Jacob Wells learning from the best at Stal Tops
Jacob Wells is a very talented Australian Young Rider, who is lucky enough to be training at Stal Tops in Valkenswaard at under the watchful eyes of Edwina Tops-Alexander, Jan Tops and the rest of the Stal Tops team. Jacob has had a fantastic couple of years on the Young Rider circuit here in Australia with recent achievements including the following:
- 2nd in the Young Rider Championship at the 2019 SA State Titles
- 2nd in the Young Rider Championship at the 2019 VIC Country Titles
- 1st in the Young Rider Final at the 2018 Willinga Park Jumping Grand Final
- 5th in the Young Rider Championship at the 2018 NSW State Titles
- Selected for the Victorian Young Rider Team who finished 3rd at the 2019 Aquis Champions Tour
Australian Jumping recently caught up with Jacob to ask him a few questions about how his time at Stal Tops is going.
How did the opportunity arise for you to go to Stal Tops?
It was organised through my coach Michelle Strapp. Edwina had seen a video of me schooling a horse that had come from their stables and discussed with Michelle about me coming for a month to get a feel for the sport over here.
Are you based in Valkenswaard the whole time, or do you plan to travel whilst in Europe?
Yes I will stay in Valkenswaard most of the time while I am here. I will just be travelling to attend shows.
Can you give us a snapshot of what a day/night at Stal Tops looks like for you?
I usually arrive at the stables around 7am. I then check to see which horses I have for the day and work out a plan of roughly what time each horse needs to be worked. I am riding about 10 horses each day. We would normally start riding at about 7:30am through to 1pm which is when we stop for lunch. At 2pm we start working the horses again and are usually finished by 5pm.
Tell us a bit about the horses that you are riding at Stal Tops.
I’ve ridden most of the horses here now. It usually changes each day as to which horses I work. I will normally ride a few of Edwina’s horses as well as some of the horses that Alberto and Roberto ride. I also have a few that I do most of the riding with and have been schooling them over jumps as well.
Have you had the opportunity to go out to any shows during your stay?
Yes, I went to the Global Champions Tour in Stockholm, which was an amazing show with great atmosphere. I also went to a couple of CSI3* shows in Eindhoven and Bonheiden.
Can you tell us what it means to you to have this opportunity to train with Edwina?
I am extremely lucky to have the chance to come and ride for Jan and Edwina, they are both very knowledgeable trainers. It is great to be able to ride with Edwina and compare notes as to what we are feeling and what work would best suit each horse.
What are the main things you have learnt during your time so far at Stal Tops? I don’t think there is any major differences in the way the horses are schooled. They are very classical and correct in the way that the horses are trained. It is important that the horses are soft, balanced and straight to give them the best opportunity to produce a good jump. Jan and Massimo are usually around when I am jumping the horses so they keep an eye on how they are going and give me feedback.
Australian Jumping wishes Jacob all the best for the rest of his time at Stal Tops.