Anne Arrives in the U.S.

Anne Gribbons

Anne Eriksson came to the U.S. on a one-year college scholarship, having earned her Baccalaureate degree in Gothenburg , Sweden . She intended to return to Sweden to pursue a degree in journalism and a career as an author, but she met her husband, David Gribbons. David recalls writing to Anne when she returned to Sweden. “She would send my letters back with grammar corrections on my English, so after the first couple of tries, I just ended up calling her instead!” The couple married opened a facility on Long Island and called it the Knoll Farm. Anne began to train and compete a few horses - jumpers and Combined Training horses that were either grades or Thoroughbreds, while continuing to study and finishing a masters degree at Adelphi University.

Anne attended horse shows and watched the equitation classes "in total bewilderment." She explained, "I did not have a clue what they were trying to do. How can you judge the rider without judging the horse? That is not a concept we had in Europe and it has never really been taken on there. I didn't understand Hunter Under Saddle classes because the horses went nowhere and looked like they were in a coma. It was a whole new world."

Anne adapted, however, and not only began to teach equitation, but also to show in Open Working Hunter, jumper classes, and Combined Training. "My biggest claim to fame in Combined Training is that one year on Long Island we had a local championship and Tad Coffin, who was also riding on Long Island , competed in it. I was the Champion and he was the Reserve. Then he went right on to win the Gold Medal in the 1976 Olympics!"

Combined Training was Anne's first love, but conditioning was difficult on Long Island because the land is predominately flat and she needed hills and natural obstacles to keep her horses fit. She trailered her horses to New Jersey and Pennsylvania to condition them and ride decent courses, which were also hard to find. After years of hauling horses, Anne decided that she needed to change disciplines. "I couldn't deal with not having a place to practice every day," she said. "I still love Combined Training. It is the all-around best test of horse and rider together. There is nothing like a cross-country run on a good horse, and the satisfaction that you have afterwards. It doesn't have to do with winning; it has to do with companionship, and excitement. Dressage is never as exciting in that same way." Nevertheless, Anne decided her discipline would be dressage.