Esther de Graaf was born on November 17th, 1982 in Naarden the Netherlands. When she was five years old her parents divorced and her mother took her and her two older sisters to America, while her brother and father stayed in Holland. When she was 9 years old Esther fell in love with horses. She started taking lessons at a local barn in Airmont, New York called Outfoxed Farm. There she took English lessons from Carol Seamen. This included jumping as well as dressage. Later, when she was 13, she switched totally to dressage.
Over the years she took lessons from various trainers including Heidi Erikson, Ashley Holzer, Lisa Schmidt, and Suzanne van Cuyk. It was through the Dutch Suzanne van Cuyk in Pennsylvania that she found her horse Karitas. Her plan was to compete him and train for the Young Riders. Unfortunately, within 2 years he developed navicular and had to be put down after various attempts to save him with operation. After this, Esther decided to focus on her studies. She enrolled in Fordham University in New York City. Here, she went on to receive her Bachelors in her double major Political Science and Communications. She did various internships including Fox News, Abc 7 Eyewitness News, as well as Long Island News. After achieving her bachelors degree Esther applied to receive her masters and got accepted to the masters program at Fordham University for Political Science. However, after much thought, she realized that her passion was dressage and she decided after graduating that she wanted to give her longtime dream a go...reaching the highest level of dressage, Grand Prix and making something of herself in the dressage world.
After her graduation in 2007, she moved to Holland close to her family in Loosdrecht the Netherlands. After years of training and moving up the levels Esther decided to make a career out of her passion and in January of 2013 set up her own company, Esther de Graaf Dressage.
At Esther de Graaf Dressage, Esther trains, competes, and sells talented horses to all parts of the world. Moreover, Esther is a certified KNHS level 4 trainer and has an International Equestrian Trainer's Passport which allows her to train horse/rider combinations nationally as well as internationally. Last but not least, Esther is involved in breeding dressage horses as well! One of her homebred talented colts (Jumeaux, Deniro x Vivaldi x Contango) even sold to a Spanish Olympic rider, Jordi Domingo who will try to qualify for the World Championships for young horses in Ermelo this year. Esther trained the mother of Jumeaux, Evique (Vivaldi x Contango x Hattrick) to PSG level and was about to compete her at that level, yet unfortunately she became ill and had to be put down. Nevertheless, she was able to create an embryo out of her with Helgstrand’s stallion, Revolution (Rocky Lee x Rouletto) using icsi! She plans on using the embryo in 2020. Moreover, this year she awaits two foals out of her elite mare Jarieta (Everdale x Jazz x Goodtimes) and the stallion All at Once (Ampere x Gribaldi).
Since 2013 Esther has trained by renowned trainers Alex & Diederik van Silfhout as well as Tommie Visser, Yessin Rahmouni and Coby van Baalen.
Currently however, Esther is in training with Joyce Heutink with her Grand Prix horse and Emmelie Scholtens with her younger horses. Esther compete at Grand Prix with her horse Tenson. This past March she qualified for the Horsefood Finals with her 5 year old talented Apache x Johnson gelding, whom she’ll compete at the Pavo and Subli this year. Moreover, Esther has become part owner of the AES approved 3 year old stallion Leandro (Henkie x Rockefeller) with which she’ll be competing at young horse and stallion shows.
Esther has also recently started her Sport Horse Manager degree. She was 1 of the 20 top riders who was selected to participate in this degree. With the Sport Horse Manager degree top athletes and equine professionals combine their knowledge to keep top level horses fit and able to perform and fulfill their maximum potential. https://sporthorsemanager.com/