Hello fellow Rider, my name is Natasha Althoff and what an honour it is to welcome you to my website.
I love hearing your stories of riding and the journey that you are on. It’s quite the journey that we are all taking and it builds character and strength. I am often asked about my story which is very humbling so I thought that I’d share it here for you to read.
From as early as I can remember I have had a love of horses. As a child I pretended to be a horse and trot around the school yard only to be ridiculed by the other children… but nothing stopped me from loving horses.
It was when I was 13 years old that I got my first horse, Tyson, a chestnut Arab, with quite the attitude. But I was in love and spent every spare minute with this horse. We did what I believed back then was dressage, show jumped and cantered around the cross country track.
And life really was amazing.
As I got older I needed a bigger horse and purchased a black off the track Thoroughbred called Raven.
I used to race him around the fields but as I got older I realised that my heart was telling me to follow dressage, and my nerves also.
The eventing courses seemed to be getting scarier every year as the jumps got higher.
And so this began my focus on dressage.
In 1999, I needed a younger horse and purchased a Friesian Thoroughbred cross gelding called Tambo. Together we were going to go to the Olympics and compete in dressage.
It was quite evident however that Tambo lacked a lot of skill (he was only 5 when I purchased him) and I lacked a lot of dressage experience.
For years I took him to competitions and it was rare that we ever placed. Often I was in tears and he taught me that the journey would never be easy.
We were eliminated from tests in every way imaginable.
He was a tough horse to ride and being inexperienced at the time I was unclear with my riding aids but eventually we made it to Grand Prix… but our scores were horrific!
However, he had stirred in me the love of the Friesian horse.
Early in 2005 I ventured to America for a while where I worked at the stables of Sabine Schut-Kery, who was head rider for Proud Meadows Farm, and primarily rode the Friesians they ride and train there in dressage as well as trick training.
Wow! Black Friesians were everywhere, and back then she was one of only a handful that had taken a Friesian to Grand Prix level dressage.
I was blown away and the beauty of the purebred Friesian and knew that when I returned home I would have to get my own, no matter what!
Well, when you put your mind to something, things just align and before I knew it, it was late 2005 and there were 3 Friesians arriving at my place in Australia from Holland.
I had chosen 2 stallions and a mare and had a mission to be the first person in Australia to take a Friesian to Grand Prix.
I’d already fallen in love with the stallion Abe back in Holland and together we steadily and quite quickly worked through the dressage grades. By no means was it easy though! Don’t get me wrong… I was working my butt off in training.
For a long time I was receiving 4 lessons per week to help accelerate my riding and results.
When you set crazy goals but have a plan to achieve them and commit every day, you will get them. Well, before I knew it, Abe and I were competing Grand Prix. Yay!
We had made it and I was the first person in Australia to take a Friesian to Grand Prix level and actually the first in all of Australasia.
We have to take time to celebrate our victories, then start setting more!!!
Over the years I have been lucky enough to train with some of the greats, which has helped me both as a rider and a coach. Some of the names include:
– Richard Weiss (world renowned seat specialist)
– Sabine Shut-Kerry (first person in the world to take a Friesian to Grand Prix level dressage)
– Kira Kirklund (German Olympian)
– Rafael Sotto (3 time Spanish Olympian, and record holder in taking the youngest horse to the Olympics)
– Heath Ryan (Australian Olympian)
– Mary Hanna (4 time Australian Olympian)
An interesting trainer and mentor that many of you would not have heard of as they are not of the horse world is Sharon Pearson (and to an extent Tony Robbins). In particular I have my qualifications from Sharon’s Institute as a Master NLP Practitioner and various other qualifications which have helped tremendously in my ability to communicate and teach my clients.
For this I am forever grateful.
|So Where Am I Now?
For 5 years I competed at Grand Prix level with my Friesian stallion Abe. I have competed at the Australian National Championships in Grand Prix, competed in numerous CDN events within Australia and enjoyed performing my Grand Prix Freestyle Kur to the Grease Soundtrack. Abe is now being leased by a lovely young lady who hopes to take him to the Gary Owen this year.
Currently I have a number of young talented horses making their way up through the grades and recently imported my first German Warmblood mare and another young Friesian stallion whom I am particularly excited about at the moment.
I am loving teaching and have been helping clients across the world thanks to the internet by providing online lessons. I have had the honour of being an educator at the Australian Equitana which was a ball.
Within the last few years I had my two children, but that certainly couldn’t keep me away from my horses, as I rode up until 8 months pregnant and was back in the saddle 10 days after giving birth.
I hope you have enjoyed my story so far and I look forward to hearing yours.
I trust this website is helpful for you and if you have any questions about my Dressage Mastery Academy please send them through via the contact us link at the top of the page.
I’d love to hear from you and for you to be a part of this Academy, as I am positive it will greatly assist you on your riding journey.
All the best out on your horse.
To your success,