Dressage Riding: Klaus Balkenhol on his Work & Attitude

Working with Athletes

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Foto: Olympiasieger Altanta 1996 – Dressur-Team Deutschland: Martin Schaudt, Isabel Werth, Monica Theordorescu und Klaus Balkenhol (Polizeireiter) (v.l.n.r.).

What things do you pay attention to when working with the different students?

I train with athletes of different origins and nationalities, but acceptance as a trainer is crucial. In my opinion you have to be able to say to everyone – including top athletes: “You have to do it this way and that. Come here, I’ll get on my horse and show you how ”. As a national trainer, I rode the horses of the top people and showed them some things. This way of working brings closeness and it is easier for riders and trainers.

What are the advantages of having the trainer take the reins?

When I also ride as a trainer, can both – trainer and student – determine and discuss how the horse reacts to the influences and what needs to be done? This is very important and working is much easier afterwards. In addition, young people now ride on a higher level and have (become) more critical. Therefore, a trainer must convincingly demonstrate his technical skills and find acceptance by the students.


Source: Interview with Klaus Balkenhol

Klaus Balkenhol (69) began his active dressage career at the age of 38 and rode actively until 1996. During this time he won five German championship titles and won two gold medals with the German team at the Olympic Games. After his sports career, Klaus Balkenhol worked from 1996 to 2000 as the head national trainer for dressage. From 2000 to 2008 he looked after the American dressage riders and since 2008 he has been working as a freelance entrepreneur with selected private students.

Leistungssport 5/2010