Olivier Philippaerts boarded a plane to Doha today. Later this week he will take part in the Grand Prix there, his first major appointment of the season. The following week, he will compete in the opening of the Longines Global Champions Tour and Longines Global Champions League at the same location. In 2020, he won the opening class of the team competition together with his brother Nicola Philippaerts. Nicola Philippaerts has been staying in the United States since mid-January where he is preparing for the season.
Twin brothers Olivier and Nicola Philippaerts have many similarities, but when it comes to preparing for the season, they each have a completely different approach. Nicola Philippaerts has for years opted for preparation in the United States where he combines business with competing. For his part, Olivier Philippaerts swears by a preparation in Oliva. This year was no different. "In my opinion, this is a good way to prepare for the season", says Olivier Philippaerts. "I rode all the horses in the lower categories to calmly prepare them for the important competitions spread over a whole season. The first important competition is fast approaching. Next week I will leave for Doha where I will first participate in the CSI5* and a week later in the +. With H&M Miro and Mr Idol, I will compete in the different Grand Prix. Which of them I saddle up for the team competition depends on the form they show during the first week."
Olivier Philippaerts always performs very strongly in Doha. In 2020, he won the opening leg of the Global Champions League with Nicola Philippaerts. One year later, he won the opening class. Last year he won, with his new team the Stockholm Hearts, the team that includes Nicola Philippaerts, together with Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Peder Fredricson. "That I perform so well in Doha year after year is partly due to the preparation and conscious choices I make then", says Olivier Philippaerts. "In the team competition last year we finished second. This year I want to do better. Especially the final in Prague was one big disappointment. On an individual level, the ambition is to qualify for the individual final for the first time this year. Another ambition is to try to win a Global Champions Tour competition this year. I have already come second several times. I want to do everything I can this year to wipe that zero off the board. Because if you can finish second, you can also win. I am confident that that first win will come sooner or later. So I'm not worried about that.”
Nicola Philippaerts first flew across the Atlantic a few years ago to prepare his season in the United States. "After all, we are a big company that actually has to be present everywhere. In recent years, we have experienced great growth", Nicola Philippaerts says. "Herefore, I went to the States. On one side to do business and on the other to prepare for the season. I like it here, the conditions are great and Katanga always jumps excellently here. At the first show of the year, she immediately jumped clear. Last week she did so again in a five-star class. The horses should be a bit better prepared here than in Oliva. Over here, 150 cm fences are jumped in any event. Next weekend there is another CSI5* and Katanga can show her potential again. She is in good shape and I hope she can keep that up for a while. Breaks alternated with intensive training and competitions is an ideal mix for me in terms of preparation."
Later this week, Nicola Philippaerts will therefore not be in Doha. He will start the Global Champions Tour courses later. "It could be that we board in Mexico or Miami, but it could also be later. The final schedule is not decided yet. I will return to Belgium in early April to then be ready in May for the first big European appointment: the GP and Nations Cup in Rome", Nicola Philippaerts concludes.