For a long time now I have been wanting a way to share with you all a very great man who is not overly well known but deserves the same focus and spotlight as everyone else.
A man who taught me not only the patient building blocks of a Dressage horse and rider but the encouragement and dedication it takes to be a teacher of horses and riders.
He gave me confidence in my abilities and helped me believe in myself as a trainer. He saw me at my best and at my worst – in character and in riding. He never judged me or held me back.
It was during a time where classical training was a majority in all training stables. A time where if ever we rode a horse that fell just slightly behind the vertical we were screamed at ‘Zu Eng!!!’ – Too Tight – and told to ride them forward and on to the bit. Where even the most talented of young horses were not allowed to be trained further than the basic building blocks allowed. A super talented 4 year old Stallion I rode, during a transition from trot to walk, would on his very own just fall into the most beautiful passage but Josef never allowed me to enjoy it. ‘Yes it is nice but he is too young, don’t let him do it’.
I had already spent 2 years working in Germany where I rode for Zuchthof Klatte, starting 13 of that yrs young Stallions and mucking out A LOT of stables hehehe then went on to a smaller Hanoverian Stable where I met the wonderful Paul Warnke who eventually got me the job interview with Josef. I got it and I am eternally grateful for every difficult training day, every hard lesson, every problem horse and every second Josef gave his heart into coaching us.
After my ruptured discs he did everything he could to help me heal. In the end it was something he did that gave me the beginning of my new journey in life and I am forever grateful for him ‘setting me free’. After the painful moment where he said that I could not work for him unless it was full time, he set me off onto a Soul searching, world travelling, quest for enlightenment, riding, teaching and coaching experience. I always say that if not, I would still be there, part of Stal Freese, to this very day.
He will always be one of the great riders and trainers that I owe so much of my life to. Josef, his amazing wife Doris and their 3 wonderful children – Phillip, Robert and Hannah, whom I gave riding lessons to daily with their three super ponies, are part of family memories I hold so dear from the years I spent in Germany. A time where I worked the hardest I ever have in my entire life, but certainly because of Familie Warnke and Sportpferde Freese, it is one of the best times in my life.
I know that Josef probably won’t see this as he doesn’t use social media, so if you would like to contact him or if you want to know more, please visit his website – in German and English. If you ever are looking for a trainer still riding in the classical way, visit Josef and his beautiful family and surely, a just as warmhearted, Stable Team.