This week I’m chatting with the highly talented young Austrian international dressage rider, Paul Jöbstl. Paul has represented his country many times already and enjoyed huge success at the Young Rider European Championships last year. Read on to discover more about Paul, his ambitions, and top tips for success
Tell us a little about you and your horses
My name is Paul Jöbstl and I am an international dressage rider competing for Austria. I am nineteen years of age and making my way to the U25 class together with my new horse Elastico this year. I have represented my country at the European Youth Championships already four times. But, definitely my biggest successes so far have been my medals at the 2021 Junior and 2022 Young Rider European championships with my horse Bodyguard.
How did your horses come into your life?
Horses have always been a big part of my life as my mother is also a grand-prix rider herself. She always took my siblings and me on shows with her. At one point in my life, I decided that I also wanted to do the same. My horses mean the world for me, not just as partners in the sport but also as best friends or soulmates. I could never imagine a life without them.
How did you start riding?
I have been riding since the age of about four years. Back then my siblings and I started on our very first Icelandic-pony called “Poky”. But there was a time where I quit riding for a few months, as it wasn’t really “cool” to ride as a boy in primary school. Nevertheless, I quickly returned. When my family and I moved to Switzerland in 2015 I started my competition career with my father’s mare “Lotte”. And, since then riding has been the biggest part of my life.
When and where do you ride?
I usually drive to the stable, which is about 35 minutes from our home, in the morning and then train my horses together with my mom until midday. In the afternoon I get back to the stables again to take care of the horses and help my sisters, Fanny and Florentina, with their horses. Of course, my daily routine isn’t always the same as nearly every day looks different. I also try to use the off-season in winter to go on training trips with my horses. For example , to Jonny Hilberath’s place in Germany. Normally I train with my mother or Oliver Oelrich but I am always looking to expand my horizon.
What are you and your horses currently working on?
This year I am trying to step foot in the U25 classes together with Elastico. He is not only a superb horse but also a great, sensitive teacher. I am aware that this is my biggest step in my career so far but until now things aren’t going too bad.
With my 12-year-old Dunkelbunt, which I had since he was 5, I am working on improving in the young rider tests. He has been especially difficult with the pirouettes but the training with Isabell Werth in Aachen and Jonny Hilberath helped us a lot. He is now more and more trying to show himself in the arena, which I am very proud of.
Additionally, I am always trying to help my sisters with their horses.
What do you love about riding?
What I love and what also fascinates me about riding is how an animal and a human being can become one element. I love teaching the horses new stuff but also learning from them, as every horse is an individual. And of course, it is those moments in the test when everything just floats but also just when hacking out which make my heartbeat faster.
What I can’t stand in our sport is violence. It just makes me sick. That’s why I am always trying to take sensitive riders as my role models. When I was younger, I sometimes got angry at the horses but meanwhile I’ve learnt that the rider is the one influencing it all. That’s why I think it is always important to work on oneself.
What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I would like to keep riding the big part of my life like it is now. My big dream is to represent my country at the Olympic games with my two sisters by my side.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Of course, especially on big shows I still get very nervous and tend to freeze like a statue on the horse. I also tend to focus too much on the other riders instead of myself, especially on the warm-up or when my class has already started.
But the worst thing by far is when my sisters are competing. My nerves are always completely blank when they enter the arena.
How do you deal with them?
Mental training has helped me a lot throughout the last years in coping with that. So far, the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to just focus on yourself instead of looking left or right.
Your Top Tip
Always focus on going your own way and try to not compare yourself with others. It is great to have a role model, but don’t let this stop you from being yourself.
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
I am already riding my dream horses
Who is your equestrian hero?
Isabell Werth is extremely inspiring but for me but every rider who rides his horse in a sensitive and fair way. I always try to take a role model especially in male riders like Carl Hester, Gareth Hughes, Sönke Rothenberger.
If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?
My family. With me that makes 6.
Favourite colour horse?
I do like black horses and dark chestnuts.
Favourite horse event?
There are so many beautiful shows I’ve been to so far. But I think until now the Europeans 2021 in Oliva.
I just love food in general, doesn’t matter what.
Favourite way to relax?
Listen to music.
I’m a huge fan of all James Bond movies.
If you enjoyed meeting Paul you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Paul’s progress and check out his instagram page here