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Each week I interview the people behind some of the most interesting and popular equestrian accounts on Instagram.  This week I’m chatting with the amazing Heike Holstein, Irish international dressage rider, Three-time Olympian, 13-time Irish national champion, and HSI Dressage Level 3 coach. Read on to learn more about the fabulous lady behind the super @heike_holstein  Instagram account.


Tell us a little about you and your horses

Heike with her two sons, Jake and Archie
I was born in Dublin and have ridden all my life. Did everything including show jumping, hunter trials and showing. But as the jumps got higher my nerves got worse so dressage felt a lot safer and more fun. I am married with 2 children, Jake 14, and Archie 11.  We live in County Kildare, not far from Dublin.     I’ve represented Ireland at 3 Olympic Games, Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens.  I’ve been Irish national champion 13 times and was a member of Ireland’s first ever dressage team to qualify for an Olympics at the Europeans in 2019.


How did your horses come into your life?

My current Grand Prix horse is an 11 yr. old mare that I bred. She is called Sambuca. She is black and quite tall, about 17-hands.


How long have you been riding?

Heike is hoping to be at the Tokyo Olympics with Sambuca next year
I have ridden all my life.


When and where do you ride?

I ride at home and as well as 2 kids, I also teach, so I ride as often as I can, but luckily that is nearly every day.


How did you start riding?

My mum Gisela, was an international dressage judge and trainer, so horses were always a part of our lives

What you and your horses currently working on?

At the moment it is exceedingly difficult to plan anything! I competed at Keysoe CDI in October where we were 4th in the GP Kur and now, we are in level 5 lockdown again, we are just keeping fit and supple, a bit of down time!


What do you love about riding?

Heike and Sambuca representing Ireland. Strutting their stuff and looking fantastic
I love lots about riding! The fresh air, the connection with my horses, exercise, meeting lots of people, travelling, and having fun!  


What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?

In the future I would love to be a member of the team going to Tokyo



Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding? 

I think everyone has some nerves at some stage, myself now not so much, but a little bit of a buzz is a good thing!


How do you deal with them?

Looking very happy after another super performance. Heike says “lots of practice helps keep the nerves away”.
Nerves get better when you are more confident, so lots of practice, good experiences, knowing your horse, and being well prepared help.


Your Top Tip

There are lots! To enjoy and have fun with your horse is important  


The Final Furlong


Who would be your dream horse to ride?

Like everyone else I would love to ride some of the greats, like Valegro!


Who is your equestrian hero?

Lots of hero’s to be honest, I trained with Reiner Klimke when I was younger for a few years, he was and still is one of my heroes

If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?

My 5 favourite friends as we haven’t been out to dinner in a long time due to covid!


Favourite colour horse?

I don’t have a favourite colour; I’ve ridden or owned nearly every colour!

Favourite horse event

2019 was the first time I competed at Aachen – it is amazing. Definitely one of the best shows I been at!



Favourite food

Favourite food, I love all food (unfortunately for my waistline!) I’m not fussy!


Favourite way to relax

In these difficult times going on a sun holiday would be amazing! Any holiday! Since that’s not possible and we are in lockdown, now it’s sitting down spending time with my family, watching a movie etc.

Favourite film

Again, not fussy! I don’t like scary horror films. Just going to the cinema would be lovely now….

If you enjoyed this interview with Heike, you might like to read more chatting with interviews here            

Sharon Howe

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Hi! I am Sharon Howe

Country & Equestrian Blogger

Hello My name is Sharon Howe and I am horse mad. This site is my place to scribble away my…


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