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Henrik von Eckermann: “Now we can focus fully on all the things that easily get neglected when we are in our usual day-to-day rush”

Monday, 04 May 2020

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping
“I am trying my best to see the positive sides to the current situation," Henrik von Eckermann. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



Henrik von Eckermann is using the forced show-break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to focus on details that easily get neglected when in a usual day-to-day rush, as well as doing a bit of experimenting. “I am trying my best to see the positive sides to the current situation," von Eckermann begins. 

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, keeping up with a busy show schedule limited training at home so Henrik finds himself making the most of the ‘new normal’. “When we go to shows regularly, we need to find the right balance between competition, training and recovery to keep the horses healthy in both their body and mind. I believe that with most horses, there is something we can improve. Even with the better, older horses, you sometimes have these small things that you don’t dare to change when the horses are jumping good. When you are showing weekly, you don’t want to risk it, so you hold on to what already works, even if by doing so you might compromise here and there. Now, I am trying some new things and working on small details. I think it is good that we can go back to the basics; now we can focus fully on all the things that easily get neglected when we are in our usual day-to-day rush.”  

“I am very ambitious and thrive to be better all the time, but I also try to keep in mind that I should not over-train the horses. I believe that the more the horses are moving, the better but it doesn’t mean you should work them every day in the ring. I don’t have a walker, so my horses hack out a lot and of course they also go to the field daily."

There are individual plans for each of von Eckermann's horses. “For example, horses like Best Boy and Fancy Me did a lot of shows before the break. Now, they are ridden once and go to the field for the rest of the day. I am not jumping them at all,” he explains. “Mary Lou had a long break already, and was supposed to do her first show back in s’Hertogenbosch. Her we take out for an easy ride twice a day and twice per week I do small gymnastics. I believe it’s important to keep the older horse jumping even during a longer break, so that they don’t get too rusty in their bodies."  

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping "Now, I am trying some new things and working on small details," von Eckermann tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

When it comes to a favorite exercise, Henrik admits that he doesn’t really have one – the relatively small ring he has at home guarantees that his horses are well ridden, he jokes. “There is a lot of bending and turning that comes all naturally,” he laughs. “Also, I always have a course up at home with very small fences. I use lower heights about twice a week with most of my horses." 

The unexpected break has given Henrik an opportunity to try out new things. “My vet thinks that it is good to leave the horses barefoot for a few weeks every now and then,” Henrik tells. “Therefore, I took the shoes off on a few of my horses, because I also really believe that this is good for them. I would not have done this unless we had this unexpected break, but now I was curious to see how they move and if anything changes in the way they feel. Also, being withouth shoes results in a natural trimming, which can help the blacksmith to optimise the shoeing. One of my horses I’m considering to leave and compete without the shoes as he feels more comfortable without them. Every horse is different. I always try too keep an open mind because I believe that in our sport we are never really fully learned - every day is another lesson." 

When it comes to his own physique, Henrik is not slowing down though. “For sure I train much more than before, and try to stick to healthy eating habits,” he says. “I do a lot of training with a mobile app called Tabata-training, where you can choose different exercises. I do around seven different exercises – basic things like sit ups, push ups, planks – you can mix it up. I do this for three to five rounds. I think it is nice actually; you don’t need any weights and you can do it at home. For us riders, we really benefit from good core stability and for me as a tall person with not the best back, it’s very important." 


No reproduction without permission, copyright © World of Showjumping


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