Stories & Inspiration

Honoring My Mentors – #1 Ursula Bruns

by | Feb 16, 2022

Having great mentors that help you learn and grow is such a great gift!

I want to take this week to honor my mentors and share with you what inspired me when working with them, and the most important thing I learned from them.

Ursula Bruns and Jochen Schumacher

This photo of Ursula Bruns was probably taken 30 years ago. I rode with Ursula Bruns many times then, with her riding this exact horse in this exact place. 🙂

This photo is much more extraordinary than it might look at first. (Photo from Pferde Welt)


At the time when this photo was taken, riding in Germany meant: you ride a Warmblood either in dressage or show jumping, and you ride them with a more or less tight nose band.

Ursula Bruns on the contrary, is riding a gaited Standardbred that had been a race horse in her first career WITHOUT a noseband on trails. And she is carrying a “magic wand”, Linda Tellington’s signature crop, showing the close bond between these two women.

Thanks to people like Ursula Bruns, all this seems almost normal today, but it wasn’t at all 30 years ago in Germany!

Ursula Bruns and her business partner, Jochen Schumacher, were on a mission to bring alternatives to the (then) very restrictive German horse world through

  • working with all types of breeds and disciplines of riding,
  • experimenting with new equipment and new ways of keeping horses, and
  • developing educational concepts for teaching adult riders.

I was lucky enough to spend 1991 and 1992 in a 2-year full-time training at Ursula Bruns’ and Jochen Schumacher’s equestrian center “FS Reitzentrum Reken” in Germany. And it became the foundation of what I have been teaching since.

What was inspiring:

Being so open to new ways of doing everything around horses, and fighting for the good of the horse, whatever it takes.

Most important thing I learned:

A systematic, educational concept to teach adult riders on and off the horse makes the person’s and the horse’s (!) life SO MUCH easier.