Taking out both the small and big tour at the 2012 CDI Fot at the end of September, Danish Grand Prix rider Helene Melsen says that success outside her home country has made her "feel like a star". Aboard Butler and Akeem, Melsen swept the board taking four trophies and two second places out of six entries at the international show in Hungary.
"In Denmark I am quite normal, but in Fot I was really good," said the 26-year old. Melsen scored 67.316%, 69.053%, and 66.650% in the small tour aboard her grey 9-year old Oldenburg bred Butler (by Royal Diamond x Don Schufro), while with her seasoned partner Akeem, a 16-year old Danish warmblood by Lobster x Aga-Khan, she posted scores of 67.079%, 64.809% and 69.125%.
Helene made her international break through competing in the Under 25 Grand Prix at the 2011 CDIO Aachen last year. The rising star has already had some other memorable moments in her early career.
"I have been awarded three medals in the Nordic Baltic Championships, two silver for teams, and one bronze individual on Akeem," Melsen marked as her biggest achievements so far.
Purchasing three youngsters last year, Helene is excited about her upcoming talents and hopes she can add a few more highlights to that list!
"The three young horses I purchased, I think will be very good. One we bred ourselves and he is the 4-year old Roberto (by Romanov x Fanando), whom we hope will begin competing in 2013. The second I bought at an auction and is another 4-year old called Rossetti (by Romanov x Midt-west Ibi-light), and he will make his competition debut in October .
The third horse comes from Jørgen Olsen and is the 3-year old Elliort (by Electric x Schwadroneur), who I will compete next year in the young horse classes," Melsen explained.
Hoping to ride Grand Prix on Butler next year, Helene is glad to have some quality horses on the way, but hopes that her main man still has some life in him yet!. "I do hope that Akeem is still going strong next year, as by then he will be 17 years old," she admitted.
Other big news in the barn is that Helene has a new top dog in town: a brand new Jack Russel puppy.
Helene Melsen's Between Heaven and Hell
What's your favourite dish? Sushi
What is the biggest intellectual joy for you? When I am with people outside the "horse-world"
What gives you the most artistic pleasure? Listening to old music
What gives you the most physical pleasure? Being tired after riding 7-8 horses
What makes you cry? When I feel people have been treating me unfairly
What annoys you the most? "Dressage" riders who think they know better
What does heaven look like to you? Heaven is beautiful, light and warm.
And Hell? Hell is black, dirty and cold.
What is the most beautiful place you've ever visited? My mother's farm
What is the ugliest place you've ever visited? Anywhere where there are people and animals starving.
At what moment were you the happiest in your life? When I met my boyfriend
When were you the saddest in your life? When my dog died
Who would be your favourite one-night stand? Jude Law
Photos © Astrid Appels
Text by Sarah Warne
Scores 2012 CDI Fot