What are your plans for 2021 and what would you like to achieve?
My best horse got injured at the start of spring, and I also have a lot of young horses at the moment, so you could say my plans and goals have been a little uncertain for this year. One of my goals now for this year is to build the young horses to the next level. My oldest horse is nine years old, and I’m starting him with the 2* and 3* shows, and just like with my younger horses, I’m hoping to build him up to the bigger shows and see what he’s made of. His name is Cote de Pablo, who I’ve already competed with at a few international shows. My brother was riding him before I took him on at the end of last year, so this is our first year together competing in the bigger classes. Our first 2* Grand Prix together was in June this year in Knokke, and I was really happy to go clear with him, particularly as my goals weren’t set too high. The plan is to take him to Spain for three weeks in the autumn, and I hope I can develop him in some of the bigger classes.
Which horses are you most excited to be competing with this year?
I have a few really green ones, who I have only showed at some small national shows in Germany, and I’m planning to take them to Spain to give them some international experience. One is the offspring of Don DIarado, who is one of my brother’s horses. I got him last year and he was incredibly green, and could not even complete a course, whereas now I’m starting to take him to some small international shows. I also have one four year old and another five year old, who are also both very green, so they have a lot of growing up to do!
I really like easy geldings. For me, stallions are always really special, in terms of needing a lot of attention both at the shows and in the stables. The same goes for mares. Geldings are normally the most chilled ones, so I guess I’m similar to them, as I’m very easy going. Cote de Pablo is a gelding and he can sometimes be a bit nervous when I ride him, but in the stables he’s very chilled. I also have a six year old gelding, who is another of Don DIarado’s offspring, and I have to say he is also very laid back.
How positive do you believe the Rolex Grand Slam has been for the sport of show jumping?
I think the Rolex Grand Slam give us riders a huge amount of motivation, and I believe every good rider should have it as one of their goals. I suppose it’s a dream for me to one day ride in one of the Rolex Grands Prix, but to do that you have to have a horse that you’re able to build up to 5* Grand Prix level. It’s also a great motivation for the owners, who are attracted by the money, but they also want their riders to be competing at the very highest level, which is what the Rolex Grand Slam offers.
What have you learnt over the course of the last 18 months, and what positives will you take?
I was really lucky, as the COVID-19 situation didn’t prove too difficult for me, because I was able to stay at home with my family at our beautiful stables. I spent a lot of time with my younger horses, much more time than I could have when we have international shows all the time, which meant being away for the whole week.
In the last two years I had a bad accident when I broke my back, so I think I’ve become a lot more careful. A few years ago I wasn’t scared of anything and would ride any horse without a second thought. But now, I’ve become a lot more careful, not scared, just more mindful of the situation. I’m now always happy when I’m healthy and able to ride, so I’ve definitely become more appreciative of the good times.
Source: Press Release from Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping
Photo: © Rolex Grand Slam / Knokke Hippique