The history of Tinka\'s Boy Milton has died, Ratina is retired and E.T. is not the same anymore. World Cup-winner and present number 1 of the world Tinka\'s Boy fills the gap that famous predecessors left behind. The history of a small highness, the history of he best jumping horse of the world. Tinka\'s Boy was born 14 years ago as Hooper in the north-west part of Holland, where people (and horses) live safely behind dikes, a few yards below sea level. The late J.P. Muntjewerf used the stallion Zuidpool, relatively unknown at that time, for his Zeus-mare Esprit, also bred by himself. The motherline of Tinka\'s Boy however originates from the east part of Holland, where the famous breeder and stallion owner Johan Leerink combined the best bloodlines from Trakehnen (Orlof-Habicht) and Holstein (Important). Tinka\'s Boy was the first of nine offspring from Esprit. Half brother to Tinka\'s Boy is the Rubinstein-son Jumbo, a succesfull dressage horse. Tinka\'s Boy has a full sister which was sold as a filly at the Prinsjesdag auction in Midden Beemster in 2000 for 24.000 Euro. Liessel It was at an auction that Tinka\'s Boy for the first time made a name for himself. He was then still a foal and his name was Hooper. Via the SELL-auction in Liessel, Hooper/Tinka\'s Boy returned to his motherland, the east part of Holland. There he was a stone\'s throw away from where his legendary grandmother Urloffine was born, a fantastic blood mare with a strong talent as an athlete. Hooper came to the yard of Chris Esselink from Geesteren, horse breeder and co-owner of the stallion Zuidpool. Esselink remembers that day in Liessel very well. "It was quiet at the farm, Liessel was a new auction and I was curious. No, I did not know that there was going to be a foal of my own stallion put up for sale. When I saw him, I thought: I will certainly try to get you into my hands! That charisma and the lovely shamelessness. He could also move very well, he could have also become a dressage horse." Esselink offered and did not have to offer again: for 3750 guilders (a little over 1800 dollars!) he could take the future Tinka\'s Boy home. Hooper and his half brother Heros (also by Zuidpool) grew up at the Meiweg in Geesteren and made their appearance as two and a half year olds at the stallion show. But the judges didn\'t bother to look at them longer than a minute. "Zuidpool was then not approved, they did not stand a chance", Esselink says. Years later, the horseman from Geesteren got his reward when both Hooper/Tinka\'s Boy and Heros reached the top in showjumping. Heros is succesfull at Grand-Prix level, ridden by Sven Lavers from Belgium. Heros and Hooper were three and a half year when Henk Buitenhuis, a horse dealer from Holten, called Esselink. \'Tomorrow I have people from England, looking for young horses: do you have horse that might fit these people?\' Esselink showed the next day the two Zuidpools. "The fences were big, the footing was slippery. At one moment Heros slipped in the landing and he was slightly lame. So I put the horse immediately in his stable. Than Tinka\'s Boy had to come into action. He was jumping fantastically, he always did by the way. With the exception of the first two times, because it is a little blood animal, that slowly has to get used to things. That is by the way typical for Zuidpool: do no treat him wrong, with a stick or something, because then he will not do anything anymore. If you do it right, you have a golden animal!" Jetset Hooper went to England where his new owner, horse dealer Simon Davies, turned him into Jetset. Not an appropriate name, the couple Sibcy thought. They were looking for a talented young horse for Alison Bradley. When the four year old stallion arrived in Alison\'s yard, he was named Tinka\'s Boy. "That was a little joke", Alison tells. "One of the members of the selection committee of jumping riders was named Tinka Taylor. Maybe mr. and mrs. Sibcy thought that Tinka\'s Boy would make it to the national team easier if he was named after Tinka Taylor." From the beginning Tinka\'s Boy gave the feeling that later he would be good enough to defend the colours of England. "Very careful, a lot of power and very easy, in every respect", so Alison. "A true gentleman to ride!" Alison experienced a lot of successes with Tinka\'s Boy. Under her saddle the stallion was declared the best four, five and six year old of England. The rider, that in the same period rid the Pion-son Endeavour internationally, experienced a sportive highlight with Tinka\'s Boy when they won the \'Great C\' on the Wembley Horse Show. "At that moment Bettina Melliger, the partner of Nick Skelton, was already the new owner of Tinka\'s Boy", Alison tells. A few months later Tinka\'s Boy end up in the competition stables of Nick Skelton. Through Bettina Melliger it is a short way to Tinka\'s recent rider Markus Fuchs. Fuchs and the Swiss horse dealer Willi Melliger are soul mates. It was Melliger, who pressed Markus Fuchs to buy the young talent of Nick Skelton. "Willi has contacted me with the recent owner of Tinka\'s Boy", Markus Fuchs tells. "And then when we searched for a year after a top horse, Willi really pushed me on a certain moment to buy Tinka\'s Boy. I first didn\'t want that. But Willi said: buy him, it is a real one." Apart from the fact that team mate Willi Melliger really pushed him to buy Tinka\'s Boy, there was another reason for Fuchs to believe that the chestnut stallion was indeed of rare class. "When Nick Skelton owned him, it appeared to me that he took his time building him up. Truly the way anyone ought to train a young, talented horse. Afterwards I realised that Nick was absolutely not doing that for nothing." Secret The little chestnut stallion from Holland doesn\'t surprise his rider Markus Fuchs anymore. "It is the dream of every rider to once have such a horse. I have been in the equestrian sports for 30 years now and it has taken 30 years to get such a horse. It is the secret of our sport that Tinka\'s Boy became a superstar while other good horses didn\'t. I do not know why. I only know that I enjoy it thoroughly." Every superstar has or had something special, something that made this horse completely different from other horses. The mighty power and charisma of Milton, the hectic and super fast reflexes of Ratina. What is the very special thing about Tinka\'s Boy? Markus Fuchs: "In fact there are three. First there is his character, the will to do everything and to jump anything. It is a bruiser that could walk through a wall if he wanted to. But what he really wants is to jump over it. That will, that\'s something that distinguishes every top horse." Besides this he is incredibly healthy. And his third specialty is his capacity to be trained, his rideability." Stallion You do not notice it, but Tinka\'s Boy is still a stallion. "That didn\'t matter us at first, we would have bought him - for the same money - if it would have been a gelding", Markus Fuchs says. "So we didn\'t plan at all ever to sell his semen. Now we have different ideas about that because of the successes, but also because there are a few offspring of Tinka\'s Boy in the sport in England that are very successful. So we are going to let him be in serve after he has finished his jumping career. But we have not reached that moment yet." Final miracle A wonder horse, yes. That qualification indeed applies to a horse that won just as easy the World Cup in 2001 as the Grand Prix of Luzern and Monterrey, as the second prestigious places like Aach, Hickstead (individual silver on the European Championship in 1999) and Las Vegas (second in the World Cup finals in 2000). Markus Fuchs had the intention twice to give the son of Zuidpool en Esprit (v.Nerzeus) some time off after a glorious summer season in the preparation of the European championship in Hickstead (1999) and the Olympic Games of Sydney (2000). But Tinka\'s Boy did not care. Both in the winter season of 1998-1999 and that of 1999-2000 the stallion qualified in three competitions for the World Cup finals. Markus Fuchs commenting on his Dutch wonder horse: "It is a bruiser that could walk through a wall if he wanted to. But what he really wants is to jump over it."
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