Dr. Britta Schöffmann

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Dr. Britta Schöffmann
Rider, Trainer,
Sports Scientist & Author

Dressage training for every person and every horse

“I train riders because of my love for horses. Good riding in theory and in practise is animal welfare.”

Britta Schöffmann is one of the most successful authors worldwide of dressage books, and much sought after as a speaker and writer of educational articles. The promoted sports scientist’s clear and concise way of bringing her thoughts across and especially her efforts promoting dressage training not just as a stepping stone to the sport but especially as an excellent basis of good riding for every horse of all breeds and every rider, her passion for sharing her knowledge, both theoretical and in practise, has won her many fans.

Supported by her parents and their fascination for horses she learned to ride from the ground up. With no such thing as pony “sport” back then, she rode her pony at competitions, went in the fancy dress classes as well as treasure hunts on horseback. Later dressage became her passion, gaining her Goldene Reitabzeichen (a German award for certain success at a high level) when she was 20 and only a few years later Grand Prix success on the stallion she had trained herself, Vivance.

“I am very grateful that I have had the opportunity to train with amazing horsemen such as Fritz Tempelmann, Willi Schultheis, Harry Boldt, Jean Bemelmans and more recently, Klaus Balkenhol. I am also very grateful to the horses that have always given me everything they had”

The sale of her four legged friends was never an option. She always sought to reach their individual optimum, for example, her mare La Picolina, known as “Liese” and originally purchased for her husband to trail ride, ended up placing in the Grand Prix Dressage Derby in Hamburg.

Maybe this is the reason why Britta has no preference for any breed over the other. “it doesn’t matter whether a big moving warmblood or a less expressive horse of unknown breeding stands before me. I think they all deserve to be ridden as harmonically as possible and brought along to the best of their ability. Each horse deserves to be ridden kindly- and for that dressage is the best way to accomplish that”

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Related videos

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Videos from Dr. Britta Schöffmann

The Ideal Dressage Seat Part 3: Effectiveness of the Riding Aids

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In order to become effective, not only is body control necessary but a big part is developing feeling for the correct timing of every little riding aid as well as mental awareness of the entire situation concerning your horse. Learning this takes time, Dr. Britta Schöffmann shows you how to get started in this video. 

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The Ideal Dressage Seat Part 2: Coordination of the Riding Aids

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Every rider dreams of being able to give the smallest of aids and our horse reacting as though he can read our mind. Britta Schöffmann will show you how to make this a reality and why your seat and correct use of the riding aids is so crucial. 

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In this first part of the series, Dr. Britta Schöffmann gives you a detailed analysis of the rider's position, the relationship between the aids and their use. Using practical examples, you will see the guidelines for a correct and efficient dressage seat and what common mistakes to avoid. A balanced seat is the first step towards applying the riding aids correctly, which is also covered in this video.

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This is How Horses Learn Riding Aids - Part 5: Putting Theory Into Practise

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Putting our theoretical knowledge of equine ethology and riding into practise is something every trainer, instructor and rider should be able, or aim, to do. Every action of the horse under saddle is always a reaction-to the rider and surroundings. To know this and respect this is the basis which we should keep in mind when training our horse.

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This is How Horses Learn Riding Aids - Part 4: The Correct Seat

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In this video, Britta Schöffmann explains how we can apply and use our aids when riding in a far more precise, clear and easy to understand way, making not only our horses more responsive but our time training far more enjoyable.

Duration: 00:16:11 Minutes

This is How Horses Learn Riding Aids - Part 3: Learning Theory – Rein & Leg Aids

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Above all, the rider has direct contact with the horse's body via the reins and leg aids and can generate specific behavioral responses through targeted actions. Learn here how important it is to first take a step back yourself and give the horse the time to find out for himself the connection between the demands and the desired reaction.

Duration: 00:25:15 Minutes

This is How Horses Learn Riding Aids - Part 2: Learning Theory - Habituation / Conditioning

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In the second part of the series, you will learn the most important keywords of the theory of learning and their meaning: habituation as well as classical and operant conditioning. You will learn what mechanisms work with the horse when it comes to the riding aids as well as in the general handling of horses, why positive reinforcement in dressage training is difficult to achieve and why negative is not synonymous with 'bad'.

Duration: 00:19:47 Minutes

This is How Horses Learn Riding Aids - Part 1: Theoretical Introduction and Ethology

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At the beginning of their training, every riding student is explained when to use which aid while riding. But how do horses know how to respond to these riding aids? How do you learn to understand the aid language of the rider? Britta Schöffmann not only answers these questions but also explains why the nature of the horse must be considered in the equestrian communication between man and horse.

Duration: 00:19:18 Minutes

Related videos

Working with Long Reins Part 2: Reinsetting & First Long Reining Exercises

Saskia Gunzer

Working in long reins is a fascinating possibility to school your horse in all the movements without the weight of a rider on his back. With the necessary preparation work in hand, teaching the horse these long reining exercises should be easily achieved. Once the first step forwards and the first turn have been achieved a serpentine through the entire arena is not far off.

Duration: 00:26:09 Minutes

First Things First: The Training of a Young Horse

Ingrid Klimke

Ingrid Klimke puts a lot of emphasis on the systematic basic training of a young horse. She and her husband demonstrate how to support a young stallion to better focus on the rider's aids, find a steady rhythm, and move in relaxation and balance.

Duration: 00:09:15 Minutes

Overcoming Spookiness in the Dressage Arena

Uta Gräf

Spookiness is part of the natural behavior of horses. For success at competitions as well as for harmonic riding at home, the horse needs to learn to trust his rider and stay relaxed even in unusual or worrying situations. Uta Gräf shows how she prepares her horses at home in their everyday training for such circumstances.

Duration: 00:13:08 Minutes

The School of Légèreté Part 6: Riding in a Double Bridle

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Once the horse has been familiarised to the effects of the double bridle on the ground, Philippe Karl then continues this from the saddle. He rides using the Fillis hold, enabling the use of the two bits separately.

Duration: 00:09:16 Minutes

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Philippe Karl

Lateral movements are of great importance when it comes to gymnasticizing the horse. Shoulder-in, travers, renvers and counter shoulder-in, as well as fluidly transitioning from one to another result in a chance to play with the balance of the horse. Well executed, those movements lead to an increase in flexibility, suppleness and a prompt reaction to the aids of the rider.

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