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TheoandClimax Junior at HITSThermal 2014.
Photoby FlyingHorsePhotography
Big European sales barns like Jos’s benefit from breeders
coming from Holland, Belgium and France to show their young
prospects.Hesaidat Jos’s itwas rare tohaveanyhorsesyounger
than6andby the time theywere9 theywerealready jumping the
big classes and would eventually be sold. Seeing these horses
come into thebarnasprospectsand leaveasworld-classathletes
was an eye-opening experience for Theo. “None of these stables
buy ‘made’ horses,”hesaid. “If they’regood, theymake theirown.”
Seeing the top riders in theworld hasmade him appreciate the
intensity with which they take their jobs. He describes watching
flat work with some riders as if it was amaster class. Theo says
that themoment that offered him themost growth as a rider was
gettingonahorseafter Joshad just finished riding it. “Feeling that
feeling of suppleness, straightness and impulsion – all of those
things you need for riding and controlling a big horse. Feeling the
horseafter he’dbeenon themwas thebest lessonas a rider,” he
He also learned about the importance of physical conditioning
andmanagement of thehorses fromAlwinSchockemohl’s former
groom. “Everything is detail oriented and systematic,” Theo said.
“Horses are fed a certainway that’s in noway random.”
His take-away from the years spent there is how entirely sport
driven the profession is in Europe. “I saw thementality, the work
ethic, thedifferent snaffles– therewereno short cuts,” Theo said.
“Everything was hard work. You just get the feeling of the sport.
Therewasnodrama, noglitz, noglamour – just all sport and that’s
what I really loved about it.”
It’s clear that workingwith Jos has left amark onTheo, not just
in how he rides but in howmuch respect Theo has for himwhen
he speaks about Jos. When asked about his greatest win in his
riding career, it was not a prestigious medal or a grand prix win
thatTheonamed. Itwassimply landing the jobwithJos. “The thing
Theo trades inhis horse for another typeof horsepower at HITS
Thermal 2014.
PhotobyBret St. Clair
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