Michal Rapcewicz, 28, rides for Poland and has managed to work his way from a relative unknown to a household name in Western Europe over the last few years. Coincidentally, I saw him ride for the first time at the Hagen CDI3* in 2007 and was able to interview him at the same show last weekend.
At that show in 2007, Michal was testing gears on Randon who was very young and green at the time. But despite a variety of errors in that test, this pair caught my attention, and I will never forget my first impression of Randon’s piaffe and passage. Wowza!
Michal has racked up success after success with Randon in the last few years, making the Final for the World Cup three times and the Polish team for the Hong Kong Olympics and the European Championships.
This winter was especially good to Michal with a fourth-placed finish at the Gothenburg World Cup qualifier and a score of over 72 percent in the Grand Prix. He tells me that he will always remember this show as the only time (so far) that he has managed to beat one of his heroes, Isabell Werth! He finished a respectable 13th at the World Cup Final in Den Bosch last March.
Michal and his partner Marc Peter Spahn (Belgium) are always up for dinner and drinks or just a long chat ringside whenever we meet at shows. Michal’s first question when we see each other is, “Which horse you bring? The black one? Please say not the black one! He scares me. The chestnut is OK—maybe I beat him, but the black one scares me.” Which cracks me up because even though he is referring to Cadillac (who is dark brown but apparently appears as a black horse in Michal’s nightmares) and Maximus, whom he knows very well by name, he will only talk about their colors before the test. It must be a superstition thing.
In any case, I ran into Michal at Hagen last weekend and after a few giggles he agreed to a “Dressage for Life” interview—but only if we could lean against the Medien Cup Porsche while recording it! So here it is:
I’m Catherine Haddad, and I’m sayin it like it is from Vechta, Germany.