Ulla Salzgeber Gives First U.S. Clinic

By Christine DeHerrera

European and World Cup Champion Ulla Salzgeber gave her first clinic in the United States September 8 and 9 in Parker, Colorado. Michelle Lauber of Legacy Hill Farms brought the German rider to the United States during a rare break in Salzgeber's schedule. Salzgeber has been too busy winning awards to do much instruction; this was her second and final clinic for the year.

The clinic consisted of professionals and amateurs on training level to grand prix level horses. Salzgeber was not afraid to take horses and riders back to the basics. If a horse was locked in his jaw or not through his back, Salzgeber would not allow the rider to work on the tricks and advanced movements. Riders suppled their horses with flexion and counter flexion and made the horses obedient and responsive to the aids by sending the horse forward and then bringing them back. "Rounder, rounder," Salzgeber admonished riders throughout the clinic. American riders can take heart. "It's the same everywhere-the basics are the most important. Not only in America, in Germany it's the same," said Salzgeber.

Salzgeber seemed to have an endless supply of exercises for each horse and rider. "I've not had this kind of instruction ever," said Lauber of Salzgeber's hawk like eyes. Nothing escaped Salzgeber's attention. Riders were constantly reminded of correct position-shoulders over the hips, the accurate use of the seat and the importance of steady contact with the horse through still hands. Salzgeber prompted riders to be "very concentrated on your horse and yourself. Every stride has to be under your control."

Riders and auditors left the clinic with tools to improve their riding and training. The secret to Salzgeber's success? "I never give up."