As a young equestrienne, Cindy had been a working student for Mr. HLM van Schaik for several years in Vermont when he acknowledged her devotion by paying for her to attend the Reitinstitut von Neindorff in Karlsruhe, Germany. For the young woman from Milton, MA, it was a turning point in her lifetime involvement with horses. Despite the initial German-English language barrier, she spent four months there. At the time she didn't feel totally prepared for the challenge but in the long run realized the instrumental role that von Neindorff played in her riding.
Cindy moved on to Vienna and secured a job with Time-Life whilst continuing to ride. "The smartest thing I ever did was to get a liberal arts/secretarial degree from The Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School in Boston. That's how I was able to get a job in Vienna, have a car, an apartment and support my riding habit." During her time there, Cindy began training with Karl Mikolka, a member of The Spanish Riding School of Vienna. She continued training with him for the next 12 years.