World of Showjumping
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That Special Bond – with Francois Mathy Jr.

Tuesday, 04 December 2018
That Special Bond

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Francois Mathy Jr. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

In our series ’That Special Bond’ we speak with some of the top names in the sport about the horses that have shaped their careers, left a lasting impression and sometimes even broken hearts. This time around we sit down with Belgian rider Francois Mathy Jr., who lost a horse that in his eyes was of the same calibre as Milton and Jappeloup. 

The Special One

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson. Francois Mathy with Polinska des Isles. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

“I had two horses that I bought when they were five, and I rode them until they were 14. We did everything together. It was Polinska des Isles and D’Atlantique Royale. It was two really, really good horses and they helped me a lot in my career. We were placed at the Spruce Meadows Masters in the Grand Prix, and we jumped in the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona and were really good there as well as winning a few Grand Prix classes. So, I would have to say these two, as I had them so long. I think I really got a special bond with them both.”

“With my size it is not so easy to find a big enough horse with blood, but these two horses had a lot of blood. And both of them had a lot of personality. They had a lot of temper, but good temper. They were like fire, and we needed to get used to each other. D’Atlantique was very, very strong – I think at every show I was trying a new bit just to get half control of him, because he was kind of dragging me all over the place. But he was an unbelievable jumper. As a young horse he was jumping unbelievable, and he was very special.”

“Polinska was a mare, so I had to deal with her. But when you get a mare fighting for you, you got the best horse you can have. She was fantastic!”

The Money Maker

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson. Francois Mathy with Casanova de L'Herse. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

“I think the horse I have for the moment – Casanova de L’Herse – who is a beautiful stallion, is my money maker. I think he has won a class at every big show this year, and last year. Already as a young horse he was very competitive and he is just a real winner. I got him at the end of his fifth or beginning of his sixth year, and he is ten now.” 

“Casanova is a very good horse. My plan for the future is to use him more as a Grand Prix horse than as a second horse. He is very competitive so I’m tempted to try to win every class with him, but for him to be more consistent I will do more big classes. He is very fast so sometimes when I’m not even trying to win, we still win.”

The One That Got Away

Photo (c) Dirk Caremans/ Kannan with Michel Hecart in the saddle. Photo (c) Dirk Caremans/

“I think that the one that got away is Kannan. I rode the stallion when he was six and seven years old and in the beginning of his eighth year. For me that was a horse like Milton or Jappeloup or one of those super stars. Kannan was a horse that would make you famous. He got sold as an eight years old to Michel Hecart. Riding this horse was another sport – everything was so easy. He was easy, had scope, was competitive and had everything you can wish for in a horse. I rode with a thick snaffle and with normal spurs and he was the most exceptional horse I ever sat on.”  


Text © World of Showjumping

Photos © World of Showjumping and Dirk Caremans/

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