Four Thijssens in one national championship – what a fortune


Mel Thiessen on Sunday in Deurne en route to the title in her age group.Jerry Bowler Statue

When the national anthem is heard during the Dutch vaulting championships in Deurne, jumper “Leon Thijssen” must – in his own words – do his best to show decency. His aversion to the national anthem has something to do with his long-running dispute with the Dutch state.

Two years ago, Fiod investigators raided Thijssen’s company in Limburg and confiscated the management of his trading stable. Due to the opaque tax rules in the world of horse trading, tax authorities have carried out various raids on horse dealers in recent years.

Last year, Spaniard Javier S., who lives in Valkensward, was sentenced to nine months in prison for laundering millions of euros. Various other cases are still ongoing, including that of ThyssenKrupp, which frustrated him. “I’ve been fighting for nothing for two years. I have absolutely nothing to hide,” says Thijssen at Deurne, where he participated in a national title fight with two young horses.

The 54-year-old show jumper describes it as annoying that the Fiod affair still haunts him, but he doesn’t think his name has been tarnished because of it. “No, I don’t care about that. So do people who know me. I respect people who respect me, but I don’t see people who don’t respect me.”

Thijssen has no idea when the clarity will be in his case. I have a feeling the civil servants are doing their best. I try not to get into it too much, I’m too busy for that,” said the Flying player who has been part of the Dutch squad for many years in the past.

three children

Thijssen operates two commercial stables in Sevenum, North Limburg, with a total of 66 horses and eighteen employees. In addition, he and his wife Doreen have three very talented children who all participate in international jumping competitions.

23-year-old Sunny is already a big name in showjumping. It is part of the Olympic framework and last year won the prestigious CHIO Prize in Rotterdam. 21-year-old Mel and 19-year-old Mann are also making progress and are both part of the KNHS Equestrian Federation’s talent squad.

The Tejsen family has had a big scoop in recent days. Leon and his three sons made their senior national championship debut. “This is very special,” says Thijssen the father dryly after carefully watching his eldest daughter’s performance. “We all participate in competitions often, but we haven’t seen four Thijssens in the starting list for the Dutch championships yet.”

Three children engaged in equestrian sports. This is an expensive hobby. On average, it costs several tens of thousands of euros per year to participate in international competitions with one horse.

‘The trick is to sell good horses at the right time. It may be unfortunate, but it is necessary to be able to save money for the best sport. And of course I have to keep my business going and pay my employees. It is certainly not easy to find a good balance between trade and sport’ , says Tejsen, who once sold a horse for around 1 million euros.

After years of investing and training horses, successful riders can finally make a lot of money with prize money. This also applies to Sanne Thijssen with her top horse, 16-year-old Con Quidam, who has been under the saddle for seven years. At the age of 15 she already won a car with this stallion. Leon Thiessen: I sold that car straight away, so we can invest in new horses again.

no fight

Sanne, Mel, and Mans currently have one large horse and a few other horses to train. “No, we never argued over who could ride which horse,” Sanne Thijssen said on Sunday afternoon after a clear first run with her young horse Hi There. “Our Father decides who gets the horses and sometimes we trade amongst ourselves.”

After four parts NK, Sanne Thijssen surprisingly won the bronze medal on Sunday afternoon. After all, the eldest of the three children (and according to her father the greatest talent) traveled to Brabant not with her best horse Kon Quidam, but with the only 10-year-old, Hi There. Willem Gref became Dutch champion, and Bart Beals finished in second place.

Leon Thyssen mainly used the Dutch National Championships to allow two horses to gain experience and his two youngest children still lacked the flying hours among the elderly. His middle daughter Mel Thijsen crowned herself as National Champion in Young Riders (age range up to 21). So the national anthem still rings for the descendant of Tejsen, a mixed delight for the father.

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