Christine Dorenkamp “My work is far more complex than one would imagine”

Christine Dorenkamp has been working at Hetzel Horses GmbH, which is also one of the partner establishments of the new “Equestrian Stable Management” certificate program of the CHIO Aachen CAMPUS, since 2007. An interview with the 36-year-old about her everyday working life at the internationally acclaimed training center in Goch, Rhineland.

Christine Dorenkamp, you are employed at Hetzel Horses GmbH. What are your tasks?

I am often asked that question actually – and it is not at all easy to answer. As a rule, I start at 7:30 a.m., I always go to the office first and take a look at the agenda for the day. Which horses are competing on the coming weekend? Which horses have we just sold? Which are joining the yard as newcomers? Beyond this, spread across the year we organize many shows and a big auction. There is always plenty to organize in this connection too.

You have been working for this establishment for a very long time already. How did this come about?

I grew up with horses and have ridden since I was a child, very ambitiously for a while. After graduating from high school, I wasn’t initially sure what direction to take. Then, I decided to turn riding into my profession and started my apprenticeship as a professional rider here in Goch.

You no longer ride in the meantime, but work for the management instead…

…yes, that’s right. After successfully completing my apprenticeship, I first of all spent many years riding and giving lessons. During that time I travelled a lot, saw countries that I would perhaps never have been able to discover without my sport. That was great fun. Then, after injuring my foot badly in an accident, I wasn’t able to ride for a long time. During that period I initially took over the yard’s office work. So one could say, I more or less got into this area of work by accident. But I quickly noticed that it is also a field of work that fulfils me. To address the task properly, I completed vocational training as an administrative assistant.

Wasn’t it strange at first going into the office in the morning instead of into the yard?

Yes, it was unusual at the beginning to slip into a pair of jeans instead of jodhpurs (laughs). But the tasks I carry out here now are different to those in a typical office job, like one might imagine in a big company perhaps. I still work very closely with horses and am often in the stables. That is why I really, really like my job.

Hetzel Horses GmbH is a partner establishment of the new “Equestrian Stable Management” certificate program of the CHIO Aachen CAMPUS. Would a program like this have been interesting for you back then?

Yes, definitely. This program is geared up for the equestrian sport in all its facets. It really is fantastic that something with this objective is being offered now. The training course to become an administrative assistant is very general. So, I had to acquire all the knowledge I needed to know for my work here at the yard myself following the motto “learning by doing”.

Together with a colleague you have now been running the office of Hetzel Horses GmbH for several years. There is no doubt plenty to organize…

That’s right, my work is far more complex than one would imagine. But primarily it involves supporting the riders, first and foremost Holger and Laura Hetzel, who travel a lot, so that they can totally concentrate on competing. For example, we take care of the entries for the shows and make sure that the passports and documents are all correct. Of course, this requires a great deal of trust. As a team we all work very closely together and one thing takes priority for all of us: The well-being of the horses.

The equestrian sport is to some extent a world of its own. Do you think having a personal connection to horses is a prerequisite for the professional field you are now working in?

Yes, I would say so. One should have some sort of connection to horses. Our sport really is a complex business. The many peculiarities and subtleties that are just part of the day-to-day business for us, would in my opinion be difficult to understand for someone, who has not come into contact with the equestrian sport before. In order to be able to act correctly and thoroughly, one has to have an immense amount of background knowledge.

The focal themes of the “Equestrian Stable Management” certificate program of the CHIO Aachen CAMPUS are among others topics like stable management, training methods as well as finance and HR management…

…yes, that is super. The program really offers diverse insights into and tailor-made knowledge of all areas that are relevant for a sports yard. It is a fantastic opportunity for people who would like to work in an international competition yard.

You now have the chance to learn from the professionals! Holger Hetzel and his stable manager Christine Dorenkamp will tell you in our keynote speech what it takes to manage an international sports stable. You can participate free of charge via Zoom. The keynote speech will be held in German.

When: December 14 th at 6:30 pm (German time)

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