Walter Zettl – Classical Dressage

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 FNverlag2002 started the production of Walter’s five-volume DVD library, instructional series called “A Matter of Trust” 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. In 2013 Walter will release his third book titled “Ask Walter“.

Walter’s last book and biography, WALTER: MY LIFE WITH AND WITHOUT MY BELOVED HORSES. Walter Zettl was considered to be one of the world’s most accomplished masters of classical dressage training and a true advocate for the welfare of his beloved horses. He was renowned for his ability to bring out the best in horses and humans alike with a constant focus on the horse’s well-being. He was also a much sought-after teacher and clinician, who was known for his warm and sympathetic approach to teaching. This book was written to answer the many questions from Walter’s students who wanted to know more about his life outside of the riding arena. Walter’s biography can be purchased on Amazon at this link; WALTER: MY LIFE WITH AND WITHOUT MY BELOVED HORSES

Walter continued teaching and doing local clinics until his death on June 7, 2018. He will be missed by many, especially the beautiful horses he cared so deeply for.