I am home after a fantastic trip away in Europe! I was based at the Lüneburg's property in Hetlingen, Schleswig-Holstein, just out of Hamburg. Rasmus runs a breeding, training, and production stable in Hetlingen, Schleswig-Holstein, just out of Hamburg. There are roughly 25 horses in ridden work and 15 foals born each season. I was lucky enough to have a working/riding position so I rode 2-5 horses every day at home and groomed at shows. I had a few horses that were dedicated to me alone and I rode them for the duration of my stay, as well as others that were rotated between riders. I managed to make it to a lot of shows, most smaller shows (including the Holstein Landeschampionat at the Holsteiner Verband in Elmshorn) for young horse production which was very interesting, and I spent a lot of time at the warm up, watching how they managed and dealt with the horses. I kept very busy in Germany working full days and somehow just keeping up with my University commitments, which ramped right up towards the end of my stay with the end of our Semester 1, meaning I sat three exams in Hamburg and had numerous deadlines for assignments rapidly piling up! I still don’t know how I got it done, but somehow I did and it definitely wouldn’t have happened without the flexibility of my ever patient lecturers (most of them), and of course the Lüneburg family! My exams meant that I missed the Holsteiner mare approvals and foal auction, but unfortunately that’s just how it was and the only time my overseas examinations could be rescheduled too.


I was also lucky enough to make it to the Hamburg Derby show, and walked the massive derby course and watched the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Hamburg! It was amazing to see the superstars of the sport in action; the horses and riders are of such high quality that they can just push so much harder and faster! Nisse, Rasmus’s brother was the winner of the big derby which was a fantastic result for the team!


Before heading home I had an action packed week, including a visit to the Holsteiner Verband just up the road in Elmshorn, a visit to Team Nijhof in Holland, and a day and a half in Czech Republic, looking at horses in Cesky Krumlov and sightseeing in Prague city! Because of the last minute nature of these excursions, the only available flights were multiple stops, so I reckon by the time I got back to Auckland I would’ve won the prize for most airports visited, trains ridden on and I must’ve looked like a drug runner! Seeing the stallions at the Holsteiner Verband and Team Nijhof made it all worth it and a day of being a tourist in Prague with a good friend wasn’t half bad either! Seeing the stallions, both young and the old and famous, was invaluable to making breeding decisions for now and the future. Meeting stallions such as Corrado I, Livello, Lasino, Limbus, Heartbreaker, Concorde, Zambesi, Clinton, Guidam's Sohn, I'm Special de Muze, Zacharov, Eldorado van de Zeshoek, Canabis Z, as well as many others, was a highlight of the trip.

Pictured above with Corrado I at the Holsteiner Verband and Heartbreaker at Team Nijhof

Two months wasn’t a long time to spend in Europe, but I tried to soak up as much as possible and I saw a lot of good and bad things, as well as seeing and meeting some great friends and contacts, and seeing hundreds of stallions and horses. I will definitely be planning and saving for more trips to different stables and areas!


After my many flights hightailing it backwards and forwards around the world to try and fit as much in as possible, I arrived home tired and jet lagged and headed straight from the airport south to the University for a solid week doing all the labs that internal students do in a semester! It was a long and tedious week but I made it out the other end and crashed out for about a day! I made a few stops on the drive home to tidy up a few things including stopping at Equibreed to plan out this rapidly approaching breeding season; there are some very exciting things bubbling away in the pipeline. It was also finalised that I’m now on the committee for the NZ Holsteiner Association, so that should be an exciting venture to offer my opinions on the growth of the organisation and the improvement of stock here in NZ. After finally making it home about 10 weeks after I left, the biggest storm we can remember hit the north and thrashed us for a week - I was wondering why I came home in the first place! Luckily we suffered nothing more than very soggy paddocks, horses, and people, but no real damage or flooding like so many others in Northland. Now that it’s finally dried out a bit, it’s started raining again and I’m busily planning the rest of this winter. I am going to head south and spend a few weeks working with my trainer Jeff McVean. I’m as yet undecided as to whether I’ll take any of these hairy, fat, muddy horses here masquerading as showjumpers! I have a very light university workload this semester, but I’m also working on my ESNZ coaching papers, for my coaching accreditation, that have been on the back burner for quite some time! I’m about halfway through my B.Sc. majoring in Genetics, minoring in Equine Science, so chipping away at it is slowly but surely getting me there, although it will become harder for me by distance as the papers get more involved and lab based. I’m already having this problem now. Earlier in the year I also completed a certificate in Equine Nutrition through Edinburgh University, so there’s always something to do! Looking forward to getting out seeing everyone this season!