About me

Lillian Grapne sitter på hesten

My name is Lillian Grepne, I was born and grew up in Bergen, Norway. I started riding at the local riding club. In 1986 I took my ” Bereiter Prüfung” at the German riding school in Warendorf. In 1991 I took my Master degree at the same establishment. I have competed up to Grand Prix level in dressage and jumping up to 1.30 meter classes. I have also compethed with good results in the young horse championships in Belgium and Norway. In 1990 I passed my exams to be able to train pupils with disabilities. In 2002 and 2003 I was the coach for the Norwegian Team of Ponies, junior and young riders in dressage. From 2003 I have been a regular member of the board that are responsible for all the training and education of our trainers in Norway. In 2013 I passed my exams to become a trainer embracing the philosophies of Eckart Meyners. In 2014 I was voted in to be member of the board in the club Xenophone, that try to keep the classical riding up to date.   My riding career started at the local riding club when I was 13 years old. My mother coming from the Divine Family in Irland and my father from Belgium both thought riding would be a good hobby for me – and right they were! After finishing my school education at 18 I left for Germany to learn more about horses and riding.

My first job was with the legendary Hans Günter Winkler – most winning showjumper of all time. He had a very nice way of handling his horses, was very accurate and his love for horses was genuine. I think this has influenced me for life.

Bilde av Lillian, Franke Sloothaak og Pia Hamren Aragao.
From the left Lillian, Franke Sloothaak og Pia Hamren Aragao at the Global Dressage Forum 2016.

During the next 12 years I worked and rode the horses of Franke Sloothaak, Hans Quellen, Detlev Bruggemann, Paul and Alwin Schockemöhle. The education of the horses in both Schockemöhles yards was very well planned and the daily work went smoothly. Bruggemann and myself both got trained by Lutz Merkel who came on regular basis to our yard. He was very concerned about how to use your aids in a nice way to communicate with your horse. Franke Sloothaak was always quiet in his work with the horses and a very good teatcher for both horse and rider. I rode young horses and competed up to 1.30 meter classes. It was a fun time in my life that I would not have wanted to miss out on. The feeling of riding a nice course is something that can not be messured by other things in life. Whilst I was working with showjumpers I took my ” Reitwart Prüfung” in the Westfäliche Reit und Fahrschule in Munster. The legendary Paul Stecken was our teacher. The way he adressed himself to us and the horses made a big impression on me. He was a real horseman and he trained Ingrid Klimke and her father until he died in 2016 a 100 years old..

”The way you express yourself in words will influence a lot the way you handle these fantastic animals”. – Paul Stecken

After a visit to the big intenational show in Stuttgart in 1985 where I saw the historical Pas de deux with gold and silver medallist Anne Grete Jensen and Reiner Klimke I made up my mind that I wanted to learn more about dressage. In 1986 I took my Bereiterprüfung at the German Riding School in Warendorf. The next 4 years I spent being a professional rider in the stables of the Danish rider Palle Thomsen situated in Germany. He was a very good rider and had good horses in for trainig. In 1991 I passed my Master degree at the German riding school in Warendorf and the title became.” Pferdewirtschaftmeisterin” I was often in the stables of Gabriela Grillo, as I at times helped her out riding. At the time Nicole Uphoff trained her horse Rembrandt with Harry Boldt to win the gold medal at the Olympic in Barcelona. The US team trained in the same barn so there was a lot going on at top level. During one of my holidays in 1990 I took part in a 14 day course at the Dilleburg Stud organised by the German federation. It was learning about riders with disabilities. I took a finishing exam and obtained my licence for teaching Para riders. In the following year I rode together with Heiner Schiergen in his parents stable. We educated young horses and had customers come in for lessons. At the time Heiner was a pupil of Dr. Schulten Baumann for 3 years, the man who helped Nicole Uphoff and Isabell Werth to their big victories. Today Heiner is one of the most successful trainers in Germany. In 1993 I became acquanted with Decia de Pauw from Belgium. She offered me a job at her estate close to Bruxelles. For 4 years I educated and competed her horses up to Intermediat I level. ”Ralph Lauren” I rode for 3 years and finished in 2nd place at the Belgium Championships. He later became de Pauws best Intenational Grand prix horse ever. Arthur Kottas – Heldenberg from the Spanisch riding school in Vienna, Patrik Lorelain from the Cadre Noir and Christilot Boylen were our trainers. I learnt a lot from all of them and I am very grateful to Decia de Pauw that she gave me such a great opportunity.

Lillian training Biraldo, one of Decia de Pauw’s horses.

After this I was very lucky to get a 6 months arrangement with the Waaler family in Norway. I borrowed their horse Star Edison and got the opportunity to compete at Grand Prix level at national shows in Germany as well as small international shows. In 1998 I rode for a year with Martina Hannöver – Sternberg. She took her Master degree at the same time as me and was in training with the legendary Herbert Rehbein for 10 years. She was the rider that brought the famous stallion Rubinstein into international Grand Prix sport. We had 16 stallion in training and had to be focused all the time to keep the boys in line. In 2002 I took over from Andras Helgestrand as team trainer for the Norwegian teams – ponies, junior and young riders. I took the teams to two Nordic Championshios and individual riders to two European Championships.

Anne Cecilie Ore og Lillian på premieutdeling
Anne Cecilie Ore and Lillian.

From 2001 until the Paralympics in London 2012 I trained Anne Cecilie Ore from the Norwegian Parateam with many different horses. The work with her and the horses gave me a lot of understanding how fantastic horses are if you treat them well. Anne Cecilie is blind and I had to learn how to explain riding feelings to a person who couldnt copy anything by looking at it. For the past 14 years I have been on the board of education of our trainers at the Norwegian Federation. I represent the education of dressage.

Lillian får utdelt diplom
Lillian passed the exams at the German riding school in Warendorf to become a Eckart Meyners trainer.

In June 2013 I took my exams at the German riding school in Warendorf to become a Eckart Meyners trainer. This has a lot to do with how to become a better sitting rider in training the horses.

At the end of 2016 I took over the training of the mounted Police in the Capitol of Norway, Oslo. This was interesting for me and I admire the courage both horse and rider have to deal with in tricky situations.

I travel quite a lot teaching students all over Norway and at times I go to see my students in Germany.

In Autumn 2020, Karin and myself bought a small farm in Grenaa, Denmark. This is where her family comes from. We are now busy getting everything ready to have horses living here with us.

For the past 7 months I have been working in the mornings for Daniel Bachmann – Andersen and his wife Tiril. It is very refreshing to ride together with a young, talented upcoming man like Daniel. He has the best of horses and has the great ability to see what training each horse needs. He is a nerd like myself and animal welfare is very important for us both.

This terrible pandemic has made me learn more about online teaching. I must admit that I didn’t think much of it in the beginning, but now I have seen that it really helps my students to get more consistent training and become better.

I am still learning every day, and I have a lot of fun whilst I am learning.