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EQ Life tours Aachen: Day two

  The EQ Life tour group farewells PSI.

The EQ Life tour group farewells PSI.

 

 By Roger Fitzhardinge

 

So it was back to Kasselmans’ and this time to the Gestüt Osthoff where the mares and the foals, well some of them, are kept. What a privilege yet again to see some amazing mares and foals and the young horses that are just starting to be broken in. 

 

To start with we had a tour of the buildings that have been recently renovated; this property was so run down it was a serious mess and the Kasselmann family bought it and were helped with the government to produce some amazing facilities in the way of hotel and guest accommodation where riders for other countries who come to ride at PSI can stay. The buildings and fabulous surrounds are steeped in history and the horses that were on the property during the war were sheltered in a cellar under the main buildings via a long stone ramp, and during the air raids the horses were bunkered down in that cellar. 

 

On leaving the tour of the accommodation, there was a huge, flat, beautiful, turfed court yard where they put marquees for weddings and functions that they hire the facilities out for. We were gob-smacked at what we were about to see! There were four mares and foals that were shown on that courtyard. 

 

 

Virbac Aachen Equimax small

 

 

The first one was a pretty black mare with a leggy black foal. The second one was another black mare that was simply outstanding as a mover and type, with an even better moving foal! The mother was by Bordeaux, who we saw at Schockemöhle and the foal was by Furst Toto (by Totalis) who we also saw yesterday. This foal was probably one of the most impressive movers and performance of a foal presentation I have seen; the mares were run in hand and man did that handler run!!! The mare and the foal were outstanding. The Kasselmanns do not sell any foals as a rule and run them on till they are broken in and then from this, they then continue to work them and develop them as athletes until a destiny is decided for them. Every single one finds a niche on this earth and they are all so different depending on their attitudes and ability etc. Such an amazing way to think. The third mare and foal were even in some ways more impressive and a chestnut mare with a chestnut (to go grey) foal at foot with amazing show jumping bloodlines was an absolutely beyond belief mover. Seriously, it was breathtaking and words are not enough to explain that this took your breath away. The venue, the athleticism the history of not only the property, but above all the impeccable choices that produce these foals that are extraordinarily amazing. Even Francois had a grin from ear to ear on watching these foals, and he sees simply thousands and they were breathtaking. The final mare, another chestnut with yet another fabulous foal at foot. The grassed area had never been used for showing foals and what an amazing moment it was for everyone and blown away!

 

From conception thorough to Grand Prix these foals are handled by experts in that field, they are then weaned by experts, they are then broken in by experts, and they are cared for by expert vets and farriers and they have the best of everything both mental and physical. All amazing absolutely in the peak of health and happiness and such wonderful calm and accepting characters. 

 

The tour continued to the barns of mares and foals where they were all in huge walk-in-walk-out barns with huge gates that opened onto the lane way that led to the paddocks. Again the mares and foals that live in the paddocks were brought into the barns for us to appreciate and then let out to the paddock and that in itself was so much effort for our enjoyment and pleasure and the foals here destined for a huge future. When you put the PSI system together these are designer foals from the beginning on!! It’s like owning a Ferrari and every day you have it detailed; it always looks immaculate and in pristine order. It’s easy to see the total logic about raising an athlete at PSI as they have the very best of care from the moment their life begins. Every horse at PSI looked happy, content and in touch with their lot at the property. A kind eye and an unassuming look as you walk past and yet again a total smile if you were to stop and pay attention. This only comes from kind and considerate care to develop trust between horsed rider and rider and horse!

 

There was a coffee stop half way through the tour and then return to Hof Kasselmann for yet another scrumptious lunch of pasta and caesar salad that was, as with every meal, delicious to say the least.

 

After seeing the way that the barn operates in foaling time, it was to the indoor to see two simply wonderful thee year olds that were only eight weeks under saddle. A Furstenball that was beautiful, with three good paces and in an environment that was a first. The other horse was an amazingly uphill chestnut colt by Dimaggio, who cruised around the arena as if he owned it despite 40 of us in the middle of the arena! He possessed a walk that was ground covering and loose and a purposeful trot that was to say the least polite, forward, balanced and easy… and a canter to die for. This is absolutely one for the future of the Big Tour and he is only there but an outstanding individual being by Dimaggio X Benetton Dream!! What a star and it was obvious to anyone he had that look-at-me quality that simply draws the eye and says “watch this” and he was easy and effortless, eating up the ground in a forward yet controlled and easy manner. What a super pair and proof that the system WORKS…….

 

The entire experience of the day and a half left everyone humbled yet inspired and enthusiastic to do it better. The Kasselmann family could not realise what they had done for the 40 travellers. Their expertise was humble and unassuming, yet deliberate and positive that only comes from the many, many years of experience and that includes the amazing surfaces, the laser-level grader and the under surface pads, E Horse, the new sale website for horses, and now E Dog, let alone the scientific testing of the surfaces they produce… the list goes on.

 

The Kasselmann family never stop working nor thinking until the evening when their culinary skills kick in and its’ on for you and old. SO FANTASTIC in every way! 

 

What was so much fun was that the stallion Forum, who is ridden four times a week, was saddled up for our tour leader to ride. Forum is 26 years young and is incredible. After a short warm, up Roger was thrown aboard and rode him. 

 

“There is no way that this stallion felt his age and if you’re told he was seven you would believe it. He is not as keen, if not keener to get on and work like no other. He was was super forward thinking and all you need to do was show empathy and get him on your side and was awesome!!! 

An amazing time was had by all to say the least!!!!!”

  

Chestnut foal.

One of the stunnin foals on display at PSI's Gestüt Osthoff.

 

Therese Nilshagen and Dante Weltino.

Therese Nilshagen and Dante Weltino entertain the tour group!

 

In the afternoon it was off to Dressur Leistungszentrum Lodbergen to visit Therese Nilshagen. What an amazing story and what an honest and clear mind Therese has. She was so honest, simplistic and humbling. Demure and sensitive and loving. Every horse she stood next to, and there were plenty, adored her to be within in nibbling range. Of course this is a smaller brand, and there are only 43 horses there. It is primarily a breeding barn and the indoor arena divides the property into two separate areas: one side for the breeding stallions and the mounting dummy and the other for the ridden stock where the focus is on getting the best results and the motto here may well be HASTEN SLOWLY.

 

A truer word never spoken and this is for sure the motto!! On walking around it was easy to see the care and attention to detail. The gardens and surrounds were immaculate as was the indoor, the boxes and the welfare of every horse.

 

Therese was an absolute delight in the way she chatted and spoke of each horses’ highlights and was so positive yet totally transparent with each and every one yet when she got to the end of the aisle she was a bit gar-gar at stallion Dante Weltino, by Danone. There was an immediate connection that was uncanny and she spent a long time there singing his praises as only any favourite will. She has a very special relationship here and it was easy to se why. They are off to Aachen and believe me she will have every Aussie on her side and what a delightfully encouraging Swedish rider who is smitten by the big Dante, who she treats as a very special guy and totally deservedly so. He was so beautiful. 

 

She stopped by each stallion and chatted a little of them. They were all totally chilled by our presence and look at us as if to say, “What are you doing in our barn!!!” We saw the likes of Dante Weltino, De Royal, Finest Selection, Follow Me, a super star For Romance, For Final, La Vie, and Rubin Royal, just to mention just a few and what an amazing collection.

 

It is very evident that the quality here is exceptional and the amount of services that go out over the season see great benefits to the production and continuity of the facilities. Two outdoor super arenas, a purpose built and a large oval shaped walker for ten horses at a time, and then there is the timbered indoor arena that is 30m x 89m, and an under cover round yard that aids the breaking in of the young horses. We were also shown around the semen collection centre and the cleanliness was immaculate. It is here that all the collection and lab work on the semen is organised and shipped. 

 

The difference here at Dressur Leistungszentrum Lodbergen is that the horses are not really aimed at sale, and Therese is therefore able to take her time producing them.

 

Dante Weltino will be at Aachen and our Aussie contingent will be screaming, for she becomes a best friend to all in a short while! The two days was like a dream come true and yet there is even more to come. It’s been a week rolled into two days! It was back to the hotel and a sumptuous meal with all on ether Equestrian Life Aachen tour who couldn't stop chatting about all they saw

What a TREAT!!!!

 

Watch this SPACE!!!!!

 

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