Here are some of the highlights of my riding career..from the
very beginning ...
Since seeing the German Derby at the movies
at age nine I was determined to become a
jockey. I won my first race against "Grind" the
horse that the year before won the Union
Race, in Germany, the equivalent to the U.S.
Preakness race..I received great comments in
the newspaper giving me high hopes at
becoming a great jockey.However, my dream
of becoming a great jockey came to a quick
end after growing suddenly and of course also
gaining weight, a sin for that profession
I wanted to continue a career with horses and with the help from Hans-Günter Winkler, Germanys foremost Olympian, I became the first apprentice at the German Riding School in Warendorf.
The German Riding School in Warendorf is the most important Riding School in Germany as it not only train,, but there it tests all Bereiters and Trainers. At this time it was under the direction of General Niemack who was also the president of the German Judges Association. I was very fortunate to be trained by some of the very best in classical horsemanship.
The most important influence and love to the art of dressage came from the "great Master" Heinrich Boldt, father of Harry Boldt multiple European-World-and Olympic champion, and author of the book "The Dressage Horse" which contains the elemental theories of German classical Dressage.I didn't know it at the time, but I realized soon that his instruction was the beginning of my fascination with dressage. I was most fortunate to work with such a great man.
During this time I also worked with H.H.Brinkmann who was one of the most renowned jumping riders of the German cavalry and German National Team. I also benefited to a great extent from instructions by Albert Brandl and Hans Biss.
Although my apprenticeship included training for all disciplines, my concentration remained on Dressage.I eceived my Bereiter FN License from the German Agriculture Ministry and the German F.N. at the German Riding School in Warendorf. The Deutsche Reitliche Vereinigung, or German F.N. is the national Equestrian Federation and is responsible and governs all disciplines of equestrian sports, breeding, and competitions.
During my years in Warendorf, I received numerous job offers from several parts of Europe and abroad. However to advance and solidify my education I worked for three more years under the supervision and instruction of government recognized Instructors in Berlin and Leverkusen, to further enhancing my equestrian knowledge.I attribute my later success to the direction and inspiration of my many gifted teachers.
I became one of the youngest Bereiter/Trainer in charge of a Government regulated Riding School in Southern Germany.Due to the success I had there with my students I received an invitation by General Niemack the director of the German Riding School in Warendorf to participate in a seminar reserved for Riding Instructors FN in Warendorf. I was not only the youngest participate but also the only Bereiter. It was a great honor and helped me in getting more confidence for future responsibilities.
After training horses and riders for several years in various parts in Germany I accepted a position in Vienna, Austria. There I was successful in competing at Dressage shows and Eventing. I established a good friendship with Johann Irbinger the chief rider of the Spanish Riding School. He got me interested in the airs above the ground and I learned a great deal from him.I never expected that this knowledge would be of benefit to me since those are not exercises requested at any dressage test. Little did I know then that it would help me enormously later in my life.
I competed regularly at combined training and dressage shows. I remember one anecdote,I competed at a Dressage Show and looking at the starting list I thought that I should win the test. Nevertheless, to my disappointment a young woman won and I placed second. Years later that young woman become world champion and gold medal winner at Olympic games, it turned out to be Christine Stueckelberger.
My curiosity to work in other countries was awakened and I decided to accept a position in Mexico City. There I was quite successful in competing at FEI level dressage shows including Grand Prix. I also competed successfully at combined training shows against riders that rode at Pan American and Olympic Games for Mexico.
I was on my way back to a new position in Germany when I was told that there is a position open to train iders and horses for the Royal Lipizzaner Stallion Show. I accepted the challenge with very, very little languages skills and suddenly I was in charge of many riders and horses.Somehow, I managed and unexpectedly I could utilize my knowledge of how to train"airs above the ground" thanks to my friend Chief rider J.Irbinger from the Spanish Riding School. We also had a very successful trip to Mexico where we performed for two weeks at the Arena Mexico in Mexico City and then also performed in Guadalajara. I had some unusual experiences making several presentations with a Stallion at some well known TV News and sport shows taking the horse in a freight elevator up to the studios
I stayed with the Show for five years during that time I was in charge of training riders and horses, choreographing the numbers, choice of music for the show and later for a second unit of four riders including myself.
Another unique experience has been to participate in a Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and giving a 4 minutes performance on the street in front of Macy's being on National TV.
We performed at large State fairs including the National Fair in Toronto Canada, where we performed in front of twenty thousand people. In contrast to the big arena show we performed to taped music and our presentation lasted about 45 minutes consisting of a single number, a Pas de Deux, a Pas de Trois, a Pas de Quatre, and "airs above the ground".
After five years, I decided instead of continuing back to Germany going back to Mexico. There I trained several of my former and some new students to national championships of all levels. Some of my students later went on to compete at Pan American Games and Olympic Games.
I accepted a very exciting offer from Vancouver, Canada to rain a young German speaking woman to compete at the Olympic games in Munich. Unfortunately, after a couple months they had financial problems and I decided to move back to Europe. I truly enjoyed Vancouver but my English language skill at that time was too basic to stay as an independent trainer/instructions
After a break and adventures in the business world, I am back now doing what I love most, training horses and riders. Hans Biss...