Fritz Stahlecker

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Fritz Stahlecker
Classical Trainer & Inventor
of the Hand-Saddle-Hand Method

Classical Dressage, Training in-hand

"Devoted to painting, as I am to horses, my life, my purpose and my ambitions."

A Man of Knowledge

Fritz Stahlecker, an engineer, born in 1925, is considered one of the most distinguished hippologists in Germany. As a self-taught horseman, he has worked with young, often difficult horses from the beginning to the highest level of dressage training.

Influenced by various sources of literature as well as by the classical training concepts in France and Spain such as the School of Légèreté, he developed a specific training approach: The Hand-Saddle-Hand Method.

Fritz Stahlecker always perceived riding as an art rather than a pleasure. He dedicated his life to promoting riding according to the principle of légèreté and methods of schooling horses without force. He wrote various articles questioning the modern riding ways and the influence of the competition scoring system for the training of horses.

He fought throughout his life against schooling methods that are too demanding, physically and mentally, for horses that are not yet fully developed. He died in March 2018 at the age of 92.


The Hand-Saddle-Hand Method

Developed as a way to gently prepare the young horses for riding, the Hand-Saddle-Hand method (HSM), values the ability to teach the horse in a playful manner based on their natural curiosity and willingness to learn.

With this training method, horses can learn and practice some of the high school exercises from the age of 2-years-old, without any pressure, pain, or discomfort. If the training involves the horse’s ability to learn technical exercises, there is almost no physical stress as the exercises are taught from the ground, without the added weight of the rider.

As an engineer, Fritz Stahlecker had enough creativity and tinkering spirit to work on inventions dedicated to increasing the comfort of horses during training. For example, he optimized the existing curb bit and developed the HSH-Center-Curb-Bit, which is designed to prevent pressure upon the horse's tongue.

Through the HSH method, Fritz Stahlecker prepares horses for the training under the saddle, not only physically but also mentally, by bringing them closer to their rider, helping them develop strong bonds and long-lasting partnerships.

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Videos from Fritz Stahlecker

The First Ridden Session

Fritz Stahlecker

The year-long training in-hand should prepare the young horse well enough for the first ride to be as stress-free as possible. In this video, you can see the stallion Mataré during his first riding sessions. As a true model pupil, he demonstrates how easy it is to get started with the HSH method.

Duration: 00:12:35 Minutes

On the Way to Collection with the HSH Method

Fritz Stahlecker

With the HSH method collecting exercises are introduced early in the training of young horses. Watch as Fritz Stahlecker works on collecting the paces and introduces the piaffe and pirouette to his horses. 

Duration: 00:35:39 Minutes

Introducing the Double Bridle According to the HSH Method

Fritz Stahlecker

Once the horse has been fully accustomed to the work on the double lunge line, Fritz Stahlecker introduces him to the double bridle.

Duration: 00:10:53 Minutes

First Steps on the Double Lunge Line

Fritz Stahlecker

In this video, Fritz Stahlecker demonstrates how the young horse is gently accustomed to the double lunge line. Watch how you and your horse can work your way from the first steps to the lateral exercises.

Duration: 00:21:05 Minutes

First Exercises of the Hand-Saddle-Hand Method: Stopping, Standing and Going Backwards

Fritz Stahlecker

Ground manners are crucial training steps for young horses. Stopping, standing and going backwards are the first exercises of the HSH method. Fritz Stahlecker shows the different steps and aids towards teaching your horse the basics.

Duration: 00:12:05 Minutes

Introduction to the Hand-Saddle-Hand Method

Fritz Stahlecker

Fritz Stahlecker was a passionate horseman who invented the Hand-Saddle-Hand method (HSH). His training concepts led him to work with raw young horses up the advanced levels of training. In this video, he introduces you to his philosophy and to the fundamentals of his training methods.

Duration: 00:24:27 Minutes

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