I grew up in South Africa and began riding at age seven. My parents got me a 12 HH Basuto pony who had very little schooling, but, taught me to stay on as it was always a long walk back to the barn if I fell off! At that time we lived on a large cattle farm and I ran wild with my pony. The following year I went into the riding school and began a more formal riding education. The riding school was run by Beresford Manning. He had competed in show jumping in Europe and was a wonderful horseman and mentor. My parents were always very supportive and provided me with super ponies and horses. I competed in showing, showjumping and equitation. I qualified for Nationals in equitation twice and both times was in the top 10 junior riders in the country. For fun, I did games, tentpegging and played polocrosse.
At sixteen I started to teach beginners on the lunge line at the riding school and slowly progressed to teaching group lessons. After leaving school I decided on a career in Science and worked in Medical Research after obtaining a Masters in Molecular Genetics.
As a young adult I evented to Prelim level and then went on to focus more on dressage. I was lucky to find a wonderful dressage instructor, Anya Glintenkamp, who had been trained by one of the bereiters from the Spanish Riding School. I worked with her for four years and then took a break from riding to have a family.
As soon as my kids were old enough I started riding again, this time schooling showjumpers at Paul and Lindi Garlicki’s facility. I started teaching dressage lessons part time and soon had enough students to give up my science job and focus full time on dressage.
We moved to the US in 1999 and once I obtained my Green card, I started teaching and training full time. Since then I have earned my USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals and Freestyle Gold Bar. I have my USDF Instructor Certification through 4th level and earned a 94% for my teaching and 90% on my riding. I am a junior member of the USDF Education faculty and on the board of the Region 3 JR/YR program. I have ridden in clinics with Volker Brommen, George Williams, Lilo Fore, Betsy Steiner, Henk van Bergen, Christoff Hess, Juan Mutate, and Conrad Schumacher. I attend as many clinics and trainer conferences as I can and read extensively.
I have students that are competing at all levels of dressage and some from other disciplines. I focus primarily on rider balance and the correct use of the aids and how that then influences the horse. I am passionate about my teaching and improving the communication between rider and horse.