Dissertation – Triple European Champion: I can’t thank you enough for making this possible! You are one of a kind!

I have finally decided to sit down and try to summarize what has happened in the past few weeks. I really can’t quite believe it yet.

Taking us back to the 4th of October 2015. When Daisy came into our stable, I didn’t know that 24 days later I was going to lose my superstar Deinhard. Already then she was my light at the end of a tunnel but I didn’t really know her yet. I just remember thinking: “wow that small horse has got huuuuge ears :-)”
What I also didn’t know at that time was that with having Daisy in our stable, I also gained a very special friend and supporter. Lena, Daisy’s former rider has done such an incredible job with this horse, giving her back the will to work and compete after a very difficult time that Daisy had gone through in the past. To this day, Lena has always stood behind us, backed us up and been there for us no matter what. I really have never experienced a person that is so passionate and dedicated for a “stranger”. Luckily we are not strangers anymore and I am so thankful to have you in my team! You have a very special place in my heart and definitely played a role in achieving this.

Flashback to the first years with Daisy. It was quite the rollercoaster ride. This horse has always had so much potential and no limits, but for me as a young rider it took some time to keep it consistent. We’ve clicked from the first day and she immediately got a very special place in my heart.
Fast forward. Today I can say that Daisy has been undefeated for two years now. We have managed to win all qualifications and therefore received a spot on the German team for San Giovanni! My 8th Europeans in a row now! Wow, what a feeling.

The national coach, Hans Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen has always believed in Daisy. I still remember my first training camp with her in Warendorf … he was absolutely flashed by her! I want to say a huge thank you to him for having so much trust in us, constantly encouraging us to improve, supporting us, and giving us so much confidence. This man is so dedicated and a real hero. He always has the best speeches at Europeans, which gets out the absolute best in every rider. He is so calm but determined in everything he does and I have endless respect for how he does his job, and his horsemanship!

And so this journey began … I knew that everything was possible, I believed in my superstar. But someone up there didn’t want to make it that easy for us. After receiving the message that we were selected, my mother had an accident in which she broke pretty much everything that you can possibly tear and break in your knee. Wow. That was a real setback as I desperately needed her for training and support since I was still busy writing exams at uni. She is always my rock and without her nothing works out. Phewww! Stress overload.

Mommy had her operation, the doctors said she needed to stay in bed. Well, no problem. We still had a few weeks until the Europeans started. Daddy, as cute as he is, tried his absolute best to replace mommy and sat on his bench in the arena every morning before I had to go to Uni and watched how I was riding. I must say it was a lot of fun with the two of us and Daisy! A few days passed and sadly Mommy didn’t recover as easily as we would have hoped. She was in a lot of pain and being on her feet was not really an option. No problem I thought, I’ll call Lena to step in!

Lena, of course, stayed the positive charming girl she always is and said, no problem, we will manage it by ourself. I continued my training with Daddy and waited for Lena to finish her qualification for the World Championships so that she could come for training.

Phone call from Lena. Wow, she was not so positive anymore, in fact she was almost crying. “Semmie, you will not believe what happened. My meniscus on my right knee tore right before my test.” I almost started laughing because of the irony. Reminded myself to breathe in and out. I had to be the positive one now. “We’ll manage it!”

Same procedure as Mommy, Lena also had her operation and needed to stay in bed for a few days (actually)!

Daddy and I continued our routine. Daisy enjoyed the regular sugar breaks. And she felt amazing.
I kept on studying for my statistics exam after riding and somehow everything worked out thanks to Alex. Alex, you have done such an amazing job in helping me out so much during this stressful time! I am so happy to have such an amazing groom who doesn’t only work overtime but always (mostly 😉 ) keeps a smile on her face. You do this because you are passionate and love your horses endlessly. This is not just a job for you but your life. And the horses and I feel this! Wouldn’t have gone anywhere without you! Thank you so much for everything.

Well, hearing this message, my mommy, the fighter that she is, got up and came for training as soon as she felt a little bit better. We set up a chair for her so that she could rest her leg on it while she was sitting on the bench. I really can’t thank my parents enough for what they do for me. They get up early in the morning and stay up late just to make everything possible for us children. They work their a** off to make us happy and support us in reaching our goals. There are no words for your dedication and will! Thank you so much.

Fast forward to a few weeks later. Lena took a flight and hobbled over to have a look and fine tune the last bits for a weekend. Next to her we had Mommy with her crutches. It was really quite hilarious to see the trainer bench. Luckily it was only them, haha.

Then we left for Warendorf. The last training camp before the Europeans! Of course this had to be while Aachen took place, where Cosmo and Sönke did a fantastic job. Everytime I see these two compete, I get goosebumps. They have been through so much misery and have always came back stronger together, simply because they are such a perfect match and the best team!

But this meant that we had to be multi-tasking again. Lena jumped in for the first day, and then Mommy and Daddy shuttled back and forth from Warendorf to Aachen. I must say, Alex and I did a really good job by ourselves 🙂

My exams were done, so I had the chance to breathe again and fully focus on my superstar. We went for the most beautiful morning walks, which seemed a little therapeutic for the both of us. We just spent quality time.

And so the trip began. Off to San Giovanni. What a journey. But nothing other to say than wow!
The days in Italy went by so fast. Daisy was simply amazing.

I don’t need to say much about our tests, she just tried her heart out for me! Sadly the rider made a stupid mistake in the freestyle but let’s forget that for now.
Starting off with the team GOLD! What an achievement for this team to win gold again. The second year in a row. The same four riders but with two different horses. I have been to a few Europeans before but this team is really special. The atmosphere has been absolutely great and all of my team mates are amazing sportswomen. They know what hard work means and they accept setbacks but always keep pushing for the one goal! Sadly two of them had their last U21 Championship but I am sure that we will see them in the U25 section in the future! Alexa, I will miss your HSM songs, and Pauli, I will miss your cheeky jokes! Luckily, Lia will with her kind character and open heart will not be leaving.

We also had a funny bet, that if one of us wins an individual gold medal they must pay dinner for the rest of the team! I guess I’m paying hahaha. Looking forward to having you guys here soon and celebrate our success with delicious food (from McDonalds perhaps hahaha).

But behind the team of us four riders and horses, there are so many more who play a significant role. Starting with Oli who does an incredible job in training almost every rider in the German squad I know. He always keeps his poker face on and manages to push the riders to their limits.
Then we have Berni. To me personally she is one of the most important factors of the Europeans. Not because she is an absolute brain in her area but because she is ALWAYS positive. Talking to her immediately gets me down and makes me forget all of my worries. She has this attitude around her, which doesn’t only make horses feel good but also humans. You are a very special person and I’m glad that you are our team vet!

And wherever you can see Berni, there is always either Alex or Mona. These two get all of my respect. They voluntarily choose to join the team as grooms and take the work off everybody’s shoulders. They have to stick with a lot of comments from stressed parents and riders, who perhaps have not been so pleased with their test, and they always keep a smile on their face! Thank you for doing this for years now.
The same goes for Gaby, Maria and Caro. Caro did such a cool job organizing everything with her iPad and making timetables, getting energy bars for all riders and taking care of her Children team.

Maria, what shall I say. She is one of a kind! She has the best connections to everybody. She is super organized and makes everything work for us riders! I got to know you when I was a tiny supporter of Sanneke and now I’m glad that I get to experience it myself.

Talking of Sanneke, I really have to thank her and Jan for being an amazing support crew! You two are always there to cheer for us and fly to every destination just to be part of it. These two take their holidays to join me to my Europeans! Thank you. And this year I had the privilege of having my grandmother and cousin coming. I can’t say how proud I am that my grandmother is so fit and enthusiastic to see me riding! Dankjewel Oma dat jij altijd een kaarsje voor mij opsteekt. My cousin even brought her baby. It means a lot to me, to have such a supportive family. Thank you so much for coming!

Even the part of the family that didn’t manage to come, sent me the cutest text messages and was with us in our hearts. Thank you to Svenja and Sönke! Bedankt Aatje en Ardy!

Also thank you to very special friends like Febe, Renate, Rike, Leonie, and many more! You know who you are! Thank you Emma for the Champions-scarf! It was a lucky one 🙂 Thank you to the whole stable community at home, the vets, the farriers, the people around Daisy and I who make us feel good!
And one very big thank you goes to the Family Linsenhoff-Rath! Thank you for welcoming us with open arms after everything that has happened and letting us stay at your place! We have the best conditions to keep on performing and delivering the same as before! Thank you so much.

All of you helped us win three gold medals, the Hattrick! But not only that. Daisy has broken two world records and I was awarded as the best performing rider of the entire Championship! Goosebumps! What an achievement …

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for making us shine. Naming only a few: Kingsland, Samshield, ROECKL, NoConcept, Farm and Stables, Incrediwear, Fritz und Frodewin and many more!

These championships have been one of a kind. Thank you to the organizers for making these the best Europeans I have ever been to! The pricegivings without horse, the perfect time schedules, the friendly stewards, the amazing people, super stables, enough washing places, sprinkling water for horses … everything simply amazing!

That’s it for now!
Hopefully I didn’t forget anyone, and sorry for making it so long.
I‘m still flashed by everything and need some time to realize this!