Tuesday, 2. April 2024

Tanja and Emma Grandits: Between stable scent and star cuisine

Tanja Grandits is a Michelin-starred chef in Switzerland, while her daughter Emma is an up-and-coming dressage rider who is pursuing her path to top-level sport in the CHIO Aachen CAMPUS Programme of Excellence. Two different professions that harmonize together.

You wouldn't normally find Tanja Grandits at the stables, but at her restaurant "Stucki" in Basel. However, the Michelin-starred chef from Switzerland does have a connection to horses - thanks to her daughter Emma. As an ambitious dressage rider, the 18-year-old is taking part in the CHIO Aachen CAMPUS Programme of Excellence in order to make her way to the top level of the sport with the help of Head Coach Isabell Werth.

Always with her: mother Tanja, who has had as much to do with riding in her life as a penguin has with flying. "I used to sit on a horse as a teenager, but after a few riding lessons I fell off and have never tried it again since." The fact that horses played a big role for Emma and the whole family from an early age didn't change this at first.

Emma went to a riding school for the first time at the age of six and soon started going to lessons several times a week. Her first own pony came at the age of 14, followed a year later by her first dressage horse, Merlin. "Our lives have long been focused on riding. We also always chose destinations for our holidays where there were horses," says Tanja Grandits, talking about vacations in Andalusia, among other places. Emma then spent as much time as possible in the saddle, while Tanja relaxed by going for walks, hiking and taking photos.

But the more successful her daughter became, the more her mother wanted to get to grips with the subject herself. "I always accompany her, drive the transporter and clean boots, but I can't really help with anything else." This distinguishes Tanja Grandits from many of the other mothers, who were often successful riders themselves or are at home in equestrian sports businesses. "But I don't like doing things if I don't have a clue about them," says the 53-year-old - and decided to give riding another chance after all.

Emma explains the theoretical basics

Since the beginning of the year, she has therefore been taking regular lessons and has also had Emma explain the theoretical basics to her. "The horse I'm allowed to ride is very calm and doesn't make a wrong step. That's very good for me to gain confidence. I really enjoy it," is her conclusion after the first few months. And Tanja Grandits has come to another realization: "Now that I'm on the horse myself, I realize even more how much hard work Emma puts in."

Anyone watching the pair in the stables at the CHIO Aachen showgrounds will notice the respect and, above all, pride of Tanja Grandits, who is well acquainted with success on other stages: her restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars for years, and she herself has been named Swiss "Chef of the Year" several times.

The food she mixes for Emma's mare Quibelle may look a little less fancy than the menus for her restaurant guests, but at least it has something to do with the star chef's actual profession. Either way, Quibelle is happy about it after training - and is likely to feel particularly at home at the Soers. Before she moved to Switzerland to be with Emma two years ago, she lived very close by in Aachen. "It was definitely love at first sight for both of us," enthuses the 18-year-old about her sports partner.

The three ladies Emma, Tanja and Quibelle are currently traveling from Basel to Aachen every month to progress Emma's career in the dressage saddle at the CHIO Aachen CAMPUS. "Unlike many of the other girls, I have to do everything myself. It takes more time, but I also enjoy doing it and find it really nice to always have my mom with me," says the young rider, full of anticipation for the next training session.

All information about the Programme of Excellence as well as the application form for the next class can be found here.

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