March 2018 - A Master In Our Midst

Johann Hinnemann.

Johann Hinnemann says submission is always the goal during the Adequan®/USDF FEI Level Trainers Conference.

It was family reunion time for some of the superstar participants in the Adequan®/USDF FEI Level Trainers Conference with German master Johann Hinnemann. As demo riders in the Feb. 6-7 event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Steffen Peters and Kathleen Raine reunited with Johann, who was instrumental in their careers. The same is true of USEF Young Horse Coach Christine Traurig, who assisted throughout the session.

Steffen Peters & Demetrois, a 6 year old Rheinlander stallion.

Whether they had a history with Johann or not, the demo riders and all of those in attendance benefited from the knowledge shared by the German “Reitmeister.” Johann has coached the German, Dutch and Canadian teams over the years. He continues to coach riders and breed and develop young horses at his home farm in Germany and, increasingly, at Hinnemann Farm in Riverside County’s Murrieta. That’s the homebase of his son Stephan and daughter-in-law, dressage trainer/rider Natalie Hamilton-Hinnemann. (See story in California Riding Magazine, August 2017.)

Submission is the ultimate goal of every phase of training, Johann explained while working with horses ranging from two 4-year-olds to Kathleen Raine’s 18 year old international star, Breanna. Exercises as seemingly simple as the canter depart were broken down, their aids and timing re-iterated and repeated throughout the weekend. “The canter depart is the most important aid we have to teach,” Johann explained. “When we do a double pirouette, every stride is a canter depart aid and this is where we start.” That was one of many training exercises and ideas shared throughout the two days.

As its name suggests, the Conference is for FEI Level Trainers and designed to further their education through an exchange of ideas, inquiries and experiences. That requires a relatively intimate audience, the USDF’s Kathy Robertson explained, hence a limited amount of auditing opportunities for the general dressage public. However, there are various avenues through which an interested and determined enthusiast can gain attendance. The Conference has more often been held in Florida, but will return to the West Coast in 2020.

Appreciation for sponsors Adequan and the West Coast Dressage Festival was emphasized.

Heidi Gaian & & 11 year old Hanoverian Daumling, owned by Johann.

Dawn White O’Connor & 10 year old Oldenburg Bailarino.

Emily Miles & 4 year old Rheinlander stallion Sole Mio.

Kathleen Raine & a fit, fresh 18 year old Breanna.

David Wightman & 8 year old Hanoverian Silberpfeil.