Maren Domke makes move to NZ

January 20, 2000

German instructor Maren Domke is one of the latest dressage coaches to make the move to New Zealand.

Maren Domke and the first foal of Amarduc, at Range View
Maren Domke with "Lucky", at only half an hour old. Lucky (ex RV Liebes) is the first foal of Amarduc, who stands at Range View.
Ms Domke is the new head trainer of Range View Equestrian Centre, based in Culverden, and arrived in October. From a past working mostly with hanoverian and thoroughbred-cross warmblood types, Ms Domke is enjoying working with Range View's trakehner horses, as well as outside horses and riders. "Last time I was here I enjoyed the horses - another reason to come back!" "The trakehners are good to train - they're intelligent and they want to work. I enjoy that."

A short biography

Maren Domke, aged 29, was born in Hamburg, Germany, and started riding at the age of eight.

As a youngster Maren could not afford her own horse, so rode for other owners in dressage, jumping and eventing. She trained with Hans Melzer, a German national coach for eventing, head trainer and manager of the Luhmuehlen Equestrian Centre where the European Championships '99 for eventing took place.

She was educated in the German system of classical riding and passed her German National Dressage Federation instructor's exam at the age of 18. Maren went on to train riders and young horses.

A small piece in a German magazine led to Ms Domke visiting New Zealand in 1997, during which she stayed for nine months with Ross and Wendy Beaven, managers of the Range View Trakehner Stud. Ms Domke rode several of the stud's young horses, one of which she took to the Winter Series at McLeans Island as a three-year-old. The combination won a second and a third placing, with 70 percent scores both times.

With an eye to the future during Maren's stay at Range View, a plan was hatched to develop an equestrian centre to train horses and riders with the main focus on dressage.

Ms Domke returned to Germany to work and train for Klaus-Martin Rath, a German national pro dressage rider champion. He then recommended Ms Domke to Dr Uwe Schulten-Baumer, who trains Isabel Werth. For 18 months she worked for Dr Schulten-Baumer and had the opportunity to work on his outstanding horses.

Now, three years on, Ms Domke has noticed an improvement in both the number of people taking to dressage, and the type of horse bred in New Zealand for the discipline. "I'd say compared to three years ago breeding here is quite developed.

"There's nothing wrong with the horses, it is more the riding that is struggling to get along. There are problems with the basic work," she says.

Maren and Amarduc
Maren and Amarduc
"It is important riders concentrate on the basic work - people are getting to the higher levels too fast and the groundwork just gets lost. They're going to the next step without being ready."

Ms Domke says the jumping scene appears to have the same problems with upgrading too fast and losing the ground work. "The flat work is lacking, and horses are not working over their backs, and not rounding enough.

"But, on the other hand," she says, "the whole scene is much more easy going than at home. In Germany everyone is much more stressed!"

For now, Ms Domke is concentrating on bringing up young horses who have been bred by the Beavens, but is also taking time out to train outside horses and riders. Ms Domke's instructing role also takes her to Christchurch a day each week.

And another bonus of working at Range View is the experience she is gaining with breeding. "I'd had little experience with the breeding side before. I'm learning a lot about horses - and it's nice to see the foals growing up and developing their own character."