After six year as Bereiter student and two years as Bereiter in Denmark, the Norwegian girl Anniken Eide has come home to her homeland. The 29 year old wants to build equestrian competence in Norway.
By: Rill M. Rytter Fjøren. Photo: Therese Alhaug
It takes many years to educate yourself as Bereiter in Denmark, just ask Norwegian Anniken Eide. In order to qualify for Bereiter studies you first have to attend agricultural college for half a year. Your attitude and work ethics are evaluated in addition to your training and dressage skills.
“We were twenty-one students that started studying at the agricultural college in Malling,” Anniken recounts. Seventeen students were chosen to take the entrance exams for the Bereiter courses. Six passed and only two graduated as Berieter after six years.
And you were one of them?
“Yes.” The young horse trainer smiles humbly.
After two years education and having passed examinations the students achieve the title of Riding School Assistant. After four years of schooling and having passed exams you are qualified as Horse Trainer. After yet another two years and successful completion of your exams the students can pride themselves with the title of Bereiter.
Before the students can take the Trainer examinations they must have ridden fifteen 1,30 Class events with maximum 8 faults. In addition the students must have completed fifteen Average B dressage classes with at least a 60% score. Before taking the Bereiter exam the students must have ridden ten 1,40 class rounds with a maximum of 8 faults and ten Average A class rounds with a minimum of 60% score. There is no doubt that a master horse trainer knows how to ride!
Back in Norway there are only two riders, Lars Rasmussen and Mona Mangiest, who have the same education as Anniken. At least she knows of no one else.
“I know that many Norwegian Bereiters have studied in Denmark and in Germany, but the majority have chosen to live abroad.”
Anniken has chosen to come home.
Her interest for horses she got with her mother´s milk. Anniken´s mother operated a riding school in the capital of Oslo.
“Mom never forced me to ride”, Anniken says. “My parents tempted me with ballett, figure skating and tennis. But I wanted to ride and even though it was scary to begin with, I enjoyed it!”
Anniken had her own Shetlands pony until it died in 2013. When she was fourteen she owned a “premium” pony, which her sister inherited. At twelve the Danish master horse trainer Jørn Snøvsø Hansen came to their stable. The youngster got a lot of help from him and became even more afire. When her girlfriends talked about what they wanted to be when they grew up, Anniken was certain. She wanted to be a Bereiter. Riding was still the only thing she wanted to do, both show jumping and dressage. Both disciplines were just as fun.
“I wanted to excel, I wanted to learn more. I just wanted to ride and ride” she tells. When Jørn stopped coming to Norway, Anniken spent her vacations at his stables at Randers in Denmark.
“I cleaned stables and rode, and cleaned stables again. And I decided to study to become a Bereiter in Denmark after high school.”
And that is what happened.
What is the difference between working with horses in Denmark compared to here in Norway?
“There as just so many more horses there. Almost everybody in Denmark knows something about horses. They have a broader knowledge about horses. All in all they are much more knowledgeable about horses! There are many more good horses, as horse breeding in Denmark is extensive. Here in Norway many professional riders only have ONE horse. In Denmark they have minimum two. However today I see that horse breeding is growing in Norway also. In addition it is much easier to keep a horse in Denmark. The climate is milder, and there is seldom any snow. The distances are short and there are many more equestrian events. There is always a suitable horse event within an hour´s drive every weekend.
But there are now many more horse events here in Norway?
“Yes”, replies Anniken. “I see a great difference from when I left to study almost ten years ago till today. And the standard has increased enormously, for show jumping as well as dressage.”
You have chosen to gamble on Norway. Why? What is better here?
Anniken takes a moment to think.
“The horse trails” she replies emphatically. “The terrain is incredibly much better here. Norwegians are much better at riding horses on trails. This is very good for the horses. Generally speaking, we are much better at keeping horses outside. Even in bad weather they are allowed to stay outside. We just pack them in! Besides it is more important for me to come home to my family. This is where I belong. I am Norwegian you know!”
Anniken had originally decided to stay abroad for another two years. But things do not always turn out the way you had thought. Her parents stumbled on a farm that was for sale in Lommedalen close to the Norwegian capital, Oslo. Here there were stables, riding house, outdoor riding grounds and paddocks. Anniken was sold on the idea and on January 1st “ Eide Stables” was a reality.
“In any event I had not intended to stay abroad” smiles Anniken.“I have always said that I wanted to come home again.”
The farm is situated idyllically at the entrance of the forest two kilometers from a lake. All the horse terrain trails Anniken missed in Denmark are right outside her stable doors. In January she and her mother started a riding school.
“The riding school means a lot to me. It creates the right atmosphere, and now we have a hundred students a week. Mom is the riding teacher. She is clever at putting together exciting riding lessons. Riding should be fun! Riding schools are important for recruiting. Already three of our students have bought their own pony, and several more are considering the same.”
Forty of a total of 59 stalls on the farm are filled up. Still mother and daughter are in the start up phase and have to do everything themselves. The working day is often from 7 am in the morning till 10 pm in the evening.
“Dad is no horse person, but he is a great care keeper in his spare time”, boasts Anniken.
“He repairs fences and anything else that goes to pieces. Fortunately he is a real handyman, just what we need”
At the moment she does not have time nor capacity to use her education to the fullest.
“I look forward to the day we can afford to have help”, sighs the young Bereiter.
She wants to ride, not to use all her time in horse feeding, dunging and sweeping.
Which discipline do you prefer, show horse jumping or dressage?
«I never manage to choose! After my apprenticeship at Vilhelmsborg in Denmark I really wanted to showjump and I started to work at a sales stable for showjumping horses. But there were also good dressage horses in the stables, and I just couldn´t resist riding them also. I enjoyed it so much that I rode 4 dressage horses a day, in addition to show jumping horses!
It´s important to be good at riding both. Many riders begin with both show jumping and dressage in Denmark. Many of the Norwegian show jumping riders should absolutely practice dressage too. There should be style and fault classes right up to 1,20 meters.
Dressage riders can also benefit from a little show jumping. You get immediate feedback if something isn´t working on the show jumping grounds. Many would profit from learning the gallop rhythm.”
What are your thoughts about the future?
Anniken isn´t in doubt
“I´m good on young horses”, she says.
“Many buy young horses and really don´t have a clue. They can bring their young horses here. I can ride them and make sure they become good and safe horses afterwards. The secret is a system where you take one step at a time. You can´t rush when you are working with young horses. At the same time I have a passion to teach and to develop both horse and rider.”
Anniken dreams of having several good horses to ride, and eventually to enter them into competition. Still riding is what she really wants to do. There is no doubt that she will be staying in Norway on the farm in Lommedalen together with her parents.
“We have two houses here on the farm,” she explains with a smile. “Maybe it isn´t such a great idea to live with mom and dad forever!”