Floating into the European Under 25 Championships for the first time, we saw Kingsland-sponsored rider Semmieke Rothenberger and her mare Flanell make history last weekend. Coming away with silver in the Grand Prix and a jaw-dropping gold in the Freestyle - Rothenberger and Flanell made sure everyone knew that they were the pair to watch when it comes to future dressage stars!
Coming from a family of what we consider dressage royalty, Rothenberger has been in the saddle since day one. Alongside her siblings, Sanneke and Sönke, she grew up in a world many horse kids dream of; guided by industry professionals (including her parents), she has created a career that is truly mesmerizing to watch.
She took on her first international competition in Hagen in 2011 on one of her childhood ponies, Domino Dancing, when she became a member of the Euro team. A couple of years later, riding another of her childhood mounts, Golden Girl, Rothenberger broke the 80% mark and set a new world record!
She broke that record just a year and a half later on Deinhard B. Previously, Rothenberger noted how it was in Hagen that she found one of her junior horses, Geisha, who she competed with her other junior horse, Dissertation Frh. These continuous good fortunes are why Hagen is the place of miracles for Rothenberger and her family.
And while Rothenberger has only had Flanell in her life since May 2020, she felt comfortable taking the leap from Juniors to the Under 25s with this new partner. Flanell is said to be a fussy mare who only takes to certain people; you have to earn her trust and respect.
And as the saying goes, every cloud has its silver lining; the Corona Virus pandemic provided Rothenberger with the perfect opportunity to get to know her new mount.
In this time, they began to flourish. She claims that when she rides Flanell, the mare feels limitless and never backs down from a challenge. And the European Under 25 Championships proved this to be true!
Her Grand Prix ride was incredible in its own right, but she was, unfortunately, knocked out of gold by just 0.052%, which she puts down to rider error. However, she and Flanell shone in the Freestyle competition, taking home gold with a score of 81.955%. Hagen again proving to be that special place for the young Rothenberger.
A short while ago, Semmieke spoke of how her own life philosophies come from what her aunt once said to her some years ago; “enjoy it.” And when watching her rides, it’s clear that she has taken this lesson to heart, as watching from the audience - not only are Semmieke’s rides a joy to watch, but the expression on her face makes it clear that they’re a joy to ride too!
And while it may seem almost miraculous that the 22-year-old won gold in her first Under 25 Championship on a horse that she was only competing with for the fourth time ever, we at Kingsland know that this isn’t the case.
Her optimism, hard work, and dedication to her sport are what make ‘miracles’ happen for Semmieke Rothenberger. She is one to watch, and we expect great things for her in the future!