I grew up in The Netherlands, Europe, in a small town near Rotterdam, one of the major cities on the western part of The Netherlands. I was introduced to horses by a friend and started riding at age 10. Hooked on riding and horses I took on any opportunity to get on a horse, even if it was an ‘unbroke’ one. I met up with an old farmer who had different horses every year and started riding horses for him. Thinking that every horse was born broke I started many horses under saddle, not knowing that I did.
Here is where I learned a lot about ‘hanging on’ and developed a deep seat. Not having an arena to ride in I would ride the horses in their pasture until they behaved civilized ‘enough’ and had decent steering. Then I would take them out to the park and downtown Rotterdam for some window shopping. The Netherlands have little wide open spaces, especially the western part of The Netherlands. Sandy paths in the parks, specifically designed for horse travel is the only way of trail riding and to get to the parks you have to ride along major roads and sometimes highways or traintracks. Getting your horse ‘street broke’ is a necessity and part of any horse’s training. During my college years I also worked at a trading stable where Irish Cobs and Russian jumpers where imported and trained for resell. While continuing my education in the classical and traditional ways of dressage and show jumping at one of the biggest riding schools in Rotterdam I also competed in both disciplines until 1999.
This year I had completed my Bachelors Degree in nursing and started traveling. I traveled Australia for a year having different jobs to support my travels. One of the jobs was a groom on the racetrack warming up and cooling down the horses before and after the race. During my travels in Australia, I was introduced to the western saddle for the first time. Intrigued by different cultures and seeing different ways of riding I decided to travel the United States to learn about the western way of riding. I’ve worked at different locations within the United States and Canada. In Wistler, Canada I worked as a wrangler guiding tourists up and down the mountains. I started colts that came wild off the Indian reserve in Pemberton, Canada. While in Watkins, Colorado I learned about Natural Horsemanship. Falling in love with Colorado and the western riding style I decided that this was the place to live. To advance my knowledge and experience I completed a formal internship on J Bar 4 Ranch in Watkins, Colorado, followed by an equine science program study at the University of Minnesota. I have been home based on J Bar 4 Ranch since 2004 which has provided me with the opportunity to work with many different horses and riders of all levels.
During my green card process I was employed as a full time nurse in one of the leading hospitals in Denver and still working part time with horses. I am now an American resident since 2006, devoting full time to horses, training and giving lessons to both beginner and advanced students. My continuing education includes taking lessons and attending clinics with renowned clinicians in the different fields of western disciplines.
With my personal passion for the Arabian horse,
I started showing Arabians and Half Arabians at Class A level shows in Region 8, and have successfully shown since 2005 in reining, western pleasure, trail, sport horse and hunter under saddle and starting Ranch Versatiliy in 2010.