August 28, 2009 -- Dressage trainer Todd Flettrich is currently in Germany training with Olympic gold medalist Hubertus Schmidt at his Paderborn farm and has begun competing with Cherry Knoll Farm's horses, 13-year-old Otto and nine-year-old Danseur, in national competition. At a recent show at Hof Bettenrode in Germany, Flettrich qualified both Otto and Danseur for the Grand Prix Special after successful qualifying tests. The Wellington-based trainer was very pleased with both of the horse's performances.
"This was Danseur's first horse show ever and to be in the top 12 and qualify for the Grand Prix Special was very gratifying," Flettrich explained. "When I came out of the arena the first day, Hubertus had a huge smile on his face and he encouraged me to do the Special."
Flettrich felt that to do the Special might be too much for Danseur's first show since he and the horse hadn't practiced it, but the test went well. "The wonderful thing is that the horse stayed with me considering it was raining and there were some first show issues," Flettrich pointed out.
"We came to Germany with Otto to prepare for competition," Flettrich continued. "The wonderful thing about Otto is that what you have in the warm-up you have in the ring and now I feel that I need to prepare him better for the test. It is a great compliment to the horse, as he has no hidden agendas, and we are beginning to form a nice partnership."
Flettrich ended up in third place in the Grand Prix Special with Otto, placing just behind fellow Wellington rider Michelle Gibson. He acknowledged how nice it was to have the camaraderie of another American rider, trainer Hubertus Schmidt, bereiter Hubertus Hufendiek, and groom Catherine Malone at the show. "It was really a team effort," Flettrich said. "The whole show was a great experience. I got to see where we are with our training, and we did well. There is a lot more there, and I think that we will only get better from here."
Flettrich and Margaret Duprey will be in Germany through the end of August and will continue to train with Schmidt at his farm in Paderborn. Upon returning to the United States, Flettrich plans to compete in Saugerties, N.Y., and Devon, Pa., to kick off the fall season.
Todd Flettrich is based in Wellington, Fla., has earned his USDF silver and gold medals, and is a graduate of the USDF "L" Judge Program. Flettrich competed at the North American Young Riders Championships (NAYRC) four times and won the individual gold medal and team silver in 1991. Flettrich served as Region 1 coach and chef d'equipe at NAYRC from 1988 through 1994. His student Catherine Malone won the individual gold in 2005. Flettrich's current mounts are owned by Cherry Knoll Farm.