A two-time Paralympic Para Dressage champion, an Olympic eventer and a chimney sweep. Even in the wonderful world of para sport, Pepo Puch is living quite a life.
The horse-mad Austrian competed in able-bodied eventing from 1987-2008, including an appearance at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. After breaking his back in 2008, when his air-bag safety jacket exploded on him, Puch switched his sights to Para Dressage.
In the nine years since, he has won six FEI European Championship gold medals, including the individual Grade II title he picked up in Gothenburg on the opening day of the 2017 edition.
Amid all this varied sporting excellence, there has remained one constant.
“My profession is chimney sweeping,” Puch explained. “I started the business when I was 15, my friends said don’t be a professional (horse rider), look for a serious job. In Austria we have quite a lot of snow and chimney sweeping is a winter business and I was looking for a winter business so I could have time for riding in summer.
“I still own the company, with my disability I can’t do the work in the houses but I am behind the scenes and in the office.”