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By Lauren R. Giannini
When Hannah Allescher read about the contest for
riders 25 and under in St. Georg magazine, published in
Germany, she set her sights on making her 90-second
video entry as good as possible. The prize? What many
would call the ride of a lifetime on Lingh, the stallion who
won the 2005 World Cup Grand Prix in Las Vegas.
After Lingh’s frst successful season standing at Birkhof
Stud in the Baden-Wurttemberg region, Karin Reid Offeld
and St. Georg editor Jan Toenjes collaborated to design
the contest. It ran last summer and they announced the
results in August in St. Georg and EuroDressage.
Grand Prix Means Great Prize
Imagine what it was like for a young rider to experience
the Lamborghini engine of a horse such as Lingh. Hannah
was ready. So was Karin, who taught the young rider.
Nicole Casper, dressage trainer and the wife of Thomas
Casper, Birkhoff’s stallion keeper, translated the instruction
into German for Karin.
Hannah and Lingh walked at frst, getting to know each
other; but as they began to trot, Lingh’s engine proved to
be a powerful surprise. Hannah learned to post in what
felt like slow motion, to use her weight – not her reins –
to get Lingh to slow his rhythm, to move with grace and
impulsion. She learned to communicate with the horse
through consistently even but light contact.
The Ride of a Lifetime
Hannah Allescher sports
her “Fall In Love with
Lingh” cap. Early this
year she qualifed for
a riding squad team in
Upper Bavaria and her
goal is to keep moving
up through the levels.
About her dream ride,
she said: “For me it was
important to see that
you can learn a lot from
a horse like Lingh who
knows all his lessons”
Photo by Jacques Toff
Hannah’s next challenge was taking weight off the forehand
and stretching Lingh forward and down in this revelatory lesson
on an incredibly fancy schoolmaster. Walking intervals were
important and Karin used them to explain the importance of
training components like leg-yields and more advanced lateral
movements such as travers. The dialog relaxed Lingh: he was 18
at the time, living the equine life of Reilly as a valuable breeding
stallion. A gentleman, too: in the course of the ride, he paid more
and more attention to Hannah.
Stamping His Get with His Own Goodness
“I felt proud watching my calm and smart stallion taking
care of Hannah while she rode him”, recalled Karin. “His easy
temperament and athleticism make him a great sire for all the top
sports for men, women and young riders. He passes his character,
beauty and charm to his foals. I could not be happier with him.”
Hannah and Lingh progressed to the canter. When Lingh’s
engine again startled Hannah, she resorted to pulling on the reins;
but Nicole suggested that Hannah give and take the reins as she
did during transitions.
The horse, referred to as Professor Lingh by Karin with
understandable pride, gave his protégée the beneft of the doubt.
They worked together, Hannah giving and taking, communicating,
until they were in harmony, cantering in rhythm and balance.
Flying changes followed, at each end of a diagonal at frst, and
Hannah proved up to the standards desired by Lingh. Nicole and
Karin asked Hannah to soften her inside rein to see if the balance
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