San Diego Olympian Guenter Seidel stated that he is super excited to be competing in the 2011 Dressage Affaire CDI this coming weekend in Del Mar, CA. After over six months out of the saddle after a serious injury in June, Seidel began riding the end of December and immediately set his sights on re-entering the dressage competition scene at the Seventh Annual Dressage Affaire. He has entered UII in the Grand Prix CDI and Sunday Boy in the Open Prix St. George. “I don’t expect a 70% ride as both UII and I have been out of showing for almost a year, and UII is still new to the Grand Prix. However, I wanted to start showing him at GP again. ” When asked if he ever thought his accident would end his competition career, Seidel said, “The recovery process has been slow, but I am not complaining. I never had any doubt that I would ride and compete again. I am a little nervous about hurting myself. UII has not been out at a show either, so he may be fresh. He usually gets a little worried about the other horses coming toward him.” During his return to riding, Seidel has become more proactive about keeping the horses on the aids. He states, “I am more cautious. I pick up the contact earlier, and I deal with any looks right away.”
Helmet was a Lifesaver for Seidel
Seidel calls the helmet he wore the day of his accident in Germany, “a lifesaver,” and he continues to ride with a helmet. “I believe literally that a serious fall comes when we least expect it. UII had never bucked before, and I have had him since he was three.” When asked if he ever anticipated such an experience, he said, “No, no one does. I don’t live life thinking something like this could happen.” Today, he is thinking positively about the future with his horses, and is currently riding a maximum of two horses a day. “I am not back to my full schedule and expect it will take a full year to be there.” During his rehabilitation process Seidel stated that he had great physical therapy and fitness help in getting back in shape. “I can see how some people would just quit. It has been painful because there is scar tissue that have to work through, but I have worked with knowledgeable people.” He is especially grateful to his doctors in Germany and to the EZIAH Human Performance Fitness Center here in San Diego. EZIAH works with top athletes in disciplines such as surfing and snowboarding and tailored an individualized fitness program for him. Seidel’s lucky groom/rider, Sara Christy, kept his horses going for the six months he was off. “She is a talented rider, and she ended up getting 3-4 lessons a day on my horses because as soon as I was up on crutches, I was out at the barn helping her with them.” While Seidel is gaining strength, the horses are continuing to progress under his ever watchful eye. All of us in San Diego’s dressage community wish him safety and luck as he returns to the Dressage Affaire, the competition he has made famous!