Monica Theodorescu Remembers Her Timeless Parents

Thursday, October 15, 2020
Posted by Giulia Iannone


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Monica  Theodorescu competed for 30 years in international dressage, winning 3 Olympic team golds, for Germany,  in Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta.
In 2012 she was nominated by the German Olympic Equestrian Committee, the new German dressage team trainer, and again confirmed in 2016. She posted, among other medals, the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic gold and in world championships, one in Normandy 2014, the other in Tryon in 2018.

Monica and her father George Theodorescu in 1999 at Bad Honnef Dressage ©Mary Phelps 1999
Monica and George Theodorescu in Bad Honnef 1999

She  is a daughter of art. Her  father, George Theodorescu was a Romanian dressagist. He competed in two events at the 1956 Summer Olympics,  riding a horse named Palatin. A native of Romania, Theodorescu moved to Germany at age 31 as a political refugee. Monica’s mother, Inge Fellgiebel, show jumping and dressage rider, was the daughter of Hans Fellgiebel, the brother of Erich Fellgiebel, a "July 20th" conspirator. She was  first married to the famous show jumper Hans Gunther Winkler, then to George. She is the only rider to have competed in both dressage and show jumping derby.  Great and deep woman of horses, at the Gestut Lindenhof in Sassenberg, Germany, Inge Theodorescu trained dressage horses together with her husband Georg and daughter Monica.

In October 2020, George on day 1 and Inge, his wife, on 18, would have turned 95. Monica kindly joined ,with joy and emotion, at the idea of remembering them in an interview to ideally wish them happy birthday, wherever they are. We decided to make it, because Italian dressage owes a lot to the teachings of this Great Master and we remember him with great gratitude and affection, together with his wife.

Thanks Monica!

What did they teach you about life and dressage?

“Well, I remember a lot. Together with my parents, George and Inge, we worked for almost 50 years. I grew up with horses and I have spent my whole life with horses, just like my parents: they had a long tradition. Our life has always gravitated around horses and sport, but above all, horses have always been first of all, our friends. They did it for a so long time and I have continued to follow this lifestyle, also, to honor and carry on the great equestrian tradition of my family. So there is a lot of experience in the sport and also I remember a lot of our history, things of horse life or competition life.”

What do you remember of special (something that only a daughter of art can tell me) and miss about your unforgettable parents, today, after a few years?

Monica and Theodorescu and Isabell Werth 1999
Monica Theodorescu and Isabell Werth 1999

“There are many photographs that can also be observed through the web, which portray moments of our daily family life with horses. They can say much more than a thousand words. they enclose in one click every day, every year, all the time that I lived in an unrepeatable and unique way, thanks to the dedication, competence, passion and genius of my parents. There is not a single specific thing that I can point out more clearly.”

George Theodorescu
George Theodorescu

What is the Human and equestrian heritage?

“I can say loyalty towards horses and people, treat every creature with respect but also try to get as far as possible in sports or working horses, always doing it with respect and treating horses well and also all the people around us”

Do you miss your stable in Gestut Lindenhof:

it was the Mecca of dressage, every rider from all over the world came for enlightenment!

“We lived and worked there for a long time, but I could no longer manage it alone as I am, also, the coach of the German Dressage team: it's too big for me. But I still live there as a home and I see it everyday. We have had many students from all over the world including Italy, who have worked with my father, also in view of many championships”

What do you think you have taken - in character or in the way of teaching - from one or the other?

“It is very difficult for me to relate these details of real and personal life, quickly and without hesitation, enclosing everything in words. I certainly received the talent from both: they were very talented. From my mother Inge, I definitely inherited the fact that I am very direct with people. She always told the truth, what she thought, her thoughts were always on her lips and I also think that very often these thoughts came out a little too fast! From my father I had the faculty to see the beauty in life and the beautiful things and the concept of the sweet life or the way of life of countries like Italy and France, probably Mediterranean feelings or lifestyle”

Do you like Italian food?

I love everything about cooking and Italian food! There is nothing I don't like and it would be really impossible not to like every flavor!

During the second war, your grandfather (mother’s father) and uncle maternal, were part of the Valkyrie operation. The grandparents house as Stauffenberg Headquarters. Did your mother tell you? It is a story of heroism that must be absolutely witnessed.

They haven't told me much in relation to this topic. I read a lot later on my own. One of those who took part in this attempt to kill Hitler, was my mother's uncle, Erich Fellgiebel and in the end he was executed. Hans, my maternal grandfather and brother of Erich, was sent to Poland with his family, during the war, he was obviously an officer like everyone else at that time, and he was in charge in this Arabian Stud , the state stud Janow Podlaski. This stud is still existing and still beautiful. My mother was with him and grew up in Poland riding young horses and young stallions all the time. I don't remember exactly in what years, I can only say that my grandfather Hans, directed the stud and treated Poles very well, so even today the Polish riders and Poles involved with horses, when the name Fellgiebel is mentioned, is still accompanied by a good fame and joy because he saved many of them.”

By all accounts, your father was a very cultured, refined and very very nice man. Can you tell us something about it?

“My father George had a high cultural level behind him. He grew up in the city of Bucharest which is called the little Paris. When you visit it, even today, it has similarities with the city of Paris, not so big, but with the same internal architectural structure - the boulevards - that's why it reminds a little of Paris.

My father attended French school, in fact French was his second language and Romanians are very cultured and refined people. There are many theatres and museums and libraries and there is great interest in art and literature but there is no great industrial development, like in other countries, but the culture is widespread.

My father grew up in this refined and elegant context , and it is this concept of beauty that he loved in his life. He was also very sensitive, in addition to horses he also loved dogs, which have always been with us even during the work of the horses in the indoor

What is the most beautiful equestrian memory linked to your father and one to your mother?

“My mother once was asked about the value of a horse in general. She asked back what was meant, age, quality and so on. The question was again: how much does a horse cost? She answered: what the fool is willing to pay!

A Story about my father at the Olympic Games in Barcelona 1992: The German Dressage Team and families were accommodated at a beautiful house, one hour away from the Olympic venue. We also had a German cook cooking for us.

One day he prepared a Hungarian ragu, while it was 40 degrees outside. My father was asked why he didn’t want to eat it and he answered:” he would eat Hungarian ragu only in Hungary but he would never go to Hungary!”

Many students and horses came to work with you and your family : is there a story or an episode that has impressed you so much that you want to tell us?

“There were always many students from all different countries and some could also be a little complicated. Then my father pretended to listen and understand all their problems. When I asked him, later, about such a long conversation, he answered: I have no idea!”

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