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31 augustus 2023 Reading time 2 minutes

Heijkoop: 'Mac Toto doesn't need much'

Danielle Heijkoop won the Pavo Cup final with 6-year-old Mac Toto in mid-August in Ermelo. Last year this combination was already successful with a third place for the five-year-old and, during the Dutch Championships ZZ-Zwaar this spring, the duo also finished in third place. Time to find out more about this successful combination. How does Heijkoop ensure that Mac Toto can peak at the right time? 

"Mac Toto is actually a very easy horse, in everything," says Heijkoop. "He's still young, so I don't plan a lot of competitions with him. We look for the great competitions, such as the Dutch Championship dressage, the World Championship for young dressage horses and the Pavo Cup." The duo actually perform very consistently and well at all competitions.   

Heijkoop thinks it is important to keep her horse happy and fresh. "He goes out every day in the meadow and in the paddock. In addition, I work him 4 to 5 times a week. Mac Toto is a bit of a diesel, he can also walk very simply normally and thus spares his body. But you can also make him run really well if you ask a little more of him. He's very easy on that." 

According to Heijkoop, there is no horse in the stable that is as easy to feed as Mac Toto. "He's just a little too fat by default," laughs the horsewoman. "He doesn't need much. He gets a total of 3kg of Pavo AllSports and Pavo SlobberMash concentrate, nothing more. Not even during competitions. He doesn't worry about competitions either, so I don't have to adjust the nutrition around the competitions. Only when he's sweats a lot does he get some extra electrolytes by feeding him Pavo ReHydrate." 

Pavo Cup 
Heijkoop indicates that she normally does not have many real Pavo Cup horses at her disposal. "I ride a lot of horses that are a bit more normal in their movements at a young age. Then they are not really horses for this competition. They need more time to develop. Mac Toto is different, he's just like a bodybuilder and strong already for his age. Last year we already finished third, this year he has developed more strength, a nicer posture and the collection is much better." 

During the Pavo Cup, Heijkoop saw many young horses still had trouble with the substitutions. "With Mac Toto, they were already well confirmed. He picks up new things very quickly. If you do something with him once or twice, he gets it. There really aren't many of them. That's why I can start with him in the ZZ-heavy at this young age. It just takes very little energy and he likes to learn new things. I just make sure we don't ask too much of him. That's why I don't have anything planned for the time being. He's got a little vacation." 

According to Heijkoop, in a competition like the Pavo Cup, it is an advantage that Mac Toto is a gelding. "I see a lot of stallions who are not there with their heads at all. They waste a lot of energy and power. Mac Toto doesn't have that at all."  

With such great results at such a young age, Mac Toto seems to be one of the Pavo Cup horses that we will hear a lot about in the future.