A PRIVATE CHAT WITH...

NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS

WHEN WAS YOUR VERY FIRST EQUESTRIAN COMPETITION?
I started at 7 years old at regional events in Flanders. I had to prove myself by jumping two courses to start riding regularly until I was 10-11 years old and then started to show at national events. I have always had the same training program as my brother Olivier. Our father would accompany us whenever he could, but my mother would always be there to support us at the shows.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER?
I’m thinking of two very important moments in my career. My victory in the World Cup Grand Prix in Göteborg in 2014 with Donatella was a fantastic moment I will remember for a long time. And also the Grand Prix of Falsterbo in 2012. It was my first victory in a five-star Grand Prix and I was only 18, so it was amazing!

IF YOU HAD NOT GONE INTO HORSE RIDING, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE DONE?
I don’t know… Probably something related to horses, because I have never known anything else. I have been immersed in this world by my father since I was very young. I have done other sports, like football, but everything brings me back to horses.

You travel a lot. What’s your favourite city?
I would say Paris, an amazing city. I also like London a lot.

What’s your favourite athlete?
I love Michael Phelps. I’ve seen him at the Olympic Games last year and I so much admire this great sportsman and everything he’s achieved in his career. It’s amazing! In show jumping there are lots of riders I admire, like Ludger Beerbaum, Marcus Ehning, Christian Ahlmann. They have a huge career and I learn a lot from just watching them.

Which horse in the five-star circuit would you like to ride ?
Difficult question ! I would say Casall. He is an incredible horse and I would like to know the feeling of riding him on a class.

What kind of music do you like?
I like all types of music. I listen to the hits of the moment.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?
I have had great holidays in the Maldives, a very beautiful place.

Do you have a preferred food?
Steak with french fries and salad.

WHICH OBJECT DO YOU ALWAYS KEEP WITH YOU?
My mobile phone. I like to be connected at all times.

What’s your favourite movie?
I watch a lot of movies and TV series when I am on my way to the shows. In terms of movies, I really like “Seabiscuit”.

AND TV SERIES?
Homeland

Your favourite cocktail ?
Caipirinha

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR IDEAL SUNDAY (WHEN YOU ARE NOT IN A SHOW JUMPING)?
I am very often at events, so on a sunday I don’t have to ride i like to stay at home and relax, spend some time in the stables with my horses and go to a good restaurant.

WHAT IS YOUR EVERYDAY CAR? AND YOUR DREAM CAR?
I drive a Mercedes Class C Coupé and I like a lot of totally different cars, but I would say an Audi RS6.

INTERVIEW & PHOTOS BY JESSICA RODRIGUES

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