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WoSJ Exclusive; Clarissa Crotta - “Bo keeps control!”

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Clarissa has had a great season together with West Side v Meerputhoeve. All photos by Jenny Abrahamsson - worldofshowjumping.comClarissa Crotta was a part of the Swiss winning team at the Europeans at Windsor in 2009.  While the 2010-season was a bit disappointing, Clarissa is one of several Swiss riders who have delivered strong results this year, including earning back their place in the Top League. For Clarissa‘s part she has been at the price list at five legs of the Global Champions Tours; Cannes, Monte-Carlo, Estoril, Chantilly and Valkenswaard. And the last weekend in November she was number six at the Global Champions Tour final in Abu Dhabi after three strong clear rounds.

As we have seen that Clarissa’s great progress has happened after she moved to Breitenburg in Germany a little over a year ago to train with Bo Kristoffersen and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, we wanted to have a chat with her to find out about how her “new” life in Breitenburg is like, her goals for 2012 and how she ended up there in the first place?

“I used to train with Willi Melliger back in Switzerland,” Clarissa starts explaining. “Willi had a lot to do with other riders as well and we often did not go to the same shows so I didn’t get all the help I needed. My sponsor already knew Bo and Rolf from before, so I went to train with them a little over a year ago. The plan was to stay there for three weeks, but I really liked it there so I brought the rest of the horses as well,” Clarissa laughs.


“Breitenburg is great. You learn a lot from just being there and being able to look at Rolf while he rides. And of course Bo is a really good trainer. He has full focus on his role as a trainer which is great. And if Bo is not there, Rolf is normally there to help you instead.” The Swiss team that managed to qualify for the Olympics during the Europeans in September. Members of the team were Pius Schwizer, Clarissa, Steve Guerdat and Beat Mändli.


So how does it work back home - how much help do you really get during the week?
“I normally jump once a week, and if Bo is there when I ride dressage he looks at me and gives me directions. He has helped me a lot with the dressage, and my riding is much better now. I sit much more still in the saddle, and everything has fallen more in to place. When you ride 1.30-1.40 classes you can always improvise a little, but that doesn’t work in the 1.60 classes,” Clarissa says with a big smile on her face - when you talk with Clarissa, that smile is never far away.


What about all the planning and arrangements besides the riding?
“Bo and Rolf give me everything; a top management, super trainers and also super people. We already have 2012 planned. Bo keeps control,” Clarissa laughs while explaining how he won’t let her ride the big class this Sunday in Munich. “My horse needs to be fresh for the Global Champions Tour final in Abu Dhabi, “she continues. “I wouldn’t mind riding though,” Clarissa says with a big smile, but it is obvious that she will follow Bo’s advice - as he usually knows what he’s talking about. Which we now know obviously proved to be true!

The man in charge - Bo Kristoffersen. Bo has been a great help for Clarissa over the last months.So what are your plans for the next year? “I’m taking West Side v Meerputhoeve (Baloubet du Rouet x Apollonios) to Abu Dhabi the last weekend in November. Then there is Geneva, and after Basel he will have a two months break to be in shape for the 2012-season. My main goal is of course to be a part of the Swiss team for the Olympics, and my second goal is to either way get higher on the (world) ranking.” Because although Clarissa can look back on a strong season, she has some good riders to compete with to get a spot on the Swiss team for the Olympics. Pius Schwizer is definitely back in form, and Steve Guerdat has also delivered great results lately. In Stuttgart another Swiss girl also proved she can ride clear rounds; Janika Sprunger was number five after two strong rounds - just to mention a few.


What about the Nations Cups - Switzerland is back in the Top League, how important is that? “I’ m planning on riding some Nations Cups. Competing with the best teams is really important to know what level you’re on. Especially now before the Olympics. It is not the same when you don’t get to the big shows, so of course competing in the Top League is important for us.”


Clarissa explains that she now only has six horses at the stable. West Side is the big star, but she recently got a new horse that she rode for the first time in Odense in October. His name is Caretello (Caretino x Leonid), a twelve year old Holsteiner gelding. “Caretello has done some Nations Cups with his former German rider Caroline Müller and he absolutely has the potential to do the bigger classes. Clarissa tells us that she also has a couple of younger horses, and then there is Milano (Indorado x Beaujolais).Caretello is hopefully a horse for the bigger classes in addition to West Side. The mare is now seventeen years old, and they are planning on using her as a breeding mare next year. And the potential father might be the wonderful stallion Eurocommerce Berlin (Cassini x Caretino). Fingers crossed that Clarissa has a superstar to come. In the meantime it looks like she and Westside vd Meerputhoeve have discovered their ABC, which gives hope for a trip to London next year.

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