Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

Gunnar Ostergaard PDF Print E-mail
gunnar.jpgA simple suggestion from George Morris changed my life. George was planning a joint discipline clinic at Hunterdon Farm with the dressage trainer Gunnar Ostergaard. He said it would be beneficial to my overall riding and suggested I attend. Since you don't ignore George's suggestions, I signed up immediately.

Those first dressage lessons opened my eyes to a world of riding I never knew existed. My mare Georgie Girl was never designed to be a dressage competitor and we were both amazed at the challenges each session held. A jumper rider for over ten years, I couldn't imagine riding on the flat being so mentally and physically demanding. It only took one clinic to realize I was hooked.

The Calentonis family owned a farm next to Hob Nob Hill. They began bringing Gunnar in on a monthly basis and I rode with him at every opportunity. During the lessons Gunnar was patient and did his best to explain the basics of dressage. In turn, I did my best to ride correct shoulder-ins and leg yields in my jump saddle. He always emphasized that schooling exercises should be perfected before moving on to more difficult movements. When I decided to try dressage in competition Gunnar was tremendously helpful in explaining warm-ups and test riding.

As his popularity grew I had to travel to the Dixon family's Erdinheim Farm outside of Philadelphia to ride with Gunnar. From 1983 to 1986 he helped me bring along both Eggbert and Hot Legs. Not long afterwards I began taking regular lessons from other trainers and I only ran into Gunnar at shows. He was always encouraging and supportive.

In 1999 I received a call from a Georgia rider who was hosting a clinic with Gunnar. I had lost track of him after my move south and looked forward to seeing an old friend. My horse Fahrenheit was doing well at fourth level and schooling all of the FEI movements. However, Wendel had never been an easy horse to train and I wasn't sure about his ultimate potential. Gunnar always had a good eye and I decided to make the trip for the one ride that was available.

The lesson started with a few laughs and reminisces. We both decided that we were a little older and not much wiser for continuing in the horse business for so long. Gunnar gave Wendel and I a thorough workout. When we finished I asked him do you think he has what it takes to go to Grand Prix? Gunnar just smiled and said you already started the piaffe and passage and this horse will have no problem doing 15 one-time changes. He'll make it. It turns out he was right.

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