Astrid's love for ponies carries on in her life. "In 1993 Appels moved to a more accomplished dressage stable called "De Steppe". Boarding at De Steppe was at that time a move in the right direction. Under the guidance of Kristina Geerts (Prix St. Georges rider) they were trained up to Third/ Fourth level and began to compete in the national FEI pony tests. This is a special test and show circuit in Belgium to qualify for the Belgian Dressage Pony Team, for the European Pony Championships. Even though they were selected for the Uwe Mechlem (German O judge) clinic in 1994 they did not make the team.
"Didi's movements were too average and I couldn't compete against top notch dressage ponies like European Champion in 1990, Fuego", Appels explained. In spite of their limitations they continued to compete in the FEI Pony tests until 1995."My most beautiful victory was at a winter show in Duffel in 1995 where I won one FEI pony test". She ended her pony career at the prestigious Dressage at Schoten.
Didi has been retired at age 15, now spending her days as alpha mare in the field with six of her pony friends. "In fact, she is currently in quarantaine, spending her day in the field next to pasture where the group stands and looking at her buddies," Astrid jokes. "Didi is naughty and is constantly causing commotion in the group by bossing everyone around and fighting for a new friend every week."