The door lock is still damp from the morning dew. As soon as the key is put into the lock and turned with a click, the horses start neighing excitingly. “That is one of the nicest moments when you are welcomed like this from the horses.” Says Bérangère Robineau, the French girl from Angers, a town in Pays de la Loire, who works as a rider at the Hannoveraner Verband in Verden since one year. Every morning she enters the stables at 7am. “It is early, but since all the riders and grooms start at that time, it’s not that bad. In the team, working is way easier,” adds the 24-year old.
Bérangère is an ambitioned dressage rider. For two years she worked for the stud Haras de Hus before she decided to come to Germany. At Haras de Hus she learned from Jessica Michel who is successful in Grand Prix on an international level. In 2015 Bérangère joined the Team at the Hannoveraner Verband. How did she get here? She was in Germany to attend a clinic with Hans-Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen, chief trainer of the German Young Riders, the German Young Horses, and permanent trainer of the Verden Auction Horses. He took her to the Gala-Evening in Verden, a traditional show program, which takes place the Friday before each Elite-Auction to herald the Auction weekend.
Impressed by the presentation of the Verden Auction Riders, she immediately knew: “I want to become an auction rider”. And that’s what she is now. After 6 months as an assistant rider she had her debut on the 7th of November 2015 in the November Auction. One of her protégés was Del Magico II, full brother to vice world champion Del Magico I. Bérangère was very proud to have such a prominent candidate in her collection.“ From the first day I felt at ease in Verden. The team is great and I was warmly welcomed from the first day. I learned the German language in a very short time,” she explains with her sympathetic French accent. “I was so excited that I would be taught by Hans-Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen on auction horses for the first time. I was aware how much responsibility I had in the saddle of the sales horses. Everything went smoothly and I will always remember that moment when I presented my horses in front of the audience for the first time. That was a great experience – it is fun to be the binding point between the vendor and the buyer!”
The daily routine at the Hannoveraner Verband is well structured. At 7am the horses are fed and the stables cleaned. From 7:30 to 8:00am the team has breakfast together. On her first day Bérangère was sitting next to Melanie Schmerglatt, another auction rider of the team. When Melanie asked her: “May I have the butter please,” Bérangère knew she wasn’t the only person from another country here. As she found out, Melanie is from Australia and a team member since 2014.
At 8am the training of the horses begins. Every rider works with a groom and cares for about 10 to 12 horses. Bérangère was assigned as assistant rider for Anna Peters and groom Kristin Remmert. Anna is riding for the Hannoveraner Team since 3 years. The 28-year old dressage rider values the variety of her job. “There is always something going on here. Every two month we have an auction. Then a lot of customers come to Verden. You get to know a lot of interesting people. I built valuable friendships here.” As such, Anna is still in contact with the buyer of her favorite horse Streseman. Streseman is by Soliman de Hus and was sold to the US through the Auction in 2014. His happy new owners regularly update Anna about the success of their Hanoverian in Hunter classes. “My job as a rider is fun every day!” – The circumstances here are perfect – two indoor training arenas, one lunging arena, two outdoor training arenas and a cross-country track can be used for the daily training. “Trainers and competent stable managers are present all the time and the rest of the team also help when you get stuck on something.”
Without them nothing works in the stables – the grooms. Responsible for the well-being of the horses, they prepare the auction horses for the daily training, accompany the riders to shows, and manage everything in the stables concerning their horses. This way, the riders have more time to concentrate on their riding and each horse’s training. Since 6 years Kristin Remmert is working as a groom for the Hannoveraner Verband. The reason is on hand as she says "It’s fun to work in a team like this and I have responsibility for my horses.” Her absolute favorite is still Santiago. He really made it into her heart. In 2010 Santiago was part of her collection during the auction period. Today he is the winner of the Nuremberg Cup. "I get goose bumps every time I see the victory ride from Frankfurt. And it makes me proud to have played a part in the career of such an important horse."
From 12 to 2 pm the stables are quiet. The team is out for lunch and the horses have time to relax after their lunch. From 2 to 5pm the remaining horses are ridden. In the two week auction period the afternoons are reserved for test riding. Here the auction riders also constantly accompany their protégés and assist and consult the customers.
In the tack room Bérangère meets the other riders. Here the boots get cleaned before the day ends so everything is nice and ready for the next day. “Cleanliness and appearance is written in bold here in Verden, I learned that quite quickly. Ce qui est important. After all, customers from all over the world come here to Verden,” she explains as she closes the stable door with the big Hanoverian logo on them. Now all you hear from the stables is the horses satisfied chewing on their evening hay.