Scottish BHS Members share Golden Anniversary in Germany
From start to finish the BHS Scotland 50 Anniversary trip to Germany was the equestrian trip of a lifetime for the fortunate members that filled the thirty places available. The happy group with an age range from 12 to 84 years of age came from all over Scotland including Orkney, Lewis, and the Borders.
Over three days the group watched over 500 horses, and experienced first-hand how with state support, dedication, discipline and an immense pride in their native horses, the German equestrian industry has become one of the most vibrant, successful and admired worldwide.
The visit coincided with the 50 Westphalian Elite-Auction, where the first day was spent with a guided tour of the outstanding facilities, and viewing the schooling of the current 3 and 4 year old crop of these famous Westphalian performance and breeding horses.
The bloodlines from stallions such as Rubinstein, Pilot, Cornet Obolensky, Florestan and current superstar Damon Hill were all on view as testament to the quality and success of the Westphalian sport horse breeding programme. Show casing their young talent from these great dynasties makes the Westphalian Elite and Special auctions such a thrilling event.
Scottish BHS members were impressed by the dressage and jumping stars of the future and at the subsequent auction the top horse was sold for Euro 140.000.
Day two was spent at the Nordrhein-Westfalisches [NRW] State stud in Warendorf, which began with a comprehensive tour, and was followed by a spectacle that has to be on every horse lovers bucket list – the grandiose and unforgettable “Stallion Parade” or ‘Hengstparaden’.
The history of the 185 year old state stud combined with the German Riding School, which joined the stud fifty years ago – the same year as BHS Scotland came into being- as the ‘Centre of professional Cavalry’ is awe inspiring. There were 160 stallions in residence, less in the breeding season, when they are farmed out to breeding stations; warm bloods, thoroughbreds and cold blooded or draft stallions – the latter are kept to preserve endangered species and provide heavies for forestry work. The three-hour parade was a breath-taking spectacle of dressage, long reining, driving, music and beautiful moving horses.
On day three we were taken to visit the hallowed ground and equestrian yard of the late Dr Reiner Klimke, arguably the father of classical dressage in Germany. We were treated to a personal master class by his son Grand Prix rider Michael Klimke. A tour of the yard, followed by schooling a range of horses from four to ten years of age, offered us a privileged insight into Michael’s training methods. After generous hospitality Michael discussed how long horses take to mature, what to look for in a horse, especially a good walk and canter and gymnastic approach, and how to train riders focusing on the importance of the seat with feel and balance.
BHS Scotland Director Helene Mauchlen said: “Words cannot do justice to this trip; from the moment we checked onto Group “Young” at Edinburgh airport until we arrived home we were looked after royally and treated to such an inspiring, enlightening and spectacular equestrian holiday. We are all indebted to Loraine and Ronnie Young for masterminding such a great beginning to BHS Scotland’s 50 Anniversary celebration year.
“We always think about the Scottish horse worlds place in Europe. It seems like fate that our trip coincided with the 50th Elite Auction and the 50th Anniversary of the German riding school joining the NRW State Stud. How fortunate we were to experience in some small way a half century of improving breeding, riding and education, surrounding the welfare and harmony of the horse and rider in another European country."