« My mom was Darco’s groom. So the Philippaerts family has always treated me like one of their own. I’m fortunate to ride with them.”
With the end of the Grand Prix, the ranking for the best CSI2*-rider of the event was also concluded. It was the Norwegian Jenny Krogsaeter who drove home with the title and a brand-new STX-trailer.
Jenny: « I rode 3 horses this week and only had one down. All my horses were spot on. So, it was hard choosing one of them for the Grand Prix. In the end, I went for Pella Horta (Le Diamant Horta x Lord Z | BWP) and came second in the Grand Prix. »
The Norwegian, Jenny, left her home country three years ago, when she was just 18, to ride in Belgium with the Philippaerts family. « I came down with my own horse to train. But I ended up staying a bit longer, and in the end, Ludo offered me a job. It was either going back to school or doing the job of my dreams at one of the best places in the world. Easy choice! Now, I can’t see myself doing anything else, and I really want to see where this can take me. »
Jenny is the only female rider in the Philippaerts team. She sees that as an advantage: « Boys and girls each have their specific strengths. We always make sure to create the perfect horse-rider combinations. Horses that aren’t a match with the guys might be perfect for me. It’s a big responsibility to ride these horses. But the Philippaerts family believes in me, and they make that clear to me. If they believe it, then I believe it too. »
Jenny is also the only non-family member riding at the stable: « That might be so, but in reality, they treat me as though I am. » This isn’t surprising, as Jenny’s mother has a very special bond with the family. She was Ludo’s very first groom and took care of the legendary Darco. Jenny: « She still talks about him a lot. She says he was super smart and since then she hasn’t seen any horse like him. It’s sad I’m too young to remember him. Even at Stal Philippaerts, his name comes up almost every day. He’s still the standard they compare the other horses to. »
Leaving home as a young girl isn’t easy, especially during the corona period: « During the lockdown, I naturally got to know everyone at the stable very well, but it was hard to connect with people outside. It might have made me a bit lonely. But I think that also made me really focus on riding and improving myself. Last summer my sister joined me here in Belgium. She’s such a good flat rider and a real rock. I feel like I have the perfect team now. »