My name is Kirsten Crafford, I am a South African Event rider, I currently produce horses for Eventing, Dressage and Show Jumping. My passion for schooling mainly involves OTTBs (Off The Track Thoroughbreds) as I have a love for their energy, heart and determination. These amazing horses deserve a second chance in life as they are usually discarded after racing. I have been doing this for the past 6 years.
I currently have 2 jobs, I am a free lance software developer in the mornings, and I school horses in the afternoons. Software development is NOT my passion in life but it supports me financially and I am lucky to have quite a few projects that I am involved in.
My second job is my passion, schooling and producing horses. My aim in life is to become a professional rider and horse trainer. My aim is to produce horses for all 3 discipline, Eventing, Show Jumping and Dressage.
My aim is to migrate to either Europe, Australia or the United States where I can truly pursue my passion in the Equestrian field. I am fortunate to live with my parents on our small farm where my horses are kept at home, but with the uncertainty of land re-distribution without compensation in South Africa I will have to search for opportunities to advance my career outside of my country of birth.
I am South African born and currently reside in South Africa. Ever since I can remember I had nagged and nagged my parents for a horse, then one day when I arrived home from school, much to my surprise, there was a horse waiting for me in a newly built paddock. My first of many! I also think this was last time my parents had in spare money!
I have been riding from a very young age and I have achieved and accomplished many breakthroughs and success with horses during this time. My first horse was a bay Thoroughbred gelding named Down River who only stood at 15.1HH and man did I think this horse was a giant. A short time later discovering that he was not the right horse for me we sold him and bought what I would like to call "the devil". We bought a 13.1HH Boerperd mare whose hobbies included kicking and bitting anyone in the vicinity, and could that little pony buck. We eventually sold her and bought a larger pony. A 14.2HH Boerperd mare who was a hyper active jack in the box 'Jump Off Specialist' pony that was lovely and taught me all the basics when it came to my riding. It was with Spice Girl that I discovered my love for Eventing, starting off with Arena Eventing. Not long after that and a few horses later I found myself riding a lovely 13 year old grey Thoroughbred gelding who absolutely stole my heart. His name was Valiant Bois (sadly not with us anymore as he passed away at our home due to cancer). At this point in time I had started riding and training at Winstead Stables, a stable yard in Springs, Gauteng. The stable yard is owned and run by Graham Winn, a 15 times South African Eventing champion, who also represented South Africa at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. When I started riding at Winstead I personally received riding instruction's from Graham Winn.
Valiant gave me the confidence to start my Eventing career and helped teach me how to actually work with a horse more effectively and how to become one with the horse, this was when I was 13 years old (quite funny having a horse the same age as you). Valiant was not the healthiest of horses as he had damaged both his front tendons a few years prior to joining us and being a windsucker, Valiant was more a rehabilitation horse to start off with but ended up being a fantastic champion winning many Eventing, Dressage and Show Jumping shows. I managed to earn quite a lot of prize money for my piggy bank.
After Valiant I started riding many young horses, most of which were OTTBs and two were Warmbloods. Please have a look at some of my project horses under Current Projects and Completed Project. These horses are and were the most important horses that I got to work with and these horses have progressed further with their new owners and having become successful Dressage horses, Eventing Horses and Show Jumping Horses.