Beatriz Ferrer-Salat: Inspired by Her Family, Worked For Success

Wed, 04/22/2009 - 00:00
Between Heaven and Hell

For Spanish Grand Prix star rider Beatriz Ferrer-Salat a second era in her career as professional rider has commenced. With the Hanoverian gelding Beauvalais, she won individual silver at the 2002 World Equestrian Games and individual bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, but in 2007, the bay was retired at age 20. Grand Prix horses Fabergé and Peter Pan had to fill Beauvalais' shoes and pave the way for Ferrer-Salat's second coming of age on the international scene.

Fabergé was short listed for the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong but had to be withdrawn due to an injury and the Dutch warmblood Peter Pan was still too new at Grand Prix to be up for selection. With her third FEI star Delgado, Ferrer-Salat was able to surface at the top at the 2009 Sunshine Tour CDI. She won almost every single small tour class she had entered with the chestnut Westfalian nearing a 70% score each time.

Delgado is an 8-year old Westfalian bred gelding by De Niro out of Wildrose (by Weltmeyer). He is bred by Wilhelm Lambardt from Hamm, Germany, and was purchased by Ferrer-Salat two years ago. "He is an incredible horse. I bought him when he was six," Ferrer-Salat told Eurodressage. "My friend Frank Lamontagne found him. He also called me for Beauvalais many years ago."

Delgado completes Beatriz' string of FEI horses and is an absolute powerhouse with a great temperament. "He has such a positive attitude," said Beatriz. "He learns very quickly and he has a tremendous physical potential. He's strong in the back and gives you such a powerful feeling. His gaits are fantastic. And he's very cool and well balanced in his head."

Ferrer-Salat started riding at age 15 and her first horse was Vendaval. "He was an anglo-spanish-arabic horse and really naughty. He would often throw me off." Young Beatriz quickly got more serious about dressage and has trained with Pepe Arno, Victor Alvarez and Bernadette Pujals before leaving for Germany. In 1986 Beatriz' home town Barcelona was elected host city for the 1992 Olympics and it boosted her to be serious and professional about dressage. A very sporting atmosphere ruled at her house since her childhood. Her father was the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee at the time and was the 1953 Spanish tennis champion.

Ferrer-Salat left for Germany to train with Georg Theodorescu for five years and then switched to Herbert Rehbein in 1995 until his untimely death in January 1997. The same year, Spain was able to qualify for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta for the first time ever through the European Championships in Mondorf Les Bains, where Beatriz and Vital Robert Worislaw finished sixth with the team. At the Olympics, Ferrer-Salat finished 32nd individually aboard Vital Robert Brillant, but team mate Ignacio Rambla ranked tenth.

After Rehbein's passing, she returned to sunny Spain after having been in cold Germany for seven years. She started riding with Spanish team trainer Jan Bemelmans and has stayed with him ever since. Her horse Beauvalais brought her to international top level. Team bronze and individual silver at the 2002 World Equestrian Games, team silver and individual bronze at the 2003 European Championships, individual silver at the 2004 Olympic Games and team bronze at the 2005 European Championships. Beauvalais was retired in 2007 and Faberge and Peter Pan came along as successors.

Her number one Grand Prix horse Fabergé is still in recovery from his injury that short circuited his show career in the summer of 2008. "Fabergé just started trotting slowly a month ago and he feels good, but I´m going to take it easy. It has taken a few months, but he seems to have recovered," Beatriz told Eurodressage.

So far, Ferrer-Salat has planned to compete at a limited amount of international shows in Europe. She will take Delgado and Peter Pan to the CDI Saumur next week and afterwards she's going to do a kur demonstration at the Global Champions Tour in Valencia, Spain. "Then I have a national show where I want to start in Grand Prix with my horse Cassandro (by Crazy Classic x Werther), the Spanish Championships in June and then we will see, depending on the results and the health of the horses," she explained.

With the outdoor show season ready to start, it was time for a Between Heaven and Hell interview with Beatriz!

Beatriz, what's your favourite dish?
Beatriz: Pasta

If you were to chose a different profession, what would it be?
Beatriz: I would take care of wild animals in Africa

What is the biggest intellectual joy for you?
Beatriz: To read a good book. I love reading different kinds of books, non-fiction as well as novels. I just finished "Un arc-en-ciel dans la nuit" by Dominique Lapierre. I always try to read in original version when it's spanish, french or english). It is a fascinating book about the beginning of South Africa and all the apartheid movement and Mandela. I highly recommend it! Before that I was totally thrilled with the Stieg Larsson´s Millenium series, three detective and crime novels that you can´t put down.

What gives you the most artistic pleasure?
Beatriz: to watch a beautiful painting. I love classical and contemporary painting. My father was an art collector and we always discussed together what paintings to bid on. My favourite painter is Mark Rothko.

What gives you the most physical pleasure?
Beatriz: To watch Joaquin Cortés dancing

What makes you cry?
Beatriz: Any of my animals dying

What annoys you the most?
Beatriz: Cruelty to people and animals

What does heaven look like to you?
Beatriz: Heaven looks to me like a huge place where I will meet many boring people I know

And Hell?
Beatriz: And hell is a red huge place with demons and fire and all my friends who had fun in life

What is the most beautiful place you've ever visited?
Beatriz: Formentera, a small island in the Balears, Spain. 

What is the ugliest place you've ever visited?
Beatriz: I can´t think of any ugly place

At what moment were you the happiest in your life?
Beatriz: When I won my two first medals in Jerez 2002

When were you the saddest in your life?
Beatriz: When my father died. He died suddenly at age 67. The day before, I had lunch with him and he felt just great. At night he went to bed and never woke up. No one had prepared me for such a blow. 

Who would be your favourite one-night stand? 
Beatriz: Johnny Depp

Photos copyrighted: Dirk Caremans - Mirjan Madiol- Astrid Appels

Related Links
Photo Report - 2009 Sunshine Tour CDI
Beatriz Ferrer-Salat Withdraws due to Injured Fabergé
Beauvalais Not to Compete at the 2006 World Equestrian Games
Ferrer-Salat Returns to the Top Echelons of the Game and Wins Bronze at Olympics