Linde von Koeding: 2023 Horse&Rider Trainer of the Year

Linde von Koeding, an NRHA Professional and judge, is Horse&Rider’s Trainer of the Year, brought to you by Cosequin.

Early Life

Growing up in the city, Linde always had an innate passion for horses and found her way into the equestrian world, even coming from a non-equestrian family. From her earliest years, she remembers being excited just to see horses.

Linde had challenges getting into the equine world, with limited access to barns and riding opportunities due to constraints in time, finances, and location. Undeterred by these hurdles, she harbored a steadfast determination that, one day, she would pursue her passion for horses.

Her journey took an unexpected turn when, in 2006, she came to the United States from Germany and found herself under the guidance of renowned figures in the world of reining, specifically with Bob Anthony, a Hall of Fame inductee for NRHA. This encounter marked her initiation into the realm of reining, a discipline she had not initially planned on exploring. However, the stars aligned, and her connection to the Anthony’s, who happened to be prominent reiners, set her on her path.

Photo courtesy of Linde von Koeding.

A Big Move

She found a passion for reining, and as one opportunity led to another, she found herself deeply immersed in the horse world. Coming to the USA was supposed to be a 3 month venture, and turned into a complete move. Being under 18, Linde couldn’t get a work visa, so she traveled back and forth before being able to make the move permanently.

Linde still has ties to the European horse industry. With clients that own horses in Europe, she stays connected to her roots, even traveling back to put on clinics. The reining world is internationally connected, and Linde is a great resource for those who want to connect overseas. More people are flying horses in from Europe, and vice versa, and the international industry keeps growing.

After working with the Anthony’s, Linde worked for Mike McEntire in North Carolina. She attributes much of her training philosophy to things she learned working with Mike, specifically not to overcomplicate things, especially with young horses. Mike also sparked an interest in judging for Linde, and she believes that foray has made her a better trainer, coach, and even rider.

Training in Scottsdale

Living in Scottsdale has Linde close to many renowned horse trainers, and she has expanded her resume by working with other greats. This includes Casey Deary, and Patrick Flaherty. In 2017 she went out on her own and started training and coaching her own clients. Her training philosophy focuses on being good to her clients, horses, and letting them develop at their own pace. Linde says, “You know you’ll never have it all figured out, and there’s always something that you can improve on which, when you come home from a horse show, you always want to know that you can do something better for the next time.”

Linde notes that coaching clients vs. training horses requires a different set of skills for each. Her clients love her ability to reach them at their level, and her kindness and support for each person. She works with many non-pros and enjoys seeing the growth within her clients and their horses. Linde’s clients appreciate how she celebrates their wins, and puts together practical plans to help them improve in areas that need support. Linde also has a passion for helping everyone have a place in the horse show industry. She has been instrumental in creating a para-reining event that is inclusive to para-equestrians that are passionate about reining.

Photo courtesy of Linde von Koeding.

The Young Horses

Linde’s main passion when it comes to training is working with young horses. She loves putting the foundation on a young horse, and watching how quickly they progress. She is also passionate about making solid horses that anyone can win on, including her non-pro clients. Her priority when training horses is making a solid citizen.

When it comes to being a NRHA judge, Linde believes it’s all about perspective. “I think part of it is that when you sit in that chair you see the one view that really matters, right. I mean it’s like you sit in the in the stands higher up, you’re going to see different things or at a different angle. And that’s especially when we have multiple judges. Some people don’t understand point spread sometimes because different judges in the arena see different things from different perspectives. But I think mostly by judging I’ve understood more.” She also enjoys being able to help her non-pro clients understand rules, pattern placement, and penalties.

Buying Horses

Helping clients find the perfect horse is another aspect of the industry Linde enjoys. She wants to help her clients find the right horse, and does this by starting with a series of questions. Linde wants to understand the purpose for the horse, the budget, and the clients needs to ensure the horse will fit them. Looking for good-natured horses that will last is at the top of her list, and also pays close attention to the mare side of the lineage.

With big goals for her current young horse that she took to the futurity, and two weanlings on the ground from another special mare, Linde has some breeding plans for special horses in her program. While balancing coaching, training, judging, and her breeding program, Linde has made a name for herself in the reining and horse industry. Her clients love her coaching style, and made it clear on their nominations that Linde most certainly deserves her title of Horse&Rider’s Trainer of the Year, a program brought to you by Cosequin.

[Listen to Linde’s Episode on The Ride Podcast]

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