Interview with Denise Borst:
UNDRA: Dear Denise, thank you for your time! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Denise: Hello, my name is Denise Borst and I am 25 years old. I am from Hamburg, but I have been living in Denmark for 5 years now. I am IPZV Trainer C and young horse trainer.
UNDRA: When and why did you come to Denmark and how have you spent the time so far?
Denise: I came to Denmark for the first time in the summer of 2016 to work at Teland. I stayed there until summer of 2019.
I then moved to Aalborg with my fiancé and worked there for 2 years part-time with horses and the rest of the time in an online shop.
Last year, my partner and I bought our own house with stables and paddocks here in Denmark where we now have our own horses and I also work a few training horses.
UNDRA: How did you find out about Teland and how did you get in touch?
Denise: A friend of mine asked me if I could help out at Teland for a few weeks, as she also worked there during that time. Since I had just finished High School and wanted to work with horses for a year, I said yes. After 6 weeks at Teland, Steffi and Rune Svendsen asked me if I would like to stay longer or come back again. In October 2016 I returned to Teland and stayed until 2019.
UNDRA: How was working with Icelandic horses in northern Denmark and how did your everyday life look like?
Denise: I never worked with horses professionally before I started working at Teland. Therefore, it was a whole new experience for me. It was tough in the beginning because you are outside all day doing physical activity. The work mainly consisted of stable work, checking on horses on the paddocks and young horse/foal work. Since the beginning of 2017, I started to warm up the horses for Steffi – and learned a lot during this time. After that I rode more and more horses on my own until I did nothing else than training horses during the day.
UNDRA: What influenced you the most in terms of riding and working in Denmark? Has your riding style or philosophy changed?
Denise: I was mostly influenced by riding forward and not concentrating too much on “mistakes”. It starts with the young horse training, in which it is most important that the young horse does not get bored, but always stays motivated and has fun at work. A short workout is better than a too long one. I have also become even more aware of that horses usually have no idea what exactly they are doing wrong during the training. Therefore, usually the best way is not to focus on the mistake all the time, but rather to ignore it and ride “through”/”over” it.
My riding style has of course changed a lot since I arrived at Teland as a hobby rider. I’ve learned a lot about my seat and technique, especially due to riding so many different horses.
Generally, riding in Denmark is characterized by riding forward and, of course, dressage work.
UNDRA: Now that you have moved to Denmark completely and built up your own farm – what fascinates you about Denmark?
Denise: It is difficult to describe it, but for me the feeling in Denmark is different than in Germany. Everything is much more relaxed here, which contributes to Denmark being one of the happiest countries in the world. The people are friendly and open-mined. Of course, one of the main reasons why I stayed in Denmark after leaving Teland was that I met my fiancé, who is Danish.
UNDRA: What advice would you give to those who are considering to work with Icelandic horses in Denmark?
Denise: In Denmark there are very good and large training stables that are always looking for working people and you can really learn a lot there. But one thing is important: that you don’t expect to be put on 20 horses right on the first day. The trainers have the responsibility to ensure that the horses are always trained well and properly, so they first need to see what you can “offer” and what your attitude towards the work is. For all farm owners it is important that stable work is also done and all the little things that go with working around horses and farms. This usually means that you have to work your way up and rarely get anything for free in this job. But after all: diligence and good work pay off!
UNDRA: Thank you very much, dear Denise, for these insights and your time!
Images: Denise Borst
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