WELLINGTON, FL – February 26, 2008 – In preparation for his upcoming European tour with three Grand Prix dressage horses this summer, Todd Flettrich rode two of his mounts in a four-day clinic with Olympic Team Gold Medalist Hubertus Schmidt of Germany. The clinic was held February 11 through 14 at Diamante Farm in Wellington, FL. Flettrich rode Danseur, a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding, and Otto, a 12-year-old Danish gelding. Flettrich’s third Grand Prix horse for the European tour is Amadeus, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding. Cherry Knoll Farm, located in West Grove, PA, and Wellington, FL, owns all three horses.
Schmidt has coached Flettrich regularly for the past two years. In 2007, Flettrich and his team of horses and clients were based at Schmidt’s stable in Paderborn, Germany, for six months. With Schmidt as his coach, Flettrich completed a four-city show tour with Amadeus in preparation for the 2008 Florida winter circuit and the Selection Trials for the Beijing Olympic Games. Flettrich and Amadeus were ranked 15th in the U.S. before an injury sidelined them. Flettrich will use the 2009 summer with Schmidt to train and show Danseur, Otto, and Amadeus in preparation for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ Kentucky 2010.
The recent Wellington clinic was Flettrich’s first opportunity to work with Schmidt in a year. “From the very first day, it felt like I went back home,” beamed Flettrich. “It really felt great. Hubertus is such a wonderful teacher. With just a few key phrases, he really made his points. He made me feel ready for the show ring. He is tough on the basics – the basic through-ness and the basic ease of the riding.”
While Amadeus has been Flettrich’s partner for four years and claimed his share of blue ribbons in the Grand Prix ring, Otto, a veteran Grand Prix horse, is a new mount for Flettrich that Cherry Knoll Farm acquired in December 2008, and Danseur will be making his Grand Prix debut in 2009.
“I’m still getting to know Otto,” Flettrich said. “Even though he’s a successful Grand Prix horse, he’s a hot horse, and I want to make sure we’re ready and working together before we go in the show ring. In the clinic, we worked on basic through-ness. With Danseur the canter work and piaffe/passage are quite good, so we worked on developing a more consistent swing in the trot. Hubertus recommended that I wait to compete Danseur and Otto until I’m in Europe with him. He wants to be there for the first Grand Prix I ride with both Otto and Danseur.”
Flettrich and Amadeus, Otto, and Danseur depart for Germany in June 2009. As they did in 2007, two of Flettrich’s long-time students will accompany him to train with Schmidt as well – Margaret Duprey, owner of Cherry Knoll Farm, and Catherine Malone, will both bring two mounts.
“This winter in Florida, we’ve really been preparing the horses to compete in Europe during the summer,” Flettrich explained. “We’ll start with national shows in Germany and then do the CDIs. Our goal is to get some show experience under our belt with all three horses, and then come back and do the fall shows in the U.S. – NEDA and Devon.”
Ultimately, Flettrich’s goal is to qualify for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ Kentucky 2010. “Each of these horses has the talent to be considered as a candidate to represent the U.S. in the World Championships,” Flettrich affirmed. “I am really pleased to have three extraordinary Grand Prix horses to compete.”