On her first trip to Europe as a groom, Stanke accompanied Lyle’s student Christian Simonson as part of the U.S. young rider dressage team last summer. At that point, Simonson had only been partnered with 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Son Of A Lady for four months.
With only one horse to care for over the month-long stay, Stanke was able to bring her considerable relationship-building skills to the table.
“We taught him how to smile,” she recalled. “We spent a lot of quality time and grew attached. When we got to all the places, he was like, ‘You’re my person and you’re here, too.’”