Stefan Wolff is no stranger to dressage coaching in Australia. He started coming to Australia and coaching at Clemens Dierks’s property at Dural, an hour from Sydney, 15 years ago. He was young and passionate and full of enthusiasm, with a very definite German overtone of striving for the best basics you can do and never lose sight of those principles. There was no use coming to Stefan if you wanted pats on the back and to be told all the good things about your riding and your horse. He was willing to give praise, but only when it was surely and honestly earnt.
Stefan’s challenge for a balanced, engaged and impressive frame, which was in true self-carriage, was where his eye was trained and he was not erring on any of the basics. There were no band-aid cover-ups, it was simply the honest, nitty gritty basics. He was somewhat humourless in his lessons back then, as it was business and not to be taken at all lightly. His empathy and feeling were wonderful and his aptitude to step on board and feel what the rider was dealing with was easy for him. He was impressive by correct and honest training and a man with an uncanny eye for balance. Having not been here for several years due to Covid, it was so good to see him gracing us again with his honesty and sending thirst for correct training.
Stefan was born in Lübeck in the north of Germany in 1979. Both his parents were passionate riders and owners and supported him and encouraged him throughout his working his way to regional junior and young rider dressage squads.
At 18, Stefan went into national service, which was mandatory at that time. He was one of the few athletes accepted to serve at the Sport School of the Federal Armed Forces and trained at Warendorf with Holger Schmezer, who was the German national coach. He completed his examination as a ‘Bereiter’ with distinction and trained with Klaus Balkenhol. He decided to go to university and in 2004 Stefan earned his law degree then went back to work for Klaus.
During his uni days he made the famous Rubins Royal to a good Grand Prix stallion. Whilst with Klaus he rode successfully at the Bundeschampionate and the FEI WBFSH World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses. In 2006, Stefan passed the exam for Reitlehrer FN in Münster with a distinction and was awarded for the best Master-Examination in 2006. He then moved to Los Angeles and trained with USA Olympian Guenter Seidel and competed very successfully from young horse classes to CDI Grand Prix.
In 2012, Stefan took up the position of deputy director of the Westphalia Riding and Driving School and worked with Martin Plewa, the then national eventing coach. His focus was to deepen his knowledge of the biomechanics of the horse and its use of its whole body in regards to a better balance. He gave many seminars about the training scale and the German system and was also appointed as one of the young rider squad trainers for the Westphalian Riding Association with great success up to the German Championships.