I was born in the Hague in the Netherlands and as a tiny child in a pram was already obsessed with horses. Beautiful police horses and nothing better than them putting their big soft noses in my pram! It took years for my parents to give in to my begging for horse riding lessons and I can still recall the day my mum asked me to get the yellow pages for her and me asking her why she wanted them. She answered she was going to ring the riding school and book me lessons and I could not believe my ears! Years later my parents told me they had hoped it would all end with me falling off and losing interest in riding. It did not quite go to their plan! #colspan#
Falling off I did, quite often… but losing interest??
Only a couple of years ago I actually told my parents that I had been so scared of riding at times that I would take my bike for a ride in the park and go back home after an hour and tell them that horse riding had been such fun today. I was scared but wanted to do it so much that I could not possibly tell my parents that I was so afraid because they would probably not let me ride again!
They could hardly believe me but part of my interest in horses and riding has always been the fight with myself. You have to master yourself before you can train a horse. They say a horse is a mirror for your soul and I quite agree. For years I rode at a riding school, group lessons, sometimes with up to twelve people in a group. Grew out of ponies, moved onto horses (and how different they move!! I can still remember feeling like a complete beginner again after moving from ponies to horses). Leased a school horse with the money I had saved from a holiday job.
After about six years I felt I was not getting anywhere with my lessons on school horses and had just given up my weekly lessons when a friend rang and told me she had bought a horse and would I like to ride it for her. This is where it all became a bit more serious, private lessons on this beautiful (but rather chunky!) Frisian and dressage competitions.
After 3 years riding for these wonderful people I finished my school and went to Australia for a year. Worked at lots of different places from big warmblood and Arabian horse studs to polo yards, racing stables and a small family owned stud where they did natural horsemanship weekends for guests. I had a lovely time and learned lots.
I went back to The Netherlands after that year but was homesick for Australia from the moment I got on the plane. Got home to study Physiotherapy but after getting a job offer from a dressage yard in England stopped my study and left for England. In England I had to work hard but had lessons every day on Prix St George and Grand Prix horses and trained some of the horses of clients as well. Feeding, mucking out stables, riding up to five horses, cleaning tack scoffing your lunch and back to skipping out, grooming horses feeding horses and then finally cooking dinner for yourself. Keeping yourself awake till nine with recommended reading for the British Horse Society exams and then feeding the horses again and falling into bed sleeping before you hit the pillow! I did all the exams (stage 1 to stage 4 horse care and riding and the preliminary teaching test) at all the different centres around England. Great to get the opportunity to see so many different places and see how they are run. Went to some (international) competitions as a groom and took some horses from England to train with Bert Rutten back in the Netherlands. Unfortunately Foot and Mouth disease made an end to all this… No more money coming in so I had two choices, stay and work for no pay or go home. I went home… no money in the bank to support me…
Back in The Netherlands I worked for different riding schools clocking up my 500 Teaching hours to become a qualified instructor. I was still (or again?) riding and competing the Friesians. I still wanted to eventually go back to Australia but it had to wait till I had the qualifications as an instructor and got everything organised. I decided it was time for my first own horse. I did not want a mare and “a good horse has no colour” but I did not like greys so you can guess what I ended up with, a lovely grey Dutch warmblood mare called Nodini. From that time on life became a whirlwind! After passing all the vet checks with flying colours she still died on me exactly three weeks after I got her after two colic operations and twenty four hours in intensive care at the university equine hospital. I was very upset and decided that no time was better than now for going to Australia.
Within six months from Nodini’s dying we had sold the house quit our jobs and were in Australia. I got a job at an equestrian centre in Oaklands Junction, Victoria. They were great as they sponsored me for a work visa and later sponsored me to get permanent residency.
In Australia I have owned several “off the track” race horses that I have re-schooled and sold on. I started my warmblood Isle of Louisville under saddle in 2010 and am currently starting some showjump training with him. Yggdrasil Equestrian Training is well into it’s 8th year and we have bred some lovely Connemara ponies.
Recently I have started my Bachelor in Equine Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and we will soon be starting a new chapter in Yggdrasil’s existence and move ourselves and the business to the Riverina area of New South Wales.

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