Gregory Wathelet is the N°1 Belgian show jumping rider. He has been part of the world top 30 for 10 years, and is a major pillar of the national team, defending its colours throughout the year all over the world. At only 34, he has already participated to the World Equestrian Games in Caen in 2014, to the Olympic Games of London in 2012, to the World Championship in 2006, and 3 times to the European Championship, in 2007, 2011 and 2015.
Gregory grew up among horses in the Condroz country in Belgium. After his debuts in show jumping in the family premises, he started his own business in 2000 and sets home in the Trois Provinces stables near Durbuy, in the Liégeois family. Soon thereafter, he won the title of Belgian Champion for 7 year old horses, and a year later starts his first international competitions. Aged 21, he consistently obtained good results in some of the most prestigious competitions of the world. That same year, he becomes Belgian Champion of young riders (M21) and takes part in the European Championships in Gijon in Spain.
In 2002, Gregory joined the Haras des Layettes. This new experience allows him to quickly integrate the Belgian elite team with horses he has trained himself. Because Gregory is not only recognised for his talent with experienced horses, but also for his trainer qualities. He also has many titles with young horses such as that of France Champion of 5 year old horses, world champion of 6 years, France and Belgium champion of 7 years. In 2004, the Belgian rider decided to devote himself to the highest international level. He obtained many excellent results in 5 star competitions. His good performance allowed him to integrate the Top 30 of the world rankings in early 2005.
That year, Gregory opted for a change in size. He joined the Ukrainian team of Alexander Onyschenko, an industrial. However, he was forced to change his nationality and therefore defended the colours of Ukraine. Admittedly, this choice was a sacrifice but it allowed Gregory Wathelet to remain in the Top 30 of the world, and even to appear at the gates of the Top 10 (N° 13). During this period, he also participated in the most famous horse shows. In 2006, he took part in the World Championships in Aachen and finished 4th in the team competition. In 2007, he went to Mannheim to compete in the European Championships. But Gregory missed defending the colours of his home country, and he decided to recover his Belgian nationality.
Six years ago, Gregory created his own stable. He enjoys good infrastructure and has a good horse picket, allowing him to shine on the international stage. In 2011, he participated in the European Championships in Madrid. In 2012, he won the prestigious Nations Cup at the CSIO La Baule, in which he signed two clear rounds. He also finished 4th in the Grand Prix with Cadjanine Z. During the summer, he also participated for the first time in his career in the Olympic Games in London, where he reached the individual final. He also shines in the indoor circuit in Oslo, Helsinki and Geneva. In 2013, he became for the first time in his career Belgium Champion Senior with Sea Coast Forlan, and on the same day he won the Stallion Championship with Riesling Montselet. That same year, Belgium won the prestigious Nations Cup in Aachen thanks to two clear rounds from Gregory. In 2014, he also participated in the World Equestrian Games in Caen with his young 9 year old horse Conrad de Huss, and reached the half final. In 2015, he participated in the European Championship in Aachen with Conrad de Huss and became Vice European Champion. A few weeks later, he was part of the Belgian team that won the final of the Nations Cup in Barcelona, and was the only rider of the entire competition to achieve two clear rounds. For three years, Gregory has not left the top 20 worldwide . His best ranking was a very nice 5th place.
Questions and Answers
What have you accomplished in these past years ?
The past years have been very positive in terms of my evolution as a professional, evidenced as much by my results at a high level as by the quality of my riding and the experience that I have acquired.
What are your projects and your objectives ?
To install my own system of work and organization. All the horses that I have ridden and the people with whom and for I have worked for have taught me a lot and together have helped me formulate my own approach to my work. My goal is to continue to participate at the most prestigious and competitive shows while creating my own stables and applying my own system a way that is viable and long lasting.