Holger Hetzel turned his hobby into a profession. The successful show jumper trains young horses, presents them at tournaments and sells them. His uncle brought him to ride: “He put me on the pony and signed me up for a riding lesson at the local riding club.” At the age of nine, Hetzel won his first tournaments.
After graduating from high school, Hetzel began an apprenticeship as a horse manager. “It was back then that the horse industry didn’t have as good a reputation as it does today. That’s why I went on to study business administration, ”he says. “My aim has always been to combine this knowledge, this knowledge with my sport.” Hetzel received starting capital of 4,500 D-Marks from his parents in order to be able to buy his first horse: “Bit by bit, I developed a business out of it . Bought, sold and built the business myself. “
Today such a sum would no longer suffice. A horse costs an average of 200,000 euros at horse auctions. There are even animals in the stables at Hetzel, which cost up to 1 million euros. “You can’t even imagine that. I could never have imagined it, ”admits Hetzel. He didn’t earn his first million from the horse shows, but from selling horses. He continued to expand the business model. “I now also do installment payments and leasing.” To be able to invest in one of his horses, the following applies: “30,000 euros minimum.”
Hetzel openly admits that equestrian sport is a sport for the rich. His customers include Jennifer Gates and the Jordanian Princess Haja. “The horses created this connection. I would not have been to many countries in this world if it had not been for the horses. “
Sport was never a priority
There were no business slumps. “I’ve always tried to do the sport, but the business aspect has always been my priority. I’ve never put sport above anything else. I did really well with it. ”As an athlete, you don’t earn well enough. “Then at some point at the end of your career you get stuck in a hole. I did it the other way around, ”says Hetzel. Only his sudden hearing loss threw him off track in 1995. He remembers the “bitter, bad time” in which he was just lying. With the two systems he had at the time, it became too much for him for a short time.
Holger Hetzel is always present at show jumping tournaments. He sees it as an investment in his business: new colleagues, new customers. Despite his factual, rational manner, there is still something that affects Hetzel emotionally. What that is, he tells in the new episode of “My First Million”.
Our interview series “My First Million” is now also available as a podcast. It will appear every Wednesday on Audible starting August 19th. The entire season with 24 episodes costs 9.95 euros. It’s free for Audible subscribers. Guests of the first episodes are:
Listen to the trailer for the podcast here: