This week I’m chatting with the lovely and incredibly talented, Belgian dressage rider Liselot Dupont. Liselot and her highly respected father, Jan Dupont train and produce horses together on their own yard and have produced some star performers for top international riders as well as training riders of all levels, from all over the world. Read on to find out more about this talented and extremely busy young lady, her horses, and her life to date.
Tell us a little about you and your horses
My name is Liselot Dupont, I’m a 31y old dressage rider. My father (Jan Dupont) and I own a yard in Aalter (Belgium) where we train horses together. Since I was a little girl, I knew this is what I wanted to do. It’s something unique, that I can learn and do this together with my father.
I have many horses to train but my top horse at the moment is Houdini, who I have had since he was 3 years old. Now he is 8y and competing at grand prix level. He’s a small chestnut horse with the biggest heart for his rider.
How did your horses come into your life?
The horses I own or owned always came into our lives by accident. Sometimes when you are on the road looking for horses for other people or sometimes a horse comes into our yard cause people don’t know what to do with it and we see a good horse deep down.
How long have you been riding?
At the age of 3 years old I got my first own pony called Annabelle; I think that’s where it started.
When and where do you ride?
We own a yard in Belgium, and we also live above our stables. So, in the morning I wake up, go down the stairs and start riding from morning till evening.
How did you start riding?
Since the day I was born my life was all about horses. Because I was practically born between them. I started incredibly early, I always wanted to sit on the horse the moment my dad had finished riding one.
What are you and your horses currently working on?
Because I have many horses to ride this would be awfully long to explain but there is one key thing for every horse to work on from 3-year-old till GP is suppleness and self-carriage. I think it’s important for people to know that what level you ride, it’s always back to basics and structure. So never think ‘I will never be able to do that’
What do you love about riding?
My passion is to train horses. I love the journey you make with them, seeing them grow from youngsters into real athletes. And it’s nice to make a profession out of my hobby, but even now after the worst day you can go for a ride and come of your horse with a smile
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
For me it’s all about the training, I enjoy the journey. When you have done a good job training them to a certain level then I go to competitions. For me competitions are a cherry on top of the cake you have built but it’s not the must. My goals I always have to adapt because I ride horses owned by other people, so it depends on what the owner wants to do with their horse, sell them or keep a bit longer like I now have the chance with Houdini. But it definitely would be nice to have a horse to keep for the bigger events.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I don’t really get nervous before a test; I enjoy the excitement of competing and going into my little bubble with my horse.
How do you deal with them?
I haven’t had to deal with them, but I also believe there is a reason for that. Many people leave for competition not prepared or ready for the level they want to ride. My experience is that when you are confident at home with the exercises you have to do on competition, you won’t have a lot of stress.
Your Top Tip
My equestrian hero once asked me “when do you think you have trained a horse in a good way?”
The answer was simple: when he is as supple when he’s going grand prix as the day you bought him at the age of three; Then you did a good job and didn’t turn him into a circus act’
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
I saw Romanov with Rudolf Zeilinger and must say it looked so amazing that it gave me goosebumps. So that would have been nice to ride.
Who is your equestrian hero?
Definitely Rudolf Zeilinger. A real horseman who can lift every horse up their potential without turning them into a circus act.
If you could have five people to dinner, who would they be?
Jan Rombaut , Sophie D’Haeye , Sophie Defour , Michel Heyvaert , Jan Dupont
Favourite colour horse?
A grey horse still makes me melt a bit more, but I think every horse can be beautiful to look at when correctly trained
Favourite horse event
The show I loved competing at the most was at CDI Compiegne. It’s such a beautiful location in the forest and the atmosphere is wonderful. Even though this is one of the bigger shows of the season it’s very quiet to ride there.
This is a tough one because food and eating is my hobby. But I do really like Tapas, this way you can eat small bits of everything. Also, the idea of sharing your food with friends is what makes it cosy.
Favourite way to relax
When I’m done early with work, I love to take the dogs to beach for a long walk.
If you enjoyed meeting Liselot you might like to view more chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Liselot’s progress, check out some of the amazing horses and ponies currently being produced and watch training videos on her instagram page here