What is an average day like for you?
My daily activity varies a lot. If I go horse viewing, it means a full day walking in the arenas taking videos of horses that are being presented to me. Holding a video camera all day long requires quite some strength in the arms! When I take the videos, I try to get the riders to present the horses in such a way that my clients can clearly see their quality, but I also show the flaws because many clients will buy from the video without actually coming to Spain. So I need to show the good things and the not so good aspects as well.
I have to understand both equestrian cultures – the Spanish way and means and that of the foreign clients. The understanding of dressage and training methods and the presentation can be looked at from different angles at times and it takes some talking and guidance from my side to get the required performance out of horse and rider.
Another way of spending my day is to go horse viewing with clients. We always go and see horses that have been presented previously to clients through videos, so we are not wasting anybody’s time. It is very difficult to find suitable horses for each client, so it is not advisable to just drive around Spain, which is a big country, searching the right horse – one would never find it. At times, it takes me months to find a horse of the right characteristics for somebody. Often while horse viewing, I also help the client to understand more about the PRE horses and the Spanish rider’s approach to dressage. These explanations help the client to adjust his or her way of riding to the Spanish horses.
My days that are not spent horse viewing are entirely dedicated to work behind the computer: editing videos, selecting pictures, updating the website, the daily correspondence, organizing viewings, travel programs for clients, pre purchase vettings, international transports, phone calls to locate horses for sale, etc etc.
How did you get started working with PRE horses and PRE horses sales?
About 25 years ago, I was one of the first dressage riders in Spain to get involved with competing PRE horses – at the time judges were stunned when you came in the ring with a Spanish horse… times have changed now! After a good 25 years of teaching and riding, while being also active as an author for PRE horse magazines, show organizer, and secretary and founder of the National Association of Riding Teachers, I learned how to handle a computer instead of using the type writer (having changed over from the manual to the electric one over the previous years…) and then saw the possibilities of the internet. I think I set up – together with my son, the first website dedicated to the sale of horses on the internet – and I can still remember the excitement of getting an inquiry from India – the client called himself Siberian Tigre… – he never bought a horse, but it was a big step to get into contact with somebody from such a far away country. The first lady who bought a horse was a lady from Sweden – we are still in contact – and this must be about 15 years ago. Whereas nowadays it would take one email or phone call to get a horse to Sweden, at the time it was a most complicated task to get it there – strangely enough the person who picked up the horse for the final stretch from North Germany to Sweden, never presented his invoice and I was never able to contact him again! I think I was very lucky the horse reached its destination!
What is your favorite thing about your career?
I think what fascinates me most is getting into contact with people from such varied countries and cultures. It is just one big learning curve.
What is the most challenging thing about your career?
The challenge is finding the right horses – as in all countries, outstanding horses, which all clients require – are so rare to find. It takes a lot of searching and viewing to be able to offer a wide variety of good quality horses.
Do you still compete in dressage?
I have not competed for many many years, and gave up riding about three years ago. And no, I do NOT miss it – not much at least!
Who has the best facility you’ve ever visited and why?
In Spain it is not a matter of the best facility – the best facility is where you find the right horse, and the environment where you find them can be of any type.
Who is the person who inspires you the most and why?
I love to watch the great riders we have in this country, they are such artists, much more than technicians. I always get some new ideas and have learned that there are many ways to reach the same goal. My daily effort is inspired by my family though – first it was my son who kept me going and now my grandson keep me motivated to carry on!
What is the greatest thing you’ve learned from your career?
To be very very very very patient.
What was the last thing you bought a ticket for?
As usual… a train ticket.
What was one of your funniest horse moments?
I always enjoy to see a horse carrying out my commands which I was about to transmit to the rider, by sheer telepathy, and to the surprise of the rider who had not even heard the command yet.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Hmm – selling horses to certain clients that my colleagues said I would never be able to sell a horse to.
How do you relax?
I must disappoint you, I do not really relax ever. The best I achieve is walking the dog for at least an hour every day, and having breakfast at the village café while reading the news paper, but that is not really a relaxing activity given the present world and Spanish economic and political situation.
What does this year have in store for you?
Trying to open up new markets – possibly towards Russia and develop sales to Asian countries.
What’s your top suggestion for HorseGirlTV fans?
Try to find an opportunity to ride a PRE – Pure Bred Spanish horse, it will be a new and fulfilling experience for you!
What’s your website URL?