Annalize and Gene van der Walt
Singing Hills Stable Trainers
Gene van der Walt was born and raised in a town called Louis Trichardt, which is located in the most Northern part of South Africa. He attended school at Louis Trichardt High School and excelled in different sports, especially the game of rugby. After graduating from school in Louis Trichardt he completed 3 years of military training in the South African Defense force.
His grandfather, Tom Fitzgerald, was a well known horseman and Gene grew up around horses. In 1983, after the military, Gene opened his own barn and started working horses part time. He has been involved with the breed ever since.
In 1986 he ventured to America to work for the legendary Tom Moore from Harrodsburg, KY. After a year Gene went back to South Africa and opened his own public barn. He soon worked his way to the top as being one of the best horsemen in the country and is the only trainer to have won all 4 National Grand championships in South Africa, namely three-gaited, five-gaited, fine harness and single harness (road horse). Gene is known in the horse world as a trainer who can get along with a difficult horse, typically turning them into top notch show horses. Gene is also well known for his ability to get along with amateurs and juveniles. In South Africa he trained a great number of successful equitation riders. Of these riders, four represented South Africa in the World Cup as members of the National Team. They were Johann de Wet (captain), Janine Le Roux (captain), Dinette Snyman and his daughter, Nicola van der Walt, who, at twelve years old, became the youngest rider ever to represent SA on the National Team.
In the beginning of 2002, Bill Blacklaw contacted Gene in South Africa and offered them the position as manager/trainers at Singing Hills Stable. They met through a mutual friend, John T. Jones from Rosemont Manor Farm in Kentucky.
Gene is married to Annalize, who trains with him at Singing Hills Stable. Annalize grew up in Worcester, South Africa, showing horses from the age of 12. She has been very succesful in the show horse world winning numerous titles at the South African Championships in the past. Apart from assisting Gene in the training barn she is also in charge of all reproduction work at Singng Hills Stable. Together with her husband Gene, they form a formidable team in the equine Show horse world.
Both Gene and Annalize hold their USEF judges cards for American Saddlebreds, Equitation, Roadster and Hackney/Harness Ponies with Gene having judged internationally in various countries.