Jolanda Adelaar Rossi is a Dutch-Italian dressage rider, Equestrian Sport instructor 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 is 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.


,,Guus does not have the right measurements and movements that you want in a sport horse. But he has the right mentality. He is very sensitive, he always wants to go forward and he is an easy learner that loves to show off.”

After a journalist saw one of Jolanda’s dressage tests with Guus, the word started to spread.


,,I do not come from a rich 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."

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.


“I personally don't think you could have compared my riding and performance on the FEI World Cup dressage to the top riders. But all I showed was my own work; I trained my horse on my own without professional instruction, made the musical freestyle myself 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. She performed in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Italy.

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.


,,Working in the fashion industry taught me a lot about how brands create their image. Only the companies that are truly passionate in what they do or create become profitable on the long term. I met people from all over the world and it taught me to speak the English language fluently. The visibility that big equestrian events gave to me and Guus helped me to get sponsorships and also the modelling gave me some 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 to study for 2 years at the Master Class NHB Deurne, one of the biggest Equestrian Vocational Education institutes of Europe. Many Dutch international riders have studied there. Jolanda financed this prestigious Masterclass herself. 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 Animal Behaviour Centre 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", a 3 years old approved Murgese stallion. She imported him from the south of Italy to the Netherlands and broke him in herself. At that time he was the only Murgese stallion in the Netherlands. 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.


,,When I was searching my own Italian history, I also became interested in Italian horse breeds, especially the story of the unfortunately extended Napolitano horse. The Napolitano was considered one of the most successful cavalry horses of the 16th century, ridden by great kings and was bred on the same ground were my family lived for many centuries. My mother is born in Rome and comes from an old Neapolitan family. The Murgese horse is an Southern Italian baroque horse breed that still holds a lineage of the Napolitano horse and has a lot of its characteristics. I believe baroque horses can have a great future in modern dressage sport and hope to see a lot more of them at Olympic games. The last decade I have seen baroque horse breeds like the Friesian, Lusitano, PRE becoming more successful in the modern international dressage scene by adapting their selections more on sport and also the way of training. A welcome bonus which baroque horses already carry with them is their ease to collect and their brave "war horse" mentality.”

In 2013 Jolanda moved with her horses to Rome, Italy. She is now one the instructors of equestrian center “I Casael della Contessa” and competing dressage in Italy.


,,Now that I am competing in Italy, Italians look at me strange because I do not ride a German or Dutch bred sport horse. I do not think there is anything wrong with the popular sport breeds. I just consider myself lucky to be able to ride an Italian horse breed that carries so much historical value with it. More Italians should support their own market instead of looking for fortune far away.”



,,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.”