I've been riding since the age of 3,5, but in children's it was eventing that was my love. My wonderful children's coach helped us when I was 13 to find my first horse. He was a Voigtskirch Namibian warmblood who had a lot of character and spunk. One day I was walking to the paddock when we saw him prancing around, which I today know was him showing talent for Passage! I will always remember that moment as clear as day; I said to myself,
I want to learn how to teach a horse to do that with a rider on their back. Before long the dressage bug completely bit me and I knew through and through this would be my lifelong passion!
I became a very successful junior dressage rider in South Africa and won numerous titles. The highlight being when I represented my country in the Youth Olympics 2005 in Sydney. After matric I decided to go study and get a good education behind my name and consequently obtained my degree in BCom Investment Management at the University of Pretoria. Though instead of managing shares and bonds I decided to manage my investment in my horses and I have to say the reward compared to the risk has been much greater.
My journey in Europe started in 2013 when we bought Zidane and Lavinia and I trained under Daniel Bachmann Anderson. It was quite difficult logistically to travel from South Africa all the way to the north of Denmark so I had to make a change. A year later I moved down to Germany where Bennet Conn became my coach and is currently still my pillar I lean on and who supports me
and has taught me so much. The other very important person in my life is Ulrike Nivelle. She has really been a very influential trainer and has supported me to really reach my potential in the high sport.
I am very lucky to be competing at WEG in Tryon this year for South Africa. My next goal is to represent my country at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and many more to come. It has always been a big dream and will stay a big dream until I reach it. More than anything else though, I would really like to put South African dressage on the map as a contender in the world dressage scene and for that reason I think my biggest goal is to eventually be ranked in the top 50 dressage riders in the world. I will keep chipping away at my goal every day, year in, year out.
I'll start with my fiery feisty redhead – Le Beau, known at the stables as Bobo.
Bobo is my retired Grand Prix ride. He takes hotness and being on the rim of crazy to a whole new level and even today being already 20 years old, his mind is still that of a 4 year old. It has taken a lot of time and patience to calm him down and he is like a little teddy bear in the stable. He even has his own pink unicorn to play with as he loves nipping everything. Uni has helped us control the nipping towards humans and he knows now he is only aloud to hold on to my clothes not my skin.
I owe the world to Bobo as he might already have been a GP horse, but I had to completely change the way he was ridden and in the system he was ridden in. He was not easy to learn to ride the Grand Prix on, but it's been the best possible thing as he has taught me so, so much and made it very clear to me what type of rider I want to be. My trainer and my system is all about suppling and gymnasticising horses and once they are ridden this way it's wonderful to see how their body's muscle formation changes as well as their everyday demeanour.
Then we have Lavinia. So Lavinia is my very special project. Lavinia use to be a 1.50cm successful jumper. For unforeseen reasons her breeder had to sell her. The first day I rode her I just felt there is something very special in this horse and she had so much power that wasn't tapped into.
Long story short very few people believed that it would be possible to make her a dressage horse. I let the criticism roll of my back and kept believing in her character and what I felt. Moments of brilliance kept seeping through and now 5 years later I have trained her to Grand Prix. To put the cherry on the cake I will be representing my country with her at WEG this month. This horse will honestly take a bullet for me, just as I would for her, and that is a feeling and trust I only wish everyone can experience with a horse in their lifetime.
Zidane is by Blue Horse Zack and I have big dreams for this beautiful stallion. He has three world class paces and he finds the work for the higher movements very easy. For this reason we are taking our time with him and want him to develop at a pace that not only works for his body, but for his mind as well as he is quite an insecure stallion (regardless of him being so big hehe). In saying that he can already do most of the GP work, but we keep it at not a very collected level and play around with him in it so that he gets more and more brave and secure in his abilities. We are going to take our time with him, but if all goes well he has the potential to be an international superstar.
Kalli bear is exactly that, a big teddy bear. This highly talented horse has a very bright future ahead of him. He is very big and very powerful and needs to learn to control himself and all his power. We work a lot on helping him find his own balance and then build expression in movement from there. He is always the one that calls hello to me in the morning and always the one who will leave anything for his chin rub. A real heart horse. He is training the PSG at home and hopefully we will start competing him this year coming in the small tour.