Welcome to The Dutch Masters. How did you and the horses get here?
We drove here, it took us 14-hours in total. Unfortunately, when you are travelling so far you cannot control the traffic.
How do you entertain yourself for that time?
I listen to music and I call my friends, colleagues and other grooms, I seem to be able to keep myself entertained!
Do the horses travel well?
They are amazing travellers. When we go on a long journey, I try and make it as comfortable as possible for them. They each have their own water bucket, as on long journeys they drink a lot. I also try and give them as much space as possible, so they can stretch their heads down. With Elektric Blue P, I travel him loose in a box stall so that he has as much freedom as possible.
Do you and the team feel a bit of extra pressure coming into The Dutch Maters, with Max as defending champion?
I think that I feel more pressure than Max does – he is very relaxed! We have a different horse competing in the Rolex Grand Prix this year [Eic Coriolis Des Isles], so I think he does not feel as much pressure. But I really want to win again and show that we have more than just one amazing horse.
What other competitions do you and the team really want to win?
We would love to the win the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen. I also love the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ – it is one of my favourite places. The first time I went there, Max was third with Chardonnay 79, so I would love to better that and win there.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Seeing the horses grow and develop. I first meet Elektric Blue P when he was a youngster, and I have watched him grow up to be such an incredible horse. When he won the Rolex Grand Prix here last year I cried so much. When you start watching them in young-horse classes, and then they are up on the podium at one of the biggest competitions in the world, it is everything. It makes the job so special.
Who is Max competing with in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday?
Eic Coriolis Des Isles is the horse that Max will ride in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday. He surprised us last year with his results, we never expected him to jump so well, so it is really exciting to hopefully watch him continue to grow this year.
How has he [Eic Coriolis Des Isles] been prepared for the Rolex Grand Prix
He spent a few weeks competing on the Sunshine Tour earlier in the year. We [Max and Mariella] have been in Doha for the last two weeks, so our home rider has been keeping him fit. She is doing a great job with the horses, so I am confident he is fully prepared for Sunday.
What is he like at home in the stable?
He eats everything – he is very greedy! He also pulls down everything in his stable including blankets and curtains.
How long have you worked with Max?
As a full-time employee it will be four-years this summer. I also did an apprenticeship with him when I was 15-years-old. It was really nice when I started working for him full-time as I already knew the stables, the staff, the horses and how everything worked.
What is it like to work with Max?
He is a great boss. I am the type of person that always has to have a plan for the day; he has realised this, so we now work together to create a schedule for each day which makes sure that everything runs smoothly. We have a lot of fun, and he makes you feel very comfortable – it all works very well.
What is your advice for people who want to become a professional groom?
Never stop learning. You should always take advice from the other grooms. You learn so much from just being around them and speaking and listening to them. I also think you have to really love your job and the horses.
Source: Press Release from Rolex Grand Slam
Photo: © Rolex Grand Slam / Peggy Schröder