Our riding and training facility in Hepstedt, which is located between Bremen and Bremervörde on the edge of an idyllic village, has always been an equitation center since this has been a tradition in our family for as long as we can remember. My grandfather, Michel Blanken, bred horses here at the beginning of the 19th century. My father Hermann and my uncle Johann inherited their father’s love of horses and successfully competed in shows during the middle of the fifties.
So it is not surprising that I am also infected with the ‘horse virus’ and I made my passion my profession. But first, following the advice of my parents, I finished an apprenticeship as a mason, earning a diploma with distinction. As soon as that was accomplished, I started a traineeship with Gerd Rietbrock in Sottrum and later, in 1991, I began my training to become an accredited master of riding at the Hanoverian Verband in Verden. A year later, I won the national competition for professional riders – individually as well as with our team.
After successfully concluding my apprenticeship, I remained employed by the Verband until 1996 – and am still very loyal to the Verband.
In the year 1997 I decided to become self-employed and turned my parent’s facility into a modern equitation center in 2000. With the help of my wife Annette, the energetic support of my mother Gertrud and her companion Willi, we operate a facility with a 20 x 40 meter indoor, 33 modern boxes, exercising machine, lunging circle, outdoor riding ring and paddocks where the horses can relax – in other words an equitation center that meets today’s demands.