Jolanda Adelaar Rossi is a Dutch-Italian dressage rider, trainer and Equine Behaviour Therapist located in Rome, Italy.
Jolanda's life story and her chooses to make change in the equestrian world, has made her a popular equestrian athlete with influence on thousands of young equestrians around the globe. She is a qualified spokesperson on equestrian sport and ethologic topics. Jolanda is very involved in improving animal welfare and promoting equestrian as a non-elitist sport. Jolanda wrote various articles, she is blogger of Bit Magazine and author of the book “Guus”. She is also a passionate film and photographer.

Professional qualifications:

- 2008-2010 Graduated:  Master Equestrian Sport - NHB Deurne Helicon College.
- 2010-2013 Graduated:  Equine Behaviour Therapist - Tinley Academy.
- IGEQ passport holder - International qualified professional Equestrian Instructor.
- Emergency Response Officer (ERO)

Jolanda is a member of:


Jolanda Francesca Adriana Adelaar is born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 25 October, 1982. She has a Dutch father and an Italian mother. Together with her sister, Jolanda grew up in the southern countryside of the Netherlands. Jolanda uses her father’s last name (Adelaar) and her mother’s last name (Rossi).

Jolanda became known by competing high level dressage against the sport horses… with a 1.49m draft horse called “Guus”.
Jolanda competed with Guus in all Olympic disciplines (jumping, dressage, eventing). In 2000 she became Champion Region Breda individual dressage level Z2 with Guus. In 2001 she scored 20 times over a 62% with Guus in the Dutch Z2 level between the Sport horses.
*In Holland the Z2 level was the highest intermediate level until 2011. Until 2006 horses under 1.57 meter were not allowed above Z2 level, the category "Sub-top" that is until Grand Prix.

    Watch video of Jolanda's story:


,,I do not come from a wealthy family and I never had a horse of my own. I worked very hard for Guus. Before Guus was my horse, he was just a horse working on a riding school, carrying tourists through the forest. His pedigree is unknown. When I bought Guus I started his training on a pasture between the cows. In that time I learned most from watching dressage on tv, reading out of books how to train a horse and my own intuition. I wanted to compete, but everybody told me not to, because I did not had a sport horse. There were even people who told me Guus was not even a 'real horse'. Against all odds I went competing with Guus. Just because it felt right. If you force yourself to look like the others, you will always walk in shoes which are not yours."

After a journalist saw one of Jolanda’s dressage tests with Guus, the word started to spread.
In 2005 Jolanda was asked to perform as the special act at the FEI World Cup dressage Final, showing the most difficult exercises of the Grand Prix dressage. Jolanda trained her horse on her own without professional instruction, made the musical freestyle herself and wore a self-made dress.

After her performance at the World Cup Dressage in 2005, Jolanda bin asked to show the freestyle with her fjord on many other national and international events in Europe.

In 2006 Jolanda’s first book "Guus" was published. A children’s book about her life with Guus. She wrote it herself and also drew the illustrations. Jolanda bin drawing and photographing animals since she was little.


,,I grew up with Guus and own him now for almost 20 years. He is family for me. He also moved with me from the Netherlands to Rome, Italy in 2013. I am very thankful he is still happy, healthy and with me.”

In 2006 Jolanda was asked to work as a fashion model in Milan. Jolanda worked internationally as a model in Milan, Amsterdam, Athens and Prague. She bin in various magazines and did commercials for big brands as Coca Cola. In 2008 she was also crowned Miss Italia nel Mondo Olanda.


,,For me working in the fashion industry was a chance to meet people all over the world and it gave me money to invest in my true passion: competitive dressage.”

In 2007 Jolanda was the first rider who was qualified for the Subtop dressage level of Holland with a fjord horse. Competing in this level, Jolanda could be accepted at the Master Class NHB Deurne, one of the biggest Equestrian Vocational Education institutes of Europe. Many Dutch international riders have studied there. In 2008 Jolanda started training with Olympic dressage rider Marlies van Baalen.
Jolanda was chosen Helicon student of the year 2010 (out of 11.000 students and 12 Helicon schools.) Her diploma signed by the Chairman of the Executive Board says Jolanda is: Example of entrepreneurship, Gained visibility and honour in the industry in a short period of time, Competent in many different domains of the equestrian industry.
Tinley Academy offered Jolanda a sponsored scholarship of 5 years in animal behaviour science. She graduated as an Equine Behaviour Therapist in 2013.


,,Tinley taught me so much about the welfare of horses, how a horse learns and ethology. This study is very scientific, transparent and everything is questioned from how the horse learns and experiences it. It teaches you to think outside of the box when it comes to training and managing horses. Why some traditional ways of breaking in, training and accommodating horses do not have a positive impact on the learning process of the horse.”

In 2012 Jolanda bought "Carletto" in Apulia, a 3 years old approved Murgese stallion. The Murgese is an Italian Baroque horse breed. They are bred in Apulia, one of the richest archaeological regions in Italy and kept there for centuries.


,,I am promoting the pure Italian baroque horse (the Murgese) for dressage sport because I believe this is very important national horse breeds develop for sport and stimulate support the local horse industry. There are studbooks so old, that it tells the history of a country. My Italian family lived for centuries on the ground around Naples. This is why I am very interested in Italian horse breeds. The Murgese is a pure Italian horse breed that is more than 500 years old. Around 1900 this important breed was almost extinct. It is one of the rare and still living horse breeds that is descendant of the extinct Napolitano horse (war horse from the kingdom of Naples). I hope by time to see the Murgese developing for sport through selective breeding and connecting the best horses with professional riders. I believe, the Murgese horse can be an interesting dressage prospect because of its talent in collecting and high school dressage work comparable with the PRE and other baroque breeds.”

In 2013 Jolanda moved with her horses to Rome, Italy. She is working as an instructor and competing dressage in Italy.



,,My personal aim is to strive for equestrian as a non-elitist sport and to inspire young equestrians to compete dressage, even if they do not have a sport breed. Making dressage more understandable and closer to the public.

Since 2010 Jolanda is an ambassador of Riding for Africa. A charity which provides free horse riding lessons for the children who live in the poorest neighbourhoods.


,,A life with horses in it gives so much positivity to a child in all kind of ways. A poor environment easier leads to negative activities like joining gangs, starting to deal or use drugs. Horses are the best teachers in the world. They can give you wings, but they can also put you back with both feet on the ground, literally and figuratively.”