The Dutch Connection

Jodie Kelly
Dressage Rider, Trainer, Clinician

After meeting Toine Hoefs in 1994 at the World Equestrian Games in The Hague, Jodie and her family began a wonderful relationship that continues today.  “One of the biggest highlights so far, is the summers I spent riding in Holland and working at Anky's barn,” Jodie proudly states.  “Then, getting an invitation to ride with Klaus in the high performance training session was the icing on the cake.”

Thanks to Toine, Jodie considers one of her specialties to be young horses.  “Toine has the best eye of anyone I know,” says Jodie.  “He always had young horses in Holland, so I spent many summers breaking and riding his young horses.  Then, when it came time for me to purchase a horse for myself, we had a limited amount of money that we could spend, so it was either a talented young horse, or a not so talented trained one.  I went with the talented young horse, and he is now my first Grand Prix horse!  I’ve discovered that I would much rather put the buttons on a horse that has no baggage than weed through the baggage that they come with, looking for the buttons.”  The horse that Jodie is referring to is Manhattan, a horse that she trained to Grand Prix herself.

Every girl has a horse they love above all others, sometimes for very odd reasons.  For Jodie that horse is Manhattan.  “I have had so many special horses,” says Jodie.  “Manhattan is truly the love of my life.

I always joke that he’s the reason I am still single, because no one compares to him.  However, Jodie admits that he has been the biggest challenge of her life.  “He used to buck me off multiple times a day for a long time after I got him,” she laughs.  “Then, the first few years of showing, I used to ride him three or four times a day, each day of the show.  The judge’s comments were always, ‘he’s worth waiting for’.

And now, he is finally the horse I’ve been waiting for, but I have loved every minute of growing up with him.  He is a remarkable horse.”

Jodie hopes to take Manhattan back to Europe in the near future for training and to get some more experience competing overseas.

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