Podcast Episode 28: Robert Harrison Schmerglatt | The Ambitions Of A Coach

On today's podcast, we speak with Robert Harrisson Schmerglatt. Robert is a highly regarded equestrienne and coaches some of the best Australia's best dressage talent. Robert grew up in a horse orientated family and at a young age moved to Germany to pursue what would be a very successful career in Dressage. To keep up with his journey, you can follow Robert on Instagram @rob_harrisson_s.

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Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Yeah. Thank you so much for joining me. Robert super pumped to have this conversation today.

Robert (00:06):

Okay. Very welcome. I don't think it anything that much special about me, but I'm very honored.

Natasha (00:13):

Well, I have been doing a lot of podcasts recently with Australian top grand prix riders And when I talk about coaching, I'll talk about who helps you? Your name comes up a lot.

Robert (00:25):

Okay. Well, I'm very, very proud of that.

Natasha (00:28):

And in a good way. Not in all this, this guy in a really good, fabulous way. So it's so good.

Robert (00:35):

Well, I am a bit crazy. Okay. Like if you have a gimme giving a lesson, I am a bit on the crazy side. So like, there's actually, there are many moments where I've take a step back and I like reflect upon myself in guard Robert. You're weird. You're insane.

Natasha (00:51):

Oh my God. I think I love, I think, I think we are going to be best friends. This sounds perfectly normal in my world. So now I want to listen to you. You have a lesson. All right. So let's start with, how does it all start? Your mom and dad were riders? You obviously grew up with horses. Tell me, tell me in those early years, what you were thinking and what was really important to you when you're riding back then?

Robert (01:14):

Well, what a lot of people don't know I was actually born in the U S um, never been back there. And so like, since it was for, cause my, my, my dad's a showjumping rider. Um, but retired now, he doesn't ride anymore. His is his gun. His bones have had it, I'm afraid. And, um, he's been a very, very happy, a very, very hard worker. Actually. I have to say my father and, um, my mother's, my mother is actually from Geelong last year, she was born but lives in Queensland. And, um, she's of course, a dressage rider as, as many or many people are. And, um, so I was born in the U S where they got divorced from his four, moved to Australia. Did not want to have anything to do with horses at all. Um, I was sick of them because like my sister rode, my dad rode, my mom rode. I had to pickup poo all the time, like in no way. And, um, so I'd have I had phases where I'd ride on and off and whatever. And then like from 12 years old onwards, well, actually what happened was I was in New Zealand with like all my older family of my mother live will live in New Zealand. And, um, we were riding on like a dairy farm and I was riding a pony called Sonny. And I was just having them that, like I was having the time in my life, like galloping. I mean, like, okay, like at that age, probably I had a video of it. I was probably cantering, slight motion, but to me, I was like, absolutely like, like the non is like up and down Hills chasing cows and whatever, and, um, had the time of my life. And then from there on, I actually became the most driven one in the whole family. So, so, um, there are Nin, so funny story and how that all came about. I started off as a show jumper and, um, and, and then, and then it came into the fact that I sought, or I want to be, I've always had this, this, this, it doesn't matter whether I play golf, whether I exercise in the gym, whether I play soccer, it doesn't matter what I do riding. I want to be, it doesn't mean I, it doesn't mean I'm good, but I'll want to be as good as I can be. And, um, and so then I thought, you know what I have to, I have to be a better dressage rider And so then I'd, I'd take it as far as riding the dressage saddle. I was subtle, but you don't really need to as a show jumper, but I did. And, um, the dressage riding just became more and more. And at some stage I just didn't really jump much anymore. And so that's how it came about, but I still job. Um, that's one of my, my, um, one of my favorite passionate, passionate things, but, um, yeah, I, I turned to the dark side, so to say

Natasha (03:50):

I love it. So, um, I've got a note here that you moved to Germany at 17. So what was that like? And, um, what were your biggest learnings there?

Robert (04:01):

Um, it was on the one side a little bit scary, I guess, because like packing up and moving a life like that, like at that age. Um, although I have to say, like, I think like since I was 14 or 15, I had that like fully in my head, um, that I, when I moved to Germany, um, and I did that then after finishing school year. And, um, it was, it, it, I, on the one side it was scary. Like I said, on the other side, it was, um, kind of cool. Cause I already knew a couple of people, my father living over there, although I don't actually have that. I don't interact with him that much, but I'm still like, through him, I knew a couple of people and had other family members there of course. And so that, that made the whole thing a lot easier. Of course. Um, and I, and even though having a German father, I had, I, I spoke no English whatsoever, no German whatsoever. And, um, so, I, I, I took it very, very serious upon myself to learn German. Now I'd go. As far as saying, I probably speak it almost better than I speak English. And, um, and yeah, and Germany, I have to say, I used to have a very big over actually I've got a very big head actually like, like literally, but, um, it's hard to find helmats it's everything that fit, but I used to have, when I was younger, I really had a big head and I was caught from myself. I have to say now looking back and um, thought, thought I was so cool and everything. And, um, I got a lot of kicks in the shins whilst being in Germany and Germans are good at that. And I'm a lot of kicks to the head and I deserved every single one of them. And maybe at the time I didn't like it and maybe hurt my hurt, my, um, self esteem. Um, which was a good thing though. Um, I have to say Germany's taught me a lot about myself and, um, a lot about who I want to be, who I don't want to be. Um, and, and the way they want to go forward.

Natasha (05:52):

I love it. I love it. Um, so looking why, if Germany was the place to be, and you had this goal since you were very young, I've got to be the best dresser driver I can be. And in your head, Germany was equivalent to achieving that. Why are you in Australia? What's going on?

Robert (06:14):

I have to say there was a long, long time where I didn't think I'd ever come back. Actually it will not, not, not this early. Um, there was probably, I kind of remember, I kind of remember, um, when I moved to Germany, if I had in my head, if I wanted to learn to be there a couple of years, and I can't even remember what I was thinking at the time, but, but it ended up being that, you know, I had my business going since for about 10 years, actually, no, for almost 10 years before I moved back and, and, um, relationships and friends and like my, my whole, the whole, since being responsible for my own life, I lived over there and not, not in Australia. So, so I did feel more at home there. So it, it, um, it, it, I didn't see it coming, but, but what happened was my, um, my sister was over there and she worked for me for a little time. And then she came back because she got married and then I said, Oh, I can't leave her alone. I can't leave her alone. And somehow I have to try to keep helping her or whatever. And so then I thought, you know what, I'll start. I had had phases where I'd come to Australia and sort of went to a couple of people to, just to, I try not to say the word teaching because I find that it's a little bit like, um, it is teaching, I guess, but it's still a fun, it's a little bit like putting, it's not putting someone down, but I think, you know, we all have to see each other at the same eye level. So I just, I try to always say the words, helping people. Um, cause I think in the end, you know, it's, it's, we are helping each other in many ways. I find when I help others when I'm teaching. So to say others, I'm actually teaching myself to they're teaching. Like the people don't realize how much they're teaching me, um, when I'm trying to help them. But, but, but I started of said, I really can't leave my sister alone. I feel responsible. I have to try to help her, that she keeps on going with, uh, with her riding and then she gets better. And so I thought I have to stop then coming back again and doing it. And so I thought if I, but if I do it, I have to do it properly. Um, I have to do it like a cant come twice a year because I don't like it when people do that, you know, it has to be really because I genuinely want to train the same people and, and get a sort of like a base and just be a part of other people's journeys and the same person, of course. So, so I came back every second month. Like I think like every six to eight weeks I was coming back. Um, and, and because what would happen prior, prior on the one side is if I did actually end up having a holiday every like fourth and fifth year in Australia, cause I never tend to come back somehow, you know, I'd go, Oh gee, I do love being, you know, I do love living here. Um, I, I forgot how nice it is to live here. And then you do have a bit of like, like, like homesickness when you go back to Germany and then yeah, after a couple of weeks you get back into everyday life and then it's fine. But now of course I was coming every back every six to eight weeks, that feeling inside was very fresh now because I kept getting reminded because it wasn't as if like I stayed away from Australia for four years, I was going back every second month. And so that was the one thing. And then the main reason though, why it ended up happening was just because I was very privileged and lucky that I, um, there was a lot of very, very talented people. Um, and also very nice people. I've got a bit of a philosophy. I only like to help people that are also really liked. So, um, and I love my job, so, and I want to make sure I keep them loving it. So it's, I think I've got, I think I've got the greatest job in the world, in my opinion. So, so when I, I had, I was very privileged to have a very, a lot of very talented people and I thought, Hey, in our life, I feel now I'm trying to feel really responsible for, for a lot of people. And then I wanna see if the Sydney city, I, um, actually a dear friend of mine who has become a very dear friend of mine, sort of persuaded me.

New Speaker (10:01):

Um, Catherine Cupid, actually, she, um, she, she persuaded me to come for a CDI here in Sydney. I think it was in 2000 and early 2018. And, um, and I had been sort of contemplating already coming back and everything and, and, um, I did also at the time having an Australian girlfriend, um, I have to also say like next to it as well. Um, but being at that competition just to really just push me over the edge that I definitely want to do it as quick as I can, because I was there helping. I was running like a mad man, you know, like back and forth between the arenas and everything. And, and because I just really want to be a part of it all. And I want to beat if, if everyone and you try to help with your own experiences, but be trying to help other other people not make the same wrongs and make the same mistakes as you do. And, and the same areas of the way that were the way they conduct or manage themselves. And, um, and that's sort of just like totally won me over or I want to come back. And then I pretty much put it into very quick process. Um, I, I, and I even said the quarantine process of my dog and everything and, um, that always back within like three or four months after that, I think so that's how it went.

Natasha (11:17):


Robert (11:18):

I talk a lot. I'm sorry, is it's, it's, it's a part of my job. I have to talk a lot. So I thought explained a lot.

Natasha (11:25):

No, you're amazing. And I think what a gift you have for, um, uh, there's not many people that say that, that responsibility and that, that, um, yet really saying it as a responsibility, I owe it to these people, or I'm here to help. I'm here to serve. I'm here for them. So what a gift you are, cause there's not many humans in the world. A lot of people say being a coach is a job. I'll pay you for an hour of my time and you take it so much further than that, which is such a gift and ye to you. Very, very cool.

Robert (11:55):

I've got a very bad reputation for being late too, because I'll be giving a listen and I don't watch the clock. And if it needs more time, it needs more time in you no and then, then yeah, people will get cranky with me that I'm late. But then I realized that all go along with our lesson two, then they're not so cranky with me anymore.

Natasha (12:12):

I love it. So then I'm really curious from, from a personality point of view, you want to be the best and you, you've got this, these goals for your own dressage, create that, but then you've got these goals for Andis this almost a calling to help and serve others in their dressage goals. So do you balance the two and how do you balance it?

Robert (12:35):

Um, I have to say, I think my priorities, can you guys be honest that the first half of the Christian, sorry. That's exactly right. Yeah.

Natasha (12:44):

Yeah. I just, well, cause I'm really curious about your dressage career, because if you're, it sounds like in your youth, you were very dedicated and committed to your goal to you being the best dressage rider you could be. And now with this move to Australia, all I'm hearing is I have to help others. I have to help others achieve their goals. So I'm wondering, I, you still balancing the two or what, how do you combine your personal riding goals with what you're doing with your coaching?

Robert (13:13):

It's quite an interesting question because it is quite fitting to my a moment of time in my life right now, actually. Um, or to sort of change a couple of things about how I, um, go forward in my, with my droplet, with, with w with the way, the way I conduct everything with my job. Um, but, but I have to say, yeah, if I'm truthful to myself and honest to myself, my ambitions as a trainer are greater, um, LA LA, I definitely have greater ambitions as a trainer than I do as a rider. Um, it doesn't mean I don't have big ambitions as a rider, but definitely like if I had, if I had the choice, if I had the choice, my ride, or to help someone that needs me their ride, I would choose them. So, so it's definitely, um, I definitely have bigger ambitions outside and bigger goals. Um, I guess what's, what's happened in my life is I've had the same problem with as many people that I've riden so many horses and you get too many horses a day, then you lose a little bit of focus on yourself and, and, um, I've actually changed down my life a little bit that, um, I am trying to make it that are only now ride my own horses because I've noticed like in the past that the last two years, and when I reflect like the first half year, I, I thought I was always making good progress and I was improving and I was learning a lot. And then there was a phase there quite a longest phase where I found that I was actually going a bit downhill. Um, and it was simply because I invest a lot of energy to other people. And then I would forget about myself a little bit, but I had too much myself that Arco then put enough time own horses. So like horses, like Bramante for instance, and a couple of others of my own horse. I've my actual, my own own horses were being neglected a bit because I didn't put enough time into them. And I'm, and you can see it the way I was competing. Like if I watched some videos of myself, um, I, I'm not like there are videos of some of the horses where I'm very happy with myself when it comes to my own horses. I'm not happy with myself because I didn't ride with confidence. I didn't have the horses in front of her leg properly. Um, and, and therefore couldn't of course ride confidently, um, through, uh, through a grand prix test So, so, um, I have to say it's like, even though, even though I say that with, as a trainer still, I would like to be very successful as a rider and, and, and, and get as far as I can. But I think in the situation that I've got myself in now where I only ride there, like a handful of horses and not too many anymore, and just really have my main focus on training people that I think my rider is actually making way bigger and better steps forward. Again, does that, and does that, does that, does that answer the question almost,

Natasha (16:09):

I'm seeing a huge conflict, like there is only 24 hours in a day and let's say at a CDI, and if you're riding X amount of horses and you have your goals of what you want to do in your warmup and your tests, but you're also in your brain kind of taking that we only have seven plus or minus two chunks and taking up those chunks is also your clients or the people that you want to help them serve. I'm like, how, how is this going to be balanced? Um, so I really feel for you because I can see that you've got both, um, kind of fighting for your attention.

Robert (16:43):

Well, and, and, and the thing is, I don't believe like I do. I think there's a, I think I liked when I teach, I actually use a lot of quotes from other people. Um, and I use a lot of ideas from other people because I'm very, um, I am myself, I'm a visual learner. And, um, for me, like I liked being in Europe, um, for so long I learnt the most, it doesn't mean I can do it like a, like, like myself. That's why I've got a philosophy just because I can't do it doesn't mean you can't or, or do what I say. I know what I do, but, um, but, but, but seeing, seeing a lot of people, you, you see you, you try to feel into what they're feeling like if you watch Isabel riding, which is like one of my favorites, um, I love to quote or a lot, or quote things that she says or quote things that she does. Um, um, and, and if you watch these people and feel into them, like it's amazing, um, uh, how much you can take out of that and then put into other people. And, um, now I lost the thread where I wanted to go with that. I'm afraid. Um,

Natasha (17:51):

Good. It's so good.

Robert (17:55):

Oh, damn. That happens sometimes.

Natasha (17:58):

No, that's fine. Okay. So what do you think is the biggest difference between Germany and Australia? Obviously Germany has amazing dressage results. It seems everyone I speak to that wants to be successful, goes to Germany. That's the Rite of passage. What's the difference? That makes the difference.

Robert (18:18):

I think Germany is for me without question the best country in the world, um, to learn, um, because it's, it's a no BS approach from many, um, of course not from everyone, but from many. Like if you go to a lot of other countries, like it's a lot more, I found everything's got a bit more rounded edges, you know, a little bit more shortcuts, a little bit more trying to find the easy way. Um, trying to like listening to like trying to hear the things or, or having people that like to tell us the things that we want to hear. And, um, I think that's exactly the wrong way. And I think, um, I think, I think, um, it's very important for us to like, for us, it's very important if you want to move forward is to, to no, have no shame in being wrong, have no shame and making mistakes, have no shame in being told off, you know, um, if someone's telling you, if I like to say it like something it's like, even if I'm saying something that doesn't want to hear, it's because I actually really care.Um, not because I don't, and, and I think that's what, like, that's like the biggest thing that Jeremy, like, it's just very, um, it's very logical, very straightforward. Um, there are no shortcuts either it's good or it's good, or it's bad. It's bad, you know? Like it's very like it. Yeah. But it's, it's a, it's, it's the only truthful way to really come forward because in the end, like, you know, we, our worst enemy in the end. So, so I think if you, if you want to be a, this is an issue I was gonna say before a little bit is that if you want to be better than anyone else, um, then you have to also train better than anyone else. You know, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's that simple. And now I remember what I'm was gonna say before. And I think this is very important, is that a lot of us think all, and that's why now I know why I stride, because I said, I've heard this quote from someone else. I can't remember who it was from, but I remember hearing it, but if you're not confident in a dressage arena, it's not because you're not, it's not because you're nervous. You know, of course you get nervous and everything, but you get nervous and you get under confident because you obviously haven't trained well enough at home. And that's also been the case with me. I'm very, very often if I really, if I'm, if I'm to be really honest with myself and, and to look at myself in the mirror, I go, well, it was not bad because I didn't do this and this well enough at home. You know? So I say the biggest thing is that if you, we have train harder than we thought possible, we have to train. Like, I don't mean harder as in, as in a, in a straining that way. But I mean, from a, in our brain, from a physicality, thank you. Like, but in our brain, psychologically, we have to concentrate. We have to be consequent with that. We don't do like thousand things. Um, subconsciously everything has to be conscious and aware and, and, and, and the harder and the tougher you are on yourself, the better your work at home, the more confident you automatically are at a, at a camp, because you've got the feeling you've got control. You've got the feeling your, your, your, your, your, your own, the arena. So to say, and, um, so w what you really do learn from Germany. Cause it, intertwines is, as you learn to train better, train harder, train more, correct? No shortcuts. Um, if your, if your, if your, if you're doing it, like if you're, if you're doing it bad, you're doing it bad. Like there's no, there's no. Um, there's no nice answer to it.

Natasha (21:52):

Have excuses or stories over reasons why, and as you said, Jim, and ignore it, it's the end. It's bad, full stop. It doesn't matter what elaborate amazing. It's sodding. Excuse why it's bad. It's bad fix it. Whereas we come with the stories, I think,

Robert (22:10):

Or you'll hear, if you hear something about me, if someone says around me the word amazing, you should hear me react. I go, I'll pause. And all I know, it's like the German veins and they come out and go such thing as a phasing. Like there's probably like five people in this world that can actually probably ride amazing. Yeah. So that's the one in German in me comes out. But, but, but, um, it is so important that if that's what you see, like a font, a lot of people that go to Germany and come back within say one or two years, cause we are, we, humans are very good at blaming someone else blaming something else, having an excuse. Um, but in the end we are responsible for our own selves. And I think, you know, if you, if you look over to Germany and see the Ozzies that have actually stay there for a longer time, it didn't come back with it. With that tail between their legs. They actually stayed there for along the time and, and really tough that out. Even if it meant they were cleaning stables for like two years before they even had to sit on a horse, for instance, because they just kept hoping and kept believing and kept fighting for it. They've earned their respect from people over there. Um, and they've gotten their chance and they've grown and look, they're still see like the people that are over there that are, are over there for longer. They've really been over there for longer. I went back to my time when I moved over there, there weren't many Aussies over there now it's actually like, you know, got Haley, you've got work McClain. You've got, um, Christy of course. Um, but, um, but, but there are a lot more, I mean, of course, a lot more Simone of course. Um, who's like, it's, I think it's incredible in the last half year. Like what's the what's happened there, like, like absolute respect. Um, I, I, I'm not a person that gets jealous anyway, because I want this everyone to be as good as we can be. You know, I'm more of an analytical type person. So if I finalize something and won't be to put someone down, it would be say, gee, what a shame they do it like this or that. I like this because if they did this or I like that had been like so amazing and I don't care, who's better or who's not better. You know, like that doesn't matter in the end, what matters is that we all get better. And, and, and because the more of us, I get better that pushes, that pushes everyone even further. And then we can actually make a big step for like a step forward, a step bigger step forward as a, as address us nation. And those people they've toughed it out. Look what, look where they're going now, look at Simone. You know, she's been there for awhile. Young VIII is as well. She's tufted out. She's beating on some, some I can tell you, I don't think like from a psychological point of view, I don't think like being at a hedge fund stable is that easy. You know, you've got a lot of other writers they're in the same age group. There's a lot of pressure, you know, natural pressure because the mind wants to be then the other better than the other. And not what I'm, I don't know if it is that way, I think, but I'm just saying like nature human, like human kind, that we are a little bit that way. And I'm sorry, absolute respect to the Aussies that have now been there for so long and look at them that they are getting bigger names for themselves and the people that come back with the tiles, but the tie between their legs, they don't get as far.

Natasha (25:23):

Yeah, absolutely. And let's, I like, I, I do love us, but like sometimes I go, Oh, why couldn't I just be a triathlon? Because I just need to swim faster. It's very clear. It's weight, like work harder from a physical point of view, push your body through the pain barrier, swim faster bike, ride, more, run more. That's my limit of triathlon, but I would assume that's how you would get that off. But as you said with the riding, it's not about pushing it's, it's, it's, it's about the brain and it's about the thinking and it's about the understanding of how to try and address eyeballs. Do you think, as a nation, we struggle with even those kinds of basics, what are we meant to do when we sit on a horse?

Robert (26:06):

I think, I think like the better eyes, like I have to say, I think we do have, um, quite a good amount of very talented, especially like younger people coming up. Like there are, like, I see a lot of people where I go, why I've got way more talent than I do. Like, I'm like, I think it's, it's awesome, um, for us as a nation, but what we, about what, yeah. But what we, what, what we really do need is it's, it starts with the younger people. It starts with, um, even amateurs, you know, like everyone has to like, like, I don't have to, of course, like at the end, everyone has to do what they want, what makes them fun. But, but, but, but we, but if we really want to get further, we have to be, um, prepared to really do things right. From the start in our own thought and not just cause we got the levels way too quick in our life. Like we've all been there. Like I've, I've done that too. Um, um, a lot, I think, I think any, even any good rider will say the same of themselves, I've done it as well. Um, but, but a lot of us try to get the levels too quickly. Like there's a lot of people. Um, I think he, uh, I don't want to sound like I'm criticizing something, but, but I think a lot of people want to go levels to create, rather than saying, you know what, I'll stay at novice level until I get a 70 or 75%. And I, before I go up to elementary, you know, and then we've got people that are say getting 60 and I definitely will capable of like, I see people when I teach, when I start teaching them and really they're not getting the high scores and I go, gee, why not? That person has talent. That horse has talent. Why not? Of course, on the one side, they need to be shown that there is a better way and they need to be, you need to sort of set an example and you need to try to help them realize it. But you have to try to teach that it's way more worth to getting 70, 75% in a lower level, then going up one or two levels. And then coming out with fifties, fifties 58, you know, and realizing that you get a lot more confidence from that too. And you get a lot more rapport. Rapport is from other people by doing that. But if you go into a class, you not ready for, of course it can't be good. And that's what we have very good at doing that because we all think all we have to get the grand Prix somehow. And, um, and I think, you know, there's more value riding a really nice medium than actually riding and not so good grand Prix, you know, like I think that there's more value to that. And that's what the Germans are really good at. You know, I like they take a step back to make to forward and we try to, we try to, we try to keep going forward without taking a step back. And then you find, you find your limitations very quickly that way. Yeah.

Natasha (28:53):

I love it. Love it, love it. Um, I've got a note here in 2016, it's all very fancy. You were awarded the prestigious golden rod and medallion in recognition of number of wins and placings at grand Prix level from the German equestrian Federation. That sounds pretty fancy and very impressive. What was that experience like?

Robert (29:17):

That's something I'm very, very proud about. Um,

Natasha (29:21):

Yeah. You get to see that from the rooftops baby.

Robert (29:25):

Um, say if you see this golden badge, you know, if you watch like Isabel ride or, or, or Jessica Rand or Benny, if you see like this, they have like a golden thing. Um, Lindell has one, Christy has one. Um, but there's like a golden horse badge, you know, like, like I said, the UK they've got like really big one and then in Germany was pretty much the same thing, but it's like a really S a little bit smaller. That's that? That's exactly. Yeah. Then they're not, they're not big into bling and all that, which I think is a good thing actually. Like it's, um, I think a lot of people here get a little bit too worried about having sponsorships and having this and having that and whatever, you know, I think it's more important not to worry about that. Just keep my head down, work hard and then there's things happen by themselves or like, I think that's, but that's what Germany's taught me a lot about anyway. Um, yeah, but, but, but with that award, um, yeah, I was very, very proud about that because it's, um, it's like, I think everyone in Germany that I know it's like, it's like a big thing. Um, and, and, and a lot of riders like that's like a big dream to get that golden badge. And that's why it was quite a, quite a ceremony in the end that gets put together for that for every rider that does achieve. Uh, but, um, yeah, it was something that I was hoping to get for a, quite a long time. And I was just very, very thankful that I had a very good horse, um, that helped me do that. Sorry.

Natasha (30:54):

So really cool. Yeah. All right. Um, so who was your biggest influence on your writing? Do you have one specific influence or you got, I'm just emotion of everything that's ever happened to me.

Robert (31:11):

I like the word moosh. Um, I have to say, I have to say it's probably like, there's probably like three, four main things. Um, one of them being hunts, Harvick, Marta, Shawn, who I pretty much started out with and did my brighter with and all that. Um, he's the national young, young rider and junior courage in Germany. Um, and so here's, if you remember the horse point, no, that man that, that won the world championships a long time ago. So like his wife was riding that horse. He wrote it when it was three, four years old. Um, but he's like a very correct person. I respect that, that person as a person. So, so largely, and he's really like the, the, there's a saying in German that I love like, you know, talking or it doesn't suit me so much cause I talk a lot, but, but, but talking is silver. Silence is gold. And, um, and I really liked that because it means just get to it, you know, no excuses, get it done, work hard, keep like, keep my mouth shut and just, and just work hard. And he really taught me a lot about that. Um, and like I said, he, he, he was one of the ones that really was going to kick him in the shins and kicking me in the head a couple of times. So. So, um, say he was one of them then I had, then I had like several people, like, you know, then I had hog thinking of who, who I worked for, who, who really taught me a lot about pride professionalism I found and, and a lot about it, about presentation and showmanship a little bit, you know, like that type of stuff. And I have to say in hindsight is probably helped me more than the time, because when you get older and 10 years, 15 years down the track, you quite often things will you have days or moments when you're teaching yourself or having a moment with your writing and you go, Oh, that's what that person meant. Why did I not understand? See, I'm a bit of a slower learner. And, um, and so, so, so, so so, that was, that was a big thing. Um, probably, but the app, but for me that the second biggest thing, um, that sort of formed me to what I am now is a guy called Johnny Herber off. Um, he he's pretty much for me, like a mentor, a father figure even. Um, and he really taught me how to analyze, you know, how to go into the horse, how to process things, how to, how to think, um, how to, but always, always, always on the horses side, you know, try to try to don't, don't tell the horse to do something, explain it, you know, like he, he really taught me a lot mentally. Like, like he, he, without him, I would definitely not. I don't, I, I would definitely not be in a state of mind or that the person that I am today without him, then the most important thing of all is the other horses.

New Speaker (34:08):

Um, I have to say, especially like Funtime is probably the best horse I've had so far, um, who I'm afraid. I got way too early. I I'd much prefer I got now one or two horses further down the track because I made a lot of mistakes. Um, and I have to say, I personally think with the knowledge from back then. Um, so yeah, this horse actually has taught me a lot, this horse from knowledge back then, I think I could have riden her a lot healthier, I think because I had a, too much on the head and, and stuff like that. She ended up getting a little suspensory some problems. I'm sorry. I'm definitely sure that she was just too good for me too early on what a too much. I asked too much. I, um, and I have to say it, she's now breeding. Thank goodness, very nice horses for me. And she's having the time of her life. I'm living in Germany, still photos from the other day, actually. And she's looking very happy. Um, I, I have to be careful cause I start crying when I start when I stopped thinking about this horse. But, but she, she taught me a lot about what I do wrong a lot, but she also, on the other side taught me a lot. What is possible. And before that horse, I never really had the vision or the idea of wanting to cry from grand prix, you know, like for me it was just like a lot of young horses. I was, I was, I, I, you send this reputation North Germany when I had my own business up there before I moved to Bavaria, I had this reputation of Roberts, the man for every, for every situation. So for every case, so, so I get a lot of difficult horses. I'd get what I get crazy horses, wild ones, like, and sorry, you just deal with that. And I had fun doing that. And my philosophy has always just like, I was never someone, you know, a lot of people get jealous of what other people are. They've got money and now they're buying this and buying that. I'm not like that at all. I don't really care. I just think, you know, make the most of what you've got and, um, and see it from there. And usually then other opportunities will arise if you, if you make the most of it, because if you do a good job, people notice and, um, and so, this horse sorta taught me. What's also possible. You know, like I never thought I never ever thought I could come into the situation that I have now. And thanks to that horse, she taught me that I actually could maybe do go on this path one day and try to aim to get the horses to grand Prix and ride at a higher level and all that. So, so before that, I never, before having her, I never imagined getting a golden riding badge, for instance. So I'm sorry that horse, that horse really, really didn't just teach me what I did wrong. She also taught me what dreams I can possibly actually have. So

Natasha (36:51):

I love it. I love it. That's Epic. Wonderful. Um, I always ask this question, um, what's your worst, right? Have you ever had a time where you wanted to give up riding or like a horrible loss or a horrible something that happened and you're like, that's it I'm out and obviously you didn't. Um, but yeah, anything that, if someone's going through a really shitty time with their horse or their riding or their training right now, they can go, Oh, good. It happens to everyone.

Robert (37:19):

Oh, I'm going to have to disappoint you. I don't think there has been environment. I don't, I really like out of the top of my head or maybe not, maybe I'll think of something when I wake up in the middle of the night and then I'll think of something all of a sudden, but, but I can not recall a moment where I wanted to give up. No, I definitely can't.

Natasha (37:42):

I think that says a lot more about how you're wired and how you're made than anything about what's happened to you. So that's cool.

Robert (37:48):

Well, I'm also very bad at giving up, so so, giving up is not giving up, giving up, giving up doesn't exist in my, in my vocabulary. Like it has to be possible. Like I can have the most difficult horse and I think, yeah, it's difficult, but then I just have to do it better. Um, and I think that's actually really important for all of us that if we want to get further, you know, we, we, we have to just try to get further. Maybe we won't get past a certain point with that horse, but I'm sure that it will help you if you have that philosophy, that'll help you with the next one.

Natasha (38:21):

Absolutely, absolutely. Yep. So do you have a quote or a motto that you live by, or I think you've mentioned there's so many quotes that are running through your head that you like to bring out in certain situations.

Robert (38:33):

Oh, there's a lot. There's so many. And there's quite often when you're teaching, you kind of wish you'd write them down in between sometimes because you'll have phases where you think of them. But probably, probably, probably the first thing that comes to mind is that if you want to be the best you can be, you have to train the best you can. Um, yeah. That's like, that's like the first thing that probably comes to mind. Um, and to clarify also the sentence, the sentence about talking is talking still talking silver silence is gold and I love stuff like that. Yeah. Sorry.

Natasha (39:10):

No, that's perfect. When people are listening to this going, he keeps banging on about this training, like the training's important. So to clarify, what do you, what's your definition of training harder or training better. D to me I'm here, I'm interpreting a words as way more disciplined as it's good and it needs to be better and no short cuts and, and make it exact and correct. Is that what you mean for the people listening? Is that what they need to bring?

Robert (39:39):

No. I want to say something where people are gonna roll their eyes and listen to this, because this is something that if, if you talk to any of like, okay, we do get a lot of people coming to Australia from overseas that aren't really say the best German trainers, because the best ones don't really have much time to come here. You know, the ones that come come one, the one offs. Yes. But I'm talking about coming frequently, but yeah, but if you talk to a ton of reader, if you talk to talk to a Hunter in my store, and if you talk to a Johnny, if you talk to, um, who else is a really big name that's coming out here, I've talked to Isabelle. You know, if you, if you talk to even all, uh, you know, like, like even like I know that there have been some positive and also send maybe not as positive experiences, but let's just reset yourself on the positive ones. Um, but, but if you talk to any of these people, they're going to say one thing, we neglect our basics, you know, when we neglect how to ride a horse on the bit, you know? And, um, and, and I have to say a couple of my students know, I say this quite often, but I'll be up at Emma favelas place and we'll be riding and we'll be riding one of our horses together. And we'll joke around, you know, that gee, you know, where we're sitting on a grand Prix horse, but, but actually we're practicing, we're practicing novice. You know, we're actually practicing no, there's the whole time, better rider, better a novice. And that's the biggest thing of what I've learned is that if you do things the right way from the start, and that's why I like there's a lot of horses I've had now, I wish I could start again, because if you do things the right way, the proper way, the not trying to go a step ahead way, and you CA you just have a very, like a very clear system and how you go about things actually training your horse becomes really uncomplicated. And then it becomes complicated when we're not doing it. Right. And, um, and so that's what we just have to look at ourselves in the mirror. And, um, we, we have to just take a step back, breathe and, and, and work on. I truly believe, um, that the feeling must be good. It's about the feeling it's about feeling good. And no one can tell me, no one can tell me that Isabelle, when she's riding her horse, doesn't feel good when she's riding some of her best, best scores, Jessica. Um, I know for a fact, JC and Betty, they're really good friends of mine. The having that come out of the arena, if I had a great feeling and I had also the best percentage I've had, you know, the feeling has to be good and a feeling isn't good. If the horse is tight, the feeling isn't good. If we're strong with the hand, the feeling isn't good. If the horse isn't swinging, um, isn't bending. Um, and so I think it's, it's so important. Get it feeling good, you know, like even a simple circle, walk truck canter. And if you can do that good, then all of a sudden you can do Lego screwed. If you can do a leg, it would go to, you can start riding trivia and shoulder, and guess what, if you've got trivia, you can already ride a half pot so you can write a Perrette, you know, but, but it's, it's, it's actually quite the, the, the, the further you get, the more you realize I go, what an idiot am I, because actually it's not that hard, you know, but, but you have to do the hard yards properly. You have to get the simple things properly that the novice level stuff has to be done properly.

New Speaker (42:58):

And I think if we focus on that, and then all of a sudden, um, we make our lives a lot easier. And all of a sudden, you know, you've got a, we've got a really good president, George who also FEI or grand Prix. And, and I'll also explain in my lesson too, sometimes, you know, you will see a really flash horse and they're doing like uneven steps and that next going everywhere and the horses on the bed properly or whatever, and all they want to do is ride grand prix. And you're going, Hey, you know, just take a step back. Cause if your horses on the bit and all that, they're going to come out with a good percentage. And a lot of people forget the focus on that. But then I have to say, we need, we need a lot more. And there are, but we need a lot more trainers holding together that way going, you know what, we're all going to go for that same goal. Because, because there are a lot of people that don't realize their potential because they're not being trained strict enough when it comes to the certain guidelines. I'm not talking about strict at the yelling or things like that. Just strict guidelines on how the horse has to look and how the horse has to go. And a lot of people would surprise themselves how far they could get, if they would actually, like I said, take a step back to make true forward.

Natasha (44:07):

That's super inspiring for everyone listening. I'm sure there'll be lots of people working on their basics and their fundamentals after this conversation. So thank you.

Robert (44:19):

I'm going to say me too.

Natasha (44:26):

Exactly. And that's the beautiful thing is you said, Isabel, all these people, they're still just training by six. It never,

Robert (44:32):

If you wash them at home, you get everyone to get a shutout at how little they were like, like to get out. Like, I want to take an example, you know, they want to improve the way the horse pushes to their problem. And the PF is what they actually not going to do much PF to improve that they're going to do more likely, they're going to do walk traditions and try to get the horse to push into the broad or more so they can feel the high leg more going into the hand. So to say, and I, and then all of a sudden that OPR nippy off will be better to send as a flying change. Quite often see people that have problems to find changes. They don't, you don't improve a phone change by practicing flying changes. You improve it by practicing, improving the candor. And when you improve the Cantor or while the change is better by itself, you know, so it's, it's, we just have to get this. If we can alter our thinking a little bit, we'll be very thankful to ourselves for doing it.

Natasha (45:23):

Yeah. Brilliant. So what does the future hold for you? Are you a big goal set or do you know where you want to be in two years, five years, 10 years?

Robert (45:35):

Um, I should do that more actually to tell you the truth. Um, no, I, I really should. I think I have a goal. I don't have, I don't have materialistic goals. Like I want to go to the Olympics then, or there, or whatever, or be a trainer to that Olympics or here. Like, I don't see it that way. Like I think, um, a focus has to be like, I think we have to have, like, I have got a goal, like in a sense, like say like in five years time, I'd maybe like to have my own property. Um, maybe like to have say a certain type of horses and my own ownership, um, that I can have fun playing with at home. Um, maybe in a certain sense where I can have myself in my life. Um, but I think, I think if I, if I was, I don't believe in homogeneous material goals anyway, I believe in really just trying to get further every day, you know, taking it step by step. And, and I believe in like, if, if I did have the wish, like in five years time, all I can say I have the biggest wish is that with, um, the people that I have, um, that, that, uh, that, that, that trust me and, um, have belief in me to help them, um, that they are as far as possible. Hopefully riding grand Prix, hopefully I'm making me proud so I can enjoy watching. And, um, in the end, what I do it for you next, I want to enjoy watching, um, and hopefully have even more and, and, and be proud of everyone. That's probably the only best probably of my, my real goal. Um, if there's anything, but I know I don't have any material goals, like when it comes to say a certain success or whatever.

Natasha (47:26):

Yeah. That's huge. And I said, do you have a motto that you live by? And you realize, well, there's a couple of things, but I feel what's shining through is what every day better that you're just driven every day to be the best you, you can be. And it was there when you were 14 and it was like, I'm going to do this. And it's, it's just that I'm more, um, which is really cool. This just means you're always happy and you're always working towards something.

Robert (47:49):

Well, every day is a chance to make it to, to, to, to, to learn from yesterday and make, make the next day better. So every day is a chance to improve. Every day is a chance to grow every day is a chance to be more.

Natasha (48:03):

I love it. Beautiful. Um, do you have any sponsors you'd like to mention

Robert (48:11):

Thank you about it. No, I don't. Um, hi guy. And that's it. I don't know. I'd say, I'd say, I'd say every, everyone that's said that stands behind me and believes in me. That's for me a sponsor, sir.

Natasha (48:26):

Yeah, I absolutely love it. And I, your coaching from talking to you, I'm getting chills, like what an amazing coach you are and what amazing gift. Like I said, it's very rare that people care and really commit to the process of improving and creating success in the people that they work with. So are your coaching books full felt full? Um, or can we mention how people can get in contact with you and, um, hopefully get some of your learning?

Robert (48:53):

Um, I'm, I'm pretty full life. Like I'm very happy out. I'm very, I'm very, very busy, but I have to say, I will always have a door open, anyone that wants help. Um, I thought it through COVID of course I'm not able to travel in state, which is, which has changed that part a little bit because normally I'll, I'll be once a month, that would be on the sunshine coast once a month on the gold coast, once a month down the message in region I'm down in Melbourne, down in Victoria. Um, and then once a month in the Canberra region. So, so normally like, like they sort of like the, the points that I go to where people sort of then traveled towards, like in those areas. Like, so they like the stations that I go to. Um, but, um, honestly I'm not a person. I don't have a limit that I do in a day. I, um, and I just, I do what needs to be done and I'm always there to help who I can help. And if I, even if I've worked 12 hours and there's another person that I can help, I'd much prefer to do that than sit in front of them, sit in front of the TV and, and haven't haven't yet tonic, believe it or not,

Natasha (49:55):

You are phenomenal what a gift. That's amazing. I'm sorry, thankful that we got the time to chat to get together. And I'm amazing getting to know, um, what drives you and, and what, what, what really puts you on the map for, for the coaching? Like I said, everyone, I've been speaking to mentions your name and I'm like, I have to speak to this guy or everyone's raving about you and I can definitely see why.

Robert (50:18):

Well, thank you very much. I don't know. I think there are a lot of people that also maybe don't have that opinion, but, but I'm, I'm very thankful to everyone that does. Um, but no, it was, um, thank you for, for allowing me to do this. I love talking about stuff like this anyway, because I find it it's, um, it, it motivates me to, so.

Natasha (50:39):

Yeah, absolutely. And do you have social media accounts? Can, are you too busy coaching? Are you updating your Instagram, your face?

Robert (50:48):

I'm not on time. Not, I don't know. I don't have tick talk. I'm not planning on getting ticked off, but I've got, but I've got, of course Instagram, Facebook. Um, I have to say I'm not as active as maybe I should be, or maybe how others are, but it's just honestly, because of my German upbringing with the sheer approach, head down, work hard. And I try not to be, try not to be even more on my phone than I already am. And, um, I find, I find, I find any way in today's life. Like I find, I think that the youth have a lot harder than, than I did when I was just like today, because there's so much more distraction and, and, and these phones are a distraction. And in social media, I think on the one side, they're so great because you can, yeah, you can, you can show something and help people with a picture with videos or whatever, sort of maybe inspire people. And what I quite often do if I see like a video, like, like just yesterday or the day before yesterday, um, I saw a video of a mate of mine in Germany, riding a Pruitt in a test. And it was just exactly, sort of like so simple and uncomplicated how you wrote it and just so exactly sort of how I'm trying to teach people to do it. Um, I asked sat, like, I wish I did it like that. Like, I'm, I'm getting there, but, but that's sort of how I teach it. And it was just so nice. And so then I sent it to everyone who I thought that was relevant for, you know, so they can be done to look at it. So I think for stuff like that, social media is great. Um, but we have to be a little careful because it is also on the other side. Um, on the, on the negative side, it can be quite a distraction, you know, that we, that we concentrate too much on, who's got sponsors, what sponsors, um, I'm not a person that I won't go to ask for someone for a sponsorship. That's just not my way. Like, I'm very German old school, either somebody or they don't. And I had this, um, I had a very joint joint performance. They used to sponsor me until they sold their company. Um, and same thing they approached me like, and then I then of course, that's, that's nice. And I'm very proud of that, but I, I think it's really important that we have a head screwed on and really like on what's important that it's actually getting better, not on who or who's, which sponsor we have and what clothes we're wearing and all that. No, it's about getting better.

Natasha (53:02):

Absolutely. Yep. Um, so we'll, we'll put it in the show notes and people can follow you on Facebook and Instagram anyway, but thank you so much. Um, it's been an absolute gift having this conversation today. I'm sure you've inspired everyone. Um, thanks so much for your time.

Robert (53:17):

No, I didn't talk to her much. I'm sorry. I know I did so, but, but I, I enjoyed it. It was very nice to meet you, even if it was over this, this form. Um, I hope to meet you. I hope to meet your real life at some stage very soon.

Natasha (53:33):

One day.