NAME: Alena Starr
- How did your passion for dressage riding start?
Horses have been my favourite animal since I first met one the park when I was younger, but I grew up in Moscow in the middle of the city, so I didn’t have the chance to go to the stables very often. I had some summer forest walks when I was between 10 and 14 years old. During my last year in university I started taking some riding lessons and immediately I fell in love with the dressage sport. For me, dressage is something powerful, extremely beautiful and requires excellent technique and inner feeling.
- You have developed your dream stables over the past few years (they’re pretty incredible!) What made you take on such a bold project?
Haha, thank you!
It was very hard for me to live and train here when I first came to Germany without the support of the German language. So, my plan was to create a professional dressage stable (especially for foreign riders, where my team and I could manage the whole training and competition process) and where everything is perfect. Like a super combination of functionality, simpleness and style. Where the environment for the horses and people give the best possibilities to concentrate on the professional sport. I want to show people who deal with horses that the stables could be clean and beautiful and it’s very important for our daily life routine, especially when we are selling horses or having boxes for rent. Stables are a lot of work 24/7 and a lot of effort, but I have my amazing husband and my super team, so we can easily get through all setbacks or problems.
- Westphalian stables is now the home for the breeding, training and sales of dressage horses, could you take us through a typical day in the life for Alena Starr?
At 7 am I’m in the stable writing a day plan for the horses and my team and doing the basic things in the stables. From 7:30 – 8 am I start riding, usually I have 5 horses to ride or lunge, depends on my training plan. At the moment I ride extra an 2 horses from the Australian Olympic rider Mary Hanna, while she is in Tryon. So, around 12 pm I’m done and I have a short lunch break and then, I drive to Münster, where the stable of Helen Langehanenberg is. I have a lesson with my main horse Bryan with Helen and then I check how my 2 young horses are doing. Around 4 pm I’m back to my stable, I do some treatments, hand walking, put some horses in the paddock, check the mares, foals and youngsters in the fields, do some tack cleaning with my groom. Around 6 pm we ’re done in the stable and it’s time for dinner and to do some office work or projects and after, if I have some energy left I go jogging or to the gym.
- Do you have a secret to training particularly difficult horses?
I think the main thing in training difficult horses is that the rider should feel and know the right moment to release. It’s so important to let your horse understand that you want to keep everything simple and correct. And don't forget to show that you are one team.
- Could you tell us about your horses?
Oh, I have many horses.
Bryan, 12yo KWPN gelding. HE is my main competition horse at the moment, we competed up to CDI3* this year and I hope we can start Grand Prix at the end of the season.
Avantgarde WS, 6yo Westphalian gelding. I love his character and his team spirit, he is always focused and so perfect at the shows. I have competed national shows for 6 yo this year with some really nice marks.
Cala, 11yo KWPN mare, originally this grey princess belongs to my little brother who was a pretty talented jumper, but now he doesn't have so much time to ride. But even a jumping horse needs dressage training, so it's my turn. She is for sale and I hope she is going to find her dream owner very soon.
San Fierro, 6yo Westphalian gelding. The most special horse I’ve ever had, nice mover, but definitely not a team player, but I will never give up J
Fearless WS, 4yo Westphalian mare. One of the young horses what we’ve bought as a foal and she grew into a superstar, she is in training with Helen’s rider Sabrina and I’m excited about her future.
Everest WS, 3yo Westphalian gelding. My first self-breed foal and my biggest love and hope for the future. He has been under the saddle for only 1 month so I can't wait to start riding him!
Gotham WS, 3yo Westphalian gelding. He is the favorite horse of the whole team and everyone who comes to the stable. The best and easiest youngster to ride, I love him and I think my heart will be broken when he is sold.
And we have 6 broodmares and around 10 young horses. I’m very excited about Foals 2019, hope we are going to have something pure black. Or better all of them!
- Do you compete?
Yes, I do. Nationally in Germany and Internationally under the Russian flag. I only been riding 7 years, so I don't have a long list of successful results and shows yet. I compete up to Intermediate I and I hope I will start GP level this winter. I love to compete. For me, it is a point where you can show how good you and your horse can be.
- Do you have any hobbies outside of riding?
I love cooking! And I’m an architect, so I could call it my main hobby at the moment. I love to plan and design houses, offices, and stables as well, at the moment I’m working on a big project in Italy, it’s going to be 4 stables - 80 boxes, 2 indoor arenas, 4 outdoor arenas, vet clinic, spa hotel, and restaurant.
- What are your top 5 essential horse products (boots, saddle, tack, shampoos etc.)?
- AD Black Stone Wash Denim Breeches
- Roeckl riding gloves
- PS pf Sweden bridle
- Kask helmet
- Back on track Scandic PK Pads
- Do you have a favourite AD product?
Definitely the Black Stone Wash Denim Breeches!