In­side DT

Dressage Today - - Content -

Some­times there are peo­ple who touch your life even though you never had the chance to meet them. For me, wal­ter zettl was one of those peo­ple.

wal­ter passed away june 7 at the age of 89. ever since i started with Dres­sage To­day in 2009, i re­mem­ber his christ­mas­time calls. That won­der­ful, kind voice on the other end of the line wish­ing the DT staff a merry christ­mas and happy new year was al­ways so ap­pre­ci­ated. And while i never had the op­por­tu­nity to meet wal­ter, his ded­i­ca­tion to the sport, com­pas­sion for the horse and sup­port of Dres­sage To­day as Ad­vi­sor emer­i­tus through the years have helped the staff shape a mag­a­zine that we hope still re­mains true to his be­liefs. So when i sat down to write this month’s col­umn, i knew i had to reach out to for­mer edi­tor, pa­tri­cia Lasko, who had worked closely with wal­ter dur­ing her years with DT. i asked her to share her thoughts on what made him such an im­por­tant part of the dres­sage com­mu­nity. This is what she had to say:

“over the years, i have con­sulted wal­ter many times about dres­sage train­ing for the mag­a­zine’s ar­ti­cles. he was al­ways gen­er­ous with his ex­per­tise about any dres­sage sub­ject. wal­ter was al­ways about the horse first, and he made us think that way, too. Af­ter any col­lab­o­ra­tion, he would send me a phone mes­sage that would al­ways be­gin, ‘pa­tri­cia, you are an an­gelA’ it was al­ways a treat to hear his happy voice and a re­lief to know he ap­proved of what­ever changes were made. ‘we must al­ways do what is best for the horse,’ he would tell me. it was a priv­i­lege to know and work with this gen­tle man.”

Look­ing back through old is­sues we can see wal­ter’s many con­tri­bu­tions, in­clud­ing sev­eral book ex­cerpts as well as fea­tures like “Sch­wung” (oct. 2010) and “The Shoul­der-in En­twick­eln ex­er­cise” (mar. 2001), which can also be found on dres­sage­to­ And in this month’s is­sue we re­mem­ber wal­ter with a piece writ­ten by his friend and col­league Linda par­elli of par­elli nat­u­ral horse­man­ship. in “wal­ter zettl: The guardian an­gel of dres­sage horses” (p. 12) Linda writes, “Sit­ting next to him while he taught, you’d hear his seat squeak as he rode ev­ery move­ment with his stu­dent and his voice and tone fluc­tu­ated as he soothed more soft­ness or urged more en­ergy and crisp­ness. his eyes would twin­kle as he’d ex­claim, ‘now we’re cook­ingA’” She goes on to say, “he felt a spe­cial call­ing to pre­serve the art of dres­sage and he ded­i­cated his life to it. wal­ter zettl was a true horse­man.”

wal­ter’s en­thu­si­asm for the sport of dres­sage and his un­wa­ver­ing sup­port of the horse come through in each and ev­ery thing he has writ­ten, and we will for­ever be grate­ful to have his words be a part of Dres­sage To­day.

un­til next time,

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