Ahlerich: The Making of a Dressage World Champion|
(dressage) The training of one of the all-time dressage greats
The money was clearly well spent, since the young Ahlerich not only became the 1982 World Champion and 1984 Olympic Champion, he also helped usher in a new era of German dominance in dressage. It is hard to remember that back in the '70s the big player (rather literally) was Christine Stuckelberger's Granat, who rode for Switzerland. How amazing it is to read a passage (quoted from the press) like, "The dressage in Dortmund is a sign that the title is within the grasp of a German rider..."
The book will be enjoyed by any dressage enthusiast. However, as a narrative it is mediocre. It reads in most places rather like a training diary than a compelling story. Non-dressage readers, even horse people, will probably not enjoy it. However, for a dressage reader the day-to-day insights are very worthwhile. It is impressive to read how Klimke plotted the horse's career, and how much attention he paid to impressing the right judges at the right time so that not only the horse, but also the opinions, would peak for a major championship. It is humbling to read that even Klimke, worshipped by many, had off days where he made mistakes. And, as an American, it is facinating to read the press accounts of even lesser championships, where they criticize weakness in the half-passes or flying changes as they sum up the day's events and set up the next day's competition.
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