About me - Christina Schläpfer
I truly grew up on horseback. As a four-year-old who was only "three cheeses high" (Swiss expression), I was already fascinated by these elegant giants and was allowed to start learning acrobatics on horseback, also called "voltige". Two years later my mother fulfilled one of her dreams, and two beautiful purebred Arabian geldings, "Mogambo Ibn Munim" and "Sabaal Ibn El Sayed", moved into our barn. These two gentle geldings became my most faithful companions and teachers, from my youth to the present day.
My weekly riding lessons began with "Mogambo" in the old Californian western riding style. My faithful Mogambo accompanied me to many Parelli- and manual work courses and brought me safely back to the stable after every ride. One of our absolute highlights was an approximately 167-km-long riding tour, which Mogambo and I undertook together with a school friend between Zurich and San Jon in Scuol, Switzerland when I was 13 years old.
"Sabaal Ibn El Sayed" always had a positive effect on me because of his fiery temperament and his impressive appearance, which is why I soon began to tirelessly try to persuade my parents to allow me to take classical dressage lessons with him. From the age of ten to the present day I have attended riding lessons with K. Schalt, who teaches on a classical basis employing elements of the "Old Californian" western style.
The two geldings were followed by two purebred Arabian mares, and with them came the idea of owning our own foal. With our first foal "Karim Ibn Saddam" in 2001, the foundation was laid for a significant, steadily growing passion for the Arabian horse. As breeding plans progressed, Ernst Schläpfer senior addressed the challenge of designing a stable that was optimally designed for keeping horses. During this time I was able to experience an incredible number of beautiful moments, such as the births of horses, but also the very sad moments when one must say goodbye to a precious friend. This was also the period when I acquired my knowledge of breeding, horse births, horse gynecology and -behavior through "learning by doing", always supported by my mother and father. Most of my free time was spent with the horses.
Only during the period of my architecture studies at the university in the Principality of Liechtenstein was I forced to limit my activities with horses somewhat. But even this time-consuming study did not keep me completely out of the stable. As we began to present some of the horses we had raised ourselves at international breeding shows, I became curious about this discipline and wanted to learn more about it. Mary Lang, a renowned and professional trainer from Austria, trained and presented our "show horses" at that time. Thus, every summer semester break during my university years I began to work and learn at Ms, Lang's show training stable. My passion for the Arabian horse and its training became more and more pronounced, which is why I decided to concentrate on the horse profession after I had graduated and obtained my diploma as an architect.
I spent six months at Bob Boggs' "Midwest Station 1" in Minnesota, USA and gained insight into breeding and show training in America. This period was extraordinarily instructive and enriching, and with many new ideas and insights I returned to Europe and began preparing and presenting our own horses for show. From the very beginning of my independent career I was able to celebrate great success in the show ring. The exciting third place award in 2014 at the All Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany -- one of the most renowned breeding shows in Europe -- with our self-bred mare "Shamaliah" came as a complete surprise and gave me wings in my pursuit of full professional independence.
One of my absolute show highlights came in 2014, when I had an outstandingly successful season with my "heart mare" Grace J, which was bred by Christine Jamar of Jadem Arabians in Belgium. The high point of that season was my second place finish at the All Nations Cup in Aachen. Grace J proved to me that one can train and present a horse at the highest quality level without having to resort to unfair, brutal or reprehensible practices. She taught me a great deal and made me critically question the show-training world and its methods.
With this insight into the development of the breeding- and show scene for Arabian horses, and in view of the fact that I had originally come from the riding sector of the equestrian world, I decided to further my education in the fields of riding and training. Currently, I am in a second training program to become a SinTakt riding instructor, which I hope to be able to complete soon. This past winter of 2018/19 I was able to start my first independent "young animal year" and begin the associated saddle training.
This work with the various methods and techniques of different horse trainers from all over the world has proved very successful in both riding and show training. The principles of Parelli, Monty Roberts, Linda Tellington-Jones, Phillipp Karl, Michael Geitner and many other great horse trainers are part of my daily training work. My own first principle was and remains: There is no right or wrong method, as long as one treats the horse with respect, sensitivity and esteem, and listens and responds to the animal's signals.
Our Horse Facility
Our stud- and training center is located on the outskirts of Adetswil, a small village in the Zurich Oberland region of Switzerland, only 40 minutes from the city of Zurich and the Kloten Airport. The grounds are surrounded by approximately three hectares of green pastures and a further 13 hectares of meadows, which are managed by our family for the production of hay for the horses. The stud farm and the training center have 30 horse stalls, 11 of which have "run-outs" and large all-weather paddocks.
Since 2018 the stud farm and training center has also included a covered exercise space with an integrated covered roundpen, as well as a spacious and bright indoor riding arena. State-of-the-art integrated technologies simplify the everyday work processes and help to optimize individual horse training. A solarium for horse care, a treadmill for horse exercise, and the manure suction system and goods elevators all help to simplify and enrich the daily routine.
In order to avoid excessive daily repitition, we like to go to the surrounding grounds. Smaller rounds on the farm are very practical for beginners in getting to know the area for the first time without the distraction of traffic. With the experienced horses, we often go to the nearby forest called Stoffel and Pulten. To reach the forest, we first have to pass through the village of Adetswil, which is good training for getting the horses accustomed to the traffic.
Ernst, Maja and Christina Schläpfer designed, constructed and planned the facility especially for breeding and training, and it was built by our family-owned company. This is a not only a place where the horses feel as if they are in a five-star resort, but which also invites the owners to spend some time and enjoy our paradise on earth.