Featured Rider March 2018
AADA Featured Rider
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 some 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 Munich, Germany for my first real job at the Munich Re in 1990. Subsequent to receiving my MBA from Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management in Rotterdam, I joined Citibank as a Management Associate in their European graduate training program. Initially based with Citi’s Insurance Group Europe in Düsseldorf, Germany, 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 responsible for sales, marketing and product initiatives across Europe. All the while, I was able to find opportunities to ride and dabbled a bit in dressage. Work was my priority and I did not have the resources to own a horse at that time.
I used one of my bonuses to plunge into the deep end and buy my first horse. I bought Donizetti S in 2002 after trying him at the British National Championships where he was competing as wild card entry in their First Level equivalent. Up to that point, my jobs had been very demanding and required frequent travel. Then, I had to really start managing my time in and out of the office and actually make time to ride.
My objective was to get saddle time two evenings per week and on the weekends. I would leave Canary Wharf and take the tube home, run upstairs and change, get in the car and drive at least one hour to get to the barn. I then had to clean the horse and tack him 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. Soon I caught the competition bug and this of course involved even more time at the barn and with my horse.
Thanks to changes at Citibank, I had the opportunity to return to the US. The experience of living and working in the US was appealing, and my horses and I moved back to Virginia. I realized then that I only had time and finances for one, so I scaled down as I started my new professional life in the US. Initially I pursued the dream of business ownership outside of finance but concluded this was not the right fit for me. I started working for Merrill Lynch in 2008 where I continue to work today as a Wealth Management Advisor based out of 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 was able to get my USDF Silver Medal and compete in my first CDI at Dressage at Devon! After those successes, a good friend told me I should visit Wellington, FL. I made a plan to work for Merrill while there and found a place where I could ride Donizetti and get instruction from USDF President and world renowned rider/trainer George Williams. Donizetti is now retired and I have two amazing Dutch Warmblood horses to ride: Crusedor and Chios KK.
I have been lucky enough to ride 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, a 745 permanent stall, 600+ acre equine show facility in Lexington, VA. In 2017 I was elected to serve as President of the Board adding additional demands on my time. Last year, I also 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. My current job does not require significant travel for work, which makes it possible to ride both horses 5 or 6 days a week either before or after starting my work day. I love the challenge of riding these talented creatures and trying to constantly improve 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. Timing is everything and so are finances. Of course it is not possible to have it all, all of the time, but I’m so happy to be in the place that I am and grateful for all of the horses and horsey friends that have touched and continue to touch my life.
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