Tuesday, 06 November 2012 07:57

Scandia newcomer offering dressage lessons

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Pascalle Van Der Kraan poses with her two horses she had shipped over from Holland when she moved to Canada with her husband. On the left is Emore, a 12-year-old arabian/dutch cross and on the right is Arco, the nine-year-old Norwegian Fjord. Pascalle Van Der Kraan poses with her two horses she had shipped over from Holland when she moved to Canada with her husband. On the left is Emore, a 12-year-old arabian/dutch cross and on the right is Arco, the nine-year-old Norwegian Fjord. Photo contributed

New to Canada, accomplished rider Pascalle Van Der Kraan hopes to share some of her knowledge of dressage with others.


The Scandia resident offers lessons for individuals of all ages who want to learn more about the equestrian sport.
“I think you either have it or you don’t,” says Van Der Kraan about a love for horses. “For me, they make me more calm.”
The 26-year-old has been riding since the age of eight when she took private lessons. When she turned 18 she became more involved in dressage and started competing in the sport. Dressage is similar to English riding, but even more formal and has more levels of difficulty. According to the International Equestrian Federation, dressage is “the highest expression of horse training,” where “horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements.”
For example, the rider may be asked to increase the speed the horse is moving or ask it to move left to right. Response time of the horse is judged along with how smoothly and concisely the horse and rider respond together.
Van Der Kraan started offering dressage lessons in the spring. She is able to use an outdoor arena on a friend’s farm.
Born and raised in Holland, she and her husband Robin Wisse moved to Canada in May of 2011.
“My husband wanted to be a farmer,” says Van Der Kraan. He was offered a job on a potato farm near Scandia.
In 2010, he had come to Canada to work on the potato farm for three months. After enjoying the experience so much, the decision was made to apply for residency and move to the village of Scandia which is 40 km south of Brooks, so Wisse could pursue his dream.
Farming is not easy in Holland with so little land base unless a person is fortunate enough to inherit land.
Van Der Kraan is trained as a nurse, but due to paperwork issues can not work as one in Canada without re-doing four more years of schooling. Having just graduated before the move to Canada, she wasn’t looking to head back into a classroom. Instead, she now works as a part-time beekeeper with The Scandia Honey Company.
“I like it,” she says about the job that includes almost any task asked of her, including working with the bees.
“We hope one day to have a farm of our own,” adds Van Der Kraan.
Her dream is to have her own arena where she can teach others how to ride. For now, some friends are willing to let her use their outdoor arena for riding lessons. She can board horses for people interested and it’s not necessary to own a horse to take lessons from Van Der Kraan. Her two horses — A Norweigan Fjord and the other half Arabian, half Dutch — which she brought with her to Canada are available to ride.
She has five clients currently with the youngest at age nine and the oldest in her 50s. One wants to learn more about dressage while another has a greenbroke horse and Van Der Kraan is helping her gain more confidence as a rider.
She believes dressage is a growing sport and more people will become interested in it.
“If I can teach people what it is and help them, that’s what I want to do,” she adds. “All horses are different, but it’s amazing how they want to work with you.”
As for her impressions of Canada, and particularly the small community in which she resides, Van Der Kraan has no complaints.
“We really like the open space.
It gives us a feeling of freedom,” she says. “And we really like the people. They are friendly and willing to help. Everybody is so neighbourly.”

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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