The Rest of the Best
My equestrian education is a collection of every type of instructor imaginable. Over the years I have ridden with good, old-fashioned horsemen that no one ever heard of and I have worked with internationally respected trainers. The most influential teachers each have separate pages on this web site. Throughout my career, if an opportunity arose to ride with a notable trainer, I usually jumped at the chance. I firmly believe that you can learn something from any riding instructor. Even if that something is how NOT to train! Most of my clinic experiences have been positive and several trainers have added a bit of spice to my recipe for training. Those listed below are memorable for a wide variety of reasons.

Col. Alfred R. Kitts

I rode in a clinic with him early in my dressage training and enjoyed him down-to-earth approach. I later stayed for a week of consistent training with Georgie Girl. His cavalry background was rooted in practicality as evidenced by his outdoor, grass arena that had schooling figures cut into the turf. This made it wonderfully easy for a beginner dressage rider to ride correctly sized circles and straight diagonals.

Georg Heyser

I attended three separate six-day clinics at Mary Alice Malone's Iron Springs Farm in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. He worked with my horses Hot Legs and Pioneer. I remember that all of his lessons had the same general format but his advice for correcting faults was very useful. Georg was always concerned with improving the gaits within each movement. I recall his lessons were always demanding and long. During a trip to Germany I had the opportunity to visit Georg's farm and look at his sale horses with Michael Klimke.

Harry Boldt

Irma Hotz arranged for me to ride with Harry Boldt shortly after I purchased Monarch. He was an enthusiastic instructor and during the lessons I remember schooling zigzags until I was dizzy. Notably, he explained a technique for setting up a change of direction with a leg yield into half pass exercise.

Johann Hinnemann

Nancy Polozker sponsored a three-day clinic with Hinnemann and I took two horses. Hot Legs always had a bit of a flat trot so he had me school passage and then work with a "passage feeling" in the trot to improve the quality and strength of the gait. With Monarch, Johann suggested that a horse that knew pirouettes well might try to cheat a bit and spin instead. He suggested that I school working pirouettes and then immediately depart in medium canter.

Jane Savoie

Lehigh Valley Dressage Association (LVDA) wanted to host a clinic with Jane Savoie and asked to use Bit by Bit Farm. I agreed and later had her in for three other private clinics for my students and myself. Jane is always a positive and upbeat instructor. She frequently interspersed the psychological aspects of riding with her regular lessons. I renewed my acquaintance with Jane when I rode as a symposium demonstration rider in 2000.

Anne Gribbons

I spent another one of my "vacations" riding with Anne at her farm for a week. She gave me two lessons a day on her schooled horses. I can still hear her saying "down on the outside rein" over and over again. I didn't really understand that she wanted the horse to yield to the outside rein at the time but it is a phrase I use quite often today.

Rudolf Zeilinger

I rode Anmut in a six-day clinic with Rudolf Zeilinger in New Jersey. His approach was different from any trainer I had encountered. He lengthened my stirrups considerably and had my hands higher than any other instructor I had worked with. This position coupled with his recommendation to ride the horse out and up prior to asking for the contact caused me to watch all of the days lessons to try and understand his approach. Interesting phrases that stand out were: "The stride prior to the canter pirouette should be a pirouette canter" "In a half pirouette the strides are all close and then you depart. In a full pirouette the first three strides are close and the last half of the strides open up prior to the depart." This clinic also introduced me to Michelle Gibson. She was riding Peron and later left for Germany to spend years riding with Rudolf.

Edgar Hotz

I rode in four or five clinics with Edgar over the years. He always had a good eye and offered an international judges perspective. His recommendation to train with his wife Irma changed my riding forever.

Michael Klimke

In 1993 and 1994 I rode in two six-day clinics and audited a third with Michael Klimke. The clinics were held at the Hassler's Hilltop Farm and Peter and Amanda Kellerup's Five Star Farm. His lessons were demanding but he always showed consideration for the horse. He also possessed an excellent eye for details. Michael enjoyed the mare Anmut but the stallion Vergilius presented more challenges. After a difficult session the first day, Michael told me to arrive before the rest of the riders and "have him in draw reins." The work was somewhat helpful but at the end of the session Michael offer to refund my lesson money due to Vergil's unwillingness in the ring. While Michael Klimke is a dedicated competitor, he always tried to rein in some of my strength as a rider. He would simply say "sometimes less is more, Gigi." I later enjoyed a trip to Germany where I followed Michael and Reiner to shows and sale barns looking for horses. That trip to Germany, having lunch with Dr. Klimke and watching the Europeans compete was an experience I will always remember.

Bernie Traurig

I rode with Bernie Traurig in 1985 and 1986. After riding in a clinic with him in Scranton, Pennsylvania I had him conduct one at Bit by Bit Farm. Later while on a horse shopping trip for the Andretti family I rode with Bernie again in Phoenix, Arizona. He was an advocate of the out-of-hand release and always insisted on elegance in jumping. His technique for setting up for a jump-off always remained with me. He explained that a rider should always leave three strides prior to each fence in the jump-off. You could pick a long line, medium line or short line but it had to result in three strides before the jump. I also rode a dressage lesson with Bernie shortly after I purchased Monarch. He described the steps of a pirouette as "spokes on a wheel, the more the better."

Bruce Davidson

I worked in several clinics with Bruce Davidson with the Wesser's mare Hannah. I have never seen such long and involved gymnastic exercises. He truly tested a rider's courage. The intricate series of jumps were not designed for the weak hearted. Bruce's lessons always forced me to push my limits and every rider needs that now and again. After one lesson he made a statement that I considered a complement. Through a smile he said, "You should be an event rider!"

Jack LeGoff

I hosted Jack at Touch & Go Farm in Bangor, Pennsylvania. It was a dressage and jumping clinic with my students and myself. Most riders know Jack for his work with the USET eventing teams but he has an excellent eye for dressage. He always insisted that his event riders demonstrate elegance in the dressage ring. Jack didn't want horses too deep and always asked the rider "can you see the crown piece?" To me, Jack LeGoff was a true horseman, well rounded and talented in all three disciplines.

Other Trainers

Other trainers I have had the opportunity to ride with include Michael Matz, Charles DeKunffy, Uwe Steiner, Liselotte Fore, Belinda Nairn-Wertman, Hans-Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen, Bella Buttykay, Michael Poulin, Gerhard Politz, Willie De Leyer, Mac Cone, Betsy Steiner and Walter Zettl.