After a successful junior career that included being part of gold-cup winning teams at the 2013 North American Young Riders Championships and the 2013 Young Rider’s Nation’s Cup, Mattias Tromp launched his professional career out of his North Salem-based Baeyart Farm. So far, Tromp’s career has seen some impressive placings, including winning the $50,000 Longines Cup at the 2016 Hampton Classic.
Self-effacing, charming, and driven, the 22-year-old talked to us about training with McLain Ward, how much he hates losing, and having a similar last name to #45.
Equo: Is it problematic for you that your last name is similar to the President’s?
Tromp: I think in today’s political climate you can either get a very positive or negative reaction from it so, yeah, that’s pretty much it! You get both ends of the spectrum right now.
Equo: Do people ask you if you’re a Trump?
Tromp: Occasionally. Not people from the horse show. But sometimes, when I get a cup of coffee at a place I haven’t been before, sometimes people ask.
Equo: What do you say?
Mattias Tromp: Uh, no. No. Just no.
Equo: You train with McLain Ward. What is that relationship like?
Tromp: Yeah, it’s great. I’ve been there since I was maybe 13 or 14. I’ve always done my own thing on the side with my sister. We run a business out of North Salem. But he’s always had input and that’s where I go when I need new horses. My career wouldn’t be what it is without the advice and expertise that he’s lended.
Equo: Is there one thing that comes to mind that Mclain is always telling you or trying to reinforce?
Tromp: Structure. Always, you know, ride with structure. Ride with a plan. Train with a plan.
Equo: What do you think your strengths are with horses and in the ring?
Tromp: Oh, man. That’s a hard question to answer. What are my… I think I’m very determined. I think, you know, I don’t give up easily. I’m quite stoic in that way. Sometimes I overdo things and, that’s just, that’s a hard question to answer. I’m not really sure where to go with that. I’m not sure… You put me on the spot there.
Equo: Let’s switch gears then. What’s it like working with your sister?
Tromp: My sister is very involved with helping me train the horses and that kind of thing. But in order to give me more opportunity she stepped back from showing herself. To be successful you need enough horses to ride, and there’s not quite enough to go around for everybody. So she was very generous and took a step back to give me more opportunity to show. She’s great. She’s been very selfless ever since I was a little kid. It’s always been whatever I needed. I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Equo: Do you consider yourself a competitive person?
Tromp: I hate losing. That’s been one of my biggest struggles, looking at it as a learning opportunity rather than losing. It’s innate, you know. Nobody likes to lose.
Equo: You’re young, just starting your career. What would you say is your biggest challenge at this particular stage?
Tromp: I think the mental game is probably one of the biggest things that I’m working at right now. Being able to go in and when things don’t go perfectly not get consumed by that. Being able to find the positive things out of days that don’t go exactly the way I want them to. That’s probably my biggest challenge at the moment.
Equo: Complete the sentence: I was the kid …
Tromp: I was the kid cleaning the stalls and biking over to McLain’s every Friday.