German Professional Dressage Rider Julia Kay Dies at Age 33

Tue, 06/06/2023 - 12:53
Julia Kay and Sir Napoleon OLD vom Rosencarree at the 2019 Bundeschampionate :: Photos © Stefan Lafrentz

German professional dressage rider Julia Kay has tragically lost her brave battle against cancer. She was 33 years old. 

Julia Christina Maria Kay was born 14 July 1989 and horses played a central role in her life. 

Professional rider

Originally she was quite versatile and showed an interest in vaulting, but it was dressage that captured her heart. 

At age 19 she did her first competition in vaulting, but by 2009 she was competing dressage with horses Leona SD (by Laudabilis x Munchhausen) and Staatsfeind Nr 1 (by Statesman x Florencio). Her first shows she did in Luxembourg riding horses that are owned by LUX Dressage. 

She did the official "bereiter" programme with an internship at Arnold Winter's dealer's yard Wintermühle in Neu-Anspach. 

In 2014 she moved to Beelitz to ride for breeder Silke Pelzer at Brood Farm Rosencarree. This kick-started her competition career. As a professional rider she also rode for several owners and competed in her first S-level test aboard the Oldenburg bred Salisbury Hill (by Serano Gold x Furst Heinrich).

Her first big national championship was in 2018 when she rode Bentley (by Bordeaux x Quaterman) and Sir Napoleon vom Rosencarree at the Bundeschampionate in Warendorf. They were 35th in the consolation and 12th in the Finals. She finished the year winning the Berlin-Brandenburg Indoor Championships on Zimba (by Sheraton x Amulet). 

In 2019 Kay returned to the Bundeschampionate with All In (by Ampere x Sandro Hit), Grey Rose (by Grey Flanell x Furst Romancier) and Sir Napoleon. She finished 14th in the consolation with All In, 16th in the finals with Sir Napoleon.

International Career

Julia Kay on Sweet Potao at the 2022 CDI
Kay's professional career focused mainly on national level competition, but in 2022 she made her international show debut. 

Aboard Sweet Potao vom Carree, a now 9-year old Oldenburg mare by Sandro Hit x Royal Diamond, she competed at the 2022 CDI Wiesbaden in the 7-year old classes and a month later rode her on home turf at the CDI Neu-Anspach, where she finished second in the 7-year old finals test. 

Sweet Potao (sic, a typo for "Potato" which costs approx 1000 euro to be corrected with the German equestrian federation) is also known as Second Sister vom Rosencarree. She recently sold to German young rider Paul Löcher

The last few years she trained with Philip Becker. She last competed Barking (by Baron x Don Index) in the riding horse classes at the CDN Darmstadt-Kranichtstein in November 2022. She last sat on a horse a month ago at Pauline Paulsen's Hofgut Mauloff.


Six years ago Julia was diagnosed with cancer and was given only a short time to live. She twice beat it, but unfortunately succumbed to it when cancer returned a third time.

Her incredible spirit and fighter mentality made her live much longer and this mental resilience is also a quality she showed in the saddle as a competitive dressage rider.  

Julia passed away on Friday morning 2 June 2023. Her funeral will be on 9 June 2023 in Sörup. In lieu of flowers, Julia wanted donations to be made the German Childhood Cancer foundation.

Photos © Stefan Lafrentz

Related Links
Scores: 2022 CDI Neu-Anspach
Scores: 2022 CDI Wiesbaden
Bentley, Friend for Life, Bon Amour Win 2018 Prietzen Bundeschampionate Qualifier
Grey Rose and Who's Who Win 2019 Schönhausen Bundeschampionate Qualifier