One of our favorite horsemen passed away this week, after a long battle with cancer. Klaus was instrumental in starting the dressage circuit in Florida, and he managed several of the biggest shows down there for many years.
If you knew Klaus, you also needed to know “blonde” jokes.
There was always a harmonica in his back pocket.
He had the rule book committed to memory. Even if you had a hard copy of it in your hands, he could find the rule faster than you could.
He had a great sense of humor. You could always could on a great come-back from him.
One of my fondest memories of Klaus:
We were at the Saratoga Dressage Show, and it happened to be the year that Axel and I “met”. It was the first morning of the show, and it was a glorious sunny day, the kind you sometimes get lucky enough to have on a Memorial Day weekend in New York. I was starting my day at Ring 1, on the homestretch of the track, right below the historic grandstand. Klaus, managing the show, came by to see if I needed anything moved.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Vell,”he said, “I’ve had photographers who have needed things moved. The signs or banners are in the wrong place, or the flowers are too high or … something.”
“I can’t think of a thing,” I replied. Saratoga is an incredibly beautiful place, after all.
He nodded, and walked away.
I looked east, across the track, and the infield, toward the rising sun, which would backlight the first few hours of rides. I turned to the ring steward, who was next to me, and asked if I could borrow her radio.
“Klaus,” I called into it, jovial, “I know what I need moved.” I saw him stop, a hundred yards away, listening to me on his radio. “I need you to move the sun!”
He didn’t turn. There was a momentary pause. And then he said, “I can do that. But I may not get to it until this afternoon.”
Godspeed, Klaus, and hugs to you, Maria.