Sandra was born in Germany, where she started riding at six and moved to Portugal twenty five years ago. She brings over forty years of horse experience to the table, with a diversity of qualifications, from Monty Roberts to JCD Riding Academy.
Sandra regularly brushes up her skills at the Triple-D-Ranch, Germany, with trainers Norbert Gleissner and Henrike Garcke, who also come to the ranch for clinics twice a year. Furthermore, she participates in online training by trainers Warwick Schiller and Elsa Sinclair. Elsa, as well as Alfonso Aguilar, are giving clinics at Sundance Ranch regularly.
For fifteen years, she owned and managed a large riding school near Lisbon, Portugal before following her calling to start her own ranch. Now her herd of horses can fulfill their basic needs, the three F’s freedom, forage and friends, by living out on the pasture in herds all the time. And Sandra can teach the way she really wants to, in intensive five day courses, which combine theory, groundwork and riding into a holistic, life-changing experience for her guests. When she’s not teaching people, she works on furthering the education of her school horses and youngsters.
Born in the Alentejo, João grew up in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, where he did an apprenticeship as a horse caretaker. In Portugal, he worked as a riding instructor for three years in Sandra’s riding school near Lisbon. Since 2011, he has been the heart and soul of her ranch, taking care of the horses since the first day, building fences, making hay and much more.
Tatiana takes care of cooking, cleaning and shopping. Like her husband João, she is also from the Alentejo: She really enjoys cooking vegetarian food but also hearty regional fare. Of course she can adapt the food to specific dietary needs. Every day we look forward to her varied, colorful, healthy and tasty lunch, such as the chickpea falafel with oven-roasted vegetables you see her with in the photo. For our breakfast and dinner, she fills our refrigerator with anything our guests would enjoy.
Since her childhood a rider, Nina worked for an English stable in the Algarve when she first moved to Portugal. After her move to Alentejo, she discovered Sundance Ranch and how happy and relaxed riding horses can be. Since she lives close to the ranch, she often helps guests arrive at the ranch and she also helps with trail rides and lessons. Her strength is her patience and soft hand when teaching new things to our horses. Other than horses, her heart beats for cats, cake and comics.