Outdoor Season begins!!

We had a great start in the outdoor season this week in Havekost! Nordsturm and Claire were standouts, both of them winning a class…. Custom Made and U2 jumping great rounds and placing well… Thanks to the Maria and Alina for the great help and support!

Erin Characklis
Stand outs in Bad Segeberg

The show in Bad Segeberg on the 17.05. was great step in the development of all four youngsters that we travelled with there.  With beautiful sunny weather, we started with three five year olds in the 1.10 division.  Because of the large number of participants, the class was split into three sections in the end.  Custom Made won one section with an exceptional score of 9,2!   U2 won another section with a score of 8,7 :-)   And Nordsturm with a score of 8,6 -,2 for time faults was third place... The big class of the day was the 1.35m class for six year olds.  This was also a qualification for the German Championships and is always technical and includes a triple combination and an open water jump.  Claire jumped a solid clear round in what was her first 1.35m class and qualified herself for the championships including winning a 6th place...

Erin Characklis
First Clinic of the year in Osterby

Easter weekend, 30.-31.03.2018, we held the first clinic of the year in Osterby. The second day of the clinic built upon the exercises done on the first day. The first day focused on ground pole work, caveletti exercises and gymnastics lines that were a preparation for the second day of course jumping.

Due to the dry weather, we were able to jump outside on Saturday.  The riders were all very motivated, the horses as well, as they enjoyed the first feelings of Spring.  

This clinic included a section on theory that took place on Friday.  This was meant for all participants, and was a chance for me to give some insight into my own daily work with my horses. 

I look forward to the next clinic!


Erin Characklis
Erin Characklis

Germany (Adriana van Tilburg) It is a long way for a foal to become a Grand Prix jumping horse. The breeder makes the decision of the combination between the Sire and the Mare, after the foal is born the process starts from the breeder of hoping that the foal will end up in the right hands for having a career in sport. Erin Characklis (48) has built up a name for finding horses with quality and working on their education and that they grow out in Grand Prix jumping horses. For example, she discovered the mare Zeremonie (Cero I – Toulouse x Quick Star, Stamm 275, bred by: Hans Joachim Ahsbahs) as a five year old and sold it as a five year old to Laura Kraut. Erin believed in the potential of this mare and Zeremonie was declared this year as the best horse of the CHIO of Aachen. With having two clear rounds in the Nation Cup and becoming fourth during the Rolex Grand Prix. Erin is born in the U.S.A. but moved almost 30 years ago to Europe.

Why did you moved to Europe?

When I came on vacation to Europe. I came with my backpack and my mother and we wanted to do a tour through Europe. I went to the University in San Diego, California and I have been riding with Hap Hansen as a junior rider and we are still really good friends. I said to him that I was going to Europe for five or six weeks on a trip and that I would really like to visit a European stable. I knew he was buying horses in Europe but I didn’t know where and from who. So he gave me a number from a friend that he bought a lot of horses from and said: “I will call him and ask if it is all right if you can come by.” So what happened is that he gave me the number of Hans Horn, but at that time I had no idea who that was and Hap Hansen didn’t tell me who he was. I met him in Aachen and he gave me a pass for the show and I watched the sport the whole time. I was there for five days by myself and I didn’t know anybody. But I realized after the first day that there was a lot going on around Hans, so I was trying to inform myself through combinations and stuff because I had nobody to ask. Finally I found out that he was the Chef d’Equipe, this was in 1993 and then I realized the Dutch team was always around him during the Nations Cup. Then Hans said so me: “Meet me here Sunday after the Grand Prix at the VIP. You can drive home with me to Oud Ootmarsum and then I will organize a hotelroom for you there.” I thought ok, I will take a look at the stable for one or two days and then go home. My mother already went home because she didn’t wanted to go to horseshows with me.  So when I was waiting in the car, Jos Lansink got in the car. I knew who he was because I was watching the Grand Prix, so he gets in the car and so I met him in that moment. So I think why is he coming with us? But anyway I go in my hotel and the next morning I came in the stable and I realized Jos works for Hans. Wim and Gerco Schröder were working at the time for Hans as well. I asked the headgroom of Jos, Gea, if there was anything I could do in the morning to help, because I didn’t wanted to sit around. She lend me a bike to use for the time I was there. I came the next morning when they started like around six and I founded a pitchfork and I just started cleaning boxes and sweeping and pulling foals from the field and doing everything what they let me do. I did that for three days and finally Hans comes to me and ask: “Do you ride?” I said yes… So than he wanted to see me ride and I had to ride a few horses and then he offered me a job. To make a long story short after that I never went home again.

So how was it to work at de Wiemselbach?

Well I was basically the home groom of Jos Lansink. I was riding Easy Jumper (Eiger I – Amour x Absatz, bred by: Albert Knödgen) who jumped at 1.60m with Jos and Libero H (Landgraf I – Oktave x Ronald, Stamm 2830, bred by Martin Röpcke) quite often. At this time Lux Z (Lord Calando – Apocalypte Z x Ahorn Z, Stamm 2543, bred by: Maas J. Hell) was there as well, there were some amazing horses at the time. When Jos was at home I finishes some horses for him or I rode some young horses. Like they had a lot of young stallions there. At the Wiemselbach I had my first real exposure to breeding and bloodlines. I was to green at the time to understand the bloodlines, I had no basis at all. I am so excited about Libero H in the motherline, because he produced really good! Libero H was very much a stallion, you had to be careful with him. He was really a fighter in the ring. Riding him dressage was quite normal, he wasn’t dangerous but he was a real stallion. The stay at this stable of Hans Horn was where I learned the most. The whole world went in and out there every day. It was quite amazing. That was my first introduction to the European industry.

How did you ended up in Holstein?

After being after a year and a half a home rider I wanted to go back riding shows like I did at home in the US up to 1.40/1.50m. Hans understood this and helped me looking for a stable where I could do shows and in Geesteren at the show I met Meredith Michaels Beerbaum at the tribune where we became friends. She also heard that I was looking for a stable to compete and hooked me up with Sören von Rönne and through him I came to Holstein. In between I have worked a year at the stable of Paul Schockemöhle, when Meredith was already there with her horses.

How many horses have you produced that are jumping now at 1.60m?

About five I think. The latest one is Wunschkind (Casall – Damee J x Caletto I, Stamm 108A, bred by: Reimer Hedt). I got her pretty late, about when she was eight years old. I noticed her quality and I rode her for a year and a half. I knew she could do the higher level. I sold her to Eric van der Vleuten and he is giving his sportscareer a new boost with Wunschkind. In the beginning he wasn’t really convinced and said “so far she is good”, so I said wait a couple of months and then when he was in Cannes he wrote me twice “Amazing, your horse is amazing!!” So I thought ok we passed the ‘So far’ part. He had her only at this time for five months and I was absolutely convinced that she could do this. Because I like to take the time for the horses doesn’t mean she is not ready for the bigger stuff. It was also very validating when the horse did exactly what I was thought it was capable of doing, that doesn’t happen all the time. One of the most famous horses I sold was Bella Donna (Baldini II – Orlis I x Calido I, Stamm 7126, bred by: Peter Nagel-Tornau), who I sold to Meredith Michaels Beerbaum. Bella Donna competed at the Olympic Games of London in 2016 with Meredith Michaels Beerbaum. When I got her as a four year old she was barely broken in, she was really green. I am trying to buy three/four/five or six year old horses. To buy older horses like Clouwni (Colman – Odessa XVII x La Zarras, Stamm 776, bred by: Ernst Krüger) or Wunschkind is normally not possible because the price is too crazy. Clouwni jumped after I sold him with Marlon Modolo Zanotelli at the World Equestrian Games in Caen in 2014. Most of the horses I buy as a three or four year old are being sold before they become seven. I sold Carolina (Colman – Ronja XXXII x Ramirado, Stamm 159, bred by: Birgit Rohlfs) and Zermonie together to Laura Kraut. Carolina is now competing at 1.60m with Sheikh Ali Al Thani.

I like horses that are up 1.70cm. What is less than that makes me nervous. What is funny is that I have three horses in my stable and two of them are actually 1.68cm. Bella Donna was also around one 1.68cm but he looked big in everything. She was a very impressive mare. Wunschkind is about 1.76cm.

Are there bloodlines you favor?

I love Colman (Carthago – Rosenquarz x Lord, Stamm 223B, bred by: Klaus Meyn), two of the Colman horses I had are competing or have been competing at 1.60m Carolina and Clouwni. Colman brings a lot of scope, they can be slow sometimes, but I like a lot of the classicial Holsteiner bloodlines. They are really good in character and good to ride.

I like the Cassini I (Capitol I – Wisma x Caletto II, Stamm 3389, bred by: J. Hermann Clausen) blood or Corrado I (Cor de la Bryere – Soleil x Capitol I, Stamm 6879, bred by Eduard Struve) blood and even prefer to have that in the motherline. They can be heavy, so that is a thing to check on. For me is Quick Star (Galoubet A – Stella x Nithard AA, bred by Diane Empain) always interesting. There are quite a few Quick Stars around here. I always liked Chambertin (Cambridge – Desiree VII x Cor de la Bryere, Stamm 18A2, bred by: Hans Werner Trost) too. In the end it is for me always individual, if you are buying for reselling it is always individual. It is a feeling I have because I had good experience with it, but it stays an individual experience. I like it when a horse has a good paper, that makes me comfortable. When the horse has Corrado I or Colman in the pedigree I feel comfortable. It is like a security blanket, but at the moment I have two horses with a pedigree that I don’t know much about. 

I really like an intelligent face, with an expressive eye. There are a lot of things you can determine from a horse it’s face.

How important is the connection with a horse for you?

Horsemanship is kind of a concept that you have to find. You have to be a person that is looking for something deeper if you want to be a horseman. You should have a deep connection with the horse or a total respect for the animal, regardless of how much performance it shows. I don’t think horsemanship is a cultural thing it is an individual thing. It is similar how you threat people, by showing respect to everybody. Plus it is a respect for yourself too. It is getting clearer. There is a large group that is into horses for their image and I believe that there is still a very large section that are really interested in the animal and building a partnership and finding a way to work together with the animal weather it is a dog or a horse. That they are interested in working with us and we are interested in working with them. You don’t have to dominate them to have a beautiful partnership or for to win the Grand Prix. A lot of people will say however that that is for amateurs if you show empathy for the animals.

I feel privileged that I have met in the last few months people who are very concerned about the well being of their horses. They give their horses the best care and are thinking about the management of the horses in every aspect. The future of the horses we breed is secured as long we have people like Erin Characklis around for educating the horses in a time it is becoming more and more difficult for finding riders for the education of young horses.

Erin Characklis
Training Day in Osterby

The second Trainings day took place yesterday in Osterby. There were 20 participants in all and from varying levels and ages. There were walk and trot exercises, gymnastics including some single jumps as well. Especially interesting was a combination built with a kind of tunnel through the middle… Riders and horses were able to take tips and new ideas home with them. It was a wonderful day spent together with enthusiastic and motivated riders.

Erin Characklis
First training day in Osterby

On the 27th of January 2018 we started with the first of a series of training days and clinics in Osterby.  Due to the extraordinary weather conditions, and  the good footing, we were able to have the 5 groups of three riders each all training outside. The main focus in our first training day was integrating caveletti and jumping gymnastics into the daily work with the horses.

There was a broad range of participants from young riders as well as young horses to more experienced competitors.  The atmosphere was positively charged as everyone seemed to be encouraged and enthusiastic about furthering their development toward horse/rider harmony.  More often it is the small things that make the most difference.

It was a wonderful day spent with good people and I am looking forward to the next training day on the 18.02.2018 .



Erin Characklis
Julieta excelling in the International Sport!

Julieta, formerly Cansalla, (v.Canstakko x Casall) has been successfully competing in International Youngster Tours this year as a seven year old with the talented Spanish rider Paola Amilibia. She has achieved high placings in such prominent competitions as CSIO Gijon and CSI Valkenswaard among others.  We are so pleased to see her reaching her potential with this wonderful horsewoman and wish them all the best on their way into the top sport! 

2017-09-27 17.48.32.jpg
Erin Characklis
New addition to the stable, "U2" arrives!

"U2" is a four year old Holsteiner stallion v. Untouchable x Cassini I x Landgraf. We are excited to start working together with him and watching his development in the future! Welcome to the Jumping Horses Europe Team!!!

2017-08-29 14.23.23.jpg
Erin Characklis
Zeremonie Best Horse in Aachen

Laura Kraut and Zeremonie were part of the USA Nations Cup Team in Aachen that secured a second place finish! Zeremonie put in a double clear round to help the US Team to success.  On Sunday she jumped clear again in the first round and the second round!  In the jump off she had a unlucky rail at the last fence to finish up 4th in the prestigious  Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.  During the prize giving ceremony Laura was awarded Best performer of the Show and Zeremonie is the Best Horse of the Show!!! Amazing accomplishment!!!

Erin Characklis
Burlington Outstanding in the Six Year Old Final in Valkenswaard

Tops International Arena put on a super event this week with the "Global Future Champions".   The week started already great for Burlington and Gaj, with clear rounds and good placings in the two qualifiers on Monday and Tuesday.  The six years old final was very challenging, and Burlington put in another two amazing efforts to end up double clear and 2nd place out of a field of 39 starters.  Burly is a clear round machine!

Erin Characklis
Burlington makes it look easy in Isernhagen

Although Burly is just six years old, he seems to be managing the step up into the Youngster Tour very well.  Clear rounds in both 1.30m and 1.35m classes on the weekend in Isernhagen go to his credit... Gaj is doing a great job and they seem to have a lot of confidence in each other.... Nice partnership!

Erin Characklis
Wunschkind a standout in the Global Champions Tour in Cannes

Five clear rounds in the Global Champions Tour in Cannes could be credited to Eric van der Vleuten and Marta Ortega's Wunschkind.  On Thursday double clear and third place in first round of the Global Champions League Competition.  And to top off the week, three clear rounds and fifth place in the Grand Prix on Saturday night.  So proud to watch Wunschi developing so well into the top levels of the sport.  Eric's top horsemanship and incredible feeling for his horses seem to suit Wunschi very well.... :-)

Erin Characklis
Clinic in Stall Struck in Emkendorf

We had luck with perfect weather and excellent conditions in Stall Struck on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Quite a few familiar faces in addition to a number of new ones... It was a productive two days with a mixture of jumping gymnastics as well as course training.... The group was fun and enthusiastic which made them great to work together with. Thank you to the organizers Karen and Peter Struck and Kristin Berg for your help and support.

Erin Characklis
Joe Turner Visits from Montana

Joe Turner, of Rocky Mountain Horseman, came to Bovenau last weekend for a three day visit.  He was on his way to Poland to give some Horsemanship clinics.  The weekend was spent working together with some of my jumpers and discussing  horsemanship theories and how these concepts could ultimately be integrated in the classical jumper training program.  Joe showed us some ground breaking material  on horse psychology and the physiology of a horse's brain.  The various videos that Joe had with him of top Horseman working with problem horses was very thought provoking.  So grateful that he came by and took the time to spend with us....

Erin Characklis
Classica wins in Luhmühlen

Classica was in top form at the show in Luhmühlen on April 20.  In the morning she jumped a beautiful round in the 1.30m Welcome class for six year olds, winning the class with a score of 9.0.  Later the same day was the German Young Horse Championship Qualification, which was a long course of 12 obstacles including a triple combination and an open water jump.  Classica rose to the occasion by jumping a faultless round and topping her previous performance with a score of 9.2, and thereby winning the class.  We are very proud...

Erin Characklis
Jumping Clinic in Westensee

Clinic in Westensee With Jumping Rider/Trainer Erin Characklis

We had a very enthusiastic group on the weekend at the jumping clinic in Westensee.  The clinic was organized by the Holsteiner Young Breeders Club together with the Neunordsee Riding Club and taught by Show Jumping Rider/Trainer Erin Characklis.  We had riders from all levels participating, from Cavaletti work up to 1.30m.  Although the weather was a little bit sketchy, we never let it distract us.  The riders gave great feedback and made improvements each day.  Thank you to everyone that participated and also to those that helped with the organization!

Characklis is currently planning future jumping clinics.  If you are interested in attending or hosting a clinic, please contact Erin Characklis at erin.characklis@gmail.com or Contact Us.

Characklis instructing a rider.

Erin Characklis