Head & Tail: Uta Gräf

Uta Gräf with her Le Noir. Image: Inge Vogel

Uta Gräf with her Le Noir. Image: Inge Vogel

Clean a horse caked with mud and go ride (a Grand Prix): that’s her motto – and also the subheading of her movies and her book. The way Uta Gräf rides puts her in a class of her own. Just one example: I have rarely seen such a good giving of reins than here (check minute 0.42 on pferdiathek).


roof tiles were blown off the roof during a storm. All the while Gräf was riding her Grand Prix horse Le Noir in the outside arena. Only when an employee rushed in and reported about the tiles did Gräf abandon her ride. She was so focussed that she had forgotten about the storm. Shortly after the kicking board came crashing down. Gräf’s comment: “Nothing can unnerve the black one.”


hours a day is the amount of time all horses in Gräf’s schooling stable in Rheinland-Pfalz are turned out. Without blanketing – it works, says Gräf, “it’s just as cold in our open barn as it is outside anyway.” Blankets are only out at night time, “too many of them got torn out on the pasture.”


times she went to dinner with her co-author, then her new book “Fine Riding on Motivated Horses” was finished. It’s even more impressive what the two of them have created: a bible of motivation.


the approximate number of horses she rode as an outside rider at various national championships, Gräf recounts. Her favorites were Lissaro van de Helle („so balanced and yet so alert”) and Fürst Fugger („so sensitive in a good way“). She gave both a 10.


centimeters are what Le Noir misses the most at the moment. It is the height of his best friend Löffel – a donkey. The stallion was allowed to play with him out at pasture. However, Löffel moved out, “soon we will try whether a pony can replace him”, says Uta Gräf.

I have been writing the column “Kopf & Zahl” (literally: heads & tails) for Reiter Revue international since 2012.  I reveal a little more here – nice as it is to read a short interview, there are so very many additional nice things still to tell!