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What brought an Austrian horse trainer to Kansas?


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – An Austrian horse trainer, who has traveled the world with some of the most famous horse trainers, found herself living and working in the Sunflower State.

Verena Bragg, 35, is an advanced instructor and horse trainer specializing in dressage, westerns and riding. She is one of the newest employees of the Wichita Riding Academy, home to the largest instructional program in the area.

“The lucky thing about here is that it’s not just a riding school because we also have boarders, so we have so many variations on that. I can have these clinics where I can offer my teaching and my plans,” Bragg said.

“His resume is very impressive. All his certifications and experience, so it was very exciting to have someone of that caliber here in Wichita,” said Cheryl Manahan, owner of the Wichita Riding Academy.

How did Bragg end up in Kansas? The simple answer is love.

“I met him online through a group of friends and we were dating more and more. At the time, we didn’t end up together because it was a long distance, but eventually we kept coming back and met and met again in Wichita. I traveled to his home. She traveled to mine. Later, we decided why not give it a try,” she said.

Bragg and her husband now live in Derby. She works six days a week at the Wichita Riding Academy, giving private lessons and caring for retired horses. She is confident that the riders she works with are learning more than riding skills.

“I wish they’d find a little more peace when they’re here,” Bragg said. “I think once they’re in the state of mind where they have all these fights at home, but once they’re on the horse, it sort of goes away, so that’s what I’m trying to get a little bit more into.”

KSN asked Bragg what she misses most about Austria.

“One thing that’s a little difficult for me being from Austria is that I’m used to mountains and hiking, so it’s a little weird, but I say the best part of Kansas is the horses,” she said.

Bragg added that she was pleasantly surprised by the many lakes Kansas has to offer. She was also impressed by her colleagues’ knowledge of horses.

“It’s fulfilling for me to know that someone here has been working with horses for so long and has the same ideas as someone who comes from Austria,” he said.

Bragg and her husband are hoping to buy a house with a garden in the near future.

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