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That Special Bond – with Sean Lynch: “First Class van Eeckelghem was the one for me”

Saturday, 13 June 2020
That Special Bond

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Sean Lynch together with First Class van Eeckelghem. "He had a character like no other," Sean tells. 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. Here, Daniel Deusser’s long-time groom Sean Lynch tells about the horse that made him cry for weeks, which horse he has the best connection with and which one he doesn’t know at all. 

Missing the Most

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping "First Class van Eeckelghem is the best horse I have ever looked after. He took Daniel and me to our first Olympic Games and won a medal," Sean tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“First Class van Eeckelghem was the one for me. First Class was weird, special and spooky but he had the biggest heart. He is the best horse I have ever looked after. He took Daniel and me to our first Olympic Games and won a medal. He jumped clear after clear and it was such a joy to take him to shows. He also had a character like no other.

When he passed away, it was obviously the most difficult time in my career. You can’t even imagine until it happens to you – the feeling is horrible. When I got the phone call, I was at the LGCT in Paris. First Class was in the clinic after having colic surgery and in the evening the vet called. I don’t think I have ever cried that much. It is the worst feeling I have ever had.

I will never forget the almost three years I did shows with him – he was everything. First Class was the horse of my life and I will tell my children and grandchildren about him. I wear a bracelet with his hair all the time and I have his show head collar framed in the stable."

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Daniel Deusser with First Class van Eeckelghem at Spruce Meadows. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

"I have such an amount of memories of Grand Prix classes that horse jumped clear in. But the thing is not that he was so good, it was his character that was unbelievable. He was so kind. He was like a big friendly giant!

I was really considering to stop grooming when First Class passed away. What Daniel did for me to try to get me back to a normal place was amazing. 

The breeder has a full brother to First Class and I got to see a video of him in Mechelen last year – I cried again! He had the same shape over the jumps, the same colour and it was so much similarity between the two of them.” 

The Special One

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. "Tobago is the reason I’m still doing this job," Sean says. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“The special one is Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z. When he first came, I wasn’t struck by him though. He had zero character – he stood in the back of the box and it was nothing about him that drew my attention towards him. 

But then in Knokke in 2017 – two weeks after First Class had died – something happened. First Class did certain things in the stable that no other horse does, like a very soft kick in the wall with his right hind leg while feeding and standing on a specific spot in the box. In Knokke, Tobago did exactly the same things from Thursday until Sunday. He had never done it before and never again after that weekend. Since then we have been inseparable. That is the weekend when he stole my heart and after that he just got better and better.

The more shows he has done, the bigger his heart and the bigger his character has become. Tobago is the reason I’m still doing this job. When I come home from a show where I didn’t bring him, the first thing I do is to call him and he is at his door straight away.

He is so naughty and he knows he is a favourite. He knows exactly to which people to go to when he wants candy. A lot of grooms like him, so when hand walking he stops by every stable where he got candy the day before. And he loves bananas.

In Chantilly in 2016, First Class was second in the LGCT Grand Prix and two years later Tobago was second in the same class – I cried my eyes out! When Tobago stops I will stop, but he is only 12 so I hope it will be a few more years. 

Tobago makes me smile every day!”

Hardest to Get to Know

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. “Kiana van het Herdershof is the most difficult horse I have ever met in my whole life," Sean says. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Kiana van het Herdershof! She is the most difficult horse I have ever met in my whole life. 

At home and at shows she is a completely different horse. At home it isn’t a daily struggle, she knows the system, the surroundings and enjoys the paddock. But at the shows everything changes. For example, it took me seven months to get her to the wash place at the shows. And whenever she doesn’t like anything she goes up in the air. 

The home groom gets on really well with her, but I have no idea. I travelled so much with her so you could think we should have some connection by now, but none. I will probably never understand her. I can’t understand what and how she is feeling or how she can change so much from minute to minute.

I have been taking care of so many horses, so it makes me mad that I can’t understand her!”

 

No reproduction without permission, copyright © World of Showjumping

 



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