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That Special Bond – with Heidi Mulari: “Jalisca is the one I miss the most considering her tragic end”

Saturday, 09 May 2020
That Special Bond

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Heidi Mulari with her once-in-a-lifetime horse Jalisca Solier back in 2012. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



We continue our popular series ‘That Special Bond’, this time around moving on to speak with the grooms. After spending years and years travelling the world with Steve Guerdat’s horses, Heidi Mulari is now in charge at home in Elgg, Switzerland for the world no. one and his team. Here, Heidi tells us about which of Steve’s many super-stars that stole her heart, which one she is missing the most and the one that has been the hardest to connect with.


The Special One

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Steve Guerdat and Jalisca Solier in Aachen in 2012. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Jalisca Solier was the horse of a lifetime for me. I spent so much time with her. Jalisca loved people and she didn’t like other horses that much. She was always very sweet and the only time she was grumpy was on the truck because of the other horses. She was actually always happy, especially when food was involved,” Heidi laughs. “Jalisca was really easy going and had no demands. She was just a friendly horse. She had a big, nice canter, but trotted like a lobster – so she was definitely not a dressage horse.”

“The most special moment with her was for sure her first World Cup win in 2006 in Geneva. That was also Steve’s first World Cup win. With her I got to do my first Olympic Games in Beijing and we did two European Championships too – in 2009 she won team gold at Windsor. I don’t think she was meant to jump such big fences, but she had a heart of gold and would always try anything to get the job done.”

“Nino des Buissonnets would be the other horse that meant a lot to me,” Heidi continues. “Well, what can I say about Nino… Jalisca I loved! With Nino it was more like a love/hate relationship. He could be so annoying. But the things he did were incredible. There were many times when I watched him and just thought ‘How can a horse jump like that?’ He was a freak!”

Photo © World of Showjumping Nino des Buissonnets is enjoying his retirement. Photo © World of Showjumping.

“Nino was always biting, and he always walked on my toes. If I told him to go left, he went right... When you came to take care of him, he never showed any appreciation. The only thing Nino liked was to have his ears clipped, but the rest was never good enough for him. When Nino was changing his hair and was itchy, he could actually be really sweet and nice. For the rest he acted as he was annoyed with me, and he might actually have been since I had to spend so much time with him!”

“Also, with the riding Nino wanted to have it his way. He was quite hot, and I really don’t know how Steve managed. The first show they did together they were eliminated, but they got it right eventually,” Heidi smiles. 

“Nino is quite small, 1,65 or something like that, but he acted much bigger – and his ego was larger than a house,” Heidi laughs. 

“Nino is still here with us, enjoying his retirement. When I look at him in the field now, I can’t believe it is the same horse. Looking at photos and videos from not that many years ago and then looking at the hairy beast in the field… It is lovely to see how they change. Now a girl from a neighbouring village hacks him out 3-4 times a week and he is so laid back and nice. That would not have been possible when he was in the sport.”

Missing the Most

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Heidi and Jalisca Solier at the Europeans in Madrid in 2011. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Jalisca is also the one I miss the most considering her tragic end. She was retired in Geneva in December 2013 and during the weekend of the show in Zürich 2014 – in the end of January – she got badly injured in the paddock and had to be put to sleep. I was at the show in Zürich with Steve and we got the call just before the World Cup class. Steve went straight home to say farewell to Jalisca, before he came back to the show to jump Concetto Son in his first ever World Cup class – with only one down. Jalisca was really an unlucky star – she had a colic operation, was operated for a splint bone fracture and then that. It is so tragic that she never got to enjoy her retirement!”

Hardest to Understand

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. “Bianca really doesn’t care. She knows her place very well and she knows she is good," Heidi tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Bianca! It is only the last year that I’m starting to feel that we might have a bit of something between us – at least a beginning to some sort of connection. We had years before where I had the feeling that we had no connection at all. And it is strange to work so much with a horse and then not have any connection at all,” Heidi tells.

“Bianca really doesn’t care. She knows her place very well and she knows she is good. She is much easier at home than on the shows though. But if she gets something in her head and gets scared of something – she is for example terrified of cows – then it takes a really, really long time to get her to calm down again.” 



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