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In pandemic times, Maikel van der Vleuten found a perfect programme

Monday, 27 July 2020
Interview
Masked picture

Photo © World of Showjumping

Photo © Marco Villanti/Hubside Jumping Maikel van der Vleuten and Dana Blue came out of lockdown to win two CSI4* Grand Prix competitions at Hubside Jumping. About his pandemic-program, Maikel says: “I never jumped big or difficult, but worked hard on the basics and the details." Photo © Marco Villanti/Hubside Jumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

Maikel van der Vleuten has gone straight from lockdown and into a winning streak. With three Grand Prix victories in five weeks, the Dutch 32-year-old has been unstoppable. What’s the secret behind the success? We asked Maikel about his Covid-19 program, and how he has kept his horses in top form during the pandemic.

“At the beginning of lockdown, it was hard to make a plan because no one knew when to expect the shows to restart,” Maikel explains. “I decided not to put my horses out of training and kept focusing on the dressage as well as fitness work. I never did two days of the same kind of training, but altered between working in the outdoor, taking the horses on the racetrack, to the forest, lunging and so on. I wanted to keep their condition and shape but added as much variety as possible to avoid that the horses got bored.”

“For the jumping, I decided to imitate the feeling of being at a show. I made myself a warm-up in the indoor, and a course in the outdoor,” Maikel tells. “I never jumped big or difficult, but worked hard on the basics and the details: Getting the right control, keeping the horses straight, making sure to use the turns well, working on their balance and shape over the jump – all the small things that make a big difference. I would swap between this and doing gymnastics, and just kept them ticking over.”

Photo © World of Showjumping "It of course builds your confidence when you get into the flow from the beginning, and when the horses give you a good feeling it’s also easier to take a bit more risk,” Maikel says about his winning streak. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“When we finally were allowed to show again, they were all in good shape and it was not difficult to find the rhythm. After a few smaller classes, they were all ready to jump bigger,” Maikel says. “I also felt them really happy to be back in the ring, just like us the horses like variety. It of course builds your confidence when you get into the flow from the beginning, and when the horses give you a good feeling it’s also easier to take a bit more risk.”

“For the coming months, I will be using the 2* and 3* shows for my group of younger and up-and coming horses. Hopefully, I can aim the more experienced ones for the few bigger shows,” the Dutch rider tells. “I will be jumping Beauville and Edinburg at the Dutch Championships in Peelbergen in August. I see Beauville as a candidate for the Olympics next year, but he never jumped a championship before so this will be a good experience for him.”

And with that all Dutch riders have been warned that Maikel van der Vleuten is coming to town…

 

No reproduction without written permission, copyright © World of Showjumping

 



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