By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: Peter Llewellyn
There are people in the horse world whom nobody really knows, even though they have a very familiar name. Most of the time their achievements also remain unknown because they prefer to stay in the background. One of them is Theo Molenaers (66) from Kinrooi in Belgium.
Molinaers is responsible for much of the success of Franke Sloothaak and Michel Robert during their days riding for San Patrignano in Italy, as well as the success of Alberto Michan and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson during their time working for La Silla in Mexico. In fact, in 2012, Molinaers was the Mexican team chef d’equipe.
During the Longines Masters in Lausanne I conducted this interview with him as he was attending with his current rider, Hikari Yoshizawa, whose goal is to compete for her home country, Japan, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. In so many ways, Theo Molinaers might be described as a Grand Prix hero.
In the beginning
Q How did your career with horses begin?
I started as a rider and jumped at the lower international level until I could no longer continue for financial reasons. But I wanted to continue with horses so I started to teach horse riding, then started as a scout to find horses for other people. Together with Albert Voorn we started to work with Henk Nooren. In the beginning Albert and I were looking for horses, Albert was a good friend of ours. When Albert left, Henk suggested that we work together in the business and to take over the scouting for horses. I did the communicating with the clients and finding suitable horses for them, while Henk was working as chef d’equipe for the Dutch team. After a while when I had saved some money, I invested that together with Henk in horses. Eventually we grew apart for several reasons and we parted ways, so I continued to develop myself as a scout, so that was also my first job.
Q What was your next step?
I left Henk Nooren in 1992 and had the luck that Mr. Vincenzo Muccioli of San Patrignano put his trust in me and asked me to build up an important international sporting stable. I was responsible for buying the horses, so that was my breakthrough in this business. Apart from the people at San Patrignano I had a good friend, Tim Grubb, who lived in the United States and who maintained his clients with me. All the horses we sold to the United States went through Tim Grubb... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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