Constant van Paesschen, born in 1994, is one of the young talents most in vogue at the moment. Son of the great Stanny, the Belgian rider represents the new generation of a family of horse riders that is one of the most famous in the world
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Last year he won his first Nations Cup at the Rome CSIO riding Toscane de St. Hermelle. At twenty-one Constant van Paesschen is just one of the aspiring riders of a new Belgian generation. Having grown up in an horses people family of and a professional rider, he lives near Brussels together with his parents, Stanny and Beatrice van Paesschen, and clearly seems to have every intention of staying permanently at the top levels of international show jumping. With the new sponsor, Alain van Campenhoudt, (champagne Distributor, General Manager of the company Citizenguard Citizenservice), Costant has the opportunity to participate in the biggest competitions in the world and to reach the pinnacle of a proclaimed career: "I always trust excellent horses, all different, each with their own particular style. One warm... another fearful... but I love them regardless. Every horse is different and needs personalised training: some need more intense training and others a lighter approach At home I try to ride them at least two or three times a day because you need to keep the level of horses high if you want to keep them in shape. "Toscane de St. Hermelle, Cadjanine Z, Diamantina van het Ruyterhof… are just some of his best horses but the list is very long. Costant has a great family that taught him to horse ride even before he was able to walk: "I started from very young, my father always rode, as did my mother and aunt, so for me horse riding has always been very natural, also because I have always liked these animals. At about the age of six I started riding ponies, as is often the case with many riders, then I switched to horses. My life revolves completely around horses. Since the age of 11 I always knew that I would continue to do this job forever. When my father stopped racing everyone's attention focused on me and on what they wanted me to do. And I accepted it but first I had to finish school. I studied economics because I think that a professional rider also needs to be a manager of their own stables. Now I ride at a professional level. Every week there was a race and soon I realised that this was the life I wanted and I still do. I want to continue with horses. Even if I had an accident or if I was forced to give it up, I would still find something to do that was related: breeder, seller... any thing! Horses are my passion. I love them It's a matter of family, my parents did a great job. They have influenced me in the best way possible. My mother is always anxious when I take part in a race while my Dad is too reserved to admit it".
"At the beginning my mother trained me because my father was hardly ever there and sometimes I rode with Rodrigo Pessoa, although unfortunately this wasn't often the case. Today, however, it's my father that accompanies me to the shows. It's great. For me working with him is very simple. We nearly always agree on everything. Sometimes we have different opinions but we work together without any trouble. They always told me that an apple never falls too far from its tree and this applies perfectly to me and my Dad. My father is a spiritual man who has always found a way to have fun and I think I will also be like him when I'm older. When I was young I always went to the shows with him and I had a lot of fun. I would say to myself that one day I would be like him – and even better! - but I knew that it would not be easy because he has had a great career". Now it's Stanny that is accompanying his son at the shows: "When we walk the course we are always very focused, he's with me for every single moment. When I'm about to go into the arena, he always wishes me good luck and in a heartbeat he disappears. He always goes off somewhere behind the crowd because he gets nervous. He watches me from a distance because he doesn't want people to look at him and realise that he is anxious. It's a wonderful thing about him but he's not able to admit it".
"The basis of the daily work of my horses is a focus on good gallop, control, on athletic conditions, all of which are fundamental to deal with competition - explains Constant - Horses must have talent to become champions but without hard work they cannot realise their potential. The qualities that I choose in a horse are the heart, strength, and speed. I try to spend as much time as possible with my horses, I take them on walks and graze them. The feeling that you create with them is very important. Our sport is constantly evolving and the competition level increases constantly. Many new teams have now entered the major world events. On the one hand this is good for the economy of the sport; I am however glad and proud to belong to a nation, Belgium, which has an equestrian tradition and culture."
Renè Van Paesschen, Constant's grandfather says: "before I retire, I want to raise a champion for my grandson. As long as I can, I will continue with the breeding and AES studbook". At 84 René Van Paesschen is still a breeder and a well-known dealer as is the father of the Olympic Champion Stanny Van Paesschen, Constant's father. Over the past ten years his horses have always been among the top in Belgian showjumping. Renè Van Paesschen has achieved much in his life. He prepared his son Stanny for the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, where he immediately won a bronze team medal. For several decades, Renè Van Paesschen worked extensively with François Mathy, one of the largest horse jumping traders in Belgium. "Breeding has always been very important to me. The horses of today are much better than those I had before though I'm convinced that my best foal has yet to be born. That's why I continue the rearing. I want to develop another champion for my grandson".
Stanny Van Paesschen has participated three times in the Olympics (team bronze medal in Montreal, participation in Atlanta and Athens), in the WEGs (bronze medal at the Jerez Games) and has competed in many Nations Cups. He has won several titles: Junior Champion of Belgium in 1970, European Junior Vice-Champion in 1973, several times Senior Vice-Champion of Belgium, Senior Belgian Champion in 1976 and 1986, the Belgium Cup in 2002, while holding various roles in the Belgian Federation. Today he is one of the best trainers in the world. Beatrice Van Paesschen was ranked 3rd in the European Junior Championships, won the Belgium Senior Cup twice and has competed in many Nations Cups and Grand Prix events. She was coach of the Belgian Junior and young riders team for several years. Constant is following in their footsteps: he won the Belgian School Championship in 2005, the Junior Championship in 2007 and in 2009, the Young Rider Championship in 2011, achieving two medals at the European Championships and winning many Grand Prix events. Eva van Paesschen, Constant's aunt, was one of the best Amazons in the 1980s and 1990s. And now with Constant the ‘the show goes on…’.