By Jan Westmark
Harold Chopping grew up in Canada, where he had a successful career in both the hunter and jumper ring. He represented the Canadian Equestrian Team on multiple Nations Cup teams, competed at three World Cup Finals, and was the alternate for the Barcelona Olympic Games.
Harold moved to the United States and in 1987 started Solo Show Stables while continuing to find success in the saddle. “My first World Cup Finals was in Dortmund, Germany, in 1990 and that will always be a favorite memory,” Harold said. “The jumps were so big and the ring was impressive to a young professional. I was lucky to have my horse Notable IV at the finals. He was a very scopey horse and never gave up.” Notable IV, along with Aerobic and Brandy, hold a special place in Harold’s heart. “They were all extremely competitive and the right horses for me at the time. Each of them allowed me to complete at the highest level.”
While Harold has competed around the world, shows in North America still rank as his favorite. “Spruce Meadows will always be one of my favorite venues and I’ve always loved the
Upperville Colt and Horse Show. It’s a lot of fun to compete in front of spectators who are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the sport.”
How did your horse career start?
I grew up in Newmarket, Ontario. My parents had a family farm and always had a number of inexpensive horses at home that my sister and I had fun with. As Juniors, we each had show horses at Jokers Hill Stables with John Weir. I enjoyed it very much and wanted to make a career of horses.
Why did you end up leaving Canada and moving to the U.S.?
I left Canada for a riding job in Upperville, Virginia. I eventually moved to Southern Pines, North Carolina, in 2005.
What’s it like being married to a fellow equestrian and dog rescuer?
My wife, Jennifer, helped me with my business for several years. She doesn’t ride anymore as a result of a car accident. She now runs the very active dog rescue Caring Hearts for Canines.
Are your children involved with horses?
I have three kids. My daughter, Sydney, rode when she was young but isn’t involved with horses now. My two boys have not been interested in horses. My older son, William, loves baseball and soccer. My younger son, Charles, loves golf and wants to play as a professional one day.
What do you like best and why — training students, competing or selling horses?
I love competing but it’s always fulfilling to see a young horse advance or a student improve. Sales are a big part of our industry, so that’s always a focus of my business.
What’s your favorite thing about being part of the horse world?
My favorite part of the horse world will always be the horses. The fact that I get to work with horses every day and do what I love is amazing.
If you weren’t involved with the horse world, what career do you think you would have picked?
I’ve never thought of doing anything else. I can’t imagine not being involved with horses.
If you had a week off, what would you do?
When I get a break, I love to do something with my family: either go to the beach or caddy for my son Charles in a golf tournament.
Who inspires you?
My father was always my greatest inspiration. He loved sports and was very supportive of everything I did.
What talents do you feel you have?
I’ve always been able to get along with a variety of horses. Being able to communicate with them effectively is key.
Do you have a personal motto or catch phrase?
“Try to learn something new every day.”
What’s your favorite item of clothing to wear?
I wear riding clothes almost every day and am most comfortable that way. Riding attire is like most other sportswear now, so it’s really quite comfortable.
What three items can usually be found in your refrigerator?
Usually some Adequan, Legend and occasionally frozen lasagna
What’s your favorite meal?
I love grilling steaks at home with my family.
What would be the best gift in the world?
A week off
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Never getting hurt would be nice.
What’s something everyone should try at least once?
Adopting a dog from a rescue
How would you like people to remember you?
As someone who worked hard, was goal oriented and put the horses first