WELLINGTON, FL - January 23, 2008 - Todd Flettrich participated in four training sessions at Cherry Knoll Farm, his base in Wellington, Florida, with Olympic Team Gold Medalist Hubertus Schmidt of Germany, on January 15-18, as preparation for the upcoming qualifiers for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Selection Trials. Flettrich rode his Olympic candidate Amadeus for three sessions and Danseur for one session. Cherry Knoll Farm owns both horses.
Flettrich and Amadeus recently returned from a six-month stint in Europe where they trained with Schmidt and competed in four horse shows. Schmidt coached Flettrich and Amadeus at German national horse shows in Verden and Paderborn, and at Odense, Denmark.
In Wellington, Schmidt worked with Flettrich and Amadeus for two days at Cherry Knoll Farm, and then on the third day coached the duo in a schooling show at Kathy Connelly's farm. On the fourth day, Schmidt worked with Flettrich on Danseur, a horse that Cherry Knoll Farm owner Margaret Duprey rides. Schmidt also rode Danseur on his first two days at Cherry Knoll.
"I was using the work with Hubertus as instruction, of course, but we were also preparing for the practice run of the Grand Prix," explained Flettrich. "My goal with Amadeus for the three days with Hubertus was basically to get back into the swing of things. Amadeus shipped from Germany on December 13th and we let him have a little bit of an easy time until recently when we've built him back up. We prepared him for the schooling show as if it was the main competition because I compete again at the CDI next weekend."
Flettrich and Amadeus will be competing in America for the first time since their return from Europe as entries in the Gold Coast Dressage Association Opener CDI-W on January 25-27, 2008.
"Hubertus said that Amadeus looked quite well and had a little bit more relaxation than he did in Germany," Flettrich noted. "I feel that's all related to being in the outdoor arena now. In Germany, he was in a small indoor for so long. There's nothing like what a little bit of Florida sun and a little green grass will do!"
In the training sessions, Schmidt worked with Flettrich on improving Amadeus's swing in the trot. "He wanted to see Amadeus move with a little bit more expression and without tension," said Flettich. "Also, in Germany, Amadeus would sometimes throw in extra changes, which Hubertus thought was a straightness issue. I did not have that problem this week, so that was nice! Hubertus made sure I didn't have that problem."
At the schooling show, Schmit coached Flettrich in the warm-up and in the Grand Prix test via headset. "Normally Amadeus gives a little too much and becomes tense," noted Flettrich. "In his efforts to try more, he shows his tension, but since he was so much more relaxed it was the first time that Hubertus allowed me to ask for a little bit more from the horse in the warm-up. Normally I would ride him a little more conservatively, but I didn't on that day, so that was quite nice!"
Judge Betsy Berry awarded Flettrich and Amadeus a score of 69.80% for the Grand Prix.
"After four days with Hubertus, I feel a lot more prepared for the CDI this weekend," Flettrich said. "I'm going to run through the test one more time before the show. It was really great to have Hubertus here to work with me."
Todd Flettrich, based in Wellington, FL, and Coatesville, PA, has earned his USDF Silver and Gold Medals and is a graduate of the USDF 'L' Judge Program. Flettrich competed at the North American Young Riders Championships (NAYRC) four times and won the Individual Gold Medal and Team Silver in 1991. Flettrich served as Region 1 Coach and Chef d'Equipe at NAYRC from 1988 through 1994. His student Catherine Malone won the Individual Gold in 2005. Flettrich has also previously coached professionals including Silke Rembacz and Lauren Sammis. Sammis trained with Flettrich during the past two seasons in Florida, including the qualifiers for the 2007 Pan American Games Selection Trials; she was named to the U.S. team for Brazil where she earned a Team Gold Medal and Individual Silver Medal. Flettrich is currently accepting a limited number of clients in Florida for the 2008 season. For more information, call Todd Flettrich at 484-459-2749.