Danielle Goldstein’s Day Off: Martial Arts, Paella, and Knife Throwing

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hen you think of Danielle Goldstein, the first thing that comes to mind is the incredible service she's done for the sport of show jumping. From breaking down traditional barriers to helping put Israeli show jumping on the map, the 34-year old rider is, at heart, an extremely talented, hardworking, and dedicated athlete. 

'Dani' lives, eats, and breathes the sport, putting in long hours and hard work day after day. On the road for much of the year, she’s gotten accustomed to getting little sleep, grabbing quick takeout meals, and spending most of her time working with her horses (like fan favorite mount, Lizziemary).

Yet, even the fiercest of competitors have to take a day off here and there, and even a die-hard like Dani sees the value in some downtime. While she isn’t one for too much time away (it’s hard to leave the barn when you love the sport as much as she does), she’s a firm believer in sleep, self-care, and spending time with the people she loves.

The feathered phenom has found her stride — pun absolutely intended — in a routine that maximizes her days off, giving her a balance of rest, workouts, cooking up some good eats, and a little knife throwing for good measure (yes, seriously).

Dani gave us the rundown of what a typical day off looks like for her in Wellington, Florida where she's based for the winter months:

Hello, closet envy!

Self Care Starts With Rest

“Normally, when I have a proper day off, I sleep as much as I possibly can. I try not to get out of bed until at least 11 a.m. For me, that’s a massive luxury. Normally, I’m starting my day by 7:30 a.m. and trying to do some sort of exercise for an hour in the morning.”

Getting Physical

“If it’s a day off, I’m going to go to self-defense training. I like to do that as much as I can. At home [in Europe], it’s much harder to do than here [in Wellington] because there’s a good studio close by and I know the guy, and it’s just great here. So when I’m in Florida, that’s my favorite thing to go do. When I’m at home, I may either go for a run or do yoga on my days off, but whenever I can, it’s some sort of self-defense or martial arts training, like kickboxing or Krav Maga.”


“I think they help in the sense of cross-training as a rider because I think it’s always good to do some other form of exercise, but also I love the self-defense stuff because it is a lot of mental training, just like riding. It’s a good moment of clarity — like you can really get angst out, which is nice. I’m really not an angry person, but I’m an [intense] person, let’s say. So it’s really good that I can get some of that out [during a workout]. For me, mentally, I find that really helps my riding.”

A Little Rainy Day Ride

“Usually I’ll go the barn and see the horses, maybe ride a bit. It’s been rainy, but I’ve timed it so I didn’t ride in the pouring rain. But I have gotten a little wet — still, the feathers survived!”

Even top riders are superstitious. Dani's pre-competition ritual is all about honoring her horse.

Remembering to Relax

“I’m a big napper, too. I love napping, and we don’t usually get much time to nap [as riders]. Last year, we had nine horses here [in Wellington], so we were so busy every single day. But this year it’s much easier — I only have three with me. So I’ll try to sleep in a bit, and get in a nap.”


Success starts with self-care. Start your journey now.

Spreading the Love in the Kitchen

“I love to cook. And I love to cook for a lot of people. When I’m back home, I cook at least two to three times a week for more than 10 to 15 people. I love hosting dinner parties, cooking, and barbecuing. I cook everything, there really isn’t anything that I don’t cook, but I do try to keep it healthy.

“I love entertaining, [my fiancé] Alan [Waldman] and I both love it. Basically, between riding, self-defense, and some of the fashion stuff that I do, cooking and entertaining is what I do to really unwind. We like to have people over. Whenever I’m home, there’s clients and friends over constantly — there’s always people there — and Alan loves to cook, too, so we can cook together. We try to cook when I’m home, because so much of the time I’m traveling at shows and we’re just eating out.”

“I love to cook paella — it’s my favorite. Alan makes this awesome take on chicken marsala. We like proper meals. Everyone’s always saying I should open a restaurant in all that ‘spare time’ that I have! The funny thing is, as much as I love to cook, I would never just cook for myself. For Alan and me, yes, but I would never, ever just cook for myself. So if I were alone, I’d order in. I just love to cook for other people.”

Thanks for taking us along on your day off, Dani! Cheers and bon appétit!


Read this next: ‘Stay True to Who You Are’: Danielle Goldstein Speaks Out Against Cyberbullying — And We Are Here For It

Photos courtesy of Danielle Goldstein.

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Written by Erin Lane

Erin Lane is the Director of Insider at NOËLLE FLOYD and a living definition of crazy horse girl. A lifelong hunter/jumper rider and avid polo player, Erin believes that equestrian education should be accessible to all riders and is on a mission to bring that to life through Insider. Shaped by the horse community, Erin wants to give back, build relationships connected by a passion for horses, and vibe with her fellow horse girls. You can pretty easily win her over with bay horses, weenie dogs, and wine in any form.