Guest Columnist of this week is 19-year old German young rider Semmieke Rothenberger. She is one of the most decorated youth riders in dressage with an endless list of team and individual medals achieved at the European Pony, Junior and Young Riders Championships between 2012 and 2018. On 28 February 2019 a devastating fire swept over her family's yard Gestut Erlenhof killing five horses in its wake and almost completely annihilating the equestrian facilities.
"When Horses Love You Unconditionally"
The dressage people will understand when I say that sometimes you get disappointed after a training that didn’t go so well. Perhaps the changes didn’t work out as usual, or the pirouettes weren’t small enough, the extended canter not big enough, or the shoulder in not bent enough.
Of course when you want to become a good rider and compete internationally in between the best of the whole world and maybe one day enter the biggest arenas with crowds cheering for you, you will have to be self critical and even improve the smallest mistakes. You have to want to work long hours, sweat and cry in order to achieve your goals.
But after all that my family and I have been through the past years, I have come to a conclusion for myself. I have realized things that I have automatically changed and things that I have stopped with.
I can just tell you that no trophy or success is as touching as when a horse whinnies when they see you. Or when you have that one special connection with your horse. When there’s so much trust that you can lie next to your horse while they are sleeping. When you go out for a hack and you can see your horses eyes shine. When they give you that special feeling of being accepted and loved. When they make place in their heart for you and love you unconditionally. They want nothing in return but your presence. Just the simple things make them so happy and thankful.
Don’t take it for granted to see your horse every day. Don’t take it for granted to have such a stunning creature. Don’t take it for granted to ride on shows, or train with them. Believe me, it’s not! When you have been through what we have been, you treasure every second you get to spend with them.
Hearing them eat sounds like music to your ears. When they kick against the walls because they want more hay, you don’t see it as somethings annoying anymore. When they scrape on the wash place, you give them one extra cookie. It’s just these simple things you should enjoy with every fiber of your body. Just simply being with them and spending time with them is something so special.
So appreciate it!
-- Semmieke Rothenberger