This week I’m excited to be chatting with the inspirational American dressage rider Brandi Roenick. Brandi has an incredible back story and has battled back from giving up riding altogether after struggling personally during a very successful dressage career as a young rider in Amercia, and is now based at Paul Schockemöhle’s stallion station in Mühlen, Brandi has an incredible string of Paul’s horses to ride and is enjoying her riding again. She recently accomplished a spectacular feat and personal triumph: winning the 2021 Oldenburg Young Horse Championship in Rastede and finishing fourth at the 2021 Bundeschampionate in Warendorf. Read on to discover more about this amazing lady, her horses, her ambitions, and her top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horses
My name is Brandi Roenick, I am twenty seven years old from San Diego, California and have been currently based professionally in Germany for the last three years.
I have a stable of fifteen horses out of Paul Schockemöhles breeding yard in Mühlen, Germany.
My horses include but not limited to popular stallion Feinrich, Total Diamond, Debutant, Don Romance, Escanto amongst many more fabulous super stars.
How did horses come into your life?
I was born into a family that was invested into horses. My mother an avid equestrian herself is a very highly sought out trainer in America, so my love for horses just came naturally as I spent 90% of my childhood at her stable in Scottsdale, Arizona.
How long have you been riding?
I have been riding since the beginning. Sat on my first horse when I was a baby with my mother and was off on my own around the age three/four years old.
When and where do you ride?
I have been based out in Germany for the last four years. I have been currently riding for Paul for the last three years.
How did you start riding?
My mom got me a pony once she saw I was seeking interest in riding as a young girl.
What you and your horses currently working on?
It ranges, I have horses from green babies and my oldest ones are both 9 years old. Currently am working on basics with the young ones and with the older ones focusing on upper level classes from PSG to GP movements. Nothing set in stone, but my goals will be to hopefully have something developed for the GP in the future.
What do you love about riding?
I love that everyday is a challenge, there is never a finish line. Every day you learn something new, and opportunities and frustrations always are there to challenge your brain a step higher.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I currently do not have any major goals. I take it step by step when I feel a horse is ready and that I am ready to really go for a high goal then I plan my way there, my horses are still in the steps of developing to the next level for their age. I do not plan to stress or rush them, they will perform the appropriate level for their age when the time is right and they are ready so we can go in the arena and our goal is always to do well.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I always deal with nerves while riding, I am a very high anxiety person. So I come across this problem a lot.
How do you deal with them?
I think the most important way that I have learned to deal with stress is find my ground point. I have realised that there is nothing I can do to make the stress go away completely. Its my character and who I am, but I have learned tools that have made me take a few deep breaths. I have to really figure out the main root that causes me the stress and anxiety, once I have pin pointed that I will try to operate my brain into different thoughts by positive thinking and self care. Thinking about things that I know are my strong points in riding, and how to problem solve step by step. I also find it very helpful to lean on people I really trust that know me very well. They always seem to find the right things to guide me when I am starting to have a nervous breakdown. I think that knowing yourself and surrounding yourself with people who truly understand your problems is a very good way to find yourself not alone in a nervous breakdown.
Your Top Tip
Embrace every aspect of the sport. You learn more about yourself in this sport than you do about anything else. Are you patient enough? Do you have control over your emotions? Are you grounded?
I feel to be successful in the horse industry you have to teach yourself to be well grounded and educated to your emotional state. Our horses feed off our physical and mental state. Whatever you bring to the stable, stays in the stable. When you are motivated and positive and filled with desire to learn and be patient. You will see that the development of you and your equine partner will change.
With horses the roads are very curvy, and sometimes you will hit dead ends, disappointment but at the end of the day. Motivation and optimism will get you to the point you are trying to reach no matter if your goal is to ride into the spooky corner at your home arena or one day go to the Olympics! You will be the reason in life your bar is either very low or very high, reach for the high mark!
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
I am actually very fortunate to have been able to ride my dream horse! When I started working at Schockemöhle I was given the opportunity to be Totilas rider for his last years. I spent two wonderful seasons with him until he unfortunately passed. We had many fun days together of hacking and I will always be blessed for that opportunity to be able to do with him what I did.
Who is your equestrian rider hero?
My equestrian hero is by far Charlotte Dujardin. I mean how could she not be, she is absolutely brilliant!
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
Thats a tough answer, Charlotte for sure! Carl Hester as he is the producer I want to know all their secrets to success, Debbie McDonald I grew up training with Debbie she absolutely is a Master, Isabel Freese currently my mentor and trainer she is brilliant and I find that she has so many good ideas and really is motivating to have in your corner. Lastly, Catherine Dufour, she has become such a strong contender in the sport, I am inspired by her constant success.
Favourite colour horse?
Chestnut, I am a die hard Chestnut lover.
Favourite horse event?
I do not have a favourite horse event, there are too many to name.
I love blueberries, all time favourite.
Favourite way to relax?
I am a lazy person when not at the stable, my ideal way of relaxing is snacks, Netflix couch. Finish haha.
The Notebook and Titanic, will forever be my favourite movies without any question. Amazing Films!
If you enjoyed meeting Brandi you might like to view more dressage rider chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Brandi’s progress and check out her instagram page here