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International Dressage Judge

Christoph Hess

Christoph Hess, a former leader in the German Equestrian Federation, is known for his horse-friendly training methods and his commitment to promoting harmony between horse and rider. He has served as a judge, coach, and advocate for correct training principles in dressage.

His name is closely associated with the German Equestrian Federation (FN) and with correct, horse-friendly training. Christoph Hess, a passionate trainer himself, served in various leadership positions at the FN and the German Olympic Committee for Equestrian Sports for almost four decades. Even after retiring in 2016, he remained committed to the FN and has been serving as FN Education Liaison. During this time, Christoph Hess has also been passing on his knowledge to riders directly in clinics and seminars. He loves horses and people; therefore he truly enjoys working with them in his lessons. Internationally, he can also often be seen ringside: as a judge for dressage and eventing classes. The classical training system is his guiding principle: “Harmony between horse and rider is the ultimate goal of training.”

His Feedback is Easy to Understand

For 20 years, Hess judged five- and six-year-old dressage horses at the national championships in Warendorf. Especially in this role, he used his commentary to explain the intricacies of dressage to the audience. He knew how to emphasize the positive aspects of the horses but also how to analyze less successful rides without embarrassing the riders, trainers, and owners. By focusing on the causes of the problems, he turned it into a learning opportunity for all.
Christoph Hess is also a very sought-after coach. He has brought many riders up the levels, imparting his philosophy of a path toward harmony between horse and rider. In his view, the key to success is a “commitment to long-term, patient practice and training.” He says: “My teaching method is supposed to inspire joy throughout this often thorny process.”

An Advocate for Harmonious Training

Christoph Hess set out on this journey toward harmony from a very young age. As a child, he began competing in all three English disciplines, and in dressage even to the advanced “S” level. Thanks to his deeply rooted commitment to the principles of correct training, he noticed detrimental developments in modern dressage early on and actively advocated internationally for a return to a more horse-friendly sport. In 2019, Christoph Hess received the German Rider’s Cross in Gold, an honor awarded only to those with outstanding achievements in the equestrian sports. Not only have many national federations (Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, and the Netherlands) been able to benefit from his immense knowledge and experience at the Olympics and other major championships: every rider has the opportunity to advance through his books, his clinics, and now also on wehorse.

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Christoph Hess

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