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That Special Bond – with Edwina Tops-Alexander

Wednesday, 14 December 2016
That Special Bond

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson. Edwina Tops-Alexander with Cevo Itot du Chateau: "Toti was a horse that I trusted and I believed in, and we had that special bond together." Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

In World of Showjumping’s exclusive series ‘That Special Bond’, we talk with some of the top names of the sport to discuss the horses that have shaped their careers, fulfilled their dreams – and sometimes even broken hearts.

In the next part of our series we asked Australian rider Edwina Tops-Alexander – two-time winner of the Longines Global Champions Tour and a three-time Olympian – to name the horses that have meant the most to her during her long and successful career. 

The Special One

“I have had so many fantastic horses, so it wouldn't be fair if I could only mention three. So I have to mention five!

The most special ones to me have been Itot du Chateau, Lintea Tequila, Socrates, Caretina de Joter and Pialotta. I feel like I have been really lucky because I have had incredible horses at the right time of my career, so I appreciate and value all the special moments with these unique horses. 

Obviously, Toti [Itot du Chateau] was a horse that I trusted and I believed in and we had that special bond together. Toti and I had a long and successful career together, and he always gave me his maximum. He didn't feel small to ride at all, although the ground was close – but the bigger the better with him. He is such a loved horse all over the world, and still today he pushes me around when I play with him in the box. He never doubted me, and he grew 10cm when he entered the ring. He really loved to play the game and thrived off spectators. 

Lintea Tequila – well, she is quite special. She is a horse that was underestimated by a lot of people, and a horse that did not arrive at my stables as a Grand Prix horse. Our thoughts were certainly not on the Olympics when she came to us, but she ended up jumping in Rio this summer and did it with so much ease and style. Tequila is a little bit similar to Toti; she has a great mind and great character. Tequila has so much elasticity in her body and sharpness and she is never tired. She is very sure of herself, and also in that sense she is very much like Toti. Tequila is feisty in the stables, and very tough. She loves attention, and she knows she is special. Tequila also loves to give love bites when your not looking. 

Socrates was for me maybe the most clever horse I have ever ridden. What he did and what he won in his career; as a rider you never thought he could do what he ended up doing. Socrates jumped more with his mind and his heart, he was not as athletic as Toti and Tequila. But, he weighed up for not being that athletic by being extremely clever and very kind – he did a lot of surprising things for me. He was also a fighter; he had three colic operations and he always came back. Socrates was not easy to ride, I used to change the bit on him all the time... But every time I went to the ring with him, I knew that if I did not make a mistake we would be clear. 

Pialotta was really where my career at the highest level began. She was already well established, and had won a lot with Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Steve Guerdat. She taught me how to actually sit in the saddle and use my legs. In Australia because the horses have so much blood I couldn't sit in the saddle or touch them with my legs, so I really learnt a lot with her. The feeling on the fence was incredible, and she was very careful and fast. We have received 15 foals now from her, and she is still in France with her friends breeding. 

Caretina is also one of a kind. She is adorable in the stables and very loving. She is incredibly careful and doesn't like to get close to the jumps. Probably, if I never had learnt to ride Pialotta I would have struggled with her. Caretina also has a lot of blood, but she is much cooler in the mind than Tequila. 

I am quite lucky to have Toti and Socrates still at home in Valkenswaard, standing next to each other in the middle of my stable. Sometimes we put them out in the paddock together, but Toti is so bossy that he does not really give Socrates a break. To keep Socrates company, he has a little Falabella called Honolulu living with him – so he has his own little girlfriend.”

The Money Maker

“Without doubt, Toti is the most money earning horse I have had to date. In the Global Champions Tour alone, he has made over 3 million euros. Obviously to make the most money the horse also has to be jumping on the highest level.”

The One That Got Away

“I guess I would have to say Ali’s horse Vienna Olympic, that I rode back when she was seven and eight years old. She is just incredible, like amazing. Not many people believed in that horse, and realized what she could do. Also, Cinsey – Athina's stallion – although he was never going to be a horse for me. However, he is a really, really special horse that I love to watch jump. He is only nine years old and I think a lot of people admire him.”


Text © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen // Picture © Jenny Abrahamsson (No reproduction without permission)

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