Interview Bliss Heers – „For the horse sport, there is no better place in the world than Germany!“

10. Sep 13 | 10:41 | By | Category: INTERNATIONAL NEWS, interviews

10. September 2013

A few years ago Bliss Heers came to Germany – first to only ride a few shows. But she stayed, became the girlfriend of Germany´s best young rider Philipp Weishaupt and is riding at Otto Becker´s stable at the moment.

When you get to know this 26 years old charming show jumping lady from California you truly hope she will stay in Germany and fulfill her dream of being at the top with her horses…

 

You are staying in Germany for some time at the moment. How do you like it?

I love it! For the horse sport, there is no better place in the world! But also, I really enjoy the people and the German lifestyle, especially in the small towns! I can’t help but smile every time I drive pass the ice cream shops surrounded by bicycles, or the elderly couples having their afternoon “kaffee und kuchen” at the corner bakery.

 

Will you settle here or do you have plans to go back to the US one day?

Well, you never know what life will bring your way, but as for now, I hope to stay.

 

At which stable are you based at the moment? You are not working for Torben Köhlbrandt anymore I believe?

Right now I have the fantastic opportunity to be stabled at Otto Becker’s. I was in training with Torben Kohlbrandt for over a year. Earlier this year I was offered the opportunity to come to Otto’s stable and to ride a bit for him as well. For me it is a dream opportunity!

 

When did you decide to go to Germany? Why did you make this decision?

To be honest, when I first came to Germany I wasn’t sure what to expect and wasn’t planning on staying here. I originally came with the intention of competing for six weeks in Europe and then returning home. It didn’t take long before I knew I didn’t want to leave!

 

Which is your best horse? How many horses are you riding at shows at the moment?

It’s hard to say which is my best horse. For the last two years, I have had Prado K as my best horse. He is very special and talented. I came to Europe with him as an eight year old and in less than two years we jumped our first 5 star grand prix. But recently I have a new mount, Chintan, the cento stallion owned by Julia Becker. He is really wonderful. Right now I have seven horses that I compete with.  It’s nice to have so many opportunities to go into the competition ring. 

 

German readers know very little about you. So, how did you start riding and falling in love with horses?

Well, when I was little, my father wanted nothing more for me than to be a tennis player.  But then he made the mistake of taking me to the fair and letting me ride the ponies there.  After that I was addicted.  My mother and father also had horses all their lives, but I began show jumping when I was very young. I think it was even before I had my first pony, that I knew names such as Eddie Macken and Paul Schockemöhle, even though I was only in California.  But I was also lucky to have gotten support and advice from people such as Hap Hansen, Susie Hutchinson, and Eddie himself.  But it’s only thanks to my parents and their neverending support that I have this opportunity to make the love of horses my life.

 

Your partner is Philipp Weishaupt, one of Germany´s best young riders. Is it very sad also for you he cannot compete at the championships again? Was it very hard for both of you when the others were riding and winning a medal at Herning?

When Monte Bellini became ill before the Olympics, it was quite a tragic feeling. All you can do in these situations is be there to comfort, encourage, and try to bring back a smile.  It’s such a hopeless feeling really.  But in the end, you know life goes on and new opportunities will come.  I believe that you must always have faith that the good things in life will come and that there will be another chance.

It is now even more discouraging that for a second time in less than two years, he has had to withdraw from a major championship. But, like I said, it’s just a matter of faith. Life goes on and it’s only a matter of time and perseverance before things look bright again. Of course it was difficult to see everyone prepare for the Europeans, and I personally was unbelievably excited to go. I definately feel passionately for Philipps success the same or even more than my own. I’m always doing what I can to try to be there wherever he is competing. But we made the best of a few relaxed days, and of course we supported the others, Philipp especially.  He was supportive of each team member the same as if he himself were still there jumping and was thrilled that his team brought home a silver medal. His team spirit never lessens!

 

You lived in California. Is it sometimes hard not being there anymore where the sun always shines… Instead there is rainy Germany…

Yes! I used to say that I was solar powered so this past winter was especially difficult for me. But I now have great friends and company here in Germany that helps to make the winter and cold a bit easier. Especially when we can all complain about the weather together, which I have found to be a very popular topic here!  (laughs)

 

How often are you going to the US to visit your family and friends?

Unfortunately, I don’t go back to the states very often. Last year, I went back only twice for short visits. I’m very excited, however, because my family is coming to visit me here in Germany in only a few weeks.

 

What was your best moment in show jumping sport?

I really have so many good moments, I can’t really say which was the best! I think my best moment in the show jumping sport was jumping a clear round with Lilly of the Valley in the World Cup Qualifier in Sacramento, California. It was her first big class and we were first in the order. It wasn’t that it was an extraordinary achievement, but the atmosphere and timing of everything that night made the moment epic.

 

Do you have an idol among the show jumpers? If yes, who and why?

I don’t have just one idol among the show jumpers, but many for different reasons. That is one of the reasons I love being in Europe is that on any day, I have the opportunity to watch and learn from all of the best riders in the world.  Everyone can teach you something. I would love to learn to perform and have the determination of Ludger Beerbaum. I admire Bosty, Albert Voorn and Richard Spooner for their unique style and incredible feeling, Michel Robert for his horsemanship, Penelope Leprevost and Marcus Ehning for how beautifully and competitively they ride, Malin Bayard and Laura Kraut for there fighting spirit, cool confidence and attitude… I would love a clinic from them all!

 

Is there a show you would desperately want to go to one day?

Even when I was riding my first pony, in my head I was preparing myself for one show, Aachen!!

 

How does a normal day at the barn look like for you at the moment?

It’s hard to say what a normal day looks like because it’s changing everyday. In any case, I normally have seven horses to look after. Sometimes I’m there to muck out in the morning, sometimes we are preparing everything for an upcoming competition, or going down the road to a national show with some of the young ones. It’s always changing, and I like that about the sport. I normally leave Riesenbeck at 6 or 7 am; spend the day at the stable. Usually I go home around 6 or 7 pm to make dinner. Otto´s  and Julia’s stable is unbelievably beautiful. Between the facility and people, it’s hard to have a bad day!

 

What do you like to do when you are not in the saddle?

I love to run and swim when I have time, but besides that I love to cook!

 

What is making horses so fascinating for you?

I find horses to be much like people with their different personalities. And I love the fact that you can develop a relationship with them. In the horse sport, it is almost impossible to be successful in any aspect of the sport without an idea of the psychology of a horse. It’s a bit like a teacher or a coach needing to understand the needs their pupils. I love the fact that with horses, I am constantly learning.  Just like people, I think every horse is different and each can teach you something.

 

Do you have a special philosophy in life?

Enjoy life and have faith!

 

 

Interview: Alexandra Koch


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