We have been sharing our passion for horses and dressage since we first met (1995). As (very) late beginners and eager to learn, we gained experience in the horses that we had to train or through the different national and international championships in which we participated as rider, adviser or groom supporter.
We do not pretend to be professionals as each of us has his or her own job, but amongst professionals, we do have the reputation to be amateurs at a professional level.
We started riding in Bruneel’s riding school in Kampenhout. After a short training with Arlette Holsters, as far as I am concerned, we continued the learning process with Sophie Van Lent Baetens for 5 years. After that, we decided to work with Jan Dupont who has been our trainer for 10 years now.
Thanks to our first horses, Scoobydo and Gris Nez, we could achieve our teenage dreams, and from that moment, we started climbing the gigantic mountain of Dressage…
Scoobydo (BWP FortuinZ), a 3-month old foal, gave me the opportunity to gain experience in the dressage championships of young horses of 4, 5 and 6 years and to qualify each time in the Belgium Cup Final and Championship. Mr Klaus Balkenhol (well-known German trainer) gave me as comment “A good amateur horse ridden by an amateur, go on !” . I brought my horse to the Inter I level in championship and to the movements of the Grand Prix level. Mr Henk van Bergen (well- known Dutch trainer) complimented me on the quality of my dressage. Scoobydo continued his career of Small Tour in Finland.
Gris Nez (CSL Genever), Martine’s first horse, acquired from a friend thanks to whom everything started, was trained by Martine to the St Georges level. Qualified from the level E to St Georges, all levels were reached.
We started again with young horses that belonged to us or that were entrusted to us by riders owning their horse.
All in all, we brought about 10 horses to the Small Tour level in the last 15 years. Some horses were a real challenge. We would never have succeeded without Sophie’s learning process and Jan’s training who is now our mentor.
I also had the pleasure to prepare riders and their horses for championships, to train them from level 0 to level 5. Let’s have a thought for the other riders that didn’t participate but completed a most honourable trajectory.
For us, competition is not an end in itself, but a way to check the accuracy of our dressage. When we have the possibility to have a horse ready, we take part in the process to gain experience and to share it with our pupils.