(as submitted for publication in Equine Canada's Magazine)
At Troika Trakehner Stud Farm on Sunday, September 9, 2006, the esteemed Walter Zettl, was in attendance during the entire Stallion Show. A former dressage coach of the US Olympic team, he remains one of the world's most revered German masters, and was obviously a guest held in high honour by the attendees and the facility team. Zettl has recently released a video series called A Matter of Trust, and is also the author of a critically acclaimed book, Dressage in Harmony.
Xenophon, was the name of a Greek cavalry officer who wrote a book more than 2,000 years ago, about training war horses. Obviously, his ideas are still admired, since Hans Hollenbach of Troika and Zettl work together today, in an initiative called Xenophon, promoting the kind treatment of horses in Dressage, through correct classical training. The day’s presentation of stallions, offspring and horses for sale, in demonstrations under saddle, in hand, over fences and free-style displayed not only quality breeding and bloodlines – it was proof that respectful training practices work. The day began with the Canadian National Anthem and a beautiful musical ride. A Xenophon banner hung at the end of the arena in which a piourette was explained, at one point even ridden one-handed!
A competition level kur was included on the itinerary, and the walk and trot sequences worked delightfully with the beats of the music, though the match was not as distinct in canter. The series of movements was not performed for judges, however, and clearly the hearts of the audience members were won. The event ended with a horse and human team riding to a dramatic finale – a halt and salute in crescendo as an impressive dynamic of real performance.
Overall the event was a wonderful day which displayed that Troika not only preserves history through embodiment of Xenophon’s old philosopy that you must never lose your temper, or use aggressive force when working with a horse, as well as through superior Trakehner and Achal Teke performance bloodlines.