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That Special Bond – with Jacqueline Schröder: “H&M Legend of Love taught me to be patient and to give horses their space when they need it”

Wednesday, 23 March 2022
That Special Bond

Jacqueline Schröder with H&M Legend of Love. Photo © Malin Lander.


Text © World of Showjumping


In our series ‘That Special Bond’, we speak with grooms and riders about the horses that have shaped their careers, fulfilled their dreams – and sometimes even broken hearts. This time around, we hear from Jacqueline Schröder, who for the last four years has groomed for Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts. 

The special one

Christian Rhomberg with Saphyr des Lacs at the European Championships in Gothenburg in 2017. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“The special one is Saphyr des Lacs. I took care of him when I was working for Christian Rhomberg back in Austria. We both grew into the sport together and went from the low classes, to do our first Nations Cup and championship. 

He has such a special character and it wasn’t easy in the beginning. You had to take your time with him. Saphyr was not the best traveller and was quite grumpy. However, after spending so much time with him we created a real bond and knew each other inside out. 

When he went into the ring, he knew he had a job to do and always fought and performed well. If he had a pole down, he started kicking and got angry at himself. Outside the ring he was like a little kid; he played with everything and was just so fun to be around. 

When Christian rode him, we did the European Championships in Gothenburg in 2017 and made it to the individual final where he delivered a great clear round. That was a really special moment for me and is something I will never forget.

Eiken Sato rides him now, and they did the Olympics in Tokyo together. That was such a joy for me to follow. I always knew that Saphyr had it in him to do the biggest championships and I was so proud that he could show the world how good he is. I had tears of happiness in my eyes when watching the him perform in Tokyo.” 

Missing the most

Olivier Philippaerts with Freesby de Vy. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“That is Freesby de Vy – alias Superpony. Olivier got her when she was seven, and we always called her the Superpony. She was only 159.5 high, but had such a big heart. That mare just loves to jump.

She was so calm and quiet with me in the stable and friendly to everyone. However, the moment Olivier walked into the stable, she got really excited and when he was on her she just kept going. After the first small jumps in the warm-up, she was always bucking around and was so excited. 

We had her for almost two years, before she was sold to America. I was so in love with her, she was just adorable." 

"Freesby de Vy loved her teddy and always had it with her. I also sent it with to the US when she was sold," Jacqueline explains. Photos © private collection.

"I also have to mention H&M Extra. When I first started working for Olivier it was H&M Extra and H&M Legend of Love that were his top horses and I travelled all over the world with them. Extra was such a gentle stallion. I always had the feeling that he was looking after me. He was so easy to handle, could stay with the door open and only have a stable gate in front – I never had to worry about him being a stallion. 

I have some amazing memories with him; I remember how he went double clear in the Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows to help secure Belgium’s first victory there and then a few weeks later he was double clear in the Nations Cup final in Barcelona. I really miss him a lot.”

Hardest to get to know

"She really knows what she wants and has a lot of integrity. She definitely wants to be the boss, and in her opinion I’m just her assistant," Jacqueline says about H&M Legend of Love. 

“That must be H&M Legend of Love! She is a mare, I tell you. It took me at least six months to connect with her. Now she respects me, and I respect her. She really knows what she wants and has a lot of integrity. She definitely wants to be the boss, and in her opinion I’m just her assistant. Now, we really found a way to get along with each other though, and I can feel that she trusts me – we found a balance. 

Legend is very moody and some days she just doesn’t like to be touched. At home, she prefers to spend her time in the fields or in the forest. And she loves to go to shows – as soon as she hears me open the truck, she is on. At the shows she is in a better mood and there she loves the attention. She is a real fighter in the ring, and she motivates me to do this job – to do it together with her.

The biggest challenge with our job is to keep the horses happy and healthy with our busy showjumping schedule. They are all individuals, and every horse needs different treatment to be at their best. Some horses want attention twelve hours a day, while other need their space. If Legend for example stands with her head out of the box, she is seeking for attention, but when she is standing in the corner I better respect that and close the box to give her some down time. Legend taught me to be patient and to give horses their space when they need it.”



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