Harry Smulders: ‘We’re just struggling and it’s going well’

This time Harry Smulders has the word in the ‘Countdown to the CHIO’ series. The top rider, who has been #1 in the Longines FEI World Ranking for not so long months, is busier than many colleagues with students around the world. While he also loves to be at home with his wife and children. “The World Cup is my goal this year and whether it succeeds or not determines my plans for the rest of the year.”

A cheerful Brabant contestant throws one joke after another and his clever notes can’t be counted on one hand. It immediately begins with the first question, How are Harry and his horses. “We’re just struggling. He’s actually going really well at it. Some competitions are of course better than others, but I have two beautiful horses and I work every day to maintain that and improve it further.”

Monaco and Bingo du Parc

“Monaco (Cassini II x Contender) is currently my best horse, and in the past year and a half he has been the best performing horse in the world rankings. Besides Monaco, I have my Olympic horse Bingo de Parc (Milord Carthage x Diamant de Semle). The toughest courses in the world fit him. Well. Besides these two horses, I have four other top level horses, six actually, but the last two are still coming, because the corona is a bit late, they haven’t yet been able to make the kilometers they need for the 5* level.”


“That’s why I went to Wellington with three horses at the beginning of this year, it was still very exciting here because of Corona and I wanted to keep going. Monaco vacationed in Wellington for the first time after a busy winter season, then got it back up again and drove about 3* races. In Holland, I installed an indoor stadium in Brabant/Dutch Masters and at the end of the winter season I started the World Cup Final.”

Planning for the World Cup Herning

“In the Netherlands you will definitely see me in Rotterdam. With Monaco I am in the Nations Cup team. He has recently jumped very well in St. Tropez. After Rotterdam I will ride with Bingo du Parc in Aachen, spreading the big competitions for my best horses as much as possible. After these two competitions I hope that I focus my plans on Herning’s restroom. After that I don’t have anything on the agenda yet. The World Cup is my goal this year and whether or not it works out determines my plans for the rest of the year.”

Stronger show

“For me I am satisfied with how things are going at the moment, but I am also satisfied with Dutch showjumping. The individual Olympic medalist Michael van der Vleuten has definitely contributed to that, I think, which has been great. Our show is getting stronger and I definitely see opportunities in Herning Of course, both horses and jockeys need to keep fit, but there is a lot of potential for horses at the moment. Since we currently have more riders at the highest level, the competition is increasing and the level is rising again, you depend on each other.”

It’s time again

We hope Rotterdam can contribute to this. I have very good memories there. Atmosphere and location in the woods, there are always many supporters and I always get a warm welcome. Furthermore, I think it is a great honor to be able to lead for the team in Rotterdam. Aachen is of course Wimbledon equestrian, but Rotterdam also has something very special for me. Speaking of the team, we’re going to do our best this year because it’s been a long time since we won there.” Now we’re silent for a moment. Say Harry, didn’t the TeamNL jump jockeys keep winning last year? Smolders had the most fun: “Exactly yes, It’s already been a year, so it’s time again.”

Flawless jump

As is known, the show jumpers have a new national coach. Gus Lansink is this year at the helm of our nation’s elite vaulting for the first time. When asked if Smulders is noticing changes, he said, “Well, Gus, just like Rob, is clearly expecting us to jump in. Moreover, the collaboration is still early days, and it remains to be seen. However, I don’t expect any major changes. I would like to add That Rob has brought so much to our sport. Under his leadership we have had many great successes, which I believe should be supported.”

prefer home

Smolders participated in all major competitions around the world. Does he have favorite events, i.e. where he likes to go the most? “Bed! Yes, no kidding, we show jumpers working 24 hours a day eight days a week building horses to the highest level. I don’t really care where I do it, there are so many great competitions and beautiful wins all around.”

Source: CHIO

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