For The Netherlands’ Henk Frederiks, the Longines EEF Series Final in Warsaw is the culmination of a season’s work that has seen his series Horse of the Year nominee, Impian D, go from strength to strength.
“It’s been great, the shows are all very good and they have picked beautiful locations – Peelbergen and Mannheim in particular,” Henk says of his experience of the 2023 Series. “Plus, the competitions are great for the horses, you can start the season at 1.45m doing 2 rounds, and this is a very nice way for the horses to develop at lovely shows in beautiful areas.”
As an integral member of the Dutch team, jumping clears in Aalborg, Drammen and Ebreichsdorf, “Impie” earned himself a nomination for the Longines EEF Series Horse of the Year, in association with the Jumping Owners Club. “I know I have a horse of top quality, I’ve never had such a good horse in my life,” Henk said of the 10-year-old stallion, that he’s had the ride on since he was an inexperienced 4-year-old.
“We started at the lowest level and have been everywhere together. He wants to give everything, but he’s not like a big powerhouse, so my goal this year was to keep him happy.” He said of the sensitive Dutch Warmblood. “I decided early on that I was going to do 3* competitions with him this season so he could gain strength and experience, and then next year, step up a level. That’s why the Series has been so good for us.”
“He’s not the biggest horse, but he’s big enough - with me they just don’t look that big!” Henk smiled. “In the beginning we never thought he was going to be a 1.60m jumper, but it never felt big with him and every time we have stepped up a level in this Series his attitude has been “this is easy”. So I have a 5* horse in the making for sure”.
As a cool-headed individual, Henk’s customary role throughout the Longines EEF Series has been the lynchpin and final rider of the team. But he’s ready to relinquish this role in the Final tomorrow if the team tactics require it. “Vincent [Voorn, Dutch Chef d’Equipe] has already told us that the main goal of being here is to win the Nations Cup tomorrow.” Henk said of the team’s aim, “We have Kevin [Jochems] here who is a top 5* rider, so for sure I think he is going to be our anchorman rather than me, and that’s up to Vincent and what he thinks will be the best strategy for us. So now we just have to hope for the best for tomorrow.”