She fondly recalls the feel of the vibrating ground rumbling from the power of the horses’ hooves long before she saw the horse and rider. Only 15 years old at the time, Kerstin Hoffman of Stuttgart, Germany, clearly remembers her excitement and anticipation. She was mesmerized as she watched the riders pass her and unflinchingly make their way around the demanding, Luhmühlen four-star track. The elation she felt that day was the beginning of a passion that inspired her as an artist. Her art has brought her many new friends, including some of the top eventers in the world.
Now at 35 years old, married with a daughter, Kerstin recalls that like most girls, she fell in love with horses early. She was lucky enough to attend a local riding school focussing on eventing where she rode for fun. Although she does not ride anymore, her affection for horses has only grown.
Without any formal art training, Kerstin is obviously a natural talent. As long as she can remember, she has been drawing pictures. After visiting Luhmühlen in the mid nineties, her art started to focus on eventing. After the German eventing team won Olympic gold in 2008, one of her drawings was auctioned at the annual German eventing riders’ club party. The atmosphere was thrilling. In attendance were the entire team and their families, coaches plus a variety of supporters. Her drawing raised 3000 € / 4000 USD and the money went directly to support young eventing riders. At that moment, she made the decision to become a full-time, professional artist.
Kerstin said, “I do draw horses for a living, but to me it’s more than that. I’d say it’s my life. I travel to the competitions to see the horses in action, feel the atmosphere, share the thrill with riders, owners and supporters…I’ve become a part of the eventing community.”
Working in pencil, her drawing style is unique with a modern vibe. The detail on the horses appears like a soft version of steam punk. Magnifying the strength of the horse, they appear like living machines. “I don’t want the horses to look fragile. I prefer to emphasize their powerful elegance. My drawings are quite distinctive with an original and handcrafted feel. People can recognize my work,” Kerstin explained.
She gives much credit to being able to draw the images so well to photographer Julia Rau. It takes about 90 hours to complete one of her drawings. The focus of her art is the horse. “I want to make sure that the horse is the heart of my drawing. More than a few riders have told me they actually appreciate that I do not draw their faces while approaching ambitious fences like Cottesmore Leap at Burghley,” she jokingly said.
She has completed drawings of some the world’s top horses. She gives the riders prints with surprise presentations by working secretly with the riders’ support teams.
Michael Jung Germany’s golden boy
When she moved to southern Germany in 2011, she had the chance to visit Michael Jung and ask him to autograph a fine-art print that she was donating to an upcoming charity event. Kerstin says, “Since he liked it very much, I promised to create a drawing dedicated to Sam if they would win a medal at the Olympic games at London 2012. In the meantime, I’ve delivered on my promise and as you can see in the photos, Sam happily took part in the handover!”
Michael’s Olympic gold medal win in 2012 is one of Kerstin’s most exciting and memorable times. She and her husband Phillip were waiting at Michael’s home with many people for his return from London to celebrate. Disappointing news came that Michael’s flight was cancelled. Kerstin said, “They managed to secure a private jet and despite a five hour wait, not one person left as we excitedly awaited his arrival. The celebration began and then around 3:00 a.m., the real athlete arrived…Sam! It was a cool night.”
Sir Mark Todd
Meeting Sir Mark Todd at this year’s Luhmühlen competition was an absolute career high for Kerstin. She was able to surprise him with a print of Gandalf, his comeback horse. She said, “He appeared to be quite touched when he looked at the print. I asked him to autograph the drawing for me and handed him a fine-art print in return. The autographed drawing now embellishes my living room and is not for sale.”
Available to everyone
Mary King, Jock Paget, Clayton Fredericks, Peter Atkins are just a few of the riders that have been lucky enough to receive Kerstin’s artwork. She is currently working on drawings of Sir Percival III, KBISS Briarlands Matilda and Tom Bombadill Too. The great thing is that her artwork is available to everyone.
Fine art prints
If you would like to give someone a meaningful gift for any occasion, one of her drawings could be the perfect choice. She currently has for sale limited fine art prints of:
- La Biosthetique – Sam FBW;
- Henry Jota Hampton; and
- Clifton Promise.
Kerstin also takes on commissions. She is already starting to get requests for Christmas. In order to characteristically illustrate the horse, she tries to get a chance to see the horse personally in action. However, through video and photos, she is able to provide drawings to people all over the world. She will require a couple of high quality photos that show the horse really well.
To contact Kerstin: