Greetings, TPH fans, from Merzenich, Germany! I hope this blog finds you all well. I have been having an amazing adventure that I am excited to tell you about!
As some of you may remember, I am a California native with big goals (think Grand Prix.) One of these dreams included riding again in Europe (the first round was in England about 10 years ago.) I was offered a trial position here in Germany a couple of months ago, and was so excited to take the opportunity!
When I first arrived here, I was greeted warmly by the amazing Karla Rothmann, who I had only spoke with over the phone, and we formed an instant bond. She has a sale barn with quality hunter, equitation, and jumper horses. I had come to groom and ride for her, and gain as much experience as I possibly could.
Karla & Kelli
Within the first week, we were off and running to a clinic (through JumpQuest Clinics,) hosted by the beautiful Reitsportanlage Hofgut Dagobertshausen, and Konrad Kugler. This was an AMAZING facility, with a top-of-the line stable, a beautiful and unique hotel, and a restaurant with delicious local foods and drinks. I felt very spoiled! Even though I was there as a groom for the participants and taking care of our sale horses that were provided for riding, I was blessed to join in on some of the rides with Konnie. I learned so much in those few days! We also went on some incredible trail rides through the scenic countryside.
Sunny Boy & Kelli in the Clinic
Once back at home, after we sold one of the fabulous horses to a clinic rider, I took charge of our six remaining sale horses to prepare them for showing and videos. I was welcomed by the friendly barn community, most of whom speak English very well, which made the transition so much easier. I naturally fell into a daily routine (7 days a week!). First thing in the morning is bringing the horses in from nightly pasture time for breakfast, then comes grooming, schooling, bathing, and any other care as needed. At the end of the day, hay and fresh water are brought out to the pastures for their nightly turnout. I have bonded with each horse in its own way, coming up with nicknames according to their personality. We have a range of four to nine year olds with varying experience. On top of flatwork, poles, and some jumping, I include at least one trail ride for each of them every week, which is great for both horse and rider. The area is so beautiful!
One of the many beautiful trails.
We recently sold two of the horses to great new homes in America, and we are so excited to see their upcoming successes! I will miss them, but Karla has found two more to add to the group, so she keeps me busy!
Leo the “jumping bean.”
I just moved into an apartment on the stable property, which is a dream come true. Falling asleep and waking up to the horses just makes the whole experience that much more special. I can come home for lunch mid-day, and head back out for afternoon duties. I always look forward to seeing the other equestrians that I have come to know, from the professionals to the amateurs, each with his or her own routine. I have also been blessed to see a few new foals being born here on the property. Seeing them every day and getting to know them is so much fun.
Baby Black, about a week old.
I have made new friends, and had such lovely outings: going to the local lake for drinks & dinner, bowling, a fun trip to Phantasialand (a local mini-Disneyland,) visiting Cologne for movies, sights, restaurants, and even a Love Parade! I have had amazing food (bonus), some of which I have never tried before, heard great music, and witnessed exciting new things. I am making memories that will last a lifetime.
Lago Beach with new friends!
My trial period is coming to an end, and Karla and I have decided to extend my stay, which I am so thrilled about. I love it here, and I feel like I’m gaining a world of experience that will benefit my goals in the long run. I look forward to continuing my adventure, working with the Rothmann horses, and enjoying the great culture here. I have about a million photos I would love to share with you, but as I am limited for the blog, you can see them on my Facebook or Instagram account. Until next time, follow your dreams, laugh a lot, and read The Plaid Horse!
Lots of love, Kelli