Wellington as “Disney World of Riding” for German Team Rider Christoph Koschel

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Christoph Koschel riding Rostropowitsch NRW at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Christoph Koschel riding Rostropowitsch NRW at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany. He has brought the horse to Florida to compete at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 19, 2015–For German team rider Christoph Koschel Wellington’s Adequan Global Dressage Festival is a “Disney World of Riding,” an experience that has led him to spend his first full three-month circuit at a place he calls “very, very special, uneblievable.”

“For Europeans, this is the Disney World of equestrian sport,” and he brought some his clients with him and his wife, Patricia, along with several horses for the circuit of seven international events with $650,000 in prize money.

“This is not real. Where else are there so many CDIs in the same place in three months. Everything about it is super, well organized, really good footing.

“For sure it is pretty and perfect. I like the atmosphere, my clients like it.

“I’m not here for vacation, though. I’m here to work. It’s a gift I can come with my clients.”

Christoph, 38, works with his father, Jürgen Koschel, who has been training Olympians for more than three decades, at their Hof Beckerode in Hagen, Germany.

Christoph was well known for riding Donnperignon on the bronze-medal winning German teams at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky and the 2011 European Championships. He then sold the Finnish Warmblood gelding (Donnerhall x Mozart 1179) to Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak who took the horse to the Olympic Games in London the next year, then the 2013 Europeans and the World Games in Normandy in 2014.

While he sometimes wonders what might have been had he not sold Donnperignon, he understands the family business is training horses and riders.


Christoph Koschel and Donnperignon at the 2011 European Championships. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Among those to have trained with the Koschels in recent years are German Olympian Kristina Sprehe and Desperados, America’s Susan Dutta and Arlene Page, Australia’s Maree Tomkinson and a lengthy roster of other international riders.

Christoph spent six weeks in Wellington last year, working with Susan and Arlene as well as Joanne Vaughan of Georgia and her three horses, a Russian Young Rider and other students.

After last season, Joanne Vaughan decided she liked Wellington enough to buy a farm here and where Christoph now bases himself for the winter.

Barbara Bertschinger of Switzerland, the owner of Rubin Cortes OLD that Christoph has competed at Grand Prix with success, after her first quick visit last season–“Five minutes on the show grounds and she said, ‘Next year I’m on the boat’.”

One of his clients from Portugal has already decided he’s coning next year.

For this year, though, Cristoph brought with him his Big Tour horses, Rostropowitsch NRW and Tiesto that are among the 15 horses a day he is riding.

“The quality here is good,” he said. “What I see is that it will grow over the years. More and more Europeans will travel in the future for the whole event. There are already tons of Canadians and Americans.

“I bring my clients once and they never want to go anywhere else..

“This is not the real world. The real world looks different.

“The weather, the shows–it’s a big adventure.

“For sure it costs a lot of money, but at the end its about having the opportunity to have so many shows at one show ground without traveling. There are so many advantages

“Everyone I talk to, they all want to come over. At the end in dressage, you can be really, really happy if living the dream and you get to have an adventure, too.

“I love it. This is not the real world. The real world looks different. I’m very lucky to be here.”