Norwegian Show Jumper
Tony André Hansen
Name: Tony André Hansen
Date of birth: 23.02.1979
Competing for: Norway
Lives: Jeløya/Moss, Norway
Could you tell us a little about the current horses at your stable?
”I have six or actually seven horses that are my responsibility to train and look after. Frodo is now the only one of them with a little experience as we sold Upstaire just before Christmas. I got Frodo last autumn. He is a nice horse, but we have had some up and downs. When I was offered to get the ride on him I was probably a bit too eager to have the chance to get back on top level as I had been out for a while due to lack of horses and loosing Camiro. I probably speeded up everything a bit more than I should have and therefore the results have not been consistent, but we have absolutely been able to show what we are able to do with for example the Grand Prix victory in Odense in October. Now we are taking things a little slower, and we are starting to get to know each other a lot better.”
“I also have a great eight year old stallion called Quartel du Mazes after Mr Blue. He has all the capacity and scope to be able to make it as a top horse. Hopefully he will be the new star some day.”
Which horse is your favorite through the times?
“Without a doubt Camiro, but everything has it’s time. I have had many great horses along the way which have been really important to my career. Dirco was my young rider horse. He took me to my first European Championship and I won the Norwegian Championship together with him as well becoming the Nordic Champion. Then I had Royal Volo and Norman Wells who took me out on the international arena. All these horses have meant a lot for my career at their time, but Camiro stands out.”
Who do you train with?
“I work with Dietmar Gugler, but he is more like my coach and helps me with the management of the horses. He helps me planning what competitions to go to and what horses to ride. He is not often in Norway training me, but he helps me when we are at the same shows and I also use his stable as a base when we are abroad competing. “
“Back home I don’t have a regular trainer helping me, but we all help each other out. Esben Johannessen is here a lot, and yesterday Nina Braaten was here training. I have my system that I got from my old trainer Gerry Mullins, that I try and stick to. It is important to not go and change everything the minute things don’t work out like you want them to. I have my system that I believe in, but of course as a professional rider we need input like everyone else. We some times need a reminder to straighten our back or make other adjustments too. But most of us have found our own system that we stick to by now.”
When & how did you start to ride?
“I started at a riding school in Stavern, Norway, when I was eight years old.”
And when did you decide to become a professional rider?
“I think I wanted it quite early. I had success early on which of course influenced my choices. The biggest motivation you can have is success, but it was probably when I started at Norges Toppidretts Gymnas (NTG, a Norwegian High School for top sport athletes) that I chose to go for it.
Can you see yourself doing anything else? If you were not a professional rider, what then?
“That’s a difficult one as you don’t know what you could make money from. But I have two other passions in life; music and golf. I would love to work with music. I think it’s important to have other things in life other than your career to focus on.”
Could you name a person or persons that has been influential for your showjumping career, and explain why?
“First of all my family. They have supported me in every way from day one. Then there was Lars Rasmussen my trainer at NTG. He learned me the basic riding skills that you need. After NTG I worked with Stein Endresen for 1 1/2 year. That gave me lots of experience competing different horses, as well as getting used to riding several horses every day.”
“After being with Stein I came to the Ulrichsen family at Skogan in Sandefjord. Kjell Chr.Ulrichsen was the one who gave me the chance to get my big breakthrough internationally. Working with Ulrichsen I started working with Gerry Mullins. He has been like my mentor. He was the one that made me able to get everything up to a professional international level. At Skogan I also had a great cooperation with Esben Johannessen. We made a good team which has been really important to me.”
Which personal trait has served you well in this sport?
“I have always believed in my self. I keep my head calm and I’m patient. I think you have to be patient to make it.”
The Olympics in Hong Kong! But Hong Kong was also my biggest disappointment. Our way to the Olympics in 2008 was amazing. There are some strong memories from the months ahead, and the Europeans in 2007 when we managed to qualify. It was an inspiration.”
Most embarrassing moment in your career?
“I guess you’re you looking for a fun story... I once rode a speed class in Aachen. In the opposite corner from the entrance there’s a water-combination. I had a high speed towards the first fence, and my horse took an extra stride that I didn’t expect. I fell off and my horse disappeared. The arena in Aachen is big, but I didn’t know how huge it actually was until I had to cross the entire arena by foot. I didn’t know what to do - walk, run or just hide somewhere. It is an understatement to say I felt quite stupid walking out of there.”
What are your goals for 2012?
I’m going to use 2012 to build up a good team of horses. As I have mostly young horses and no championships to aim for this year I will take the time to develop the horses I’ve got and hopefully next year the Norwegian team including myself will be much stronger. It would be great to be able to get back to where we were four years ago when we managed to qualify for the Olympics.“
What’s your favorite Kingsland product, and how does their products help you perform better?
“The Kingsland products are really comfortable. They are also good at making new products all the time so it is difficult to have any favorites as new favorites turn up all the time. My entire closet is now mainly Kingsland. Kingsland has found a way to make riding clothes sporty, so you can actually use them outside the stable as well. My riding clothes is my working outfit, but at the same time I have to look presentable - which is why I like Kingsland.”
What’s your advice for riders who want to get to the level that you are at?
It is important to learn the basics. You can’t buy basic riding skills. Every step is vital. You need the basics when things are not going that well. That´s my best advice!”
Interview by: worldofshowjumping.com