Harrie Smolders (NED)


Behind Harrie Smolders there is a strong family equestrian tradition, with father and grandfather being riders and breeders. After achieving good results in dressage and various other pony disciplines, when he was 16, between equestrian sports and football - he was also a promising member of his town's local team - he chose horses. A truly winning choice...

He has been a mainstay of the Dutch national teams at the Olympic Games, European Championships (individual silver in 2017) and World Championships, and has four Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final participations to his credit.

The top step of the FEI World Cup final podium seems to have been bewitched for him so far. He has collected three second places, including two in the last editions (2016, 2022, 2023).

Habitué at the top of the Ranking for more than ten years, in 2018 he wore the leader's sash for eight months. He is closing a very successful year thanks to three very competitive horses. In 2023, for the second time, he was the best rider overall in the Global Champions Tour ranking.

Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final:

2009: 9°
2017: 6°
2018: 8°
2022: 5°

After four participations in the Rolex IJRC Top 10, what’s you plan for the 2023 edition?

«The goal never changes: to win! The Rolex IJRC Top 10 is one of the most prestigious competitions and puts everyone's form to the test. It is an honour to have been in the Top 10 so many times, but I hope that one day (soon!) I will be able to stand on the top step of the podium».

Who would you bet on for the 2023 Top 10 podium?

«It is really difficult to answer this question, as many horses and riders are in exceptional condition. It will depend on the course and the fittest horses of the day».

Which horse are you going to enter in the Top 10 and why?

It will be Monaco or Uricas but I haven’t made up my mind yet. I would like to ride Monaco as he is such a consistently top horse. He really deserves a win like a Rolex show to his name, and he has proven he can deliver time and time again. He has the heart of a lion and always tries his absolute best for me.
But also Uricas vd Kattevennen, my slightly younger stallion, could be a very good choice. He’s really shown what he’s capable of and so I feel like he has the potential to win. He loves the atmosphere and knows when he has to turn it on, so I think the environment will suit him. He’s one I’m very excited about for the future.
Let's play a little game: enter your stable and think about Paris 2024. What is the first box you look at?
«What a tough question... At the moment I have some really phenomenal horses. And a lot can change and happen between now and the Olympics! I have three horses in mind, but we'll have to see later who will be in better condition».