Competition From Trainer's Point of View

Ealier today we (Rune and I) flew to The Netherlands to support our students competing CDIJY Nieuw Sint Joosland. 

My student Celine Silfen will join her first international junior competition ever, on her lovely gelding Romio s. Blue Hors Romanov. We have had some nice training sessions the last couple of days, before Celine and her mom Helle left our yard yesterday (Wednesday). It is different how you decide to prepare the horse and rider for a big competition, and it really depends on the equipage.

It is important for Celine and Romio to ride through the tests the last couple of weeks before a big competition. We try to do it like a competition; time the warm-up like we’d do at a show and then ride though the test in “competition shape”. 

For this specific competition Celine is going to perform TCJ (team juiortest) ICJ (individuel juniortest) and FEI junior Freestyle. Last week we started looking at the tests - actually we have practiced all three tests but in different ways.

This time we did the TCJ in full-competition shape, which for us means perfect high in the neck, power-tempo and with great extensions - exactly as we’d like to do at a show. The Freestyle we trained with a bit less power and expression, mainly focusing on the music. Last but not least we did the combinations for ICJ (for example three exercises in a row).  Romio and Celine are definitely in a good shape to perform very well at this competition, and I can’t wait to support and train her.

It is so very different to be on the other side of the table as a trainer, instead of competing myself. When I compete myself I have the full control (together with Cassidy) which gives a feeling of safety. When being a trainer you obviously have a big influence on the equipage’s performance, but you have no control at all when they enter the arena. That’s for sure the biggest difference for me - when I’m the rider I have full control over my horse, my ride and my nerves. But when standing on the sideline as a trainer… Oh boy I can be nervous. Nervous that the rider will forget something, make a mistake and simply just nervous about how the result is gonna be. 

I feel a huge responsibility training these younger riders, because I have to teach them how to act in all kind of situations, teach them how to perform their best (hopefully every time) and also how to react and bounce back when it goes wrong. 

Besides the big responsibility it is for sure also a pleasure to see my riders train, learn and grow with the training. I’ve been very lucky to get in touch with some families who are super engaged and supportive of their children, which makes it a fantastic team to be a part of. 

I’m so excited about this trip with Celine Silfen, Romio and her mom Helle Silfen, and can’t wait till the first competition day tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for Celine and Romio the next couple of days.


All photos: Sanne Svendsen

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