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The importance of a good home rider – with Olivier Philippaerts

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ
Olivier Philippaerts. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



As the calendar once again fills up with shows, and most riders are away from home for the majority of each week, WoSJ wanted to look closer at the importance of having a good home rider. Is it possible for the riders to keep their horses in top shape without one? Which qualities do the riders look for in a home rider and is it possible to find the perfect person to take care of the horses at home?

“I think it is not only important, it is crucial,” Olivier Philippaerts highlights. “I cannot even put into words how important having a good home rider is. However, I do believe that it is not only about one rider, but rather the whole system you have in place.”

Olivier’s home rider Nina Kontio has worked for the Philippaerts-family for nearly five years. “Nina and my groom Jacqueline make a good team and I am very happy with their work. Home riders have to do the work at home as if they were going to the show themselves; they have to enjoy seeing the horses develop. I think the development is also their accomplishment since the home riders do at least half of the work with the horses. With the amount of shows that there is week in and week out, my home rider will work the horses more than I do myself. Therefore, I cannot even explain how important it is to have a good rider at home.”

For me it is important that my horses get out and move a lot, I think it is the key to a healthy horse

“The flat work is so important,” Olivier continues. “Once your basic riding is good and you know how to flat work a horse, there is not one stable you cannot go and work at. We all know how hard it is to find a good rider – I would say it is nearly impossible. What I don’t like, is to change my rider often. I really like to keep my staff for a long time. When you have good people working with you, I think it is important to take care of them and try and keep them long-term. In the end, each time you start with a new person, you start from zero. Now, when I go to a show, I don’t need to call home every day to check on my team and ask what they are doing; I trust them, they know me, and this is so important.”

“For me it is important that my horses get out and move a lot, I think it is the key to a healthy horse,” Olivier tells about the system he has in place. “Me and my brothers might have our own styles of riding, but the basics and the systems are the same. Our training system is the same for everyone, but surely each of us have our own little things we do our own way. As a rider, you also have to adapt everything to what works best for you and your horses.”

“I think many people don’t understand the importance of having a good home rider,” Olivier concludes. “Especially if you show and travel a lot, like me and my family, having someone who can manage it all at home is crucial.”


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