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Pem with fernando
This week I’m excited to be chatting with eighteen year-old Dutch international dressage rider Pem Verbeek.  Pem has represented The Netherlands as a pony rider and also as a junior, culminating with a team silver medal at last years European Junior Championships. Pem is now stepping up to the Young Riders competitions where she will undoubtedly achive great things. Read on to discover more about this highly talented young lady, her horses, her ambitions, and her top tips for success.

Tell us about you and your horses

Pem with fernando
Pem with Fernando. Image courtesy of vggo
I am Pem Verbeek and am eighteen years old and I live in the Netherlands.   As a pony rider I started to ride internationally and achieved a spot in the Dutch squad. When I was sixteen years old, Fernando Torres and I started in the junior class. In our first years we were placed for the European championships.   Last season we closed our junior time with another European championship, and at both we won a silver team medal.


I currently have 2 horses of my own and will be getting another one soon:
Pem Verbeek riding her horse Escadeur
Pem riding Escadeur. Image courtesy of vggo
Fernando Torres (Former approved Oldenburg stallion now gelding / 16 years old / competed him in juniors) Escadeur ( Rheinisches Reitpferd / 8 years old / gelding / not competing yet, in training as future prospect)


How did horses come into your life?

My mother always had horses for fun, so when I was very little, I used to ride on a Shetland pony. At the age of six I rode at the pony club and got my first pony when I was nine  a 1.41cm mare.  I always rode for fun.


When and where do you ride?

Pem Verbeek riding Fernando
Pem riding Fernando at the traingscamp last summer just before the championships
I have my horses at home and have 4 stables and a 20x 40 arena. I ride when I don’t have school. Sometimes I have to cancel school, but I try to avoid that as much as possible.


What you and your horses currently working on?

I am currently not competing the horses because I’m training them to go nicely to a higher level. I turned eighteen this year and because of my age I am no longer allowed to ride in the junior class. I now have to go to the young riders.


What do you love about riding?

Pem and her pony Matcho d van prinsenhof's, at CDI Lier
Pem and her pony Matcho d van prinsenhof’s, at CDI Lier. ending a 2,3 and 5th place
The horse riding started with having fun with horses, so although I now have serious sport horses, I still try to make it fun for them. I love to keep improving and adjusting things in the riding but also in the stable to get everything better and better for the horses and the results.


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

I always want to do good in everything I do and don’t do things by half. I always try to be the best I can.


Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding? 

Yes, I have, for a very long time. I could not remember my test while I was riding. When that happened, I was prevented from finishing it. I became nervous every time and thought I would forget my test.  I can still be nervous about tests that I don’t often ride.


How do you deal with them?

Pem Verbeek at ec oliva nova 2021
Pem at ec oliva nova 2021
For a few years I have worked with a mindset coach and have learned from her. Now I know what to do I have less nerves.  But it is very important to me to never give up. I had some really bad, and sad moments in my test, but I kept going to competitions. I thought everyone can do it, so I can do this too. Now I’m in control I know for myself that I’m on my best when I have just the right number of nerves and pressure.   When I am not that nervous or don’t feel enough pressure, I can be not as good as when I am fully focussed.


Your Top Tip

When you have your test in your head, you have already half won.



Down The Centre Line


Who would be your dream horse to ride?

I don’t know, truly I am very happy with the horses I work with every day. To have my own great horses is more worthy for me then riding someone’s top horse once because you don’t have yet have the connection.

Who is your equestrian hero?

I don’t know, I find it inspiring when people can do top level sport and still have fun with their horses. That is always my number one goal. I think Carl Hedin is a good example of this.

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

My friends, I love to do nice things with them when I can find the time.

Favourite colour horse?

I would say black but at this moment although I don’t have any black horses in my stable, I do have two chestnuts so maybe I am secretly fan of the chestnuts.  


Favourite horse event

To ride: CDI Lier/CDI Aachen and of course any European championships. To watch: Jumping Amsterdam or Indoor Brabant.


Favourite food

I can enjoy a good piece of meat very much but I also love sushi.

Favourite way to relax

Being with friends or just watching Netflix on the couch.


Favourite film

I don’t know. I’m not really a “favourites” type of person I think, hahaha.

Want More?

If you enjoyed meeting Pem you might like to view more dressage rider chatting with interviews here    You can keep up with Pem’s progress and check out her instagram page here    

Sharon Howe

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Hi! I am Sharon Howe

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