Maren was born with a love for horses. Everything about them fascinated her, but growing up behind the Berlin Wall in West Germany made it difficult to follow her passion. Dogs became her go-to horses so to speak and she contented herself with visiting stables any chance she had. “My dad would even go to the trouble of getting through the former GDR (German Democratic Republic) to take me on road trips to the countryside just so I could see horses,” Maren remembers.
When she was 6, she started taking weekly riding lessons and progressed to riding three times a week as a teenager in exchange for doing barn chores. Taking care of other people’s horses in exchange for riding was a practice she continued throughout her adult years.
Although Maren dreamed of training horses for a living, it wasn’t feasible. Instead, she apprenticed with some of the world’s leading dog trainers and experts and established a successful career as a dog trainer. When she was able to get a horse of her own, she bought Wotan, a Shetland pony. “At that time, I’d taken a 10-year break from horses and my first son was 3 years old. I wanted to get a horse that he’d be able to ride,” Maren explains.
Wanting to train Wotan, Maren researched training methods and came across Downunder Horsemanship. “What I immediately liked about Clinton’s approach is he wants to share his knowledge and doesn’t hide anything. He’s easy to understand and everything falls into place if you follow his instructions,” Maren says.
After a year and a half of training Wotan, Maren had the little gelding doing the Fundamentals and Intermediate Series exercises and he could pull a cart. Ready to get back in the saddle herself, she purchased Beau, a Paint gelding. The more involved Maren got with learning the Method, the more she explored ways to better her skill set and get hands-on help. She eventually found like-minded horsemen in her country and they worked together to bring Professional Clinician Jeff Davis over to Germany for lessons and clinics.
As her skills progressed, Maren’s childhood dream of being a horse trainer returned and she’d imagine attending the Academy. “When it’d come up, I’d always come back to the fact that I’m in Germany with three young kids and have a lot of responsibility,” she says, “but at some point, if something keeps staying on your mind, you have to go after it.”
The dedicated horsewoman came up with a plan and turned her dream into a reality. “I absolutely love working with horses and being part of their progress, but I really enjoy helping people, showing them how to have safe, realistic partnerships with their horses,” Maren says. “Becoming an ambassador and being part of the Downunder Horsemanship team has been a long-term goal, and it’s fulfilling to be part of something you strongly believe in.”