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MASTER WILLIAM SANDER'S BACKGROUND

I can't really remember not being around horses. I have an earlier picture of my father holding me on a horse probably at one year of age. Here I am at the age of eight with my first pony, Sandee. Notice that I am dressed in my favorite western outfit.

 

My father, a classical rider, a member of the last mounted Calvary unit, mounted patrol officer, steeple chase rider and polo player would have no part of anything but the proper seat and two-handed position on the reins. It drove me nuts at the time. He was my first teacher and he showed me a lot — a lot more than I was ready for at the time, I am afraid. He was a superb rider. 

 

The second photo shows me riding Sandee. My father taught me about the balance of the horse and how my hands and seat controlled him. My father was relentless on hands and position for the good of the horse and rider. I had many horses after Sandee, Tonto the Quarter Horse, Buttons the Paint, and Major the Morgan-Arab, to name a few. All of these horses were trained by me and my father. As I got older, I did more or the training myself.

In 1990, I became interested in classical riding and training my Tennessee Walker, Roque. I rode Rogue to many blue ribbons.  At this time, I really wanted to start a movement to train and ride the walking horse in tests more like dressage tests. I took a lot of flack from some trainers who did not want to see things change that much. But we had some fun and I learned more about training in a different way.

 

Jean Claude Racinet

Jean Claude Racinet was my first real influence from a teacher other than my father. He taught me not only about riding but training as well. Racinet was superbly classically trained. In my opinion, he was the leading authority on the French Tradition in the United States, and one of the great Baucherists in the world. All of his books are on the required reading list for my students, as he was a genius.

 

In 1998 I met my greatest teacher, Master Luis Valenca of Portugal. He is the last teacher I will ever look for. I choose to learn every aspect from this great teacher as I could. For the last eleven years I have made numerous trips to Portugal to ride and study. Many of the horses I had the pleasure of riding and training under his eye, I have been able to import to the USA.

This is more than buying a trained horse and bringing it home. I learned to train and ride every one of them, from an unbroken horse through the high school and airs, work in hand, lunging, jaw flexions, long reining, psychology, etc. Anyone who buys a trained horse and does not know how to continue its training or ride it correctly, will soon have a big mess on their hands.

 

I choose not to be self taught but to obtain the finest academic training possible. I still travel to Portugal yearly to continue my studies in all aspects of training and riding. I bring home my knowledge to my students, who benefit from the true classical art and training right at home.