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Richard Howard:

Richard has ridden, trained and judged dressage for over 40 years. He was fortunate to come under the tutelage of Franz Rochowansky, former senior Oberbereiter at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, early in his dressage career, and privileged to work with "Rock" for over 25 years in Texas and in Europe. Richard has also ridden with Mr. Hans Biss of Hamburg, Germany, for the past 28 years, hosting numerous clinics at Reiterhof. Mr. Biss is the former head of the German professional licensing committee, an FEI judge and an internationally respected trainer. Thus Richard brings to his students and horses a methodology based on the Spanish Riding School's classical training techniques coupled with the German school's tradition of competitive brilliance.

Richard has competed through Intermediare II and has trained a number of horses and riders to successful Grand Prix competition. Several of his students, some of whom he began training as children on ponies, have represented Region 9 in the North American Junior/Young Riders Championships. Richard was the Region 9 Young Rider team coach in 1996, and has since trained several NAJYRC rider/horse combinations to compete successfully in this prestigious international competition. Richard has also been instrumental in furthering the careers of several young dressage professionals in Regions 9 and 10. Richard currently serves as the Region 9 FEI Junior/Young Rider committee chair, and is the regional representative on the USDF national FEI Junior/Young Rider Committee.

Richard has judged throughout the region since completing the "L" program in 1993 with the highest score ever recorded in the program. He currently gives clinics throughout Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, in addition to training and teaching at Reiterhof , the family's training facility southwest of Austin, Texas. Most recently, as the breeding program at Reiterhof has expanded, Richard has become something of a specialist in beginning young horses in hand, as well as under saddle.

Susan Howard:

The stables at the U. S. Army's old cavalry posts provided Susan her first opportunities to ride, as the family followed her father's postings throughout the United States and in Germany before he retired to a farm in the family's home state of Kentucky. While attending the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Susan completed the Light Horse Husbandry Program in addition to her liberal arts coursework. Susan worked as an apprentice to Norwegian Olympic rider Kob Ryan, converting former thoroughbred racehorses to combined training mounts. Susan competed for many years in combined training, was an AHSA combined training technical delegate for over 20 years, and served for many years as an area steward for the prestigious Rolex Lexington Three-Day Event and as the United States Combined Training Association's Area Chairman for the five-state Area V (Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi). Her coaches during her eventing career, in addition to Kob Ryan, included Lockie Richards, coach of the New Zealand Olympic Team, and U. S. Olympians Mike Huber, Karen Lende (now O'Connor) and David O'Connor.

Susan (together with Richard) met Franz Rochowansky, former senior Oberbereiter of the Spanish Riding School, on his first visit to Texas and was privileged to ride with him in Texas and in Europe for some 25 years. In addition to training with her husband, Susan also regularly hosts clinics with Hans Biss of Hamburg, Germany. Susan served as joint District Commissioner of the Lone Star Pony Club, is an "L" graduate and a United States Equestrian Federation "R" Technical Delegate in Dressage.

Susan is the Freestyle Chairperson for Region 9 and serves on the national USDF Freestyle Committee. She has served as the Region's chef d'equipe at NAJYRC and also designed freestyles for NAJYRC riders, and is looking forward to doing more freestyle design in the future.

Katherine Howard:

Katherine Howard began riding at the age of six on her pony, Lucky Duchess, from whom she learned a lot about "seat." Katherine's evented hernext pony, Sugar Bear, through Training Level under such luminary coaches as David O'Connor, Karen Lende (now O'Connor) and Mike Huber. Katherine also evented up to Preliminary on her mother's homebred Holsteiner, Ricazo.

Deciding to concentrate on dressage, Katherine continued her training under her primary coach, Richard Howard, a.k.a. "Dad," at their home and barn, Reiterhof. In 1996, Katherine competed her father's Dutch Warmblood, Vilmar, at the North American Young Rider's Championships, received her USDF silver medal and was ranked fifth in the nation at Prix St. Georges. The following year she qualified her mother's horse, Diamant, for the Young Rider's Team. She has successfully competed at FEI levels (Intermediare II) in Region 9, and in the East.

Katherine took a sabbatical from horses and earned her law degree from the University of Houston. She practiced in a large firm there, ventually returning to Austin, to assume a position in the tort litigation division of the Texas Attorney General's Office, then back to private practice in Austin with the firm Allison Bass. In the summer of 2009, Katherine accepted a position in the Office of the General Counsel of the U. S. Navy (NavAir division) and headed out to California. Visits to Austin are intense training periods, and with the acqusition of her own truck and trailer, Katherine will represent Reiterhof in the West.

The family acquired three Dutch Warmblood mares and has become more involved in breeding and starting youngsters, both their own and those of clients. Katherine has worked with several young horses and prospects newly under saddle, both on the flat and over fences, including Anouile, a Trakhener mare who received the highest marks at the Belgian Warmblood inspection in 1998 and sold as an 8-year-old, Kelso, Trakhner eventer/jumper sold at age 6, and Gdansk, a homebred Hannoverian/Dutch Warmblood-cross successfully showiing Third Level when sold at age 6. Gdansk was the first baby born at Reiterhof, and Katherine's backing him began a continuing tradition of family members only starting their home-bred Dutch horses.

In addition to the coaching she receives at home from her father, Katherine was privileged to ride for many years with Franz Rochowansky, former Oberbereiter of the Spanish Riding School. She also worked from a young age with Hans Biss, Hamburg, Germany, for whom she was a working student in Hamburg and Ohio.

Susan & Richard Howard

(512) 288-0767
(512) 423-4424

Our Mentors

Richard and Rocky

Franz Rochowansky

Oberbereiter, Spanish Riding School, and International Olympic Trainer

Hans BissHans Biss

The long and illustrious career of international trainer and judge Hans Biss of Aumuehle, Germany began with his apprenticeship under Robert Schmidtke of Dusseldorf. Schmidtke was a permanent member of the German Dressage Schooling Stable, along with the fabled Otto Loerke, General Gerhardt and Felix Buerkner. His apprenticeship successfully concluded, Hans received his Trainer's License from the German Ministry of Agriculture and the Deutsche Reitliche Vereinigung (FN-the German national federation comparable to our US Equestrian federation) at the German Riding School in Warendorf.

Hans went on to earn his Master's Degree in Riding and Training, whereupon he was selected to be a full-time trainer at the German Riding School: nearly all German Bereiter are trained and tested in order to obtain their professional licenses (and more recently, some young professionals from other countries) at the School in Warendorf. This position entailed training for all disciplines but Hans's concentration remained Dressage. During this time, Hans worked extensively with one of the "Old Masters," Heinrich Boldt, the father of many-time Olympian Harry Boldt, and a former student of Colonel von Heydebreck, compiler of the last edition of Steinbrecht's Gymnasium of the Horse. This book contains the fundamental theories of German classical dressage and is the foundation text for the official training and instruction manuals of the German FN. During this time Hans also worked with H.H. Brinkmann, one of the most distinguished jumping riders of the German cavalry and German national team.

During Hansís time at the German Riding School, the early 1960's, the School was under the direction of General Niemark, who was also the president of the German Judges Association, a position Hans also held for many years.

Hans left Warendorf in 1964 to become Director and Head Trainer of the Bielefeld Riding Club ("Reitverein," literally "iding club," comparable to our dressage societies, sponsor the majority of riding competitions in Germany). During his time in Bielefeld, Hans trained many horses and riders to the FEI levels, and was particularly successful with his own horse Reinald, with whom he was a many-time winner and finalist in numerous major international shows, including the prestigious Hamburg Derby. Reinald was taken by the German team as a reserve horse to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, and later sold to John Winnet of England, who took him to two Olympic Games and numerous Equestrian Games and World Cups. In 1970, Hans moved with his wife Sabine, whom he met at Bielefeld, to establish his own training stable, Reitschule Sachsenwald, in Aumuehle outside Hamburg, Germany. A beautiful setting at the edge of the Bismark Forest, Hans and his clients continue to train for competitive success in an idyllic setting. Among his students have been junior and young riders (including his children, Jan and Wiebke) who won many regional and national championships, and Hans served for a time as the team coach for the Israeli Young Rider team. He has also supervised multiple apprentices in the Federal Bereiter training program who have gone on not only to competitive success, but become successful, astute trainers themselves. His son Jan, and Jan's wife Lisa (who won the National Pony Championships) have recently joined Hans and Sabine at Aumuehle.

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