Amber Smeenk was born in The Hague, The Netherlands in 1978. She lives with her husband Rene in Kyneton in the beautiful Macedon Ranges.
Before graduating from pre-university education in 1998 she was chosen to represent The Netherlands at the National Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. in 1997.
After graduation she went to Australia for a year to work and travel. She worked at big Warmblood and Arabian horse studs, race horse trainers, a polo yard and numerous other places but also did her fair share of harvest work.
After returning from Australia in 1999 she became an office manager at an electro mechanical company. In 2002 she got offered a position as groom/rider at Judy Harvey’s yard. Judy is an FBHS (Fellow of the British Horse Society), an FEI judge and a highly respected trainer, in demand internationally. Unfortunately Amber had to leave this job in 2001 when foot and mouth disease broke out and all horsework came to a virtual stand-still. But by this time she was well on her way to becoming an instructor herself through the British Horse Society exams.
Back in The Netherlands Amber worked at manege Groenestijn, manege De Treekhoeve and from 2001 to 2003 part time at Manege Den Toom while she spent the rest of her working day as a mortgage broker at a big Dutch bank, where she stayed till she left for Australia in 2004. In her spare time she was the secretary for the KNHS affiliated riding club De Treekhoeve.
From 2004 till 2010 Amber worked for Peppercorn Equestrian Centre in Oaklands Junction, in her spare time teaching as a guest instructor at different riding clubs and pony clubs.
Amber started Yggdrasil Equestrian Training in July 2009 and has grown her business since.
British Horse Society
Stage 1 Horse care and riding : November 2000
Stage 2 Horse care and riding : February 2001
Stage 3 Groom’s certificate Horse care, management and riding : June 2001
Preliminary Teaching Test : September 2001
Assistant Instructor : September 2002
Equestrian Federation of Australia
Level 1 Coach General : 2006
St John’s Senior First Aid : Updated yearly
Riding and Road safety Test (Dutch) : Updated every two years
Relationship and diversity (conflict resolution) : March 2008
Working with Children Check: 2009
Country Fire Authority (joined 2007)
Wild Fire Fighter 2008
Wild Fire-Low Structure 2009
Amber has worked with a range of different riders. Adults starting riding later in life or returning after a break of several years. Children, from complete beginners to more advanced. She is currently coaching a young rider who has under her guidance qualified with her horse for the Victorian Young Rider Squad.
She has successfully coached people with (sometimes severe) fear after having had a bad accident or injury.
She has also worked with disabled riders with disabilities ranging from physical disabilities to mental disabilities. She for example coached a blind rider and a rider who, after a car crash, was left with very limited use of one side of his body. She has worked with children with slight autism and Down syndrome.