If you have ever attended an auction in Verden, then you most likely have seen these two people – either on a horse or in the stables. We are talking about Anna Peters and Melanie Wiechmann, who care for the auction horses as a team. As a rider and as a groom.
The auction cannot do without them. They work as a rider and as a groom for the Hannoveraner Verband. They are responsible for the wellbeing of those horses, which are assigned to them. These rider and groom teams tend to the needs of their protégés before, during and after the auction, as if these horses were their own.
Every rider in Verden works together with a groom. These teams are responsible for 8 to 12 horses. Even though everybody has his/her own area of responsibility, the entire training package is the responsibility of the team. They confer with each other, work hand in hand, coordinate their schedules and set up an individual training plan for each protégé.
One of the teams, which is in existence since more than three years now, consists of rider Anna Peters and groom Melanie Wiechmann. They work together since 2013. We would like to introduce this team in this blog.
Anna Peters is a skilled rider/trainer. She successfully completed the German equine apprenticeship program with the emphasis on riding under the tutelage of Birgit Wellhausen-Henschke in Bremen. She also trained with Juergen Armbrust, who taught her a lot. “He is a first-rate horseman and an excellent teacher. He understands the horses, and knows to impart his knowledge comprehensibly,” Anna gladly reflects on her time as an apprentice. She knew early on that she wanted to work with horses. Her love for horses and for the sport of riding developed at a young age, even though her family is not horse-oriented. The horses of the local riding club, which grazed in the neighbor’s fields, fascinated her. She joined the vaulting team in Cuxhaven at the age of five, where she learned the ropes about the handling of horses. She changed disciplines, when she turned nine. It was her dream to become a jumping rider. Her pony called Maeuschen had a different opinion about jumping fences. He was rather uninterested. It was very important to Anna’s parents that she did not neglect her schoolwork. Every free minute, she spent in the stables though. Anna took the first horses in training, when she was 14 years old. She had no trouble combining schoolwork and horses. She successfully completed high school at the age of 19 and signed up to study biology at the University Bremen. The training facility Henschke made her a tempting offer, which she could not resist. Anna became a professional trainer/rider in the barn, where, among others, the Olympic mount Don Auriello was trained.
With her trainer certificate in hand, Anna moved on to Redefin in 2012, where she worked with approved stallions and presented them in the stallion performance test. One of the stallions, which she rode, was performance test champion Cositono by Cosido.
In January of 2013, Anna accepted employment with the Hannoveraner Verband and joined Verden’s auction team just in time for the January auction. She still today remembers her excitement, when she rode aboard her first auction participant into the auction ring to present him for sale. Today, three years later, she is no longer nervous but still excited. “As the rider, you are with the horse for 13 days during the auction time, which includes the daily training, the presentations and the try-outs. You get to know the horse quite well and you are anxious to find out, where the horse will end up.” She really liked the stallion Streseman by Soliman de Hus/De Niro. She prepared him for and rode him in Verden’s November auction in 2014. “He was just fun to work with. Streseman had a great personality and really enjoyed the training process in dressage as well as in jumping,” Anna raves. With Anna, he was in the perfect hands with his dual predisposition. Even though Anna mostly rides dressage, she also successfully competes training horses in jumping classes and in eventing.
Since her very first day, Anna has been working together with groom Melanie Wiechmann, who is employed with the Hannoveraner Verband since 1995. Melanie works in the stables and knows exactly, how auctions run. Hence she was a great help to the newcomer Anna Peters. Melanie and Anna got along very well from the beginning. They have the same style of working and talk about the horses in their care even during breaks. Melanie and Anna have a great common interest: It is five-year old Domino Gold, which they care for and train since his approval in 2013.
Regular customers from all over the world know about and appreciate Melanie Wiechmann’s working ethics. They got to know her throughout the many years – from auction to auction. Melanie build up an amicable relationship to the loyal auction customers Helen Wiest and Joe Sandven from the United States, who already bought more than 40 riding horses in Verden, including Ronatella L by Rotspon/Raphael, which has started a successful career as a dressage competitor in the USA.
After having successfully finished the upper commercial school, Melanie decided, “I wanted to be an auction groom!” She did as she said! March 1st, 1995 was her first day at work in Verden. “I groomed horses for several riders,” she shares. For the longest time, she worked as a team member with Meike Friemel. Auction horse Habitus by Hohenstein/Weltmeyer was one of the unforgettable horses from that time period. “I liked him a lot,” Melanie says. “He was not the biggest horse and he was a bit shy at the age of three. A lovable guy!” Habitus carried head number 42 in the auction. He had won the silver medal at the Federal Championships before the auction. After the sale, he changed into the hands of a professional and obtained numerous international successes.
Anna and Melanie describe their working relationship as almost perfect. They not only understand each other without seeing each other, they also can rely upon each other. “Reliability is very important in a team,” so Anna. “I am very focused on the horses and on the training, when I am at a show or during the auction time. It is a very good feeling knowing that Melanie took care of everything before I enter the show ring or the auction arena. I highly value the cooperation with Melanie, because she takes impeccable care of our horses. Not only from a grooming perspective, but also mentally. She looks after everyone of our protégés and tries to create a healthy balance to the training,” Anna explains with admiration for the work of her groom. One often sees Melanie walk a horse in a halter over the large terrain outside the arena - walks with little breaks to feed the horses apples.
Melanie responds to the question, what she appreciates most about her team colleague and rider Anna, “Anna rides every horse differently. She is able to adjust to every horse’s needs and support their developmental stage in a very short time. She allows the horses the time that they need. That is what I appreciate most!”