Volker's Training Philosophy

Volker riding Usilvo, owned by Cathy Zemaitis.

Volker riding Usilvo, owned by Cathy Zemaitis, at Bear Spot Farm's Freestyle 08. (Photo: Brigette Voelk)

Initial Assessment

When I look at a horse and rider combination, I assess the natural ability of the both of them. My goal is to enhance these abilities so that the horse understands what the rider is asking and is therefore confident in his own ability to do the requested physical tasks. This allows the horse to learn and to be reasonably pressured within his current limitations, but at the same time to remain calm and focused.

As for the rider, I try to find out as soon as possible their mental make-up and personality, and also the way the rider processes things. I find that riders can learn best when they are comfortable and naturally in tune with their body. This is important so that they can control their body and make small changes to influence the horse.

Each Rider Is Unique

Every rider, no matter the level, has their own unique style based on their body type and on their personality. I try not to change this because it prevents progress. If a rider’s style interferes with the horse’s way of going, I will help to make small gradual changes, sometimes without them even noticing. This will enable them to have a greater connection to the horse.

The End Result Is Success

My goal in training is to systematically build a horse and rider combination that understand one another, and can communicate, without changing their natural personality. In short, I like to preserve and enhance the natural abilities of the horse and rider for their unified success whether the goal is achievement in competition or riding for pure enjoyment.

At times it is helpful for me to ride the horse to feel what the rider is feeling and for the rider to see how the horse looks from the ground. I may also compete an unseasoned horse to give him a good experience away from home.

My Interest in Competition, and Training for Competition

I am deeply interested in the competitive aspect of the sport, and with this in mind, I remain open to sponsorship opportunities. My interest and training philosophy translate both to the seasoned dressage horse as well as the talented youngster.