AADA Featured Rider

Gardy Bloemers

headshot

I am originally from The Netherlands and started my riding career on ponies. After moving to Virginia at a young age and living on a dairy farm, I competed pony hunters, rode all over the countryside with my friends and foxhunted  too.

I attended college at Tufts University where I joined the Equestrian Club and rode the horses there but also school horses at a local barn.   After college I moved to Germany for my first real job at the Munich Re in 1990. I received my MBA from Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management and subsequently joined Citibank as a Management Associate in their European graduate training program. Initially based with Citi’s Insurance Group Europe in Düsseldorf, I later moved to London to join Citibank’s offshore Wealth Management business as Product Manager, Marketing Director and ultimately Director of Business Development.  

In 2000, I joined a US-based early stage technology firm as a founding team member where we established its London office and European business activities. I then returned to Citibank as Director, Wealth Management. All the while, I was able to find opportunities to ride and dabbled a bit in dressage. 

I used one of my bonuses to take a chance and buy my first horse.  I bought Donizetti S in 2002 after trying him at the British National Championships.  Then I was challenged to manage  my time in and out of the office to ride. I would leave Canary Wharf, take the tube home, run upstairs, change, get in the car and drive at least one hour to get to the barn. I then had to groom, tack up and bring along enough pound coins to throw in the light meter to make sure I did not ride in the dark.   I would typically get home by 11pm.   

With changes at Citibank, I had the opportunity to return to the US, so I moved back to Virginia.  I soon started working for Merrill Lynch in 2008 where I continue to work today as a Wealth Management Advisor in Charlottesville, VA and Wellington, FL. Speaking fluently in English, Dutch, German and French has helped me tremendously in both the professional and horse world!

Once settled in VA, I started to work with Bruno Greber, and pursued my competitive dressage dreams with Donizetti.  We competed through all of the USDF levels, Prix St Georges and Intermediare I!   Thanks to him I obtained my USDF Silver Medal and competed at Dressage at Devon!  After those successes, a good friend recommended a visit to Wellington, FL.   I arranged to work for Merrill while there and began to ride Donizetti with instruction from USDF President and world renowned rider/trainer George Williams.  Donizetti is currently retired and I am riding two of my own Dutch Warmbloods:  Crusedor and Chios KK.  With them, I have been lucky enough to compete at two US National Dressage Finals in Lexington, KY and in 2017 placed third in the Adult Amateur Intermediare I Championships on Crusedor.

Since 2010 I have been a member of the Board of the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, VA.    In 2017 I was elected to serve as President of the Board. Also last year, I  became a member of the USEF Dressage Sport Committee.  In addition to these commitments, I am a Board member of the Charlottesville Chapter of the Virginia Dressage Association and served as Co-Chair of the Garden Club of Virginia’s 2017 Conservation Forum.

2018 is my fourth season in Wellington with Williams Dressage.  I now do not have significant travel for work, which makes it possible to ride both horses, 5 or 6 days a week.  I love the challenge of riding these talented creatures and constantly  improving upon our partnerships. It takes a village and I do have an unbelievably supportive one in no small part thanks to my husband.

In my experience, it is possible to fit this all into your life but it is a balancing act. I’m so happy to be in the place I am and grateful for all of the horses and horsey friends that have touched and continue to touch my life.   

Are you a Dressage Amateur and want to be a featured rider?  Contact us!