German? Why did it have to be German?!

amywink November 14th, 2009

I have a long complex relationship with German. We started off well together, in high school, and I really enjoyed our early years together, before college. I lost interest there, after finishing my language classes, and moved on to other interests. After some years apart, I turned to German as my “second” language for the requirements of my PhD—to fulfill the other, I took Old English and Beowulf with Katherine O’Brien O’Keefe, now of Notre Dame, while she was at Texas A&M (everyone should be so lucky to work with her to learn ancient languages. The woman is amazing) and spent two semesters trying to digest Old English and then translate Beowulf (which was both extremely challenging and delightfully rewarding for someone who enjoys words and wordplay and the experience comes in extremely handy when students complain about work being difficult.)

But I digress.

German: I went back to my basic knowledge and studied for the required language exam, which I proceeded to fail three times in a row. I created note cards, memorized endings, articles, spellings, grammar rules….. By the time I finally passed the “Reading Knowledge” requirement, I was done with German.

There was a small, localized fire in celebration.

But God’s favorite literary device is Irony (The Smirk of God) and here at the heart this sport that has completely captured my mind lies. . . .

German and the six elements of dressage training:

Takt, Losgelassenheit, Anlehnung, Schwung, Geraderichten, und Versammlung

But, because God is Love, I do not have to translate the German to learn the six elements!! Saints be Praised.

Takt= Rhythm and Regularity

Losgelassenheit= Freedom, Relaxation, Submission (which I’d translate as meaning Willingness)

Anlehnung= Contact, Acceptance of the Bit and Seeking Contact

Schwung= Impulsion

Geraderichten= True Straightness, including Bending

Versammlung= Collection

So as to ultimately achieve:

Durchlaessigkeit = Thoroughness, Suppleness, Harmony, and Confidence.**

Hardy Zantke discusses all these elements here
in the Archive of Carriage Driving World Magazine.

And so, now, I must move on the next challenge in driving:

Teaching Will German.

Drücke mir die Daumen!


**Bean, Heike and Sarah Blanchard, Carriage Driving a Logical Approach Through Dressage Training. Howell Book House, 2004.

Zankte, Hardy, “The German Training Scale”. Carriage Driving World, 2003.

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