... On a more personal note.
 

 

My love for horses started early. By the age of seven, I was spending all my time at the local stable. After much begging and pleading, my parents finally relented and signed me up for riding school.

Directly out of high school I was offered my first job - with Team Eriksson! With 120 trot horses in training I gained valuable experience with all types of horses. I learned how to start young trotting horses for the sulky and training them for races. This position was followed up by attending two years of Horse College in Skara, Sweden (1988-1990). The program included coursework in horse shoeing, horse science, nutrition and studies on breeds and bloodlines. Hands-on work included the duties of a typical veterinary technician (drawing blood, assisting with surgeries, after care and so on). During this time I spent 10 weeks training with Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (team member of the Swedish Jumping team) as well as another 10 weeks at a multi-discipline facility where I trained in eventing, dressage and four-in-hand carriage driving.

Upon graduation from The Horse College, I was accepted at The Stable Manager School at Flyinge National Stud (1990-1992). The courses were rigorous in-depth studies of what I had been learning so far with an added emphasis on the theory and practices of a stud operation. At the Stable Manager School all disciplines of riding were pursued and cultivated. My dressage training was completed under Bo Jenå, for eventing I worked with Olympic medalist, Jan Jönsson and for show jumping I trained under veteran of the Swedish team ,Peter Eriksson. I not only had the opportunity to ride for Kyra Kyrklund on a monthly basis while she was the head dressage trainer at Flyinge, but also to work with her trainer, Richard White, as well.

The Hallmark Thoroughbred Stud in New Zealand hired me upon graduation. They stood four stallions and had sixty mares in foal, plus a couple of horses that had trouble at the starting gates. I worked the horses at the gates and assisted with about 45 births, a truly wonderful experience. I went on to work for Gaye Withers, a top FEI trainer and rider, and the biggest breeder of Hanoverians in New Zealand. I was responsible for starting her young stock and competing her horses through Prix St. George. In New Zealand, I later met dressage trainer Kalman de Jurenak. Through his connections, I was given the tremendous opportunity to work as the first ever Swedish auction rider at the Hanoverian Society in Verden, Germany. I rode 7-10 horses a day under the constant supervision of top trainers. I was able to ride in different auctions and enjoyed this position for almost three years. The Equestrian Facility at Chalk Hill Winery hired me as their personal dressage trainer and stable manager in 1997. I worked for Mrs. Furth for six years and during that time had numerous opportunities to train with Steffen Peters and Debbie McDonald. Also during this time I started a long time working relationship with horseman David Hillman who worked with Tom Dorrance for decades. He opened up my eyes in a totally different way to incorporate his cowboy skill to my dressage world and to this day I still draw upon that experience.

In 2003, I decided to return to my homeland, Sweden, to be with my family and to start my own business as a trainer. During the coming two years I started over 30 horses, in both dressage and jumping, while teaching approximately 40 students a week. I prepared young stallions for stallion test and competed owners’ horses. Although I adored my clients, two & four legged, I was frozen solid .... I needed to get back to California! So in 2005, I went back to the USA.

I returned to Napa, California in March of 2006 to work as a dressage trainer for Toyon Farm Dressage Stable. I was there for a year when I was offered my old job back as a dressage trainer at Chalk Hill Winery. I accepted it in April of 2007 and stayed there a few more years. Then, in 2011, I was offered the position as the dressage trainer for Santa Rosa Equestrian Center.

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Currently erika is accepting new clients and is scheduling cavaletti clinics on location