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The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping Culture








Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Publisher Founding: December 1, 2014

Web Domain: 

Location: Fort Langley, Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Journal: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Journal Founding: August 2, 2012

Frequency: Three (3) Times Per Year

Review Status: Non-Peer-Reviewed

Access: Electronic/Digital & Open Access

Fees: None (Free)

Volume Numbering: 11

Issue Numbering: 1

Section: E

Theme Type: Idea

Theme Premise: “Outliers and Outsiders”

Theme Part: 26

Formal Sub-Theme: “The Greenhorn Chronicles”

Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2022

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2023

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Interviewer(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Interviewee(s): Kimberley Martens

Word Count: 3,167

Image Credits: Kimberley Martens

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN): 2369-6885

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citations, after the interview.*

*Interview conducted December 9, 2022.*


Kimberley Martens was born in St. Albert on February 28, 1989. Her Dutch parents moved back to Holland when she was 8/9 months old. They lived in Canada for 5 years. They were going to stay, but her grandfather became very ill. She began riding at the age of five on a cousin’s pony. At 7, she got approval to enter a riding school. At age 9, she acquired her first pony. She started full-time at the age of 16. She went to David Hopper in America at the age of 18 for 1 year. She went back to Holland and trained un Peter Geerink. At 27, she started her own stable. Now, she is based on the South of Holland with her husband, who is her trainer. Martens discusses: getting involved in horses’ influential people; accessibility of the sport; gender neutrality in the sport; financial backers as an issue; barriers for some; the skill of the rider and of the horse; girls and young women, and boys and young men in the sport; Kinmar Quality Hero; the Longines Global Champion Tour; the term ‘scope”; the * system; the best horses; the differentiating factors in competitions; great riders; social media; and the direction of the sport. 

Keywords: Belgium, Canadian, Christian Ahlmann, Dutch, Eric Lamaze, Europe, George Morris, Hickstead, Holland, Ian Millar, Kimberley Martens, Kinmar Quality, Longines Global Champions Tour, Mac Cone, Marcus Ehning, Nations Cup, Netherlands, Peter Geerink, Spruce Meadows, The Greenhorn Chronicles.

The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping Culture

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, this is Kimberley Martens. My first question for most equestrians who are on the international scene or who have made a bit of an impact on the international scene. What are some of the earlier moments for discovering an interest in horses or showing an inclination in getting involved in riding horses as you were younger?

Kimberley Martens: My cousin had a small barn. I went to go and visit her, often. That’s the only place I wanted to be at, since I was little girl. It was horses, just horses. I always wanted to make a living out of it. My parents thought it was a good idea. They are not horse people. They had no idea what it was, but, now, they are very supportive. They enjoy coming to the shows, watching me ride.

Jacobsen: How did you develop your skill set over time? Were there influential mentors or trainers, or was it a natural development over time?

Martens: I think I am naturally an easygoing rider. It is quite easy for me. I trained with a very famous Dutch rider, Peter Geerink. I worked for him. I’d say I really developed well there. Now, my husband is training me. He is making me a more consistent rider. He is really teaching me how I should ride and why I should ride my best. He’s fine-tuning me [Laughing].

Jacobsen: One thing I have noticed, at least, within the discipline of show jumping. Show jumping, itself, is truly a gender neutral sport. In the sense that, men or women, if they have the skill set, and if they have a good horse, they can perform very well internationally.

Martens: Absolutely.

Jacobsen: It is one of those things that has a wider range of accessibility for age groups as well. People like Ian Millar is riding into his 70s before retirement and going to the Olympics in that time as well. If we are taking a perspective of a career focus around show jumping itself, what tends to be the longevity of show jumpers themselves?

Martens: For the sport itself, it’s nice that the riders can stay in the sport for a very long time. It makes it difficult for the younger riders to step up and to do the higher level if that is what you mean. It is nice that the talented riders can do this job for a very long time.

Jacobsen: Even with the equal accessibility for men and women, and the longevity of riders to gain access in their teens and 20s, even up to retirement age and beyond, a cost of a really good horse (a 1.60m horse) can be prohibitive for most. They have to syndicate a horse. They have to get a backer for a horse who has a lot of capital. How do you see that barrier being overcome in many cases? How do you see it, in other cases, being insurmountable for others?

Martens: It is a difficult sport, I feel. You need someone who really supports you to keep the horse for you, in order to do the higher level. If you don’t have that, and if you are really, really talented, then you don’t have a chance to break through. I find that hard. We have a dealing stable. Now, I have one horse that I think can jump any class in the world. We are trying not to sell him for now [Laughing].

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Martens: It is difficult. We have younger ones. We sell. We buy some. If someone comes by and offers a lot of money, we can’t always say, “No”. I have one very, very good horse, which could do Spruce or whatever. When we sell that one, I will be mostly back to riding young horses. I might never ride a big class again if I never find another horse. I think some talented riders aren’t out there anymore because they don’t have someone who can support them and can keep the horse. For younger riders, it is difficult to find people who will support you. Because most of the time, if they have been in the horse world already, they have another rider or an older rider. I think there are only a few chances for the younger riders to get out there.

Jacobsen: In other words, in a sense, the financial backers are the people who come from people with money or those are the people who have developed a lot of capital over time in their own profession. They have an interest in show jumping and show jumpers, but they are already with people who they trust, respect, know they have a talent, and have worked with their horses. So, it sort of bars some people from getting entrance.

Martens: Yes.

Jacobsen: At the higher end of the show jumping world, is it more of a difference between the skill of the rider or the innate talent of the horse?

Martens: I think you need both. If you really want to do the highest level, you need both. The best rider in the world if he doesn’t have a horse that’s very talented. He can also not win classes. Maybe, once or twice. To stay at that level, you need a talented horse for sure and a talented rider. Even if the rider is not that talented and if they have an extremely good horse, for sure, they can go a long way. At the end of the day, the classes are so difficult, technical, and the time is so short. You need feeling and a bit of talent [Laughing], I think.

Jacobsen: Now, you’re in your early 30s. Yet, you’ve been riding for a while. How has the sport changed over time, in your time?

Martens: At the beginning, there were not so many international shows. Now, especially in this area, there are 3 or 4 2* shows every weekend.

Jacobsen: Wow.

Martens: It is easier to get in, but the level got so high even on the 2* level. They don’t want to have 25 clear rounds. They want to have 15. So, they are making the time shorter, the course more technical. Sometimes, the 2* are comparable with 3* here, because there are a lot of talented people here.

Jacobsen: Mac Cone in an earlier interview was noting this as well. He was saying that when he was beginning riding in the 60s, 70s, 80s. It wasn’t too, too many countries. Now, you have upwards of 80 or more countries involved in it. He was making a similar notion. That the internationalization of the sport makes it more difficult. Also, he was noting George Morris’ training style has become a common factor in most training styles, internationally, now. So, the training regimens are much the same. There are more people in the sport. So, the differentiating factors become more minute. It becomes more difficult to move up the ranks compared to before.

Martens: Absolutely. Because I can do most of the 2* shows, but to get to it is difficult here. You either need to buy yourself in or you need points. It’s hard to get those points if you can’t get to shows.

Jacobsen: There are aspects of equestrian culture, after approximately 14 months in the industry. I noticed a constant breaking of assumptions. Even doing this interview with Canadian show jumpers, I thought one had to be based on Canada. Yet, they can be based in France, the Netherlands, etc. I made some wrong assumptions. You are listed as Canadian riders. However, you’ll be based wherever you need to be based to get the sort of training, access to competitions and horses, etc. I hadn’t grasped that until reaching out to some of the Canadian riders. I noticed Canada produces really, really good women riders. At the lower level, there tends to be a very large number of girls and young women, not many adolescent boys and young men. At the top, though, you see mostly men. That’s on the international scene. What explains this difference we see, over time, in the development of riders, where you see more men at the top in the later stages, internationally, but seeing more girls and young women at the lower end?

Martens: Also, here, at the lower level, it is mostly girls. At the higher level, certainly, in Holland, there are more men than women at that level. In the smaller sport, there are a lot of girls and women riding.

Jacobsen: How do you think that plays out over time in terms of the girls dropping out over time and the boys continuing on into the international scene?

Martens: I think it is a tough world. For the guys, I think it is easier. I think they are taken a bit more serious than the women to be honest: dealing wise, riding wise. I think it also helps that a lot of guys have a lot of confidence. I think confidence is the key in the end. You need so much confidence when you go into the ring.

Jacobsen: This sort of confidence. Do you think this is something acculturated with show jumping culture as the boys go along, or is it self-selected for that small category of men who are overly confident in themselves and their abilities?

Martens: Oh! [Laughing] That’s a tough question.

Jacobsen: I don’t know [Laughing]. That’s why I’m asking.

Martens: I think they just have more confidence and are, maybe, a bit more outspoken. When they can find an owner who can keep a horse for them, they might step up to keep it. I think us women are more quiet. We wait until someone offers us a chance.

Jacobsen: Who is your current favourite horse?

Martens: In the long term or now?

Jacobsen: Oh! Good question, over the long term, your horses over the long term so far.

Martens: Kinmar Quality (Hero), the one I have now.

Jacobsen: That horse, which you mentioned earlier, that could jump any competition. How old is the horse, currently?

Martens: 9.

Jacobsen: If you are looking at a horse that is 9, which is that good, what is the longevity of a good horse in this industry, typically?

Martens: Some jump until they’re 16. Some until they’re 15. You need to get a bit lucky, of course. This one has a very, very good mindset. I think he’ll try when he’s 20. But you need to be lucky that they don’t get injured. It depends on what they do. If he is going to jump 2* for the rest of his life, or if he is going to do Nations Cup or bigger shows, when you do the bigger shows, it is harder on the horse.

Jacobsen: How do you compare the dietary regimens in the Netherlands compared to Canada? I understand, in general, not just in the Netherlands or Canada that the care of horses has extended their performance life.

Martens: Over here, the horse, of course, needs scope. They need to be fast. Apparently, if you want to do the Longines Global Champions Tour, you need, in my opinion, a different kind of horse. You need a horse that has all the scope and is careful. It doesn’t need to be the fastest horse. But if you look over here at Longines Global Champions Tour, for sure, you need a fast horse.

Jacobsen: If you look at the top times of this sport, they’re within the same second with zero faults. If you have one second back or a fault, you are not even in the top 10, basically. Does this go back to the internationalization of the sport making it more competitive?

Martens: Yes. Also, the horses get better. There are not a lot of courses that cannot be jumped anymore by a lot of horses.

Jacobsen: Where do, typically speaking, the best horses coming from? I’m told, “Europe.” But where in Europe?

Martens: I think Belgium.

Jacobsen: Why Belgium?

Martens: I think Holland was leading for many, many years. But I think they bred a bit too much towards quality. They lose scope. In Belgium, they just breed scope.

Jacobsen: What does that word “scope” mean in this sport?

Martens: That he can jump very big fences.

Jacobsen: What differentiates these 4* competitions from these 5* competitions?

Martens: The prize money.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Martens: [Laughing] The more stars it is, the more money you can make.

Jacobsen: When was this star (*) system put in place, approximately?

Martens: I have no idea, to be honest.

Jacobsen: Because if this was put into place to give a rough metric on the quality of a competition, the prize money, the difficulty, and so on, then this could be changed again to something like a 6* competition in some theoretical future, especially if the competition level is getting higher and higher and the number of people entering is getting higher and higher.

Martens: Because there are not a lot of shows that have as much as the Longines Global Champions Tour. It stops with the 5* and then the organizations can decide, but they do have to give a minimum of money to be a 5*.

Jacobsen: So, if you are looking at your career trajectory so far, and training with your husband to improve consistency of performance, how do you see you career progressing as the years go on? What are your goals?

Martens: Now, my goal is to, hopefully, represent Canada once in a Nations Cup. I hope this Summer because it would be good to do these shows, and to Spruce Meadows. I would love to do it. But for us to come over, it is very expensive. With all the horses at home, it all needs to be arranged. They need someone who actually supports us. Because, otherwise, it is, financially, not okay for us.

Jacobsen: I was also told many times. The cost for travel is simply a tremendous amount more compared to the past. I don’t know what the cost is. How much does it cost to get rider and horse and equipment over to a competition, including the price of boarding at the competitions, etc.?

Martens: I think that is around 10,000 Euros a horse, just the way there.

Jacobsen: Wow.

Martens: Also, you need to go home [Laughing]…

Jacobsen: …[Laughing]…

Martens: …or leave it there.

Jacobsen: Most people will bring more than one horse, correct?

Martens: Yes.

Jacobsen: That is incredibly expensive.

Martens: Yes, it is. But it would be my dream to ride there. It looks amazing.

Jacobsen: What differentiates Spruce Meadows and some of these other competition grounds? Is it the kind of grounding, the presentation area, the development of the course, course design? What really makes them that much better?

Martens: For sure, the ring, the grass ring, the audience there, and Calgary is, for every rider, a treat to go there. It is a show everybody wants to go to. If you have a horse, you need a lot of scope because it is massive there.

Jacobsen: What riders did you look up to growing up?

Martens: Marcus Ehning, he’s a fabulous rider. He has a lot of feeling. Christian Ahlmann, there are so many good riders. They all have a different style. I like the riders who all have a bit of feeling.

Jacobsen: What do you mean by that? For someone who has less experience in the industry, it is a strange phrasing.

Martens: Someone who can ride the horse and be one with them. Someone who is not fighting all the way through, who makes it look easy, loves to ride, and you can see the horse loves to ride, like Eric Lamaze and Hickstead. That was such a pleasure to look at.

Jacobsen: Why was the Netherlands, other than the horses, so on top for so long?

Martens: Here, we have all the facilities, all of the bigger shows quite close. I think Holland is a country with a lot of knowledge from a horse. I think for a very long time that they bred the good horses. Now, you can see the results. Belgium is getting very, very close if they are not already stronger than Holland at the moment. I think Germany is very close. I think there are so many horses here and so many shows. Here, the bigger riders can go to 2*, 3*, 4* shows every weekend.

Jacobsen: What does your typical work week look like?

Martens: We start with doing the boxes [Ed. “stalls” to North Americans], and the hay. Then we put the horses in the walker. We do everything ourselves. So, that gives us a better overview over the horses. We know when something is going on with one of the horses. So, we put them in the walker, put them in the field, then we ride. That’s, basically, what we do for the whole week or one show until Wednesday. My father works in the stables. When we are in the international shows, he takes care of the horses at home. From Wednesday on, we leave to the bigger shows. Otherwise, we do the shows with the younger horses.

Jacobsen: I’m told that within Canadian show jumping that pretty much everyone knows everyone or knows of everyone because it is such a small sport community. Is this more or less true?

Martens: Yes. Because we travel so much to different shows. We see each other so often.  

Jacobsen: That’s also something I noticed. I was talking to a friend of mine who is a show jumper and then someone else who  I sent a question set to; they were both in Thermal, in fact. [Laughing] I am getting this indication over and over again that this is true.

Martens: Social media, also, helps.

Jacobsen: Yes, most of you are on Facebook or Instagram. The travel and those couple of access points of social media that you’re all, more or less, on. Do you think it is the visual aspect of it, e.g., the mechanics of watching a horse and rider go over a jump?

Martens: Yes.

Jacobsen: One last question for today, how do you think the sport is going to be evolving over the next several years into the future?

Martens: I think it is only going to get more difficult for the normal people because it looks – as with the Longines Global Champions Tour – like you cannot rely on one horse. You cannot do all the shows because you cannot rely on the one horse. And to do the competitions, you need to pay a lot of money to get in. I am bit scared that it will go in the direction of becoming a sport for the wealthy people, even more than it is already.

Jacobsen: Kimberley, thank you very much for your time today.

Martens: You’re welcome.






American Medical Association (AMA 11th Edition): Jacobsen S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping Culture. December 2022; 11(1).

American Psychological Association (APA 7th Edition): Jacobsen, S. (2022, December 22). The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping Culture. In-Sight Publishing. 11(1).

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. D. The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping Culture. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, Fort Langley, v. 11, n. 1, 2022.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (17th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2022. “The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping Culture.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11, no. 1 (Winter).

Chicago/Turabian, Notes & Bibliography (17th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping Culture.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11, no. 1 (December 2022).

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. (2022) ‘The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping CultureIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, 11(1). <>.

Harvard (Australian): Jacobsen, S 2022, ‘The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping CultureIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11, no. 1, <>.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 9th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. “The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping Culture.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vo.11, no. 1, 2022,

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 29: Kimberley Martens on Show Jumping, the Netherlands, Show Jumping Culture [Internet]. 2022 Dec; 11(1). Available from:


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