Ulrike Prunthaller Leaves Bartlgut after Twenty-Year Collaboration

Fri, 01/06/2023 - 12:09
Ulrike Prunthaller :: Photo © Astrid Appels

After having worked for 20 years at equestrian centre Bartlgut, Austrian Grand Prix rider Ulrike Prunthaller has decided to leave her long-time employers, Edda and Wenzel Schmidt.  

Eqwo published the news today and posted that Prunthaller ended her contract at the end of November 2022.

Starting Anew

Ulrike motivated her decision to leave and the future she now envisages as following:

"I just needed a change after such a long time, Ulrike told Eurodressage. “It were valuable and successful years there and we parted on good terms. Where to go now? I take my time with the decision and do everything step by step. We'll see what the future brings.”

Edda Schmidt told Eqwo, "for us this is of course a great loss but from a professional perspective we understand she wants change. Ulli was like a daughter to us."

A Career Supported by Bartlgut

Prunthaller with Aktionär at the 2005 World
Young Horse Championships
Prunthaller arrived at Bartlgut at age 18. Prunthaller and Bartlgut were a fixed unity with yard owners Edda and Wenzel Schmidt constantly supplying her with horses, as well as firmly standing behind Ulrike in the darker days of her professional career. 

She trained and competed numerous horses to Grand Prix level, taking titles at the Austrian Young Horse Championships, and she represented Austria at several World Young Horse Championships. 

Her international show career began in 2004 with horses Semper Fidelis and Adino and she first rode at the World Young Horse Championships in 2005 with Aktionär.

In 2011 a dark chapter started when grooms at Bartlgut anonymously testified on Youtube, alleging horse abuse by Prunthaller and coach Fritz Atschko. The Schmidts took legal action against the grooms. However an investigation was started and it led to a conviction in 2013 by the disciplinary committee of the Tiroler equestrian federation. Prunthaller was suspended for nine months and fined 4,000 euro.  Atschko was also fined 5,000 euro. Bartlgut parted ways with Atschko. The Schmidts appealed the decision to protect and support Prunthaller, but the appeal was lost in 2017.

In those years and even after a strained relationship between Bartlgut and the Austrian equestrian federation seemingly affected Prunthaller's sport career.  Ulrike was instrumental in the securing of a team spot for Austria for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo as the second best scoring Austrian on the Olympic Ranking List in 2019. Despite consistent Grand Prix scores and steady international dressage starts at CDI's across Europe even through 2022, Prunthaller was never selected for the Austrian team for any major senior Championship.  

Starting from Scratch

Prunthaller on Questore at the 2022 World Young Horse

Prunthaller, who was most recently training with Rudolf Zeilinger, will leave behind all of Bartlgut's horses, including four Grand Prix horses (Quarz, Quantum, Quadrofilius and Quebec) and the highly successful youngsters Questore, Traunstein K and Amicelli.

Bartlgut is on the look-out for a new head rider. 

Photo © Astrid Appels

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