Interview Edwina Tops-Alexander – “A lot of things in life are possible it’s just how you approach it…”

08. Nov 12 | 6:47 | By | Category: INTERNATIONAL NEWS, interviews


She is one of the most brilliant female riders in the world – many say along with Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum the best over the last few years. Experts and the public first really recognized her when she reached the final Top Four at the WEG in Aachen 2006. Since then the Australian born now situated in the Netherlands rider made it to the top of the show jumping world.

After many successes the GCT Final in Abu Dhabi is just ahead – and Edwina´s goal is to repeat winning the title after her triumph last year.

She told us about her Olympic year, the star horses and new talents and about her feelings towards horses…


You can look back on a quite successful year. In the Global Champions Tour Ranking you are the leader again… How do you look ahead on the event in Abu Dhabi and your chances there? Which horses will go there with you?

Itot de Chateau, my very best horse, is in the planning to go together with my very good 8 years old Erenice Horta. She is a real star. I’m really looking forward to the final because it´s going to be very exciting. I think that it couldn’t get better than this. Let´s see where we can get this year.


What is your opinion of the successes this year so far? Was it a good year for you?

Till now I’m very happy though of course I would have preferred to of achieved a better result in the Olympics but looking back I cannot complain. This year Itot de Chateau alone has won almost 1 million Euros and is till this date the highest earning horse in the world this year.  The year is still young so ask me at the end of the year again if it was a good year…


How do you look back at the Olympics? Are you satisfied with your result there (20th place)? Many people said you could go for a medal. Did you hope for that too?

Well, as I said before I had wished for a better result. But I feel good that people had this expectation and of course I hoped for this but unfortunately due the schedule of the events as there was not enough breaks in between my horse suffered from this and couldn’t recover quick enough. I didn’t expect this could happen to Itot but it did and I was very disappointed. It’s a shame because Itot was in great shape and he was 3rd coming into the final. Of course this suited some horses better but it was a rule in the FEI that there had to be a certain amount of breaks in between the jumping but they took this rule out before London. I hope for Rio they think more about the horses than the public…


How did your experience the days in London? How did you like the courses?

London in fact was very boring to me because I was only there to ride and with one horse there is not a lot to do.

Focusing on the courses I thought Bob Ellis did a fantastic job and the fences and flowers etc. looked incredible. These were very beautifully designed courses.


Itot de Chateau is now 16 years old. What do you plan for him in the next time as he is not a young horse anymore? Will there be another championship for him?

Like I said before he will go to Abu Dhabi and then I will take it from there.

Obviously he will not compete again in the Olympics or the World Equestrian Games but hopefully there will be the GCT next year…


Which of your young horses is your biggest hope for the future?

I’m really fortunate I have many good young horses. I have two top 8 years old and two fantastic 7 years old. I’m really excited about all of them. My 8 years old Erenice Horta looks very promising and my other 8 years Ego van Orti was already placed in a GCT event this year.


You wrote a book recently – please tell our readers what it is about and how you got the idea of becoming a writer.

I was asked to give my story and I wrote it together with Virginie Eiffel Couperie. There is a series of these books and Kevin Staut’s book was the first one. There are more riders that will also give their stories. I wouldn’t call it a biography but it’s basically a story about all the important and crucial moments in my riding career which it´s aimed at all age groups. It’s very easy to read and I explain briefly about how I came to this stage on my life. There is a lot a lot of humor in it and some basic exercises for kids. It was a lot of work and I’m very happy with the book. The book comes in English and French. I would one day like to write a biography and more depth about my career because there are so many interesting times in my career that I would like to write about. But I have not much time for this now…


You´re having a contract with the famous fashion house Gucci. Have you always been in love with fashion? Is it fun modeling for them?

I love fashion so I’m a lucky girl to be an ambassador for Gucci. I love wearing their clothes and I recently did a photo shoot/ interview for Vogue. I certainly cannot complain.


You married Jan Tops earlier this year. How did your unique relationship begin many years ago? How did you meet him?

Jan and I met through business more than 10 years ago. We are very lucky to have the same vision and understanding of each others ambitions and that’s why we have a really unique relationship.



After getting married do you think of children like many other women in horsesport did recently. Do you think being a mom and riding is easy to adjust?

Rather a personal question but let’s just say I love kids and I admire the women riders who have combined children with their career. Everything in life is possible it is just about management and making decisions.


Many experts say you´re having a very special relationship to your horses like a “horse whisperer”. How would you describe what your horses mean to you?

I wouldn’t call myself a horse whisperer but I really love my horses a lot and maybe this is what they feel. I believe that horses have an incredible instinct and they are so vulnerable. I think as a rider I compromise a lot with the horses and I feel that this is a big part of my success. George Morris told me one time that I compromise too much but I think that everybody is born with different qualities and you can only go so far into changing these qualities before you will lose the natural side of things and this is how I think with the horses. One thing is for sure you can’t make a monkey fly.


Which shows are you preparing for in winter? Will you do the World Cup season? Or will the horses get some longer rest?

The horses definitely get some rest in between shows but I will be myself every week on a show till Xmas. Then I will take a rest for a few weeks. As I’m in the Top 10 I’m entitled to go to all the World Cup shows and they are the best indoor shows. So of course I will do the World Cup.


Finally: Do you have a special philosophy for life?

Well I believe within limits a lot of things in life are possible it’s just how you approach it. Basically I believe we are capable of many things in life but if we don’t believe in them our subconsciousness will take over. The mind is a lot stronger than many people think and being in the right frame of mind can change many aspects of our life.


If a good fairy would come along and you had one wish – what would it be?

For my family, including my horses, to have good health forever.


Interview: Alexandra Koch

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