Breathing Olympic Air, Germany's Dorothee Schneider and Showtime on a Roll to Rio

Dorothee Schneider

Dorothee Schneider - one of the top riders of the world wants to repeat the dream of the Olympic Games. Photo: Reumann

She is one of the most successful dressage riders in Germany and is the definition of fine riding: Dorothee Schneider. Six Hanoverians form part of the team of the renowned trainer and rider from Framersheim. With Showtime she is a member of Germany's A-squad and aspirant for a ticket to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Dorothee is a figurehead for classical dressage, fine riding and preserving training characterize her work. And not only that – they are her key to success. The 47- year old is one of the most successful dressage trainers throughout Germany and was named into the A-squad  with her Hanoverian Showtime (breeder: Heinrich Wecke). Therewith they joined the exquisite circle of those who compete for a spot in the dressage equip at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Showtime has already proven to be the right horse for this multiple times. His victories in Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special in Munich and in Fritzens-Schindlhof last year, his impressive performance in Stuttgart and his potential to enhance even further in Dortmund make him a legitimate hope for Olympia.

Fairy Tale Career

Dorothee Schneider and Showtime

Cracking the 80% mark multiple times: Dorothee Schneider and Showtime, here at the Munich Indoors. Recent victory also in Munich-Riem: 84.3% in the Grand Prix Free Style. Photo: Lafrentz.

With his constant performance Showtime already convinced multiple times in the early years of his career. 2011 the Sandro Hit/Rotspon-son represented Germany in the World Championships for young dressage horses where he ended sixth. At the national level the 2006 born gelding entered the federal championships as a five- and six-year- old and successfully placed in the finals both years.

2013 he mastered the step into the highest levels and secured the ticket to the Nuremberg Cup in a superior manner. He won the entry test and all together ended fifth. The year 2015 started fulminant, the transition from Developing Grand Prix to the international master class was fluent and marked by multiple victories.

A special highlight was the first place in the Grand Prix Special at the Munich Indoors, which Showtime secured with more than 80%. The odds are looking well for Dorothee Schneider to breath Olympic air for the second time with Showtime. She knows Showtime inside-out. He is under her wings since he was three years old and enjoys the training in Framersheim on the stud St. Stephan. There he is lovingly called “Showi”. “I would describe his character as positively coy. He has endless possibilities and would do really anything for his rider. He is motivated, wants to do everything right and is a fast learner. I have a lot of hopes in him,” rhapsodizes Dorothee Schneider. “He fully lives up to his name”, she adds with a smile, “ he is a ‘coy Showmaker’ who shines through his performance and makes an imposing impression thereof!”

With former Verden Auction Horse Diva Royal Dorothee Schneider won Team Silver in London

With former Verden Auction Horse Diva Royal Dorothee Schneider won Olympic Team Silver in London. Photo: Lafrentz

The Olympic terrain is no virgin soil for Dorothee Schneider. Four years ago she already accomplished her childhood dream when she was part of the Olympic Quartet at the most significant sports event of the world. At that time she traveled to London with Don Frederico/Warkant-daughter Diva Royal. The story of the expressive black mare began in Verden. Royal Diva, bred by Heinz Braul, was presented on the Elite Auction in October 2006 by Siegfried Beinroth and bought by Hans-Peter Fricke. With trainer Tom Berg she found her way into the top class. 2009 she changed into the ownership of the Roth family and therewith into the stables of Dorothee Schneider. Then everything proceeded rapidly: Rank four and five at the German Championships in Balve set an exclamation point. After that the pair danced themselves into the hearts of judges and spectators in Aachen.

Holger Schmezer, German National Coach at the time, discovered the two and the dressage committee did not hesitate to nominate them for London. When Dorothee Schneider talks about Diva Royal and London it seems to deeply touch her. Goosebumps and teary eyes adumbrate that London was an emotional highlight in her career.

“Diva Royal does not have any weaknesses. She secured points with her imperturbable rhythm, her correctness and her always positive attitude – and  presented security and sovereignty in the ring. Here the all-round- package was simply right. It was extremely fun to present her,” tells her rider. In London the pair outgrew itself and their performance was praised with the Team Silver Medal. In the individual they reached rank seven.

A little bit of melancholy is mixed into the enjoyment of this success. Dorothee knew that she had to give the black mare back to her owner Stella-Charlott Roth. That was the deal. On an ongoing basis Dorothee remained trainer and coach for Stella and was happy to see the pair succeed in classes like the Piaff-Förderpreis (similar to the U25 Grand Prix in the US) and the award of the Otto-Lörke- Price for the Best Upcoming Grand Prix Horse. Today the distinguished mare is the proud mother of a filly.

Without The Big “Ballyhoo”

Dorothee Schneider is a dressage rider and a public figure. However, Dorothee Schneider is not a trainer who aims for publicity. That becomes more and more apparent throughout the interview. She comes across reticent. Thereby friendly, accessible and interested. But completely without “ballyhoo”, completely without glitter. Although she absolutely does not have to beat around the bush with her success. Not only her show account is fully filled, also her vita reads itself strikingly. She manages the Stud St. Stephan as well as the training of the horses of the Stud Petershof in Perl- Borg. The Master of Training and Riding as well as Breeding and Keeping is one of the most renowned Trainers over all. The daughter of the well-known Trakehner breeder, stallion owner and Grand Prix judge Hans-Eberhard Schneider and his wife Susanna led multiple horses to success.

Even though the Olympic Games in London have been a milestone in Dorothee Schneider’s career, they have not been the stepping stone from the young horse world into the spotlight. Through her regular participation at the German Federal Championships and the nominations for the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses she is known as “Championmaker”. Unforgotten her victory in Warendorf 2003 with Dynamico by Don Primero/Weltmeyer (breeder: Katja Bräuer). With the Verden Auction Horse Horatio by Hochadel/Matcho AA (breeder: Susanne Buroch) she also enabled all potential and was successful at the Federal Championships in Warendorf and at the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden.

Alongside the young horse classes, Dorothee remains equally successful in Grand Prix and in the “big arena”. She has a very special connection to her success horse Deyk who is 32 years old today: The Patricius xx/Ibikus-son was bred by her father. With the licensed Premium Stallion she secured more than 60 victories up to Grand Prix level. These successes in all areas are no accident. Dorothee learned riding from her father, Hans-Eberhard Schneider, who was himself a successful rider and trainer. Already in her early years Dorothee was ambitious and courted for every riding lesson with him. And that paid off. He imparted her the basic understanding of riding that, until today, forms the basis of the training on the Stud St. Stephan: Training in a systematic manner, appropriate for the horse’s age and according to the classical German Training Pyramid.

Rhythm – Looseness – Connection – Impulse – Straightness – Collection are still essential elements in the daily work with the horses. “We don’t have an ‘according to the book’ scheme. Every horse is trained and furthered individually. But for all applicable is the thought through muscle and force building work. That is the indispensable basis of all riding,” explains the trainer, who is on her first horse every morning at 7 AM.

Focus of her training philosophy is the development of the horse’s natural strength. “Riding with the most possible care is the most important,” she adds. Dorothee Schneider is supported by her trainers Monica Theodoresco, Hans Riegler and Jonny Hilberath with whom she works a lot. “All horses get out twice per day. In the morning for training and stretching, and after that, the second time around, they go into the paddock to roll, relax and have fun,” reports Dorothee. “That is important for the horses. It makes the more balanced and stress-free. That is important for the sport so we can grow together as partners in the arena and the horses like the sport,” she emphasizes.

Since a short while Dorothee Schneider has another Hanoverian in her stables. He also comes from the Verden Auction. It is the eight-year- old Falsterbo/Forrest xx-son Faustus. He was discovered by the Linden family on the Summer-Auction 2013 and educated to the 5 th level. Dorothee recently took over the training of the gelding from Heino Bruns’ breed. Aim: Grand Prix.


Santiagio and Dorothee Schneider in Frankfurt Photo: Lafrentz

Faustus joins the lot of more Verden Auction Horses. His direct stall neighbor is no one less than the Nuremberg Cup winner from 2015, Santiago. “Santiago is a very special horse,” Dorothee Schneider is going into rhapsodies. With him for the first time she was able to secure the victory in this test series. “I saw him for the first time in Dresden and was immediately impressed. His former rider Christian Flamm has educated him phenomenally. I was able to seamlessly build on balance, strength and suppleness,” she adds. “In Frankfurt Santiago proved himself to be a horse with a great future.”

Now the next step for the Stedinger/Dacaprio-son bred by Klaus-Hermann Ehlen is the Louisdor- Price. His owner Alexander Stolzke is very proud of how rapidly Dorothee and Santiago connected to each other. That is the reason now also his second horse Leopold SF by Locksley II/Wolkenstein II (breeder Klaus Kamps) is in training in Framersheim. Just like Santiago, Leopold is also a Verden Auction Horse.

Hanoverian number five in team Schneider already decorated the auction brochure in October 2015 at the 132 nd Elite Auction and thereby already clearly expresses the heritage: Fohlenhof’s Rock’n Rose also comes from the family of former auction horses. The 2004 born mare by Rubin Royal/Feiner Stern bred by Heinrich Lahmeyer is with Dorothee since two years. The pair successfully started the show season, of course in the master class of dressage, the Grand Prix.

Not at home at St. Stephan but trained by Dorothee Schneider at the Stud Peterhof in Perl-Borg is Derano. One still recalls the chestnut gelding from the finals of the Nuremberg Cup in 2013 where he finished second. In the following year in the Grand Prix in Aachen he proved to be made for the “big arena”. His stable neighbor is the Double World Champion of Young Dressage Horses, Sezuan. Dorothee Schneider would not be Dorothee Schneider if she would not get this all organized. “It is all a question of good organization and a good team,” she reveals. But it is more than just the perfect structure. Dorothee is obviously a talented organizer. That is one side. The horses never miss out.

She is concentrated on the essential, always has her horses in direct view and lives up to them. That alone cannot be the well-known key to success. It is the horse’s education that carries her handwriting. A handwriting that could not be more refined. The focus is training and education. That clearly came out at the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses. Dorothee was able to lead the impressive stallion Sezuan to the World Champion Title of the five-year- old dressage horses and one year later crown his training development with the World Champion Title of the six-year- old dressage horses. “I have great memories of the venue in Verden. I love thinking of those days,” she replies to the question what she connects with the Rider Town Verden.

Dorothee Schneider. and Fohlenhof

Since 2014 in the stable of Dorothee Schneider. The Hanoverian State Premium candiate Fohlenhof’s Rock’n Rose. Photo: FotoDesignMitsch

Not at home at St. Stephan but trained by Dorothee Schneider at the Stud Peterhof in Perl-Borg is Derano. One still recalls the chestnut gelding from the finals of the Nuremberg Cup in 2013 where he finished second. In the following year in the Grand Prix in Aachen he proved to be made for the “big arena”. His stable neighbor is the Double World Champion of Young Dressage Horses, Sezuan.

Dorothee Schneider would not be Dorothee Schneider if she would not get this all organized. “It is all a question of good organization and a good team,” she reveals. But it is more than just the perfect structure. Dorothee is obviously a talented organizer. That is one side. The horses never miss out.

She is concentrated on the essential, always has her horses in direct view and lives up to them. That  alone cannot be the well-known key to success. It is the horse’s education that carries her handwriting. A handwriting that could not be more refined. The focus is training and education. That clearly came out at the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses. Dorothee was able to lead the impressive stallion Sezuan to the World Champion Title of the five-year- old dressage horses and  one year later crown his training development with the World Champion Title of the six-year- old dressage horses. “I have great memories of the venue in Verden. I love thinking of those days,” she replies to the question what she connects with the Rider Town Verden.

Goal: Olympic Games

Malte Kanz interviewing Dorothee Schneider

Malte Kanz interviewing Dorothee Schneider at the Horses and Dreams in Hagen earlier this year

Still the lifetime dream is Rio de Janeiro. Dorothee Schneider is well prepared and now it counts to bring the performance into the ring at the Qualifications. With Showtime she again has a horse with whom she plays a significant role in the class of the best. With the victory in the Grand Prix Special at the Munich Indoors with more than 80% the pair has sketched its world class. In Munich-Riem at the Horse International they won the free style with 84.3%. Those are the best premises for the upcoming qualifications in Balve and Aachen.

Watch the video of their first Grand Prix together just one year ago.




1. Platz Dorothee Schneider, Competition 06 Grand Prix Special, CDI4* Schindlhof Fritzens

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