Personally, I am less than accustomed with horses. I’ve been on a pony once, under duress, and aside from that my closest relationship with them has been through My Little Pony, or horses for my Barbies. That being said… I still found the biography about Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and her life with horses an interesting read.
The biography was published in 2006, and Nathalie and her close family all have contributed. Princess Benedikte wrote the foreword, and Prince Richard, Prince Gustav and Princess Alexandra are all quoted throughout the book, along with Nathalie’s trainers and friends from the circuit.
I think that what I found the most fascinating was Nathalie’s reflections around the costs associated with the sport. She acknowledges that she wouldn’t have made it as far as she had, if not for the support from her parents, but doesn’t think that that’s the way it should be. She also mentions that while she may be considered spoiled, she doesn’t get everything served on a platter – and she’s out in the stables from early in the day, working with her horses.
There’s also some interesting food for thought from her trainer, who points out that Nathalie’s horses have never been the kind that costs millions… and often would have been subpar for other riders, but the work that is put in, has given result.
Another thing that was discussed was when she and her sister got their Danish citizenships. The reasoning behind hers was clear – it is much easier to come to the forefront in Danish riding than in German, considering the size of the field. But instead of having her aunt pull the strings, and get it through the quick way – both she and her sisters went through the regular channels and it took them two years to get it. Princess Benedikte was careful not to let it appear that her daughters were getting preferential treatment.
Nathalie doesn’t gloss over things – she mentions that she has few close friends, because there is trouble with getting close to people because of her title and as one of the youngest in the batch of cousins, she’s seen what has happened to the older ones before with the press. She seems very down to earth in what she tells, and you can definitely see that it is someone who loves what she is doing.
The book is a quick read, and it is a nice way to learn something about one of the more anonymous descendants of King Frederik and Queen Ingrid.
Vivi Sjøner & Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Prinsesse Nathalie: Mit liv med heste.