Catching Up with Guenter Seidel
American Olympian Guenter Seidel led an ambitious campaign in the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials and while he would have loved to be part of London, he was still very happy with his results in the lead up to the Games. Aboard Marie Meyers' 16-year old Oldenburg Fandango (by Feinbrand x Figaro) Seidel kept himself competition sharp and eager for more.
"Riding Fandango in the trials was a great way for me to stay in the show ring and considering the short time we had I was very happy with the result," Seidel told Eurodressage.
Growing up on a farm in Bavaria riding Haflingers, Guenter was introduced to horses by his uncle, who set him on the path for his future dressage success. Seidel is a seasoned competitor having won triple Olympic team bronze at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.
"The highlight of my career was definitely the first Olympics, it was a great experience," said the 52-year old California based rider who rode the Hanoverian gelding Graf George at the Atlanta Games.
In the summer of 2011 Seidel ended his 22-year partnership with his sponsors, Dick and Jane Brown, but he is grateful for the couple's support. The show season of 2012 was, nevertheless, action packed despite the change.
"I had many friends and clients who helped and supported me, but it was mostly Dick and Jane Brown who were very generous and gave me the opportunity to ride internationally for so many years."
While he does have a new sponsor, Guenter is always open for more and in the process of looking for some nice new horses.
"I did attend the Verden auction, but only to watch Belli (Balkenhol) ride Dablino, not to look at or buy any horses. But If I could have any horse in the world right now, it wouldn't be a trained horse, but an incredible younger horse to bring along myself," said Seidel who has been training with German Klaus Balkenhol for two decades.
Still working at the same stable, Albert Court in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, Guenter trains alongside Christine Traurig and the two help each other as often as they can.
"I have had a successful and busy year so far, giving some more clinics and helping a handful of students at home," Seidel explained. "Also, whenever I'm in Europe, I always work with Klaus Balkenhol, as I have done for the last 20 years."
While the question about the best horse Guenter ever had is very hard for him to answer, he acknowledges that all horses have their strong and weak sides, and stated it is more important to just have faith in your horse's ability.
"I guess the best horse will always be the one I am competing on at the moment. You have to believe in your horse to be successful."
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