In this week's Horse & Hound (on sale 15 August) we look at the role Michael's family and horses have played in his international success and here dressage editor Alice Collins reveals 6 things about Michael that you never would have found out elsewhere.
A reluctant convert to dressage from showjumping, Michael Eilberg now finds himself on his first senior championship squad for the European dressage championships. During an exclusive interview which appears in this week’s magazine, dressage editor Alice Collins also found out a few things about Michael that wouldn’t normally appear on the dressage star’s cv…
1. He has a phobia of wasps. He put on a wasp-infested jumper as a child and got “peppered”. More recently he jumped out of a car window to avoid one while his father Ferdi Eilberg was reversing. In the kerfuffle, Ferdi drove into a lamppost.
2. He always undoes the girth and repositions the saddle before getting on — even if it’s to put it back in same place.
3. He only got his first pair of dressage boots after Julia Hornig from Classic Dressage approached Ferdi at the nationals and said she couldn’t bear to see him in his jumping boots any more and wanted to sponsor him with some Konigs.
4. He cannot ride a horse unless it has a neat and tidy mane — he keeps a mane comb on the side of the arena.
5. He struggled with the four-time changes and taught himself the rhythm of them by repeating them over and over and over, going round the sand track.
6. He is one of only two people to ever be on BEF (British Equestrian Federation) funding programmes for two different disciplines, having had a successful showjumping career before his miraculous metamorphosis. The other is Ruth Edge for eventing and dressage.