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That Special Bond – with Madelen Isaksson: “Casello was my best friend!”

Tuesday, 16 March 2021
That Special Bond

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping “Casello had such a funny character, was really intelligent and a bit quirky,” Madde tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

After eight years as Douglas Lindelöw’s show groom, Madelen Isaksson is soon to start a new chapter. During her time with Lindelöw, Madde has had the pleasure to take care of some incredible horses – and there are in particular three of them that always will have a special place in her heart. 

 

The Special One

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Casello stands out as my best friend,” Madde says. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“The special one is Casello: He was my best friend,” Madde tells. “Casello came to Douglas when he was a 3-year-old, so he was there when I started up as a groom in 2013 and until he was sold in 2015.”

“Casello had such a funny character, was really intelligent and a bit quirky,” Madde says about the now 18-year-old gelding by Casall x Carolus I. “Because Casello was so clever and also very candy-motivated, I could teach him a lot of tricks – he was a real entertainer! For example, I taught him to stick out his tongue if he wanted candy. I would ask him “Where is the tongue?”, while putting a finger on his muzzle, and he would stick the tongue out to get a treat.  Casello could also be a bit grumpy and naughty, and if I told him off for misbehaving, he would just stick the tongue out and then all was good again in his opinion,” Madde laughs. “We were really like best friends, the two of us.”

“Casello was also special in the way that he took me to my first World Cup Final and to my first European Championship – in 2015,” Madde smiles. “Although Casello was a real athlete in the ring, he was very lazy and did not enjoy any kind of flatwork.” 

“It all got a bit of a sad end though, as in 2015, Casello’s co-owners wanted to sell him,” Madde tells. “It was the first time I got to experience this side of the sport. That really made me realize that as much as you and others around you want to, it is not always possible to keep the horses – sometimes it is simply about the money. It was a very difficult time, as there were so many stories in the media about the situation that led to the sale – and it was my best friend they were writing about.”

“Luckily, it all ended well when Madeleine Winter-Schulze bought Casello for Ludger Beerbaum to ride. I am really glad he ended there and not somewhere else,” Madde says. 

“Although I got close to some of Douglas’ other horses too, Casello stands out as my best friend,” Madde says. 

Missing the Most

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping “Zacramento was just such a good and easy-going guy with absolutely everything," Madde tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“I could for sure have put Casello in this category too, but I would have to say Zacramento,” Madde says about the now 16-year-old gelding by Cardento x Cortus. “Zacramento was just such a good and easy-going guy with absolutely everything – from being in the field to travelling. Usually, you are never as lucky as having your best horse being the easiest too.”

“Zacramento’s mother was a riding school horse, and I think he must have inherited some of her temperament as he was just the most well-behaved guy,” Madde continues. “I am a bit scared of riding, but with Zacramento I never had a worry. Whereas most of our other horses would start running if they wanted to get in from the field because they were tired of being out, Zacramento would rather just lay down to sleep instead,” Madde laughs. “He was that kind of horse.”

“Zacramento was not the flashiest or the most scopey horse. When you saw him jump at home or in the warm-up, he never struck you as anything special – and certainly not as a championship horse,” Madde tells. “But when he came in the ring he changed. I think what made him so exceptionally good in the ring was that he was really smart and did what had to be done. He relaxed when he could, and then just found this little nerve in him that came to good use when he went in the ring.”

“Zacramento ended up with a team silver medal at the European Championships in Gothenburg in 2017, jumped at the World Cup Final in Paris in 2018, won the World Cup in Oslo in 2018 and the Nations Cup in Rotterdam in 2017. When you took him to the ring, you knew he would not let you down – he always gave his best and delivered. He was one to trust!” Madde says.

“When Zacramento came to us in 2016 he was a bit shy,” Madde tells. “My theory is that if you have horses you want to be the best, you have to let them build up a little bit of an ego. They really need this when they compete, so seeing that Zacramento was a bit shy I let him do a bit what he wanted to. When he left Douglas at the end of 2018, Zacramento had lost all of his shyness and was the king of the stables!”

Hardest to Get to Know

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping "While he has a huge and kind heart, and never would do anything wrong on purpose, he can get so incredibly scared – he always has a foot in the door, ready to escape," Madde tells about Cheldon. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“That’s Cheldon,” Madde tells about the 12-year-old gelding by Chacco-Blue x Baloubet du Rouet. “Cheldon has been with us since he was six, now he is twelve. He was always a handful, and a bit wild. While he has a huge and kind heart, and never would do anything wrong on purpose, he can get so incredibly scared – he always has a foot in the door, ready to escape.”

“Cheldon has had a hard time trusting people, and it took a long time to get him to trust Douglas and me,” Madde continues. “One of the most difficult things with him has been getting on to ride. He just got in complete panic and tried to run off – which has been really scary as he is quite big and strong. For a long time, it was very stressful every time Douglas was getting on him – Cheldon was scared, I got scared, he got more scared because I was scared… We really had to try out different things to make it work, and it was very frustrating to have a horse I did not understand how to help. I just wished he could talk to me to tell me what he was scared of.”

“Cheldon is also very insecure around other horses, which has made me think that he perhaps was low down on the rank in the group he grew up with as a youngster – so that might be some of the reason why he is like he is,” Madde says.

“I have spent huge amounts of time with Cheldon to earn his trust, and with this we both calmed down around each other,” Madde tells. “The most difficult for Cheldon is to have someone he does not know doing something with him that he is not used to – he likes things to be the same and to have his routines.”

“When you have a horse as good as him, but that is this difficult, you just have to make it work somehow – and we did,” Madde says. “By now, we have found out how Cheldon prefers it and that’s the way we do it. Douglas does not ride him all that much at home, he goes on the lunge a lot and in the paddock. At the shows, we try to keep this routine so I lunge him and then Douglas gets on shortly before the class to make a few jumps.”

“Luckily, over time he has gained more self-esteem and now he is less shy than he used to be – sometimes I think he even enjoys himself a bit,” Madde laughs. 

“Cheldon has certainly taught me that with horses you have to be flexible and be open for solutions that are outside of what you normally would do. All horses are different, and what works on one horse will perhaps not work on another,” Madde concludes. 

 

No reproduction without written permission, copyright © World of Showjumping

 



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