RANCHO SANTA FE — To further her dreams of one day representing the United States in the Olympics, American Lauren Hester relocated from Rancho Santa Fe to the tiny town of Baarlo in the Netherlands. Beginning in April of 2013, Hester and her horses were housed with Stal Hendrix, where she worked with Emile Hendrix. She recently came home to Rancho Santa Fe.
Hester currently has four horses actively competing at the Grand Prix level, plus a young horse that is starting to compete at the International shows. She recently competed in the Las Vegas National.
Her 2014 show season went from Spain in March (Oliva Tour), to Belgium (Opglabeek) in May, and back to the Netherlands (Eindhoven, Arnheim, Asten, Geesteren, and Koningbosch) where she has posted victories.
Unlike many of her peers, Hester has always played a big role in training her own horses, feeling that it is more rewarding to grow with them. She currently owns and manages Hester Equestrian, building a solid string of horses for her long-term goal, while also developing young horses. Hester Equestrian also owns six babies, ranging from yearlings to coming three-year-olds, who are growing up in the fields of Europe. She is also working with well-known breeder Paul Hendrix, Emile Henrix’s brother.
When asked to discuss the differences between developing horses in Europe and in the United States, Hester cited cost as the major difference. Entry fees are much higher in the states, and because the top-level shows are spread from coast to coast, travel can be one intimidating expense. The day-to-day expenses are also much lower in Europe, as are training fees. From her base in Baarlo, the Netherlands, there were four quality shows within 45 minutes, making it possible to go for the day.
Citing a subject that seems to be on many equestrian minds these days, Hester would like to see Americans put more time and money into young horses. Although she realizes, and understands why they find it more economical, and probably easier, to buy horses from Europe, she also observed how advanced the breeding system is there. While there are few breeding programs in the US, there are many in Europe. “In Europe,” Hester said, “It’s not a hobby; it’s their life.”
Hester recently returned to Rancho Santa Fe with the string she’s been successful on in Europe – Abigail, Warinde B, Wender and Daister L, along with a few new mounts. She also brought back an equitation horse to sell, Constantine, a new 6-year-old mare, Dalmerette, and a 5-year-old gelding, Lorstakov.
With a clearer vision, she seeks to support young horse programs, and is pleased to see some shows have lightened the fees for young horses. She will also campaign her grand prix mounts at selected shows. Once again working with Joie Gatlin and Morley Abey, Hester is assisting with sales and purchases. The horses are at home, and she plans to stay on this side of the ocean for a few show seasons at least.
Story courtesy of EquestriSol Marketing.