Edwina Tops-Alexander and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson will do battle for the 2012 GCT Championship on Saturday evening. Here is an exklusive interview from Global Champions tour with the two riders.
What has been your most memorable moment of the 2012 GCT season?
Edwina: Difficult to say because I've enjoyed the whole season, but probably winning in Doha because it was the first leg of the Tour.
Rolf: It was going to the jump-off in Hamburg with Casall la Silla for the second year in a row – this year he was second (and last year we won).
What was your favourite venue this season and why?
Edwina: Monaco because its where I live and it's always so much fun there.
Rolf: It must be Hamburg – it is very near to our barn, so it really feels like a home crowd when you ride in there. As I am riding a stallion from the Holsteiner Verband, a lot of Holsteiner breeders are present at the show, and everybody feels happy with you, when you do a good round.
What was the most difficult event for you and why?
Edwina: Probably Cannes because there were a lot of expectations.
Rolf: I think it was Doha. At that time of the year it is winter where we live, and it is nice and warm in Doha, so you cannot really compare. Apart from that Ninja caught a virus, as he came down there this year.
You have had several GCT Grand Prix podiums this year, is your horse the best you've ever had?
Edwina: My horses is always giving maximum and he rarely makes a mistake. As long as I'm in form, things shouldn't go wrong. But we are not machines and Itot always gives his best, so I hope we are both ready.
Rolf: Well I have had two good horses in the GCT circuit this year, Carusso LS la Silla and Casall la Silla. And for sure Casall has been doing very well.
You are at joint 1st on the ranking board going into the final, what is the secret of your success this season?
Edwina: There is no secret in our sport, but there is definitely a lot of determination and focus that has gone into trying to be consistent.
Rolf: There is no secret – we tried to make a good plan for the season at the beginning of the year, and it seemed to work with the good horses, that I have. And of course you need a little bit of luck at the end ;)
Show jumping is growing in popularity around the world, what do you think about the future of the sport and what can be done to make it even more successful?
Edwina: If you see how much the GCT has grown over the past 6 years, our sport has been lifted to a new level and I think it is only getting stronger and more exciting. I think that to make it more successful our sport needs to focus on the important aspects, rather than making problems that only create more difficulties. The GCT is a pure example of what our sport needs and I know in the future it will only grow much stronger.
Rolf: Well for sure tournaments like the Global Champions Tour make it more interesting for the riders and also for the horse owners, who have the chance to win some of the money back, that they have used for purchasing the good horses. And perhaps it would be good, if there was more riding in normal TV again, so that more people can see it.
You are an athlete at the top of your sport, what is your formula for staying on top?
Edwina: I think you need to be regularly in competition and of course without top horses I wouldn't be where I am today. Obviously there is a huge management program behind my success and a lot of hours of training every day.
Rolf: First of all you need good horses, then good sponsors and for sure a good plan for your season – good management is even very important.
Tell us how you have been preparing for the GCT Championship Final in Abu Dhabi?
Edwina: Nothing different other than competitions every week and keeping Itot fresh and feeling good.
Rolf: Since the Olympics Casall has been doing Rio de Janeiro, Lyon and now the final in Abu Dhabi, so I think he will be fit for the fight!
Source: Press release from Global Champions Tour
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