Pia Laus Remembers Her Trainer and Mentor Dr. Uwe Schulten Baumer

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Posted by Giulia Iannone



On January 14, the Great Master of Dressage, Dr. Uwe Schulten Baumer, would have turned 95. We remember him through Pia Laus, who was one of his prestigious students. Pia Laus, German and Italian by birth, competes for Italy on the Italian national dressage team, for many years.

Pia Lau-Schneider and Shadow - photo by Astrid Appels
Pia Laus-Schneider and Shadow ©eurodressage - Astrid Appels

On what occasion did you meet Uwe Schulten Baumer, and in what period?

Dr Schulten Baumer was the trainer of Nicole Uphoff at the European Championships in Cervia 1987 and later of Isabell Werth at the European Championships in Lanaken 1988. On both championships I was part of the team. So I met him there.

I had ridden my first Grand Prix with Adrett. My mother asked Dr. Schulten Baumer, whether he would train me. After a short time training, I won my first big Grand Prix in Stuttgart, at the German Masters, in World Cup.

What can you tell us about his personality as a man, passionate about horses? What trainer and coach was he?

Dr. Schulten Baumer's profession was his work in the steel trade in Düsseldorf. He attached great importance to a well-groomed environment. The horses were his great passion. He put a lot of technical thought into what he tried to implement in his training. Very specific to each horse. Always in such a way that the horse should enjoy the work and, if possible, so that it is easy for the horse to learn the lessons.

What are the most significant technical aspects that you have been able to study and learn from him and with him?

The most important thing for Dr. Schulten Baumer was the suppleness and the elasticity of the muscles. The horse's back should be so elastic and strong through constant gymnastics, that it would not be difficult for the horse to carry itself. From this strength it is not difficult for the horse to do the lessons and tasks of highest dressage level.

When you worked with him, I think there were Nicole Uphoff, Isabell Werth, Margit Otto Crepin: is that correct? What was it like working with these other international riders who have left a great mark in dressage? What do you remember about them at that time and when you were training? Did you train together?

At the time I was training with him, only Isabell was there. We didn't ride together often as "The Dr." organized always his time for each one individually. Of course we were together on most of the horse shows. But every one trained for herselves whenever possible.

Isabell and I still meet at shows. Margit and I had a very long good relationship until she sadly died last year. We would often discuss the several ways to train the horses.

What horses have you seen working with him and how have you seen them evolve and mature thanks to his working method?

Many famous horses.

Which were your horses that you worked together?

I have trained Adrett and Liebenberg with him together.

You won the European young rider championship for the colors of Germany. With what horse? What do you remember about that preparation and what did he tell you after the competition?

I won the Individual gold medal twice, at the European Championship. At my last European championship, in Salzburg, The Dr. was my trainer. It was a very exciting championship , because it was not clear, until the end, which horse, Liebenberg or Adrett, I should ride. This was decided by The Dr. in a pretty short term. The joy was of course great after the victory.

I believe that, even for a short period of time, there was another Italian dressage rider with you, who came to work with Uwe Schulten Baumer. I'm talking about Paolo Giani Margi, with Destino di Acciarella. Am I right? Do you remember anything about the training and work with the great German coach on such a particular horse, since he was a thoroughbred lent to dressage?

In my memory, Paolo did not train with the Dr.  But I am not sure. Paolo, came to my stable in Germany, before the Olympics in Barcelona.

The "low deep and round" technique used first of all by Rembrandt and then by Gigolò, is the trademark of "Der Doktor" and marked a radical change in dressage. Can you explain to us, what it consists of and what turn does it give to horse training? (I know it would be long, but you can try to explain it simply. It is the focal point of the speech)

As I said above, it was very important to the Dr. that the horses were very supple. This meant that the horses could also be ridden by young girls and women, on their own. It didn't take so much force to keep the horses together. I think this even had an impact on the breeding of the dressage horses.

What did Schulten Baumer leave you in terms of legacy, an immense figure in dressage, also incorrectly discussed, because his technique has been confused with rollkur. Can you explain the difference please?

I don't want to open a discussion here about which way is better or bad. It is important that the horses are doing well with our sport and that we should not overdo anything. For the Dr. the most important thing was that the horse is our partner and that we can only achieve something together. The biggest difference, however, is that you should always try to get the horse to open the ganache so that the neck is long and deep.

As a coach, what did he give you? What is his important legacy that you try to carry on every time you work at home or go down to the dressage arena?

His saying was always: “you have to be just better than the others” .. I definitely remembered that, and it also applies to other situations in life.

An emotional question. You once declared “I loved being coached by Schulten Baumer, but he had a hard time to choose between Isabell and his other students". Did you feel bad about this choice then? How much did you miss this great coach then and in the following years?

No, I don't feel bad because in the end everything is good for something else. I still had a very good relationship with The Dr. You could laugh a lot with him and you could have very interesting discussions.

I would like to know what Pia Laus does today. Wouldn't you like to teach dressage, perhaps as a youth coach in our country or Italy? Wouldn't you like to do some stages?

Now I have three children. Professionally, I am a lawyer. I enjoy riding my 4-5 horses every day. I hope to be able to take part in tournaments again when the corona pandemic is over. Certainly, I would be happy to help riders and give courses in Italy, if time allows.

Would you like to return to the Olympics for Italy?

I was always very proud and happy to be a part of the Italian team. So if, then only for Italy!! I think Paris, will be a wonderful place and the horses that I have are worth to try. The best would be together in a team!! So lets start working and do the best.

Pia Laus-Schneider is an Italian equestrian, born in Frankfurt, Germany, May 2, 1968. She competed in individual dressage and team dressage at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. She also competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Giulia Iannone is an equestrian journalist and journalist and first level dressage coach in Italy.