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Elevate: Meet Aurélie van der Voort

27th Jul 2021

Welcome to Elevate, our spotlight series to honor, lift up, and highlight riders just like you from all disciplines and walks of life. If you’re like us, supporting and growing our equestrian community is an important mission, and a mission we are proud to hold at the heart of Sterling Essentials.

This month, we’d love you to connect with Aurélie van der Voort, a Belgian dressage rider with a passion for learning and travel - in addition to her horses, of course! :)


SE: Tell us all about the wonderful horses in your life at the moment.

AV: At this moment I have 4 horses in my life. :)

I still have one of my ponies, Capirossi. He is living his life on the field because he has an injury. A year ago I bought in co-ownership with friends two dressage pony foals. Their names are Baristo and Cookie.

Besides them I have my wonderful horse Domingo. Domingo is a 13 years old gelding and is always willing and happy. Since a few months we are riding at Grand Prix U25 level.

Name: Don Domingo (Webster x Jestset-D)
Nickname: Domi
Breed: KWPN
Color: Chestnut
Height: 1.76 meters
Level: Grand Prix U25
Breeder: KAR Zuiderveen Idema
Owner: Aurélie van der Voort 

SE: You have quite the collection! What are their personalities?

AV: Domingo’s personality is what makes him so wonderful. He is funny bright and intelligent and always happy. My pony, Capirossi, is the special one, sometimes happy and sometimes really angry. :) The foals are like real foals - happy and always playing around. 

SE: What are their favorite treats?

AV: For sure watermelon and bananas are Domingo’s favorite treats. My pony just eats everything and for the foals I just need to find out what their favorites are. 

SE: Bananas, I love that! My last horse, Rabs, loved bananas, too. LOL! So tell us a bit more about where you are from and where you ride?

AV: I’m a Belgian [university] student and a dressage rider. I was born in 1998. I live in the suburbs of Antwerp together with my parents and my 2 loyal and lovely cats, Donald and Diesel. I love traveling and of course, dressage. Domingo is located at ‘stable Fiechter’, the place where we bought him 8 years ago.  


SE: What is it you love about riding dressage?

AV: I just love the feeling the horse can gave you when you ride difficult exercises like piaffe and passage.

SE: I can only imagine how lovely that feels! When did you start riding and how did you get started?

AV: My love for horses already hit me at the age of 5 and to date, it’s still my greatest passion! The real competing began at the age of 8 with my very first pony, Olala. 

SE: What is your favorite childhood memory with horses and riding?

AV: I think it’s impossible to choose one. I love being at the stable every day and every minute, and I am so blessed with all the horses around me.

SE: What are you currently working on in your riding and training now? Any special skills or challenges?

AV: Domingo and I are training a lot to get the grand prix exercises perfectly under control.

SE: Tell us about your time at university. What are you studying and when will you graduate? What are your plans after graduating? How easy has it been to keep horses in your life along with your studies?

AV: I studied Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Leuven and did a Master in World Religions. I just graduated, but I think I will study for one more year and try do do an additional master.

SE: Congratulations on your graduation!! You mentioned you in addition to school, you love to travel, too. How did you become interested in traveling? What is one of your most memorable trips? Did you ever get to ride horses in the new places you traveled to?

AV: Yes, I love to travel! My parents and I traveled a lot and visited some stables in the Middle East like ‘Al Shaqab’.  It was a really cool experience to see the amazing accommodation there.


SE: What are you dreams for the future with all of your passions?

AV: I don’t have a specific dream. Of course like every rider, riding the Olympic Games - but I think it is important to stay realistic and know there is a long way to go. I will just see how far I can come. :)

SE: What are three equestrian events you would just love to attend and why?

AV: For sure the international dressage competition in Al Shaqab, Qatar. Besides that one I just like all the international competitions. It’s like vacation for me… riding, having fun, shopping and cuddling with my lovely Domingo.

SE: What is one bucket list experience you would love to have with Domingo?

AV: Oh, I would love to ride the international competition in Qatar with Domingo.

SE: What is your favorite Sterling Essentials fragrance?

AV: Don’t know yet, just need to find out when the package arrives. :) [Stay tuned!]

I loved connecting with Aurélie to hear about her studies and her goals with Domingo. Did you know about Al Shaqab in Qatar? If you’re like me, you look forward to cheering Aurélie on and seeing her compete there one day soon! Be sure to connect with Abi and follow her adventures with Domingo and her gang of ponies by giving her a follow on Instagram at @aurelie_vandervoort.