Welcome to my website! My name is Christine Barlow-de Vries and I live close to Wilmington (NC) together with my husband. I was born and raised in The Netherlands where I started horse riding at the age of 5 years old. At the moment I have one horse: Action Z (s. Special D). He is my best friend for already 10 years.
From a young age I always wanted to be around horses, when I finally turned 5 years old my parents allowed me to start riding ponies. By the time I was 11 years old they got me my first lease-pony named Youngster. He already competed two times at the highest level in dressage for ponies. He taught me a lot, we started competing and during the 5 years I trained him we made it to several championships.
When I turned 16 years old my parents and I went looking for a young horse since I wanted to train a horse from the beginning myself. Action Z, or ' Exie' as we all call him, became mine. Exie made a lot of dreams come true; competing at big championships and being selected for talent teams but above all how to become a fair trainer, how to listen to him and how to become each others best friends.
We got the chance to train with some excellent Dutch trainers such as Sander Marijnissen, Alex van Silfhout and Dennis Ausma. After 6 years Exie was trained up to Prix St. George level. Unfortunately we never got the chance to make that official since Exie had to deal with bad stomach ulcers. He is not able to deal with the stress of competing at a high level anymore. Due to that I chose for my best friend's health, and quit competing him.
That decision opened another door. I left The Netherlands to pursue another dream of mine. Living on a tropical Island, a Caribbean Island named Curaçao. I became a Dolphin Trainer at Dolphin Academy Curacao. It was a magical experience, these dolphins live in a natural environment and are taken to the open water every single day. I developed my trainer skills to a whole new level. The power of positive reinforcement is magical. Training animals is not just about making them do something. It is about trust, building a friendship and growing together into the best version of yourself!
It was on Curacao (2017) where I met my husband and I decided to go back to The Netherlands to train horses again and prepare myself for the emigration to the USA. I couldn't leave Exie behind, so he came with me! Now that I live in the USA I want to continue doing what I love most: work with animals!