In the heart of the Netherlands resides Romy Van der Schaft, a dedicated equestrian whose life has been intricately woven with the world of Dressage. Aged 32, Romy's journey through the equestrian realm is a captivating tale of passion, perseverance, and the deep bond that exists between rider and horse. Born into a family with a rich equestrian legacy, her journey was destined to be extraordinary.
A Journey Enchanted by Hooves
From a tender age, Romy's world was colored by the vibrant presence of horses. With parents who owned and continue to own their own barn, her first pony, a charming Shetland pony, became her companion at just 1.5 years old. Those early days were marked by playfulness, yet it wasn't until she reached the age of 14 that her connection with these majestic creatures took on a more serious hue. The stables that had been her playground transformed into a canvas upon which her equestrian dreams would be painted.
Navigating Challenges, Reveling in Rewards
The path of an equestrian is a mosaic of challenges and rewards, and Romy's journey is no exception. Her young rider journey in the Netherlands saw her consistently ranking among the top 8-10 in the country. Progressing through junior, young rider, and U25 levels, Romy's determination remained unwavering. As she delved into the Grand Prix level, her commitment continued to shine brightly. Her dedication extended beyond national boundaries, encompassing international Grand Prix competitions that showcased her skill and passion on a global stage.
The Unspoken Language of Connection
For Romy, the heart of equestrianism lies in the deep bond that she forges with her equine companions. It's more than just riding; it's a connection that transcends words. As she gazes down the stable, Romy sees not just horses, but unique personalities that she is privileged to know. A profound understanding of each horse's temperament, needs, and dreams becomes the cornerstone of her training philosophy. The connection she nurtures goes beyond the arena, calming nervous spirits, boosting confidence, and enhancing the horses' athletic capabilities. Just as humans thrive with movement, Romy believes that horses flourish when given the opportunity to stretch their legs and engage their minds. The brilliance of their intelligence astounds her, as they continue to learn and evolve throughout their lives.
The allure of Dressage lies in the harmony between rider and horse. Romy finds profound fulfillment in this partnership. Her training methodology is a symphony of patience, understanding, and mutual respect. From the cadence of trot to the elegance of passage, Romy and her horses create an artistic expression of trust and connection. It's in these moments that her journey culminates into an elegant dance of unity.
An Unbreakable Bond: The Tale of Painted
Painted (Romy’s Grand prix Horse) stands as a symbol of the unique partnership she has cultivated. Horses can be startled by unfamiliar environments but Painted defies convention. At a significant show in Germany, Painted's courage shone through. Qualifying for the finals alongside the top dressage riders in Germany was an unexpected surprise for Romy. The finals took place in a vast indoor arena - an environment Painted had never encountered before. His trust in Romy was unwavering, and without hesitation, he entered the arena, his curiosity and bravery pushing aside any apprehensions. This singular moment of trust and partnership stands as a testament to the unique connection Romy and Painted share.
Advice for Aspiring Equestrians: Treasuring the Relationship:
For those embarking on the journey of equestrian sports, Romy offers a piece of advice that transcends technique and tactics. She emphasizes the importance of recognizing that horseback riding is not just another sport; it's a way of life. Central to this way of life is the profound relationship between rider and horse. Whether engaging in playful interactions or pursuing professional riding, the personal bond between the two is the heartbeat of the equestrian experience. It's not just about riding; it's a way of life.
"If you love your horse and take your time to build something up, the results will come," Romy affirms. Her words echo a universal truth that stands at the core of equestrianism – the profound importance of love and connection with one's equine partner. While competition and success are undeniably significant, Romy urges fellow equestrians to put their horses' well-being and happiness first. Treating horses with the same care and respect one would desire for themselves creates a strong foundation for success, both in and out of the arena.
The Journey of Lifelong Learning: Embracing Natural Horsemanship:
Equestrianism is about continuous learning and growth, where every experience adds a new layer to one's understanding. Romy's journey is no exception. While she has always been attuned to the needs of her horses, a recent chapter involving training younger horses introduced her to the world of natural horsemanship. Through this new perspective, Romy recognized the significance of the groundwork before going in the saddle. By adding tolls and skills to the routine on the ground she not only calmed the horses but also fortified the bond between Romy and her equine partners. What she already knew how to achieve in the saddle took on a new dimension on the ground, solidifying a connection that transcends the saddle and delves into the core of trust and understanding
Tristan Tucker's Wisdom: Empowering Horses with Confidence:
Tristan Tucker's words, "Every horse can be confident and relaxed in every situation. It's all about giving your horse the right tools," resonate deeply with Romy's philosophy. As a rider who values her horse's emotional and mental well-being, Romy understands that confidence is not just a rider's attribute; it's a gift bestowed upon the horse through understanding, communication, and trust. These tools form the cornerstone of a partnership where horse and rider flourish together, navigating challenges with poise and grace.
Further, she adheres to the principles of classical training methods by saying: "When the horse reaches the appropriate stage, we incorporate dressage exercises. These exercises serve to enhance the horse's equilibrium, encourage greater weight-bearing by the hind legs, and facilitate elevation of the front. By refining the horse's physical balance, we observe a positive influence on their mental state. Consequently, engaging in riding significantly contributes to the well-being of the horse, fostering a sense of contentment in their athletic pursuits.
Romy's Montar Favorites: Quality and Comfort Redefined:
Romy's journey with the House of Montar reflects her commitment to excellence and her quest for products that truly enhance her riding experience. She lauds Montar for remarkable aesthetics and impeccable fit. As someone with long legs, finding riding pants that match her physique had been a challenge until Montar's offerings entered the scene. The fit is not only amazing but also comfortable enough to wear day and night. A special mention goes to Montar's silicone grip, an innovation that provides exceptional support without compromising on slipperiness, ensuring that every ride is not just stylish but secure.