Euro Update - In Memoriam Georg Theodorescu

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
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Georg Theodorescu

Georg Theodorescu ©Mary Phelps

Another of the dressage great masters has left us. The legendary dressage trainer Georg Theodorescu passed away on August 20, 2007. The Rumanian born riding master suffered from a stroke. He was transported to the hospital by helicopter but, unfortunately, could not be saved. He was 81 years old.

Georg Theodorescu was born in Rumania on 1st October 1925. Initially he worked as a lawyer in Bukarest, Rumania, from 1949 to 1952, but chose for a life with horses. He competed for his native country at the 1956 Olympic Games in Stockholm and was also member of the Rumanian Ski and Rugby team.

Georg Theodorescu moved to Germany in 1958 where he became a renowned dressage trainer and coach. He worked for the German Olympic Riding Committee in Warendorf, where he met Inge Winkler. In 1961, George married Inge (maiden name Fellgiebel) after she divorced from show jumping rider Hans Günter Winkler and the couple spent a year in the United States. They returned to Germany and located in Steinhagen, but later on moved to Lindhof in Sassenberg near Warendorf, where the Theodorescu's still live today.

Georg Theodorescu and Herbert Rehbein

Georg Theodorescu and Herbert Rehbein ©Mary Phelps

Daughter Monica was born in March 1963 and became the medal winner of the family. Monica won team gold at the 1990 World Championships and 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games. She is now back on the German team and will be competing at the 2007 European Dressage Championships in Turin, Italy, which start tomorrow. It was her mother's wish that she would ride in Turin so early after her father's death and burial, in loving memory of her father.

In 1996 Georg Theodorescu was honored for his achievements in dressage with the German Golden Rider's Cross and in 2005 he received the title of Riding Master. With Georg Theodorescu's passing, a legendary dressage master has been lost. Dr. Uwe Schulten-Baumer (81) commented, "now there is no one left I can discuss and argue with about classical dressage."

A note from DressageDaily's Mary Phelps: How can you reduce the life of a great man into just a few short paragraphs? One of the true great blessings in my life has been the honor to have met and known some of the great dressage masters who developed the sport into what it is today.

I am not a rider, but I suppose a trained observer. Georg Theodorescu, was always a dapper man, very approachable, and with a kind and warm twinkle in his eye.

One time at a show, Bad Honnef 2002, in Germany, I had a display of photos from Aachen and Arnhem. I was busy photographing and noticed him looking at my photos, and it made me very nervous.

But he spent a long time at the display and kept returning and purchasing images added throughout the show! I finally got up the nerve to approach him, and he was so kind and complimentary of my work.

You see in Europe most competitors rarely get the opportunity to view and purchase photos of their work, and at this show there was George, Monica, Karin Rehbein, and Klaus Balkenhol all hovering over my display, and buying photos.

Our American team was there, and they did not even stop by the display once, so it warmed my heart and soothed my injured ego.

I last saw Georg at Aachen in 2005, looking as dapper and stylish as ever, and I complimented him on his style. Always gracious warm kind and friendly he thanked me, we chatted a short while. I will certainly miss seeing him again.

My dear friend Aileen Munro shared her George story upon learning of his passing; When I was working with Denny Callin George would come over for selected clinics. My most fondest memory of him was him working with a student who obviously was a beginner.

She adored her little mare and George picked up on it straight away. He was so kind to both her and the mare that it brought tears to my eyes. Here this man one of the great master of dressage giving this girl and her mare every bit of respect and time he was giving to the professionals that were attending the clinic.

That night as he walked out of the barn I heard him stop at that mare's stall and speak to her in German. I don't know what he said but I know this; this man truly loved the horses he worked with. He will be sorrily missed.