Life As a Dressage Trainer in Three Countries

A Journey Made Possible by a Love for the Horse

Gunnar Ostergaard



A delightfully entertaining journey following the lifelong development of a devoted horseman, and the opportunities and challenges native to such a pursuit in different parts of the world.

It was at the age of thirteen that Gunnar Ostergaard wrote in his journal, “Is there anything more beautiful than horses?” The rhetorical question would come to guide his every step as he sought a way to build a life around that which he loved most. What transpired was a journey through three lands and cultures, each providing a different window into the body and mind of the horse and the heart and soul of the horseman. In these pages he traces his path from Denmark to Germany to the United States, providing a glimpse into the world of rider development in three vastly different places, as well as a rare peek behind the curtain of top international dressage training and competition. Throughout, Gunnar is funny and frank, generously sharing both his struggles and successes. The result is a highly entertaining history lesson that is at the same time rich in equestrian philosophy readers can immediately apply to their own riding lives.

Additional Information

Author: Gunnar Ostergaard

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 256

Illustrations: 85 color and black & white photographs

ISBN: 9781646012503

By Gunnar Ostergaard

International horseman Gunnar Ostergaard knew as a teenager his passion for horses was destined to be his profession, all while dreaming of one day immigrating to the United States. Dreams become goals and at the age of sixteen, Gunnar left his home in Denmark to start an apprenticeship through the German Riding Federation's bereiter program. For three years, he apprenticed with the renowned riding master Karl Diel in Flensburg, Germany, then returned to Denmark where he caught the attention of world-famous dressage trainer Gunnar Andersen and spent the next six years under his tutelage. In 1976, Gunnar was able to realize his dream and moved to the United States, where he went on to train dozens of horses and riders to Grand Prix. His dressage expertise also shaped many North American jumper riders and eventers, including helping secure Olympic and WEG medals for both US and Canadian teams. Gunnar won numerous USDF national championships, the USDF Grand Prix National Champion Vintage Cup twice, and the Grand Prix at the prestigious Devon Horse Show three times. His dedication to horses and equestrian sport also led him to serve on the USET Planning and Selection Committee for several years. Gunnar continues to conduct clinics and teach dressage riders throughout the United Sates. He and his wife Birgit divide their time between their homes in Denmark and Tryon, North Carolina ( Find out more about Gunnar's book Life as a Dressage Trainer in Three Countries.

Catskill Horse Magazine Says:

"Beautifully written.... Equestrians will be delighted with this inside glimpse into what making a living with horses is all about."