Judge's Spotlight with Colleen Hoekstra-Knox
Here at Online Dressage International, we handpick our judges from across the globe and have over 20 judges on our books. Many of you will have already benefited from Colleen's forensic approach to dressage judging and constructive feedback. Time to meet the very talented Colleen and find out about her background, horses and philosophies.
Learning as at the heart of Colleen's passion for Dressage. Growing up, much of her education consisted of going to competitions with her parents and taking the judges' feedback on board. Because of where she lived in the USA, good Dressage instruction wasn't readily available, so she learned to take any training or feedback she got and build on it at home. Through varied personal experience, observation, research and reading, perseverance and support, she made progress and moved up the levels.
As the years went on, she began attending clinics with upper-level riders and international trainers, who always seemed happy to help those who really wanted to learn. This experience of successful people who were generous with their time and knowledge made a big impression on her. Those values are now the cornerstone of her teaching philosophy and sympathetic style. She loves to share her years of knowledge and experience to help others achieve their own goals for themselves and their horses. If you want to learn, she is always happy to help.
From young horses to Grand Prix, Colleen has trained several horses all the way up the levels, and has been riding FEI for over 20 years, giving her a comprehensive view of the entire process from start to finish. Because of this "in the trenches" understanding, as well as intensive study of biomechanics and equine behaviour, Colleen has a particular talent for being able to break complex concepts into smaller, easy-to-understand pieces to ensure her horses and her students have a genuine understanding of the basics and are able to problem-solve when schooling on their own.
Her teaching is classical in nature and follows the training scale, and yet her students are extremely successful in the competition ring. She has several students competing and winning at the regional and national level in both the UK and the USA. Dressage judging is a particular passion and, as a trainer, competitor and producer, she can bring her full range of expertise to the table. Online Dressage International are delighted to have her on board.