Back in late 2017, EQ Life ran a photo shoot and interview with some talented young up-and-coming show jumping stars: Joel Pearce, Nina Griffiths, Izabella Stone and Jacob Wells.
It appears that Jacob has become the “over-achiever” of the group, as was evident when EQ Life caught up with him at the Valkenswaard Global Champions Tour in the Netherlands where he is now based at Stal Tops with Jan Tops, Edwina Tops-Alexander and the Stal Tops team.
After two days of the event and watching Jacob ride six rounds, all clear but one, Jacob agrees this is one of the most amazing and magnificent purpose-built equestrian centres in the world. It is the brainchild of Dutch Olympic gold medallist in show jumping, Jan Tops.
The facilities here are beyond compare with an enormous 125m x 85m grass arena the focus point, four sand arenas used for competition and warm-up, two indoor arenas that can be heated for the cold Dutch weather, lunge arenas, exercise/walking machine, wash and grooming areas, forest hacking tracks and over 500 stables (aside from the private stables). Then, when a competition is on, there are permanent grandstands for thousands of spectators, and seating for VIPs, as well as a shopping village, catering and food area, bar and entertainment area. Then there are the raised wooden walkways that allow visitors to walk above the action and have great views without crossing paths with horse or riders and the gravity-defying judges boxes that provide eagle-eyed views of each arena.
All of this just a five-minute drive from the delightful small village of Valkenswaard and 10 minutes across the border from Belgium.
Jacob knows he is very lucky to be working here in such a spectacular environment, but having known this quietly spoken and hard-working young man from Gippsland in Victoria since he was at Pony Club, it’s not luck that has got him here.