Gustav Rau (hippologist)

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Gustav Rau

Gustav Rau (born February 28, 1880 in Paris , † December 5, 1954 in Warendorf ; pseudonym: Gustav Kannstadt ) is one of the most important German hippologists of the 20th century.


Rau was born in France as the son of a Württemberg officer . From 1901 he worked as an editor of the Berlin “Sport-Welt” and became known in the following years for numerous hippological writings. During the Olympic Games in 1912 , an Olympic equestrian competition was held for the first time. When the oppressive superiority of the foreign riders became clear, the hour of the young Rau struck. As a member of the Prussian Horse Breeding Commission, he presented his ideas to the committee and in 1913 was appointed Secretary General of the German Equestrian Olympics Committee (DOKR), which was being founded under the protectorate of the Crown Prince.

In the First World War he served as an ulan . In 1919 the German warmblood breed seemed to be on the brink of extinction. As a result of the lost war, the German breeders had lost their largest sales market. The Reichswehr was reduced in size and motorized. In particular, the army's cavalry and artillery regiments needed fewer horses . Rau presented a program with new incentives for breeders to the Prussian Ministry of Agriculture. Numerous rural riding and driving clubs were founded. The farmers' attention was drawn more to the fitness of their horses for sport. This program helped equestrian sport to take off in the following years .

Rau dealt critically with dressage riding in his writings. His comments and "Altgold", first published in 1921, are still relevant today. In 1921 there were no discussions about the so-called roll cure , but Rau was already concerned with the wrongly understood forward-downward movement.

“He rode to me. This means that people put the horse in the position in which they believe they can control it most safely and easily. Since they have been riding, they have been devising riding systems from which we have to suffer and some of which should be called "systems of suffering". "

- Gustav Rau : Altgold, p. 10

“Because the true art of riding is simple and natural. It only becomes extensive and confused for the many who lack the divine spark for the concept of the simple. All around me I saw the suffering of other horses, which were sacrificed by clumsy riders to the various riding systems. Most riders do not feel what is right and what is wrong. With all doggedness and every means they try to achieve a certain external image that is the result of the application of their system. Many horses had to walk with their heads pulled down, dropped down on their chests, with high hindquarters rolling over their forehand, with their backs that were unnaturally tense and constantly hunching over instead of letting the back muscles bounce up and down at the pace of the walk. Many horses are violently prevented from making sensible use of their structure and limbs. "

- Gustav Rau : Altgold, p. 11

In 1933 he was appointed head stableman of the Prussian stud administration, but had to resign a year later. However, the organization of the 1936 Olympic Equestrian Games in Berlin was transferred to him instead. In the course of the so-called takeover of power, Rau showed himself to be extremely adaptable to the new political and social framework conditions and advocated the introduction of the so-called leader principle in equestrian sport and breeding. From 1939 to 1945 Rau was the Chief Executive Officer and representative for horse breeding and stud farms in the General Government of Poland, which was occupied by the Wehrmacht . After Susanne Hennig, Gustav Rau was asked by the Army High Command immediately after the start of the war to rebuild the heavily damaged Polish horse breeding. Rau had reorganized the Polish stud nature and managed the Polish horse breeding with its 14 State Studs in less than five years "to lead to new heights." The Frankfurter Rundschau noted this, that it very close to the Auschwitz extermination camp, one SS-stud given has, in which Rau forced a Holstein breed.

After the end of the Second World War, Rau resumed the tradition of Germany's oldest equestrian event, which has been among the 20 best German riding clubs since 1924. Rau initiated a national competition for rural riders, which was held as part of the DLG tournament in Frankfurt am Main , in keeping with the tradition of his idea that farmers are the basis for equestrian sport. From 1946 to 1950 he headed the Hessian State Stud in Dillenburg . Rau ensured that the German Olympic Committee for Equestrianism was established in Warendorf in 1950 . It was also he who helped the most successful riders under National Socialism, some of whom were deeply involved in the crimes of the Wehrmacht and SS and the implementation of the Holocaust in World War II, to make a seamless transition to equestrian sports in the post-war period.



Individual evidence

  1. Nele Maya Fahnenbruck: "... rides for Germany": Equestrian sport and politics under National Socialism. Göttingen: Verlag DIE WERKSTATT, 2013, p. 167 f.
  2. ^ Hennig, Susanne: 100 years of horse breeding and equestrian sports in Germany, Warendorf: FN-Verl. the Dt. Equestrian Association, 2005, p. 122 ( ISBN 3-88542-377-4 ).
  3. ^ "Kühner deutscher Reitergeist" , Harry Nutt, Frankfurter Rundschau, April 4, 2013. Nutt refers to the dissertation of Nele Maya Fahnenbruck: "... rides for Germany": Equestrian sport and politics under National Socialism. Göttingen: Verlag DIE WERKSTATT, 2013, p. 306 f.
  4. Nele Maya Fahnenbruck: "... rides for Germany": Equestrian sport and politics under National Socialism. Göttingen: Verlag DIE WERKSTATT, 2013, p. 320

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