Guenter Seidel Back in the Saddle on U II for First Time Since Accident
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Guenter Seidel, a three-time Olympic team medalist for the United States, on Friday was back in the saddle on U II for the first time since he was thrown from the horse and fractured his pelvis in Germany more than five months ago.
“I just got on the horse for the first time today, walking and one round of trot, ” he told dressage-news.com. “Very strange feeling after over five months of not riding.”
For Guenter, 50, who lives in Cardiff, California, the break from riding was probably the longest he has had since he was 15 years old and before he moved to the United States from his native Germany.
Guenter is highly respected and one of the most well liked dressage riders and trainers. The accident occurred at Klaus Balkenhol’s stable in Rosendahl, Germany on June 13. U II was feeling fresh and bucked on the first day of riding after the flight from California.
Guenter had gone with the nine-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding owned by Jane and Richard Brown, his sponsors for 22 years, to prepare for the U.S. selection trials for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
On U II, a liver chestnut by Jazz, Guenter had won the U.S. Developing Horse Championships in 2008 and was developing the horse at Grand Prix. The pair had shown at Grand Prix in only five CDIs in California this year before leaving for Germany.
Guenter was a member of the U.S. team that won bronze at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, in Sydney 2000 and Athens in 2004. He also was on the teams that won silver at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain and bronze at the WEG in Aachen, Germany in 2006.
After spending most of the summer in Germany recuperating, he said he was now taking it “one day at a time.”
“I’m planning on showing U II and Sunday Boy (11 year old Dutch gelding) this coming season to get them experienced for the Olympic trials the following year,” he said.
“At this point, I’m hoping to be able to compete in our CDIs here on the West Coast, but I really have to wait and see how fast I can get comfortable and fit enough.”