The 31-year old Grand Prix rider Carola Koppelmann is one of the silent forces in Germany, slowly building up a solid string of powerhouse horses that systematically put her in the winner's circle. She initially made international fame riding her own Le Bo to a fourth place at the 1999 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses. In 2005 the first apex of her career took place when she became reserve German Grand Prix dressage champion with him. One year later she rode Comic Hilltop FRH to victory in the 2006 Nurnberg Burgpokal Finals, only a few months after she had become reserve Bundeschampion with Dr. Cesar Parra's Oldenburg stallion Donovan (by Diamond Hit). Now three years later her collection of ribbons and trophies has not stopped growing.
"You have those people who can be spontaneous and do crazy things like fly to Miami for instance. I would love to be a bit more spontaneous myself," she once confessed in an interview. It is horses which prevent her from having a wild social life. "I rarely go on holiday, simply because I'm such a nitpicker with horses. I always prefer to do everything myself."
As of 2001, Carola is a certified riding instructor at the DOKR riding centre in Warendorf. Trained by Klaus Balkenhol, she is a rider successful thanks to her elegant and soft riding style, which has inspired many renowned horse owners to offer the ride on their horses to this young one. Carola is currently riding German chef d'equipe Holger Schmezer's Trakehner gelding Hinnerk TSF (by Buddenbrock x Ravel) and the licensed Trakehner stallion Insterburg TSF (by Hohenstein x Giorgio Armani). Both horses qualified and competed at the 2007 Nurnberg Burgpokal Finals.
The stepping stone horse in her career is the now 16-year old Hanoverian gelding Le Bo (by Lauries Crusador xx x Eisenherz). The chestnut gelding was reserve champion at the 1998 Bundeschampionate and finished fourth as a 6-year old at the 1999 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Arnheim, The Netherlands. The same year, he was proclaimed Hanoverian of the Year. Carola got the ride on Le Bo when he was a three year old but she acquired him for herself in 2002. "It was a great day when she became his owner," mother Barbara told Eurodressage. The highlight of her career so far was in 2005 when she became reserve German dressage Champion with Le Bo behind Heike Kemmer and ahead of Anja Plonzke.
Horses are deeply ingrained in the lives of the Koppelmann family. Based in Kehdingen, Germany, father Wilfried and mother Barbara are successful breeders of Hanoverian horses having produced licensed stallions White Star, Don Vino I and II. At home they rear, break and train youngsters and prepare stallions for the licensing and mares for the performance tests. Renowned horses that were stationed or trained at the Koppelmann farm are Brentano II, Beauvalais, Blue Hors Cavan, Riccione, Shutterfly, Dollargirl, and Wolkenstein II.
Carola started riding on a Shetland ponynamed Pflaume and then moved onto riding pony Schneeflöckchen. At age 12, she went on training camps to Holger Schmezer in Verden as the road to a career as professional dressage rider seemed destined. Today in Warendorf, she rides 10 horses a day and on those rare free evenings she prefers to spend with friends going out to dinner, shopping in Cologne, or off to the movies in Munster or Warendorf.
Koppelmann sees a rolemodel in Olympic champion Isabell Werth and German supermodel Heidi Klum. "Isabell is probably an example for every dressage rider. The way she rides is simply amazing. To me, Heidi Klum is a very self confident, intelligent person who made her life a success on her own."
With a barnful of high quality young horses and FEI international calibre mounts, Carola is confidently building on her future. Time for a Heaven and Hell interview:
Carola, what's your favourite dish?
Carola: I don't eat meat, so I most like fish, gambas, salad, Italian food
If you were to chose a different profession, what would it be?
Carola: I like to work with children
What is the biggest intellectual joy for you?
Carola: my life is horses, so I like discussion with good riders
What gives you the most artistic pleasure?
Carola: I like the opera. Unfortunately I rarely have time for it
What gives you the most physical pleasure?
Carola: What a question? And than sure riding, nothing else
What makes you cry?
Carola: Illness or when I would lose one of my horses
What annoys you the most?
Carola: disloyal people and people who have no consideration for other people
What does heaven look like to you?
Carola: A good health, for my family, and of course for my horses
Carola: When I wouldn't have the ability to work with horses
What is the most beautiful place you've ever visited?
Carola: I plan to visit the Seychelles islands and hopefully find what I would consider the most beautiful place on earth.
What is the ugliest place you've ever visited?
Carola: I've never visited an ugly place in my life
At what moment were you the happiest in your life?
Carola: one of the happiest moments in my life was when I got Le Bo.
When were you the saddest in your life?
Carola: Sorry, but I can't speak about that
Who would be your favourite one-night stand?
Carola: Never ever! But I would really like to sit down and discuss a whole night with the most interesting man of the moment: Barack Obama