The Holsteiner Verband stallion presentation will be held at the Neumünster Holstenhalle on 1 February at 2 o'clock. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, who finished fourth individually at the European show jumping championships aboard Verband-owned stallion Casall Ask last year, will also be in attendance.
Following a super start into the season at Basel with you winning the Grand Prix aboard Casall Ask, and Leipzig, where you finished 6th in the world cup jumping with Quintero Ask, there have been news about a recurring injury of yours. What happened?
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson: As you certainly know, I had been sidelined due to an abductor injury sustained at the end of last year. Basel two weeks ago was my first competition. Then I felt an intense pain again after a tremendous jump aboard Quintero Ask in the jumping practice area just before entering the Leipzig world cup class and I have since been diagnosed with another abductor muscle fibre rupture which means I am facing another five week injury lay-off at least.
Even though this is very disappointing just now, what are your aims with the Holsteiner Verband stallions for the 2014 season?
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson: Well, since I won't be able to compete in the world cup final due to injury, I am definitely aiming for the World Equestrian Games with Casall Ask. Clarimo Ask will be competed more and more at the big horse shows like for example the Global Champions Tour, whereas Quarz Ask is expected to prove himself in the youngster tour. Both stallions went to Leipzig along with Quintero Ask. They were both a bit exuberant due to my long injury lay-off, but with one rail down in the Grand Prix, Clarimo Ask has definitely demonstrated his ability to play in this league. Quarz Ask is not as experienced yet and had not been shown in competition for almost one year, so his starts in the youngster tour have provided a great learning experience for him.
Since last year you have got a new sponsor: Stutteri Ask, a big Danish horse breeding operation is holding the sports rights to the Verband-owned stallions you have got the ride on. How is the co-operation in this partnership?
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson: Well, of course our Danish partners are not overly enjoyed about my new lay-off. But after all, they have been in the horse business for such a long time, so they are not really troubled. Being horsemen through-and-through, they just know that anything can happen anytime, to horses as well as to riders. Otherwise nothing much has changed. The co-operation between the Holsteiner Verband, Norbert Boley, Bo Kristoffersen and me is definitely going smoothly – same as with Alfonso Romo before, so that I can absolutely concentrate on my riding.
Are we going to see the stallions you have got the ride on at Neumünster?
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson: Yes. Andreas Erni, long-time rider at my yard, will definitely present Clarimo Ask and Quarz Ask over the jumps. However, we are not quite sure about Cayado yet, even though the grey is fit and does a very good jump after his injury lay-off. We will have to decide on short notice if we can expect him to jump a course. The Holsteiner Verband has made a point of having Casall Ask and Quintero Ask come to Neumünster. Obviously there is going to be a little surprise... Both stallions will be shown to the breeders in-hand.
We all know you to be an outstanding rider. But you are a breeder, as well. How much value do you place on such a stallion presentation?
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson: Competition commitments permitting, I always try to go and see the Holsteiner Verband stallion presentation. It is a must for riders, breeders, and Holsteiner horse enthusiasts. The Holstenhalle atmosphere is just great, and after the stallion presentation, the get-together offers free beer – for the first hour at least - and an opportunity for nice and informative chats to fellow riders and breeders. I am curious about the highly interesting young Holsteiner Verband stallions which have demonstrated their high quality jumping at the stallion licensing already. Moreover, Norbert Boley has told me that the Holsteiner Verband has purchased another young stallion in France. Even though he is not licensed for breeding yet he is already to be presented to the breeders at Neumünster. He is by Lamm de Fetan, a stallion I have known as an international sport horse under his rider Timothée Anciaume. I am also curious about long-time fellow rider Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst who is going to comment on the stallions alongside Carsten Sostmeier. As we all know "Alo" to be a true horseman as well as very articulate, we can definitely look forward to his commentary.
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