California Riding Magazine • July, 2011

Bye Bye Germany!
Spanish-born, German-trained Jaime Amian expands the training possibilities at Dove Hollow Dressage.

by Kim F. Miller

When Laurie Falvo Doyle invited Jaime Amian to set up his own training business at the lovely Dove Hollow Dressage in San Diego's Olivenhain, the offer was quickly accepted and Jaime moved here with his wife, Imen, and 2-year-old son Carlos.

Jaime is a native of Seville, Spain and brings more than a decade of international equine education and experience. In 1999, he became a graduate of Escuela de Arte Ecuestre Costa del Sol, where he was trained by Olympic and recent WEG rider Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz, trainer of the magnificent Andalusian stallion, Fuego.

During his time in Germany, Jaime worked at the stables of Udo Lange and Thomas von Samson Dressurausbildung. After receiving his Bereiter's license in Germany in 2005, Jaime rode for Klaus Balkenhol's stable for nearly three years in Germany and afterward became the Chief Bereiter at Gut Auric in Germany.

In his time working for long-time USEF dressage chef d'equipe Klaus Balkenol, Jaime met several of his future West Coast neighbors as USET team members including, Steffen Peters and Guenter Seidel, stopped over while preparing for international competition. With horses from the Awakino Estate in New Zealand, he has won Stallion Championships as their Chief Bereiter. In June 2010 he was head trainer at Nolte Simon in Germany before coming to the United States.

Jaime appreciates the training he received in Spain, but he primarily uses German classical dressage techniques. "I mix some of the things I learned in Spain into my German methods," Jamie explains. In particular, Jamie has a special gift for in-hand training.

Since establishing his own training business at Dove Hollow, he has quickly made a name for himself throughout the area. Jaime hit the American show circuit for the first time during the Dressage Getaway in Thermal this past February. He rode Steve Borders' horse, Mondeo, at PSG and Intermediate I, and Exemplar at 4th Level. Mondeo caught further notice from the West Coast dressage scene after performing his first Grand Prix, at the Del Mar Nationals this spring, when he earned the winning score of 66.590% in Open Grand Prix. In those accomplishments, Jaime demonstrated what his friends and associates already knew: he was a highly accomplished equestrian before coming to the States.

Developing young horses is another of Jaime's strengths. The partnership with Steve Borders opened the door for Jaime to show Mondeo at Grand Prix, and they have several young horses that are on that path. Many are purchased through his extensive contacts in Germany and throughout Europe, where he visits frequently to shop for horses for himself and his clients.

In-Hand Gifts

Since Jaime arrived in the States, he has become aware of misperceptions about the purpose of in-hand training and welcomes the chance to correct them. Working with a horse from the ground has far-reaching benefits for just about any riding horse. "It's not all about getting the piaffe," Jaime explains. "What I try to do with in-hand work is engage the horse a little more and help him become more sensitive to the aids." The piaffe, and other high-level dressage movements, may be an eventual result of properly executed in-hand work, but that is not the main objective in doing it.

Dove Hollow barn manager Barbara Church is impressed by Jaime's in-hand work with a variety of horses. "It takes someone with a real feel for the horse and skill," she notes, adding that his level of in-hand expertise is virtually non-existent in our area. "It helps a horse understand how to use its body in lessons that are not overwhelming," observes Barbara.

She has seen Jaime work ground-based magic with everything from young horses just starting to develop the musculature and balance needed in dressage to veteran campaigners.

Ground Based Training

In-hand work is effective with hot horses that need a gentle touch and lazy horses who need gentle re-sensitizing to the aids, Jaime explains. Often the progress he can accomplish from the ground helps the rider avoid fights from the saddle and accelerates the horse's understanding of what his rider wants. Several noted trainers, including Laurie Falvo Doyle, have Jaime work with their horses.

Jaime had high expectations about the level of riding he would find in California and he has not been disappointed. "Everybody talks about how amazing it is in Germany, which is true. But here in California, the level is also very high." The generous amount of money some are able to spend on horses has something to do with that, but the other factor is quality of instruction and access to regularly seeing top riders in action. Jaime gives a lot of credit to German-born riders Steffen Peters, Guenter Siedel, Christine Traurig and Stefan Wolf for elevating the playing field in the States and in California, especially. "I think they gave America a big push, which is the way it should be, and now we see a lot of Americans doing great."

Jaime is very grateful to have found his way to Dove Hollow. Devoted to dressage, the 40-horse facility caters to the needs of its horses and riders. The 4.5-acre property's 200' by 75' covered arena facilitates all-weather training and viewing stands make lesson watching and clinic auditing a pleasure. The indoor ring has the Positract felt/sand blend footing and the two outdoor, regulation size dressage courts have mirrors, excellent sand and felt footing and shaded spots for visitors.

Stabling options range from 12' by 12' stalls with runs, 12x16 MD Barn stalls, or a 16' by 20' covered open barn set-up. Amateur dressage rider Flo Brown owns Dove Hollow Dressage and sets the tone for a pleasant, beautiful setting in which clients and horses fully enjoy their time together. "Wine Wednesdays," for example, encourage owners and students to gather on summer evenings and catch up with each other.

Jaime describes everybody at Dove Hollow as "great people."
"I am really happy to be here," he concludes. Those who've had the opportunity to work with Jaime say the same thing.

Jaime is offering a free in-hand work demonstration clinic on Saturday, August 6th. A few selected riders can have a lesson with Jaime afterwards if interested. Limited space available - if you're interested in auditing or riding please call Barbara to reserve your space: 760-845-3434.

For more information on Jaime Amian and/or Dove Hollow Dressage, please visit or call 760-845-3434.