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About Anky

Anky van Grunsven was born in Erp, the Netherlands, on January 2, 1968.  When she was six years old she got her first pony, a Shetland pony named "Heleentje".  At first she would only clean and brush Heleentje. After taking the first riding lessons from her father, she joined the pony club in Erp. At age seven she started showing, something she was not too good at in the beginning. Only after graduating from high school she decided to start riding professionally.   

Anky en Pieta                                  Anky en Prisco

Prisco was the first horse that was really her own. Anky rode her very first dressage test on Prisco at "L" level in 1980.  She advanced to "Z" level in 1982. There were ups and downs. Her persistence was rewarded in 1990 when she won the Dutch championships for the first time. With her mount Bonfire she became Dutch dressage champion a second time in 1991. They won the national dressage title a total of nine times.
Anky became the World Champion Freestyle in The Hague in 1994. She won the World Cup Final nine times. The first time in Hollywood in 1995 where "Bonfire's Symphony", her freestyle music, played an important role.  She won in Gothenburg (1996), in 's-Hertogenbosch (1997), in Dortmund (1999) and again in 's-Hertogenbosch (2000).  During all these finals she rode Bonfire.  In 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008, Anky and Salinero won the World Cup Final in Düsseldorf, Las Vegas, Amsterdam and 's Hertogenbosch respectively. 

Anky met Bonfire ©Dirk Caremans / Arnd Bronkhorst 

‚ÄčThe highlights of Anky's career until now are of course her three gold medals at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Athens and Hongkong. The first one on Bonfire (2000), who finished his career winning in Sydney. She won the second gold medal with Salinero in 2004, who at the time just started his sports career. Her third individual Olympic gold medal she won was with Salinero in Hongkong in 2008. In Londen she rode her third Olympics with Salinero and won the bronze teammedal with him. Individually she ended 6th.

Anky met Salinero ©Arnd Bronkhorst

In 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2004 Anky was named "Rider of the Year" in the Netherlands and she was honored as "Sports Woman of the Year" in 1994. In 2001 she was named "Rider of the Century". Anky also received two royal decorations "Ridder in de Orde van Oranje Nassau" and "Ridder in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw".
Riding and everything that comes with it have become a full-time occupation for Anky. In the afternoons, after the daily training of her horses, she will teach her students. The levels vary from the national level through Grand Prix. In addition, she frequently gives clinics in the Netherlands and abroad. Much attention also goes to her clothing line, ANKY ® Technical Casuals. She primarily gets involved with the designs and PR.


After the successful Olympic Games in Athens, Anky and her trainer and partner Sjef had a son, Yannick Janssen, who was born on November 23, 2004. Yannick Janssen always joins Anky and Sjef when they travel to major shows. Anky and Sjef were married in Las Vegas in April 2005 in the presence of Yannick Janssen. On March 6, 2007 daughter Ava Eden was born. Only a few weeks later she won the National title with Keltec Salinero and that year she won the European Championships in Turin. The Dutch team won gold. In 2008 Anky won the two most important competitions of this year: the Worldcupfinal and the Olympic Games! Anky is the first rider who wins three times in a row the individual Olympic gold medal with two different horses (Bonfire 2000 and Salinero 2004 & 2008)
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