12 June 2016, USA ~ Cindy Klinkenberg, congratulations on your win in the HH Sheika Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Championship (IFAHR) in Australia on Warrawee Naaziq. Can you tell the readers of Horsereporter what has shaped your riding career?
CK: When I was a young girl, aged 10, I started riding in a riding school. Very soon it was apparent that I would not be a dressage rider. I loved to jump and race around, taking chances. That is how I ended up in the boys class, which was much more fun than the girls class.
I was raised in a horse loving family. My father is my big example.He worked with trotters for a long time, and it is quite amazing what efforts horses make for him. My brother was a morning work out rider with the famous Netherlands trainer Jan Pubben. There he was practicing for the famous “Metworstrennen”, a spectacular traditional race held once a year for all bachelor men from Boxmeer. Boxmeer is a real racing village. My uncles have won this race several times and even my nephew once became “King of the Metworst”. Once I had seen that race, I was in love with racing. This was exactly what I wanted. At that time I was 16 years old.
I rode at the Jan Pubben stables until I turned 20 then I started riding for Twan Wolters, where I am now. This stable is on the same street as my house, which is of course is very easy.
After starting at Twans, I learned more every day and I gained the confidence to get my license. I passed the riders exam the first time and in the first year I had three rides and in the third ride I had my first winner. After that I met more and more people and got plenty of chances to learn and ride, and I am very glad for that.
Boxmeer is a real racing village. In the Netherlands we have only one racetrack, two hours from our home. We also run many horses in Germany. Seven Days a week I ride out horses in the morning and in the afternoon and evening I work in a restaurant. I’m very happy to being able to manage it like this, because I can’t miss horses for a single day. Four years ago I went to Newmarket for three months and rode for James Fanshawe. That was such an awesome experience.
After that I continued a 2-day course at the British Racing School. I learned a lot about myself in those days and I wanted more. I always said I wanted to go to Australia one day, but life and routine goes on and I couldn’t leave things behind. And of course, I would miss the horses from Twans stable and I like his way of training. Every horse is unique and that is what makes it an awesome job to work with them.
I was totally excited when I was asked to ride in the Ladies race in Australia. I heard all the stories from Tjarda (van den Broek) and Jadey (Pietrasiewicz) and even my boss and colleagues were enthusiastic. Within one week it was all arranged.
My intention was to leave on Saturday, but I had two rides in Germany on that day. Leaving later was possible, but I only arrived the evening before the race. After arrival I went to bed immediately and woke up very fit and excited the next morning. I did my homework and knew I was riding one of the favorites. I had some experience with Arabian horses and I love them. We had some of them in training last year.
When I arrived at the racecourse I began by walking the track. I always do that prior to the race, so I know the track. I was ready for it.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Horses accompanied to the starting gate is something we don’t know then the pace in the race was much slower than I’m used to.
The trainer told me before to hold my horse in the beginning and to wait. That is what I did and when I turned into the final stretch and asked Warrawee to go, he did. It was so unbelievable. I enjoyed every minute. The Festival is a great organization and fabulous girls are involved.
Later at home they threw me a big party. I was totally flabbergasted. I’m looking so much forward to Abu Dhabi, and there are so many people encouraging me. If I win in Abu Dhabi, we will make a huge party. It would be two dreams coming true in only one year.
HR: Thank you Cindy. It sounds as if your enthusiasm will take you to many fantastic adventures. Best of luck.