Johanna Due-Boje and the importance of having a
supportive team to achieve success
supportive team to achieve success
First of all – Congratulations to your World Cup debut! Can you describe how it feels to compete against the best riders in the world?
Thank you, it almost feels surreal! To compete against my biggest idols that I have had since I was a pony rider was incredible to experience. The gap between me and them is of course big but everyone is a novice at some point!
Hard work is one of the ingredients to success. What does a typical day in your life look like?
I am always at the barn at 8am to help with all the chores. From then, I’m in the saddle till 5pm, which is when I get a little break before it’s time to train my students. I give lessons until about 9pm and then it is onward home. The days I don’t coach my students I’ll go myself and train with my horses. On the weekends there are usually competitions, which means it is a lot going on even then. Good routines make it easy for me to focus on my most important task – the riding. All minutes spent in the saddle are holy moments for me since then I have to disconnect from everything else. Mazy is one horse I really have to be focused on when I ride – there is so much that’s important when I’m on.
How many horses do you have in your stable right now?
We have 13 horses currently. Half of them are mine and the other half are horses in training.
There are only two we do not work with – Corleone who is retired and a yearling. The rest of the horses are between 3 – 14 years old.
Another success factor is to be surrounded by a supportive team – Tell us about your team?
My parents have supported and helped me in every way, they are incredibly important in my team. Then Klara, who has worked for me for two years. She is responsible for the barn and also helps me with the riding – she’s a rock!
And then of course my boyfriend and my trainers. I also have a good collaboration with my veterinarian and my farrier, who I can always call and consult with if I need to.
“I’m bad at handling all the paperwork. Taking the time to invoice and see the statistics on my income, especially for the training I do.”
Which part of your everyday life would you like to be more efficient?
The barn and my routines flow nicely, but I am bad at taking care of all the paperwork. It would be to take time to bill and to look at the statistics over my revenues, mainly from the trainings I give.
You wear many hats; professional rider, trainer, influencer to name a few. Which hat do you like the most and why?
All hats give me a ton! I learn a lot from my students, and it is inspiring to help others. I am living my big dream as a competitive rider and I love to share my everyday life. I would have documented everything regardless of my success as an influencer. I love to be able to go back in my little archive and see where I was five years ago. Looking back motivates me to continue forward!
Before you created your own team, you were a part of Anky van Grunsven’s, when working for her in Holland. What did you learn about teambuilding when working for Anky?
It was very exciting and worthwhile to take part in the upload of an Olympic Game and to watch how the whole team synched in order for her to perform as good as possible. In Anky’s barn everyone helped with the chores in the mornings, riders or grooms didn’t matter – everyone helped until the barn was completed. Then, you got started with your own tasks. That type of set-up created a strong team-feeling that I brought with me home.
Any advice to riders with big dreams?
Take off to learn – witness good riding! Don’t be afraid to work hard, it will be tough, but you will gain so much in return. I look at my experiences from the last five years that I was at Anky’s as an education. The hours I spent in the saddle are of course important for your progress, but you need to have a little luck as well. For me, the entry was when one of the riders got sick and I got to ride instead. They liked how the horses felt after I rode and from then on it went.
What made you fall for the dressage discipline?
My mother has always been doing dressage so it became pretty natural that I would follow those footsteps. Also, my first pony was 21 years old with a ligament injury so jumping wasn’t an alternative. But I actually went to a high school that had a focus on showjumping, so there I chose to jump my young horses for a more versatile training. Jumping is fun but it is a little tiring caring in the jumps.
Which horse has meant the most to you throughout your career so far and why?
The horse that have made me the rider I am today is Brownie that I rode in the junior international team and int. 2. She was a hot mare that taught me humbleness and finishing touches. I have her to thank for my riding today!
I probably wouldn’t have gotten along with Mazy if I hadn’t had Brownie showing me the way.