Itot the Wonder Horse
Release date: 01/01/1970
Cevo Itot du Chateau is one of the great stars of show jumping in the world making history by winning the Global Champions Tour in 2012 for the second year running with world No1 female rider Edwina Tops-Alexander and her husband and trainer Jan Tops. He is the highest earning show jumping horse in history having earned over €3 million in prize money. Only last weekend the combination won the World Cup leg in Geneva and Edwina is at No8 on the world ranking. Her extraordinary chestnut gelding has fans all over the world. At 16 years of age Itot is on great form and here Edwina gives us the inside story on Itot and reveals he will be competing in GCT and other top level events through 2013.
(Photo credit: Sportfot/GCT)
Born in 1996
French bred son of Le Tot de Semilly x Galoubet A
Owned by Edwina Tops-Alexander and Stal Tops since 2007
1m 57 high
Survived terrible road accident as a three year old
One of the only horses with special Gucci designed equipment.
What a year:
He had an incredible year last year and it continued this year. Over the years we have got to know Itot better and how to manage him and he has responded really well with the programme. We focus him only on the Grand Prix events, and this year the Olympics, to try to limit the pressure and that is one of the reasons why we have had so much success. As I’m in the Top 10 I am pre-qualified for the World Cup which helps and allows us to make the best possible programme for all our horses.
Itot the athlete:
He is a strong horse, with a lot of muscle, a real power ball. And he is very elastic, which is why he is such a star on the biggest courses despite his height. He has so much power in his back end and hocks. He has a big stride for a small horse, very deceptive, and he covers the ground quick. He doesn’t over jump the fences and he is so light and agile and he knows his job.He is intelligent and sensitive too.
(Photo credit: Sportfot/GCT)
Keeping Itot in top shape:
I have a fantastic team working with me and Itot to keep him in condition. I ride him at about 18 - 20 shows and he doesn’t jump a lot at home. Susanne Van Aken works for Stal Tops as a dressage rider and she rides Itot all the time when I am not at shows. She knows him really well and the stronger emphasis on the dressage is a good mix for Itot as it keeps him supple and there is a lot of work on his aids when you are doing 95% dressage, which means he reacts quickly which is crucial.
I also have a physiotherapist, Hymne Rydant who comes regularly to maintain him. Susanne and Jan and I work so closely together with the horse, we are a really tight team and we all know him so well. And it’s great for Itot as he has consistency. He is out of the stables for hand walking many time during the day and he gets ridden twice.
A horse of habit:
Toti (Itot’s stable name) has had the same farrier since he was six years old. He has the same saddle since he came to us five years ago and the same bit that his previous owner Michel Hecart rode him in. He is shy and likes to be surrounded by the people he knows and stands in the corner of his box if strangers enter. He is also quite good at sneaking out of his box to eat other horses’ food. His other habit is that he likes to win!
Itot and food:
He puts on weight very easily. We weigh him every week to make sure he is not getting too heavy. The ideal weight for Itot is around 500 kilos. I remember after the Beijing Olympics he put on 10 kilos. He travels very well and doesn’t get stressed. He loves carrots and sugar. When Hymne needs him to stretch out his legs she holds a carrot in front and it always works!
The fan club:
A lot of people relate to Itot and like him because they can see he is smaller than the other horses in the same competitions and they can see the size of the fences. But he is so powerful and athletic and I think they admire his strength and bravery.
Itot the surprise gift:
It was New Year’s Eve and we were celebrating in Sydney and Jan said I have a surprise for you and the surprise was Itot. We had seen him at a lot of shows but he was never for sale. And then it became possible. You never know how successful a good horse will be, but this has been a magical trip and not something that happens often. I couldn’t wait to get back to Europe to see Itot and from the day I first rode him it all fitted. It felt as though I had been riding him all my life.
For sure he will be at Global Champions Tour events next year and I will make sure we have the best possible programme for him. At the end of the day it’s all about knowing your horse and having a close relationship.