My interest in horses dates back to my childhood days. The first contact to western riding was established in the 1980s when my parents took part in clinics held by Jean-Claude Dysli, the pioneer of western riding in Europe. Growing up amidst horses in my parents’ breeding operation of Arabian horses, I had the possibility to continuously gather experience with horses of all age levels. I began to successfully show my self-trained horses at the emerging show circuit for Arabs in Germany and Belgium and at shows of the first major all-breed western horse association in Germany, the EWU. In the mid-90s I first met Bernie Hoeltzel who got me hooked up on reining. At countless clinics, I learned and came to appreciate his training program. Later I got the chance to work at the Hoeltzels’ facility in Ontario, Canada and expanded my skills especially in the field of starting performance horses.
Back home I soon bought my first Quarter Horse which I trained and showed in various disciplines. In the year 2000, I achieved a riding instructor’s degree issued by the EWU respectively the Federation Equestre Nationale (FN). That was the starting point for giving riding lessons at various local facilities.
Despite working fulltime in a different job, I have continuously been active in starting young horses of all breeds, giving lessons and showing horses on a regional level. From 2010 on, I have trained under the tutelage of reining horse trainer Steffen Breug. Working part-time in my day job, I hung out my own shingle in 2016 and established FERME LEDUC on the Becherhof in Mechernich.
Regardless of our ultimate goal in training horses, it is essential to accept that the individual horse determines how long it takes to achieve that goal. The key to sustainable horse training is a solid foundation which you can return to if problems occur. Building such a foundation takes time and patience. Starting horses is all about trust between horse and rider in the first place. Then the young horse has to regain his balance with a rider on board. Once that balance is established, you can begin to activate his hindquarters and gradually ride him up into the bit – all of which takes place without apparent shortcuts or intimidating equipment. One basic principle in horse training is
KISS: Keep It Short and Simple.
As the attention span of young horses is relatively short we have to set up our training accordingly. Plus, it has to be sustainable and comprehensible for horse and rider – without magic and without spectacular effects. If your horse stays in training for a longer period of time, I can gradually prepare him for junior classes and assess his potential to compete in various disciplines.
The baseline for my horse training is combining performance and longevity. Thus, I offer groundwork for 2-year-olds and riding not until their 3-year-old year.