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WoSJ Exclusive; Judith Gölkel - the Ehnings' multitasking horseowner

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

“We are really good friends! That is just as important as the horses and the shows,” Judith says about her relationship with the Ehnings. Photo by Hanne Christensen.Judith Gölkel must be every showjumper’s dream. She is the multitasking veterinarian who buys great horses. And as long as they are good enough she hardly ever sells them again. Judith has a great smile and it is refreshing talking to this German wonder-woman who almost turned American. Unfortunately for all other show jumpers out there, Judith is already taken by the Ehning family (Marcus and Johannes), and in our opinion it is not easy to find anyone like her. 

When talking to Judith you start wondering about her nationality as she sounds more American than German. The explanation is that Judith moved to the States in 1994,  and stayed there for twelve years. Her sister still lives there and runs their family farm in Millbrook, New York - The Winley Farm.

During her twelve years in the States Judith became a veterinarian and started working at a clinic. It was a hard life traveling out to clients, making life and death decisions on her own. “It was intimidating for a fresh graduate. You never knew what to expect,” Judith explains.  

Judith moved back to Germany in 2006 to work with the well known German vet Björn Nolting, but her relationship with the Ehnings started already in 2004 when she had an internship with Nolting. “At this point I still lived in America and thought I would never come back to Germany, “Judith smiles. “Working at Björn’s was different from the clinic in America.Johannes Ehning's top horse Salvador is one of many horses in Judith's ownership. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson. People often came to him, or at least you usually knew what to expect. When traveling around with Björn I met the Ehnings. We had a really good chemistry and that was it! The first horse I bought for Marcus was a mare called Casandra. It was a very nice horse, but she had a bad fall and now she’s used as a broodmare.”

“After Casandra there have been several other horses - too many to mention them all. The most well known ones are Sandro Boy, Sabrina and Salvador. Then we have Appearance and Cayenne - they look like they might be good competitors in the future. They are only nine years old and have done great as youngsters. Johannes has been competing them, but last summer Marcus had to “borrow” Appearance for the Global Champions Tour in Estoril as Sabrina got hurt. She did a good job there.


When owning all those great horses one should expect that you would like to ride some of them as well? “I used to ride and compete when I was younger, but I did mostly vaulting. Now I don’t ride much anymore - my work keeps me busy enough.” 

And then there is Princess Sabrina. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.“I enjoy the young horses,” Judith continues while telling about her passion for the horses. “I enjoy seeing them become something. So I usually buy them quite young. And unless they aren’t any good - I don’t sell them,” she says with a big smile. “When I worked as a vet I didn’t have the time to travel around to see my horses competing, so now I am the multitasking woman instead! When I started the cooperation with the Ehnings I also started out helping archiving their video films with horses. Marcus and Johannes had a room full of films,” Judith explains with her eyebrows raised to understate the crazy number of films we have to imagine in our heads. “Then I started helping them with their e-mails and after a while I took care of the entries to shows as well. Gradually I got more and more into it and now I do everything; e- mails, entries, scheduling, the website, I take care of clients, and if people call for interviews I deal with them.” 

So we have to ask: What is the key to such a good partnership? It seems like Judith is somewhat different from many other owners. “We are really good friends! That is just as important as the horses and the shows,” Judith states with her lovely smile.

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