As a young equestrienne, Cindy Sydnor 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, Massachusetts, it was a turning point in her lifetime involvement with horses.
In spite of the initial German-English language barrier, Cindy worked hard and managed to spend four months training at the riding school. Though at the time she did not feel entirely prepared for the challenge, in the long run she came to realize the instrumental role that von Neindorff played in her riding education.
Her European adventures did not end in Germany: from there Cindy moved to Vienna, Austria where she secured a job with Time-Life, all the while 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,” she recalls. “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 in Vienna, Cindy began training with Karl Mikolka, a member of The Spanish Riding School. She continued training with him for the next 12 years.