Harrie Smolders immediately anticipates: "Is that a good opener for a stallion?
To which Alex responds: "Emerald has a golden character, although you have to take his personality into account. But actually that is something we do every day with all people and animals. I admit it took a while before I could read him and we understood each other. His stable, for example, is his home and you can only come in when he invites you. Fortunately we are always welcome and his door is open for us. Emerald also likes a clean house. He always does his big message in the wash place.
He is clearly the boss in the stable and he achieved that status without having to make too much noise. He simply radiates that supremacy and loves to be in the spot lights. When he comes to a show, everyone will know. Then he clearly makes himself heard, and then he subsequently mainly sleeps. "
Harrie joins him: "it is true that his stable is his territory. Apparently that is a trait of his father. With Don you recognize that as well. I was told that it is also the case with Diamant de Semilly. If you come in unsolicited, he will put you back outside. It's funny to observe that. A new groom is always tested. Putting on a halter? Then I just raise my head in the air or push her against the wall. Just a small check to see who I am working with. It's nice to see how smart those horses are and how they judge and try you out right away. It is also wonderful to see the humanity of a stallion. It is true that Emerald is a bit introverted, or sometimes grumpy as Alex says, but when he sees a photographer or camera, he immediately switches and stands out like a pop star. Just as an artist he retreats himself modestly and in isolation in his box, until he comes on stage and undergoes a metamorphosis. In this way Emerald can adapt very quickly. Emerald has a true rock and roll style. And he is also photogenic and he knows it.
Harrie Smolders became number 1 in the world with Emerald and Don VHP. "No matter how different they are, both stallions are out of category and that implies that I feel extremely good with both. Even though they require a very different approach. And regardless of the type and personality, if a horse can convince you, you like to ride it. And then it is no effort to adjust. Because that is necessary. It is no different in humans than in horses. Some horses you have to give a pat and motivate them. You must place it on a pedestal. With others you have to be above them.
You have a different bond with each horse and it is very important to know and understand the characters and personalities of all your horses. When I walk through the stable in the morning, I already know how they feel. The interaction with a horse is a mind game. You can't talk to them, so you have to feel it. Emerald was hard to train at home, he really didn't care. Let's watch a good movie with a bag of chips, isn't that a better idea? That's Emerald. It was also important to build him up for the big competitions through jumping smaller classes, but there was a big difference between the Emerald who had to perform at 8:00 AM in front of empty stands or at 8:00 PM in front of a full house and under loud applause. Some horses are impressed by that, Emerald loved it and that gave him more adrenaline. Conversely, he found it under his dignity to jump in front of empty stands. And certainly early in the morning. Then it was difficult for him to be motivated.
‘Emerald has a true rock and roll style’
‘There was a big difference between the Emerald who had to perform at 8:00 AM in front of empty stands or at 8:00 PM in front of a full house and under loud applause. Emerald enjoyed it’
Photocredit: Dirk Caremans