Featured Rider August 2018
AADA Featured Rider
Born in the The Netherlands in 1961, I was not exposed to horses until 1967 in Hamburg, Germany. My father worked for Philips and my family was transferred every three to four years.
Our new neighbors’ daughter, who was my age, dragged me to the stables. I inhaled the smell of horses, hay, dust and manure for the first time. I was hooked at the age of seven.
Riding meant sitting on ponies, not on a saddle but rather a saddle pad with a girth. No stirrups of course. We rode the German way, Abteilungsreiten… where we learned to follow other ponies in the proper distance and later being a leader of the group. We also learned to be considerate of other riders and keep the right tempo and rhythm, so everyone could follow. We learned to jump little jumps and of course how to take care of these wonderful creatures.
My father was transferred to Brazil in 1972, which meant new languages, new schools, new friends and a new horse for me. My parents were able to afford a horse in Brazil; a mare, from the race track. She was not very talented and not that easy but mine and a new teacher. I began riding in Sao Paulo, at the Clube Hipico Santo Amaro. My trainer was an old Austrian Rittmeister, Fritz. Lessons were certainly the old fashioned strict way. Talking was a no no. We would switch horses and our confidence was always kept low. I began showing at the age of 12, dressage of course. I never considered anything else!!
In 1976 we moved again.. this time to Germany. Of course I continued my riding, but not on my own horse. In fact that became beneficial. I was riding lots of new horses in a German Reitschule near Kassel, Germany. If one became difficult, I was the one to get on.
When I graduated High School in 1982 I stopped my riding career, went to University in Mainz, acquired a PhD in Biology, met my husband, was married and had 2 children. We moved in 1994 to the USA, first to Charlotte NC, two years later to Flemington, NJ.
My oldest daughter had a passion for horses and demanded to ride at an early age. When she was four she was riding ponies and I was wondering why she was riding and I wasn’t.
Well, soon I rode again. First a hunter, thank you to Nancy Urban, but then.. dressage!! I began to ride with Bernardo Vergara, later with Gabriel Armando, then with Marilyn Payne, Lisa Schmidt and Holger Bechtloff.
Bernardo took me to Germany and I purchased a five year old Warmblood/Angloarab, Macho. We began to show up the levels and managed to achieve the bronze medal.
Later, Judy and Shelly Streisand offered me the ride on their horse Galant and we were able to compete successfully at PSG and I1 and achieve my silver medal.
Four years ago my husband and I decided to move to Wellington, Florida. Our daughters had become grown ups and independent, wonderful persons.
Three years ago I purchased my current horse Cora. Of course green and not uncomplicated LOL! But very willing, with an engine and lots of fun. Thanks to Holger Bechtloff’s help and IDA Farms’ care, we have shown third and fourth level and are soon to be showing Prix St Georges!
I couldn’t imagine a life without my horses and my rides, but also a life without my friends and all the people who can relate to my love for horses. The sport has always given me a way to forget about the everyday problems and frustrations, taught me to focus on the positive, to appreciate a heartfelt greeting, a warm and a soft nose in my neck, the smell of the hay, dust, manure and horses…all of you will know what I am talking about!!
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