German Hardy Oelke has been one of the first pioneers of western riding and western horses in Europe. He has been training horses western since 1975. He learned the trade observing top U. S. trainers and working for three months with noted reining trainer Scott McCutcheon. He has also been so fortunate to meet and learn from Ed Connell, author of "Hackamore Reinsman", and probably the last of the true vaqueros and hackamore reinsmen on the American West Coast.
Hardy Oelke, competing at the American Paint Horse Association World Championship Show in 1992. Hardy, the first European ever to show at the APHA World, trained this mare himself and placed well on her
Hardy has worked with horses of a wide variety of breeds, from Norwegian Fjords, Dülmeners, Haflingers, Arabians, Warmbloods, and Connemaras, to Quarter Horses, Paint Horses, and Appaloosas. In spite of very limited showing , he trained and made the first European-made APHA Champion. Some of his wins include a European Championship in APHA Senior Reining, multiple German Championships in APHA Senior and Junior Reining, Senior and Junior Western Pleasure, Halter, a Reserve Championship in APHA Western Riding, and several wins in open reinings of the National Reining Horse Association of Germany. He was NRHA of Germany Limited Open Champion in 1995.
Hardy has also written a number of books, most on western horses and western training, and countless articles on different breeds, horsemanship, training, breeding, horse shoeing, showing, etc. When he wrote his first book on western training in 1976, it was the first ever in Germany, probably in Europe. Hardy has done clinics and seminars in most parts of Germany, as well as in Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Austria, and America, covering a spectrum of topics from the Portuguese Sorraia horse to western halter showing, although most were simply western riding clinics.
Hardy doesn't believe in making specialist horses that work like robots and are good only in one event, but emphasises the thoroughly trained dressage horse which will respond to the rider's aids and cues when and where the rider wants him to. While he insists on taking whatever time is necessary to "build" a horse, his methods usually bring results in a surprisingly short period of time.
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