Marcus Ehning is one of show jumping’s true superstars. Ehning is three times World Cup winner, has team gold medals from the Olympics, World Equestrian Games and the Europeans – not to forget that he won the GCT overall in 2010 – as well as winning so many Grand Prix’s that listing them here would take up several A4 pages. WoSJ decided to sit down with the German rider to hear a little of his plans for 2012 and how he will repeat his success.
In 2011 you started your season as number two on the Rolex Ranking, now you are out of the Top 10 – what is your plan to get back in there?
“I’m going to produce the same results as in 2010,” Marcus states shortly while he smiles. “When things are not just right it’s important to not change things too much. Also it’s important to think that you can do it; it means a lot for the results and it’s a part of the motivation,” Ehning explains. “To be good you need to be consistent in your work, but at the same time think you can do better.”
Are you aiming for the Olympics in London?
“Yes, I hope to get on the team – probably on Plot Blue. But of course it depends on how the horses are, but normally Plot would be my choice for a championship. I’m open to use other horses though,” Marcus says.
“Plot is going to start competing again in January, and then get a break after March before he is yet again brought back to competitions. My planning for the season depends a little on what kind of situation I’m in. If I don’t have a lot of World Cup points at the end of January, I won’t ride many more World Cup qualifiers. My priorities will be towards a place on the German team this year, so for sure the World Cup is not so important for me,” the German rider smiles.
Your relatively new ride Cartani looks promising, how is it working out with him?
“I’m pleased with him. He’s jumping well and if he continues to do so we might keep him if his owner Sören von Rönne would like us to. It wasn’t a big change for Cartani to come to me, but he needs more power and more condition,” Ehning explains.
And how do you work your horses at home to give them the right show condition?
“It differs from horse to horse; some horses need more work than others. For example I jumped twenty jumps on Sabrina the Tuesday ahead of Stuttgart, while Küche I would normally not jump very much on between the shows. My flatwork I try to do simple and short – and go with the horses,” Marcus says. “At shows it’s not always so easy with the flatwork; it always depends on the space and I just try to do the best out of it. Some of my horses are sensitive with smaller places which can be a challenge, like for example with Küche.”
Do you have a trainer that helps you out?
“Yes, I get help from Henk Nooren. We are at many of the same shows, and when I started to train with him he came with me a little more often than now as it was important that he got to know the horses and my mentality. Henk didn’t want to change my riding, but things around me and the horses. We speak a lot together, and Henk has many good ideas. We have a good understanding,” Marcus smiles.
How important is that part; the management?
“The whole thing with this sport is management; it’s the key.”
So, do you have any new exciting horses we can look out for in 2012?
“I have a six year old called Funky Fred who is by my former top ride For Pleasure. I bred him myself actually. Funky Fred is similar to his father, but bigger.”
Do you do a lot of breeding?
“It’s just a hobby for us; we have about three foals every year. I have two of my previous jumpers who we use as broad mares now; Anka and Fiona – in addition to a few more mares. We mainly use our own stallions when we breed; such as Plot Blue and Sandro Boy” Marcus explains of his little breeding adventure that might bring him some new super stars in the future.