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The WoSJ guest blogger from day one at the Europeans; Victoria Gulliksen

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Hi everyone,

Finally we are here in Herning for the Europeans. My goal this year was the European Championships, but until two weeks ago it didn’t look like I would make it. Then one of the team members broke his arm, and suddenly I got a ticket to Herning after all. I felt really sorry for Dag Ove and his team. They had a good season, but that only proves how fast thing change in this sport. It was only last night, that I knew that I actually would be riding. So for me my first senior European Championships came a little more unprepared than one would like. But hey - I ‘m here and I will do my very best!

It was the Norwegian Championships last weekend and I had to fly between the show and back home to ride Urval to try and prepare as best as I could. I have been riding big championships before as a junior and young rider, but this is something else. This is a different level from what I’m used too. 

It is not only the fact that the courses are bigger and more technical, it is also the riders you compete against here. When you watch riders like Steve get in to this arena, you understand that you are in a different league. But it also is the thing that pushes me and makes me want to get better. This is a great experience for a young rider like me, and this can only make me better. 

I had some butterfly in my stomach before the class today, but then I walked the course, and I felt a little bit more in control over the situation. Then maybe seven strides before fence number one - I felt like my heart would stop for one second. I got so nervous, but  Urval saved me. He did not care about my nerves and just went on towards the fence. By the time we had jumped it I had to start focus on my tasks and with those thoughts the nerves disappeared. 

My goal is to finish this championship in the best possible way, and I know my horse has the scope to make it if I ride my best. The challenge for an unexperienced rider like me is to be able to keep up the speed you need. That is one of the things I work most on back home - to get up his ability to keep going through every turn and being able to keep up a high tempo and jump big fences. Today I pushed him a little more than he is used too which also makes him a bit more tired towards the end of the course. That was why we unfortunately had one down today. 

Urval is such a fighter - he always tries his best. And if I do the right things he gives his heart to try and help me. But I have to both keep him a off the fence when I get to it, and then I have to urge him a little with my voice when we are jumping - to make sure he doesn’t take down a pole with his hind legs. So I kind of have to do a little bit of everything at nearly the same time. 

I know look forward to the class tomorrow, but I think it will be huge and difficult. 

Victoria

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