From as far back as I can remember, I have always been attracted to horses. At the age of 10, I finally managed to convince my parents to sign me up at the local riding club. In the coming years I rode many different horses, attended Dressage and Hunter shows, went on trail rides, and participated in mounted games and musical rides.
After graduating, I began a three year full-time apprenticeship at the “Gut Hanbruch” riding club in Aachen, Germany, to become a “Pferdewirt Schwerpunkt Reiten” which is the German term for a professional coach that focusses on training riders and horses in Dressage and Show Jumping. I learned to start young horses and train them to 2nd Level Dressage, and to jump up to 1.20 meters. In addition, I taught riding lessons and lunge lessons on a daily basis. It was also my job to feed the 50 horses, help clean stalls and keep the riding facility clean. Once a week I attended a special school for horse professionals to learn about veterinary care, feeding and nutrition, conformation, horse training including the “trainings scale”, and biomechanics. In July 1993, I successfully passed my certification exams.
Following this schooling, I worked at several horse clubs and riding schools as a full-time coach and trainer until 2005. Most of these clubs had lesson horses and it was my job to teach 4-5 group lessons, and ride 3-4 horses per day. During this time I developed a seat clinic and taught various clinics, preparing the riders to pass the equivalent of the Rider Level Tests, and the Trail Rider certification.
Over the years, I have been so fortunate to ride many well-trained Dressage horses including several that were trained up to the Grand Prix level.
Egon von Neindorff (1923-2004), the famous master rider, has been an important influence and role model for me. For five decades he operated a riding institute with more than 30 lesson horses including Lipizzaner and Andalusians – many of them were trained up to the “airs above the ground” level. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to take several lessons with him, and his horses were without a doubt, the best horses I have ever ridden. They were trained to respond to the slightest aids, making riding them a pure pleasure and absolutely effortless.
- Schleese Saddlefit 4 Life Equine Ergonomist (2015) schleese.com
- Equine Management Certificate Level 3 – Horse Competence Center Germany (2015) hccg.de
- International Passport Coach Level 2 (2014) certified and current with Horse Council BC
- Coach for Riding as a Fitness Sport, Germany (2001) (emphasis on promoting riding as a healthy activity by incorporating fitness exercises and centered riding exercises into regular riding lessons)
- Riding Instructor for people with disabilities, German Association for Therapeutic Riding DKThR (1998)
- Trainer B Licence Horse Riding (equivalent to Competition Coach Specialist in Canada) – DSB/German Sport Association (1997)
- Professional Coach for Dressage and Show Jumping, Germany (1993)