Nicola Baur-Rona - About her way until today

Nicola Baur-Rona - About her way until today

Stall Wetzlgut - The dreamy wooden stable glancing like a castle on a mountain in the middle of the snowy wonderland of Austria, and its queen: Nicola Baur-Rona. 
We had a chat with Nicola and asked a few burning questions about Nicolas way to where she is now, the hard work she put into it, her beautiful horses, social media and how it all started.

Name: Nicola Baur-Rona
Age:  36
From: Austria

|| Slogan(s) for life:
"Work harder – Never stop!"

"All’s well that ends well."



The Start

Early beginnings: Where did you grow up, when did you start riding?

I grew up in Vienna and my first encounter with a pony was at 3yo at an amusement park. They got me on the pony and when they tried to get me off, I screamed and cried. So I guess my family knew that I wanted to ride and that’s how it all started.

Did you know as a child that you wanted to work in the equestrian industry as a professional rider? How was your way in the equestrian world after you finished school?

I was riding and taking lessons from the age of 4. At the age of 10 I was already helping at the stable in order to get to ride more horses. When I was 16 I started competing internationally (6 Europeans in a row) so I was already very much IN the equestrian world whilst still in school. As my family never considered being a professional rider a proper career, I studied sociology and made my MBA in International Hotel Management. However, as soon as I had done my ‘deed’ I fully committed to riding.

You also worked quite some time in the fashion industry, how did you get to work there? What did you do? For how long did you pursue this? And why did you stop?

The fashion thing just ‘happened’ as I got cast via a fashion/modelling agency during a dinner in Bad Gastein. As I had been just with Equestrians all my life, I thought it would be exciting to see a bit more of the world and meet other people. I modelled and did a fashion blog. I stopped for two reasons: first my father got very ill, so I couldn’t risk being on the other side of the world in case of the worst case and of course I missed my horses as I was travelling all the time.

Do you miss the fashion world?

I miss the people I met and the rush and excitement, I do not miss the lack of sleep and the constant travelling.


Today at Wetzlgut

Today you are living in Bad Gastein having your own dream stable with even more dreamy horses, dogs, sheep and of course Herbert. How was your way to here, when did you build Wetzlgut, did it feel like everything fell into place? What would 25-year-old Nicola say or think about your life today? 

Actually I never wanted to have my own stable, but as my family in law runs a Hotel spa & health center here in Bad Gastein and there was enough grounds to build our own place Herbert convinced me to do so. Of course it is very beautiful but it is also very hard and it was quite a risk to build a stable in such a remote location, far from everything, especially the equestrian hot spots (like The Netherlands or Northern Germany) So no, I wouldn’t say everything fell into place, I would rather say that we are working hard since we started Stall Wetzlgut 7 years ago to make everything get into place.

How would you describe a typical week and a typical day? Do you have off days or holidays? How big is your team?

A typical day for me starts at 6am, I start working the horses at 7.30am until approx. 2pm. Then the horses and my team has lunch break until 4pm whilst I do some office work (clients, sponsors, orders, etc) In the afternoon 4-7pm the horses have their leisure and spa programme and we do routine stuff like stable cleaning etc. After that I go to the gym to do my daily workout programme, then its dinner time and afterwards Herbert and me discuss and work on everything connected with the Spa & Hotel (as we meanwhile run this too).
At the moment I have 3 members of staff and I myself am working 7 days a week. When you run our own business and in my case not for too long yet I guess its very hard to take holidays or even days off, but we had 4 days of holiday shortly before Christmas…

Wetzlgut is situated in the beautiful mountains of Austria, do you face difficulties with the mountains and the climate or is it even an advantage?

The climate is definitely an advantage, as we do not have very hot summers and due to the fact that we are so high up we hardly have any horse flies, mosquitos etc. which is very nice for the horses. The winters are snowy and cold of course but we do not have a lot of wind and not much humidity so it is bearable.
Living on a mountain is always a challenge and especially with horses as you have to build every single flat square meter yourself. On the other hand the horses have a real good work out when hacking out as we always have to climb up-and downhill.

The Horses

You started first with a lot of stallions, would you say you are a “stallion lover” and if yes, what fascinates you about them?

I am definitely a stallion lover and I always believed my big advantage was that they did not scare me, actually I think -of course we are talking about very good sport stallions- that they are quite easy to read and understand. They are not as moody as mares, in most cases they are braver than geldings and of course they have this ‘show off’ gene in them.


You have so many great horses, and also ridden a lot of great horses in the past, is one of those horses very special to you and why? Do you have nowadays a youngster you have high hopes in, or think is very, very special?

I feel very lucky to have had and have many special horses in my life: Of course Dondolo, my very first Grand Prix horse will always be super special to me also because he had a very unique character, you knew he was in his best mood when he was really grumpy and he taught me a lot.

Fürst Frederik, Keksi, my stallion now 17yo and retired, was the first stallion in my life and the one who opened my heart to stallions as he is the most loving and lovable stallion. Also, he is the first horse I schooled from 4yo up to Grand Prix. At the moment I feel extra blessed to have 3 young horses at my stable and each of them is very special and I have rather high hopes for all 3 of them.

How many boxes do you have today on your facility? How many own horses do you train and how many horses for clients?

I have 9 boxes and 5 of them are for clients horses.

Do your horses have a training schedule? How do you set goals for them?

I have a training schedule for every horse, which means a plan/schedule for the whole year, this is where I set the goals, especially the goal where we should be at the end of the year. And then I break down these set goals to monthly, weekly and daily schedules. The goals are of course mostly set by the horses, meaning age, talent etc. but also by the clients (some horses are to be sold, some just stay for schooling/training, etc.).

What for tips would you like to give our readers when it comes to buying a younger horse and training it? What should they look out for? What’s important to never neglect? If you would buy a young horse you want to train until higher level, what do you look for?

When buying a horse I think its important to exactly know your skills, what you want to do with the horse and the facilities you have. I myself look for rideability, talent, health of course and the little special something I see when I look into the eyes of the horse. There must be a special connection, something that makes you believe that you will be able to go all the way together.

Social Media

You are quite active on social media for a while now, how and when did you start your account?

I started my account when I quit fashion now 7 years ago. Back then social media was not that big a thing in the equestrian world but in fashion it was and I was so used to it so I thought it would be fun and at least my family who`s living far apart could see what I am up to in the mountains. I really didn’t believe it could interest so many people.


Do you consider social media as a hobby, part of your job, or as a career? Do you have goals for it?

It is definitely part of my job and a good marketing tool but that’s all. My career is (hopefully) my riding.

Today there is a lot of awareness for mental health also regarding social media, did you ever feel difficulties with that? How do you handle it? What do you like to follow or search for yourself on social media? What tips would you give younger riders on the social networks?

I am always surprised that social media, especially IG can be such a crowded, busy place and generally such a very positive one. I am a super sensitive person, always thinking and rethinking way too much, so being exposed on social media is at times very hard for me. But then I remind myself, that I chose to do so myself and I think of all the good that came and comes of it. I met so many opportunities, so many wonderful people, not to talk of all the inspiration you can get if you seek it. I myself love to follow other professionals and I am always looking for new and interesting inventions when it comes to everything related to run a stable. My tip is to use the social networks, but really stay grounded in your real life and your real family and friends.

Nicola x Appliqué Amsterdam

Why did you start working with Appliqué? What caught your interest?

I am always looking out for new stylish equestrian fashion brands (once a fashion girl always a fashion girl) that do not only do new but interesting, somehow different things & styles -so Appliqué caught my interest immediately.

What are your favourite items and why? What would you suggest to a friend?

That’s very hard to say, as I love all the items I got to test and use so far. At the moment, perhaps my fav item is the beautiful show set. The white breeches are just next level when it comes to fit and fabric, they are lightweight but not see-through and the fabric somehow miraculously does not stain even if used in hard duty like I do compete more horses a day. The two-tone shirt has the most beautiful design, very flattering and very elegant and on top of it is really, really usable.



Quick Fire Questions

  1. Mare, Gelding or Stallion? - Gelding
  2. Youngster or “professor”?  - Youngster
  3. Indoor competition or outdoor competition? - Outdoor
  4. Color or decent?  - Decent
  5. Leggings or breeches?  - Breeches
  6. Bandages or boots?  - Depends on the occasion  
  7. Single bridle or double bridle? - Single
  8. Coffee or tea?  - Tea
  9. Early bird or night owl?  - With my workload at the moment unfortunately both!
  10. Summer or winter? - Autumn





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