Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Walter Zettl

I feel so honored to have met WAZ, otherwise known as Walter Zettl, one of the world's most revered masters of classical dressage. He has joined with the Parellis to bridge the gap between natural horsemanship and dressage. For me going through the Parelli program, I went from a loose rein hackamore and then to bridle, but there wasn't a lot of teaching about contact and collection. I was studying Parelli and taking dressage and the two seemed a bit at odds sometimes. I was torn between my loose rein riding to getting her on the bit. So I am thrilled that they are addressing the hole and have added Walter to the staff. While working the event, we had to pass behind the main table where Linda, Walter, and the soundguy sat. On my way back in from a water break, I go to pass Walter, and he just put his arm around my shoulder and asked "Well how are you doing today?" I thought that was so sweet. He just smiled the whole weekend, chatting away, and talking to everyone who had questions. When I talked to him, I got a sense of his total understanding and compassion for the horse. So much so, sometimes his eyes teared up in the middle of a good story. Horses do that to me too. I am watching his DVD series, "A Matter of Trust." It is filling in a lot of holes for me about dressage. I am somewhat a "newbie." I have been taking lessons for a little over 2 years and have never competed. Maybe someday, but for now I am absorbing what I can and feel I have found a great resource in Walter. At the Parelli Celebration, he gave Linda a lesson. His timing is so impeccable, and he was so great at conveying what Linda needed to do to reach the limit, but not go over the limit. He grew younger as his voice carried commands to his student. I felt like I was watching a bit of history. After the lesson, everyone in the arena was on their feet, giving a standing ovation. One phrase he says that I like, "Now ride up in heaven," meaning look up and carry yourself like you are there. I can't express enough to everyone out there, if you ever get a chance to see him at a clinic, go do it. There are few like him in the horse world and I am sure he will leave the same impression that he left on me...."I am in the presence of greatness."

11 comments:

Kate said...

I'm going to look up his book - thank you for the post and the description - he does sound like one of those amazing horsemen and women we are all fortunate to encounter.

Lori Skoog said...

What a great story about Walter Z. I watched him give many lessons over 20 years ago. It will be great if he comes to our farm next month... So interesting that he is working with Parelli.

Grey Horse Matters said...

He is one of the greats and I would love to watch him give a clinic. You were so lucky to have met and seen him in action. I have his book and enjoyed it very much. I'll have to look into the DVD series.

Molly said...

So Fantastic. I would love to get to that clinic, too.
I'll go look up his DVD.

Stephanie said...

Very awesome! He is such a wonderful teacher and thank you for sharing your meeting with him :)

allhorsestuff said...

Soo cool- cool- cool! I heard he was helping them and I think it shows alot about them being open minded and it shall further them too! Thanks Linda for that!
You look so cute with him Jules!
What A treat indeed!!
Call me sometime~
Kac

jane augenstein said...

Great post!!! Lucky gal, meeting Walter Z.
~Jane and Gilly~

Pony Girl said...

Wow, how cool! I think it's neat that Parelli really does create natural horsemanship that works for both western and english riders.
I know what you mean about being in the prescence of greatness. I met a famous child development pyschologist this year, and I knew instantly why he was so famous. He looks and speaks to you with such passion for his trade, and as if you are the only one in the room.

jme said...

i am so glad you got to visit this event and that you posted about it. i had no idea they were working together. i admit i have sort of thrown up my hands at the whole natural horsemanship thing - largely because it seems to advocate a philosophy of riding so at odds with dressage in many areas, particularly when it comes to contact and collection. it will be interesting to see how the two can be reconciled. i'll have to look into this more! thanks :-)

lytha said...

I got to see a Zettl clinic in Kirkland, WA, and I wore my Leipzig hat and he said it was a nice city (it's really majestic in some aspects, and dumpy in others as a former East German city).

I remember Zettl was very kind to the riders and was approving of the habit of giving a sugar cube after a horse takes the bit.

I also remember he'd slip into German when a horse/rider team really impressed him. He'd say "Das ist gut!" letting us all know that he was pleased: )

~lytha in Germany

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I had bookmarked your blog awhile back and then forgot about it until this morning. Read back a bit and found this post. Hadn't heard that Zettl had joined up with the Parellis; sounds like a great idea! I have watched natural horsemanship clinics in person and on the ground, and know a lot of "followers." My biggest problem with it is that no one that uses NH seems to progress beyond waving their lead ropes at their horses! As a student of dressage for the last 18 years coming from a seat-of-the-pants background as a Western rider and trainer, that really frustrated me; maybe Zettl can help those people move beyond the basics to a true connection with their horses so they can learn to "dance."