Klaus Balkenhol

Klaus Balkenhol

Klaus Balkenhol was by no means mad when he went to the telephone and dialled the number of the German National Equestrian Federation at Warendorf.

It was his confidence in his own capacity of performance that inspired him to make this important telephone call. Klaus Balkenhol, till that time an unknown dressage rider from Dosseldorf/Germany and his gelding Rabauke, asked to be invited to a training session at Warendorf. He was admitted more by obligingness than be conviction but the training instructors should be in for a surprise: Federal coach Willi Schultheis (who says that he is very reluctant to pass judgements) stated, I believe that Klaus Balkenhol and his horse, Rabauke, have to be counted among the best 8 dressage pairs in Germany.Schultheis's opinion is highly esteemed in the world of dressage. Balkenhol's history is unique in post-war Germany, the home of supreme dressage riders. Only one day at Warendorf carried the senior police officer Balkenhol, member of the Dosseldorf Mounted Police, from anonymity into the focus of attention. Schultheis had already written a letter to the Ministry of the Interior of Northrhine-Westphalia, stating that, Klaus Balkenhol was giving rise to the highest hopes.

Apart from trying to get support for Balkenhol, Schultheis wanted to get for the first time an international permission to start for the police officer who was then 38 years old, familiar with horses since a very young age). So far the strict police service regulations had only allowed him to ride on 5 international events within Northrhine-Westphalia. Klaus Balkenhol, who did not even belong to a dressage cadre, had been his own supporter and sponsor for years.

Without the help of financial contributions or trainers he had taught the most difficult lessons of classical dressage. Most of it I learned from watching others and from books,Balkenhol said. The nine year old gelding who had been bought by the police at the age of two and a half for DM 4,000. I had often been sickly before Balkenhol discovered him when he was shod by the farrier. I said to myself: It's either this one or none at all, Balkenhol remembers. Rabauke, who according to Schultheis represents the ideal type of a dressage horse, is still doing his regular police service. A routine working day that may include patrolling the newly-planned airfield at Dosseldorf, watching the crowds at a soccer match or taking part in the famous Rose Monday,carnival procession in Dosseldorf. Squadron leader Werner Vatter is absolutely certain: Rabauke,is the perfect police horse without whims or vices. We simply cannot do without him in our large-scale police operations.

But the silent joy of Klaus Balkenhol is now mixed with a feeling of apprehension, because very suddenly many dressage riders seem really keen on the chestnut gelding. I only hope they won't, take Rabauke,away from me, Balkenhol worries. This fear, however, should not be justified, because this case is not a matter of money or financial interest, but of own initiative combined with talent and the fun of riding, which in these days seems no longer natural.
Source: Weser Kurier Dienstag, 27. Dezember 1977

Balkenhol's formula for successful dressage horses Klaus Balkenhol, who is an advocate of the classical art of riding has always aimed at the refinement and consolidation of a horse's natural gifts. With calmness, patience and consistency but without exerting pressure or hardness, he taught his horses to meet the requirements of advanced dressage tests. Apart from the famous,Goldstern's, ten other horses, among them Sylvester, Rhodomo, Acapulco, Escorial, Gracioso, and Aponti have matured under him into successful Grand Prix horses. But he also trained his own horses, e.g. Ehrengold and Laudatio, who is ridden by his daughter Anabel. So what is the secret of his success?

It lies in the hands of every single rider whether horse and rider feel relaxed. It must be the rider's supreme aim to achieve relaxedness of body and mind. That's why I take Goldstern, out hacking for an hour or so nearly every day. 20-30 minutes of this time are dedicated to prepare him for the dressage tasks. I therefore let him stroll in a relaxed trot until his back starts swinging. Last but not least I pay particular attention to the traditional schooling schedule which emphasises impulsion, rhythm, suppleness, constant contact between hand and mouth, straightness of the horse's spine and collection.Source: Polizei Aktuell 1996

Source: Polizei Aktuell 1996