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The pressure is on, or?

Thursday, 22 February 2018
Three top riders about pressure

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Hans-Dieter Dreher, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Marcus Ehning talks about pressure.

WoSJ sat down with three very experienced riders – Marcus Ehning, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Hans-Dieter Dreher – to talk about their thoughts on pressure. Do they put pressure on themselves, feel the pressure from horse owners, pressure to get ranking points or pressure to win enough money to survive?  

Marcus Ehning

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
"For me personally, the most important thing is consistency," Ehning says about getting good results.

“No, I don’t put pressure on myself anymore. It is not like when I was 20-25, and wanted to prove myself for everyone else. Nowadays, I think most people know I’m not riding too bad – and I enjoy riding. Just like earlier I really like to ride, and it doesn’t necessary need to be at shows. To take my time with a horse and to work with it is my biggest motivation.

I’m in the lucky position that I have several horses on the highest level from different owners. That means I can do my own thing, and for the moment I don’t feel pressure from owners.

For me personally, the most important thing is consistency. If I’m consistent and do my homework properly then the results come by themselves, and then I will win classes and be placed among the best. I’m not the one that does everything possible to win a special class, I think I have too much experience for that. And I can be exactly as happy to be fourth as if I win. How the horses jump and feel is for me more important than whether I won or am third.”

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
"The new invitation system makes it even more difficult for me to get to shows, so I also have to beg to the organisers to be able to ride," Bengtsson explains.

“The pressure often gets less with experience. Now I know what I can do and I don’t let the things that earlier could give me negative stress affect me anymore. You have your plan and you do things like you always did and after a while things will fall back to place. Sometimes things go faster and sometimes it takes a bit longer.

When it comes to horse owners you need to be very straight and honest with them. If the owners are too difficult you don’t really have a future together. You need to be able too work together for a goal in the future. I have really good owners, but I know other owners that are not as easy. They think that right now is very important, and I don’t like that. I prefer to work with a long-term plan towards a long-term goal. Then you can be calm in your system when you are trying to build the horses up. Otherwise you have to rush things and that will just bring you problems later on.

I did put some real pressure on myself when it comes to Casall’s last shows. We decided after the LGCT final in Doha in 2016 – where Casall was really in top form and won both the class and the Tour overall – that he would do 5-6 more shows before the final farewell in Hamburg in 2017. Not just for me, but also for the Holsteiner Verband and everyone involved and most of all for Casall, I really wanted him to show himself in top form on his last shows. So that did put pressure on me. I wanted him to leave the sport on the highest level. That we could end it as we did was something really special.

The evening in Hamburg after his warm-up class I was really worried. That class didn’t go well at all. Normally Casall could never have more than a pole down in the warm-up, because then he got way too careful for the big class. But, it happened and that scared me a bit ahead of his very last class. I think he was a bit in shock to do such a big class as an opener, and then I still rode it as a warm-up class. Casall knew exactly when it was important, and when not. So with three down I was a bit nervous we would leave the big class with eight faults, and that everyone would say I pushed him too far. That made me more nervous than anything else.

When it comes to ranking points, it is a bit of pressure. It can go so fast downhill on the ranking and in the beginning you don’t fall that much, but after a while it is like there is no bottom anymore. I’m already below rank 100, that is how fast it goes. But if you are not ready for the highest Grand Prix classes with your horses, you just have to wait. It is no point in me rushing things and being stupid and destroy a future that might be bright.

I can only hope I’m not falling so far down that people don’t remember me anymore. The new invitation system makes it even more difficult for me to get to shows, so I also have to beg to the organisers to be able to ride. They can’t say you where really good last year so you are welcome back again, since the system doesn’t work that way anymore.”

Hans-Dieter Dreher

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson
"For the moment I don’t put the pressure on myself like earlier and that makes life way easier," Dreher says.

“Earlier, I put a lot of pressure of myself to get points on the world ranking but now I have let that go. I don’t hunt the points anymore, I do what I can but don’t really think about it. Luckily I don’t have any pressure from my owners. I think all of us have a bit pressure to win enough money to survive, but for the moment I am in the lucky position with good horses that always win a little.

I think it is a lot about how much pressure you put on yourself. For the moment I don’t put the pressure on myself like earlier and that makes life way easier.”

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