From Warendorf to Washington and even a bit further
With horse stables and a dressage arena right in front of the house, Dr Doris Westhoff and her husband Dr Patrick Frenchick have fulfilled a dream – living with horses American style.
It is a known fact that many marriage bonds have been forged at work. This was also the case with Doris Westhoff from Warendorf and her American husband while they were working for the same employer in Ingelheim. Their jobs then took them to Winnipeg and Washington and from there to Aiken, South Carolina. The biologist and chemist still work in the pharmaceutical sector, but settled in the United States in 2008.
It took a while before they found the right piece of land that was also suitable for the four Westphalians. The Westhoffs were lucky in Aiken in 2015, finding their ideal plot, building a house and horse stables in 2016 and in 2017 adding a riding arena.
Ms Westhoff describes the town and its surroundings as follows: “Basically Aiken is a small town with a population of around 35,000 that includes a lot of horse-lovers. There is a thoroughbred stud, hunter jumpers and polo is also very popular. Dressage is also gradually becoming more popular. There are a number of settlements that fit the “living with horses” description and this is also true of the community in which we bought our land. Ultimately there will be around 300 establishments, most of which will have their own stables.
There are two training centres, each with a large dressage and jumping arena with excellent ground conditions and a large grass arena with versatility jumps. The facilities were set up on an old pine plantation. Most of the bridle path network is excellent. We have 45 km of bridle paths that are regularly maintained. We have around four hectares of land which borders a conservation area.
We were pleased to find Matt Yoder who is a very good local stable builder. He and his team are great craftsmen, and have even matched the colour of the wood cladding with the bamboo of the stables as closely as possible.”
With regard to horses, Doris Westhoff naturally lost her heart to Westphalians. In Warendorf she headed the vaulting section for 20 years and also put together the tournament team every year at the Westphalian championships, once also at the German Championships. “At the time I focused more on recreational riding and only discovered my love of dressage later on,” she explains.
The four Wesphalian horses are home-bred, are 5, 6, 9 and 23 years old and the three young horses have already scored dressage successes in the United States. “We bred all our horses ourselves and they are all descendants of my first horse, a mare which was listed in the Central Westphalian Stud Registry and that I acquired in 1984,” Ms Westhoff adds. Doris Westhoff’s husband supports her at the weekends and they enjoy riding through the wonderful wooded countryside together.