Karl Mikolka, former Chief Rider at the Spanish Riding School and renowned Classic Dressage trainer in the U.S.A., has passed away. He was 83 years old.
Karl was born in August 1935 in Vienna, Austria.
His first came into contact with horses when he was a young boy and helped deliver fresh produces with his neighbour's horse drawn cart. At age 15 he began working at a harness racetrack and, later that year, took his first riding lesson at Reitstall Kottas-Heldenberg, a riding facility owned by an aunt of Arthur Kottas, a former Chief Rider of the Spanish Riding School.
In 1955 Col. Alois Podhajsky, director of the Spanish Riding School, accepted him an "elévé", the lowest rank of rider-employee at the Spanish Riding school, which was then still in exile at Wels in Upper Austria. At the time of Karl’s admission, the school was short of riders and Podhajsky brought retired Bereiter Alfred Cerha back into active duty. He became Karl's teacher and within five years, Karl was promoted to Assistant Rider and eventually achieved the rank of Oberreiter, or Chief Rider, in 1967.
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