Walter Zettl- Biography

Posted on 2012 by Admin   |   Filed under Walter, Zettl

Walter Zettl was born in Altrohlau, Czechoslovakia in 1929. When he was 16 he entered the riding school of Bad Kissingen in Kronberg, Ludwigsburg where he worked for eight years with Col. Aust and began a lifelong pursuit of equine teaching and education.

In 1950 Zettl was awarded the German Federation Gold Riding Medal, an honor for success in upper level dressage and jumping for a single competitive season. At the age of 21 Zettl was the youngest person ever to be awarded such a prestigious honor.

In 1952 Zettl was selected to ride for the German dressage team at the Helsinki Summer Olympics, however his professional riding status prevented his participation.

One year later Zettl was chosen to succeed Otto Loerke and Willi Schultheis as trainer at Gestuet Vornholz. He received his Reitlehrer certification giving him professional teacher status after reaching the minimum age of 25.

In 1955, at the age of 26, Zettl became first assistant to his mentor Col. Herbert Aust in Ludwigsberg. Here he coached three young riders aged 18 to 20 to Gold riding Medals.

From 1957 to 1965 Mr. Zettl served as Chief trainer in Munich where his students were successful in many championships. Zettl continued to compete and win at the International Grand Priz in Salzburg and the Bavarian Dressage Championships.

In 1965 Zettl moved to the Reitclub Heidelberg where he was Chief trainer for over 10 years. He again coached successful riders, young and old, in dressage and jumping competition.

In 1981 Zettl was recruited to move to Canada and serve as Managing Director of the Canadian I.E.S.S. During this time he coached the young riders dressage team from Ontario. The team went on to win three consecutive team gold medals, one individual gold, two individual silvers, and one individual bronze medal at the North American Continental Young Riders Championships.

In 1984 Walter coached dressage for the Canadian 3-day event Team at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics. During this time he was awarded by the Province of Ontario in Recognition for Distinguished Performance in the field of amateur sport.

For the last twenty nine years Walter Zettl has continued his lifelong work of teaching riders the art of
dressage combined with communication with the horse. 

In 1998 his book "Dressage In Harmony" was published. In 2003"Dressage in Harmony" was reprinted in German by FNverlag

2002 started the production of Walter's  five volume DVD library, instructional series called "A Matter of
." This series has had record sales over the last ten years reaching $1 Million in retail sales, making the series a huge success in not only the dressage world but in video sales in general.

2007 Walter's second book was published entitled "The Circle of Trust". 

2011 Walter was Inducted into the Toronto CADORA Dressage Association Hall of Fame

In recent years, he has coached Linda Parelli and her students in classical dressage, finding common ground with natural horsemanship.

In 2013 Walter will release his third book titled "Ask Walter".



Walter Zettl's Published works


  • Dressage in harmony: from basic to Grand Prix Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press 1998 xix,246pp.

  • Dressage in Harmony: von der Basis bis zum Grand Prix (translated from English by Simone Engels) Warendorf: FN-Verlag der Deutschen Reiterlichen Vereinigung 2003 232pp. ISBN978-3885423812

  • The Circle of Trust (with Paul Schopf and Jane Seigler) Boonsboro MD: Half Halt Press 2008 175pp. ISBN978-0939481774

  • Walter Zettl Circle Points DVD

  • The Key To Collection: The Game of Contact

Dressur In Harmonie Book By Walter Zettl

Dressur in Harmonie

Ask Walter Book by Walter Zettl

Ask Walter


Image Gallery

Walter Zettl

I believe in dressage as art, and I have practiced that art throughout my professional life.”
-Walter A. Zettl

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