show its true beauty and potential."
Helping those partnerships evolve is Susann's greatest reward as a trainer, but show ring recognition is also nice and she's received plenty
of that. Her 6 year old Swedish mare Amelie
was a 2012 star as the USDF's Horse Of The Year
All Breed Reserve Champion at First Level and that's just the latest in a long resume
Thorough Dressage Background
Susann started her riding career in her hometown of Karlsruhe, Germany, under classical master Egon von Neindorff. At age 15, she expanded her already large body of experience by studying show jumping at the famous Rosenhof barn, where she successfully completed her "Reiterabzeichen" - Bronze certification, qualifying her to compete in dressage as well as jumping classes levels A-L. Moving to Berlin in her early 20s, she continued studying dressage with Mr. Neindorff and began show jumping with the eminent Guenther Till. At 25, Susann began working with dressage horses in classes A-M at the world-renowned Dietrichsmeier barn, successfully completing her "Reiterabzeichen" - Silver certification, which enabled her to compete in the highest levels of dressage and jumping
Photo: ©Erpelding Horse Photography
In 1995, she relocated to Maui, Hawaii, where she was a founding member of the Hawaii State Dressage Society. Susann brought her talents to California in 1999 where she has taught and trained ever since. A long-time participant in the USDF Instructor's program, she has been a certified USDF Trainer and Instructor since 2000. She worked with highly esteemed trainer Jutta Scott for three years; Jutta is a German Bereiter and Reitlehrer FN (the highest level of equestrian education one can achieve in Germany). She has trained with Olympians Steffen Peters and Kathleen Raine and is currently clinicing with Christine Traurig and Ulf Wadeborn.
Susann conducts clinics in the Western United States and Hawaii. She achieved her USDF Rider Performance Awards for Training, First and Second Level, and is a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist who has won numerous USDF Year End Awards. She began competing on the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Assn. and International Friesian Show Horse Assn. show circuit in 2006, and has won several Regional and National Championship titles.
In addition to continuing with her own education, that of her students and her program's success, Susann hopes to broaden learning opportunities in Southern California by helping organize a USDF certification program in the Los Angeles area. "The more we can start putting these workshops out there, the better for all of us," she concludes. "Even if you don't want to become a trainer, you can learn an amazing amount
For more information on Susann Regalmuto's Regal Equestrian visit www.susannregalmuto.com or call 951-515-7133.