Erin Brinkman Wins the Neue Schule Best Hands Award

Erin Brinkman (right) and April Leonard of Neue Schule at the USDF Region 3 Dressage Championships. (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Wellington, FL (October 22, 2014) — At the Wellington Classic Dressage Autumn Challenge held in conjunction with the 2014 Great American Insurance Group USDF Region 3 Championships on October 16-19, 2014, beautiful horses and skilled riders filled the Global Dressage Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida. As the competitors executed piaffes and passages in front of the judges, the Neue Schule Bits distributor Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery was intently focused on the riders’ hands.

Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery, the North American distributor of Neue Schule bits, knows that even the best bits are only effective when riders use their hands correctly. Metlar awarded the Neue Schule Best Hands Award to the rider with the softest and most sensitive hands at the show to applaud this skill.

Erin Brinkman, the selected award winner, says that the connection between the bit and the rider’s hands is “amazingly important.” Brinkman admits that she did not always use the hands-to-bit connection with as much skill as she currently does — and she can certainly feel the difference. “For so long I was so ignorant with my hands, and now I can ride just with one finger I feel like!” she explains. “It really took a long time to understand how light horses can be ridden and that they really respond better the lighter the hand.”

Mette Larsen, owner of Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery, says, “We are excited to once again present the Best Hands Award in Wellington. It’s a great opportunity to recognize exceptional ‘hands,’ and at the same time support the dressage community during the Autumn Challenge, which is held in conjunction with the Regional Championships.”

Metlar presented Brinkman with a quality pair of Neue Schule reins to complete her excellent hands-to-bit connection. The successful FEI and Grand Prix horse trainer was thankful for the award and recognition, saying, “I have a lot of gratitude. I feel really special — thank you!”

Brinkman, of Wellborn, Florida, is the head trainer at Valhalla farm and also operates her own training, lessons, and sales business called Spica Dressage. She brought her horse Herzenfurst and six students to the 2014 Great American Insurance Group USDF Region 3 Championships and Wellington Classic Dressage Autumn Challenge. Brinkman and Herzenfurst earned first and second places in the USEF Third Level division. “Herzenfurst had a really good season — he’s had about a 71 average and it’s his first season out!” She smiled. “He’s a lot of fun and I think he’s going to be a very good FEI horse. He has a fantastic piaffe! He’s home bred, by my stallion Donaufurst.”

Brinkman’s students also achieved impressive results at the show. “My young rider Lindsey Holleger got the Gold Medal in the junior division with a Donaufurst that I bred as well. I coached her, I bred the horse, and I trained the horse, so it was like a triple treat! Great show so far, cannot be happier. Some of my students are putting in tests that are much improved even from the last time they showed, so it’s very exciting.”

Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery was happy to award Brinkman with the Neue Schule Best Hands award, and is glad to see that Brinkman is passing on the importance of having good hands to her students. For more information about Metlar, Neue Schule, and the ergonomically designed bits that Neue Schule offers, visit or call 631-252-5574.

Contact: Mette Larsen
Metlar – Neue Schule Bits

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