Claudia is an active FEI competitor who has earned her USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals. She graduated from the “L” judge program “with distinction” in 1998 and obtained her USDF instructor certification in 2008.
Claudia’s passion for horses was nurtured from an early age during her childhood in Germany by her father, Gerhard Springer, who allowed his daughter to tag along while he rode at Reitclub Strass. Claudia’s future patron, Max Mayer, was the barn owner, and Max’s daughter, recognizing a budding talent, helped guide her early development with horses.
Claudia was the typical horse crazy girl. Claudia spent every spare moment at the reitclub. Her passion was fueled as she grew, first as older riders started popping her up on their horses when they cooled out, then with lunge lessons and a more formal training program. After a time, Claudia was made responsible for the care of Max Mayer’s broodmare band and she began riding and training the mares. At the age of 11, Claudia trained her first green horse, a young broodmare named Salve. Claudia passed her Reiterabzeichen testing, which includes dressage, show jumping, and theory, to allow her to show in recognized shows – a turning point in her showing and training career.
From the beginning, Claudia’s development was influenced by a myriad of people and horses. Lunge lessons, jumping sessions, riding horses of a variety of temperaments and levels of training gave Claudia the experience needed to succeed at training and showing horses in Germany. Her stepmother, Michaela, and her sister, Andrea, were a key in the development of the young equestrienne. Even today, Claudia will seek their advice about a horse’s potential for performance or breeding or will consult with them on training issues. All of these experiences gave Claudia a solid foundation in the fundamentals of horsemanship, correct riding, and training that has served her throughout her career.
In 1991, Claudia emigrated to the United States and settled in Springfield, MO. The Midwest was not a hotbed of English-style riding, but that did not deter the young mother of two from finding ways to get her horse fix. Eleanor Robberson, wife of a local veterinarian, gave Claudia the opportunity to ride and school her thoroughbred and that was all it took. Word soon spread about a talented rider and trainer from Germany. As area riders started seeking Claudia out to give them lessons and to train their horses, her reputation grew and the quality of horses and riders that made their way to her barn rose to match.
In the succeeding years, Claudia has been a demo rider for Jane Savoie, and has attended clinics and symposiums with Steffen Peters, Scott Hassler, Robert Dover, Hubertus Schmidt, Conrad Schumacher, Bill Woods, Charlotte Bredahl-Baker, Charles de Knuffy, and Beth and Jennifer Baumert – sometimes as rider, sometimes as auditor, but always as a learner and seeker of knowledge. In addition, Claudia continues to develop as a trainer and instructor by working with Cathy Zappe, USDF certified instructor through 4th level, and Dolly Hannon, USEF “S” judge, on a regular basis. Claudia still goes home to Germany regularly, where she continues to train and expand her knowledge.