The Philippaerts on all fronts
It's been a busy start to the year for the Philippaerts family. Like many other riders, they will begin the season in Oliva this weekend, with the exception of Nicola Philippaerts who left for Wellington with six horses, including his star Chilli Willi. While this year will be special for many people, it will also be special for Ludo Philippaerts who decided to get back in the saddle a few weeks ago. Following surgery, the former Belgian champion lost 66 lbs and decided to put his boots on again. A decision that he quickly appreciated. We shouldn’t hope to see him again at the highest level, but Ludo Philippaerts knows that his return can help his children, who are often away, by preparing horses for the future for them. He might even take the opportunity to return to competition... Purely for pleasure, he says!
However, the Philippaerts have an enormous thirst to learn and progress. That’s why Thibault left the family stables with six horses to settle for a while at the international German Marco Kutscher. They have but one objective: to make progress!
"I finished school last year and I had this desire to discover something else. At first, I was open to any possibility, either to take my horses with me or work for someone else, and then I eventually had the opportunity to train at Marco Kutscher's and take six horses with me. It was a very enriching experience. Marco is a very calm person who takes his time. I'm happy to be here and I am grateful to my father for everything he has given me and still now for the opportunity he is giving me to make the most of this experience. Obviously, it's not always easy for a father to be both a dad and a coach at the same time. I realize that I take Marco's advice and criticism in a different way than when it came from my dad, but all this is thanks to him" explains Thibault Philippaerts. He was bronze medalist at the European Pony Championships in Malmö after a team silver medal the year before. He was also crowned Belgian children's champion the same year before being vice-champion of Belgian pony the following year. This year, it is very difficult to set goals: "Everything will depend on the health crisis and the resumption of competitions. Of course, I would like to participate in bigger competitions and to take part in the European Championships for Young Riders, but we will see how things will evolve as the year goes by".
Featured photo: sportfot.com