KNHS Trainers Platform Meeting: ‘Become an Equestrian Sports Ambassador’

On Monday 17 October, 35 coaches and coaches gathered at the KNHS Center for the (regular) six-monthly meeting of the KNHS Coaches Platform. Due to Covid-19, the meeting has not taken place for the past two years, but fortunately it has become possible again.

KNHS Technical Director Iris Boelhouwer opens the meeting with a short explanation about the purpose and configuration of the trainers’ platform and immediately explains the theme of the first part of the programme: “As an equine sector we still have some work to do for the sport in a better light with the (often ignorant) audience. What should every person involved in equestrian sports ask, and this certainly applies to riders and coaches, how can I commit myself to influencing public opinion about equestrian sport as positively as possible? This is a fundamental issue, because the future of our sport depends on it.”

Enter Dialog
Class Dykstra takes over from Eris as guest speaker. He is director of Zest Marketing, where he focuses on marketing for nonprofits. Klass immediately makes it clear to you: “Always put animal welfare first, or you’ll shoot yourself in the foot. And as a stripper, also announce that you do this!” The animal welfare debate is all the time, but in the past five to six years there has been a deluge of reports about Animal welfare. As a sector, you have to do something about this, it shows. Enthusiastically, Klass explains that activist parties often market it superbly and that sectors under attack are lagging behind. According to him, the horse sector is losing opportunities because it lacks the courage to advance. This can be done differently: “Tell the story as it is and as you feel. If you always put animal welfare first, you can always speak from your heart about the sector. The sector should not turn its back on society, but rather turn around and engage in dialogue. This requires the commitment of all Those involved in this sector and the role of ambassador is really there for everyone.”

There is clearly an urgent need to put more energy into this topic from the equine sector and it ensures a nice dialogue within the coaching group. There is a discussion about social media, of course. Keyboard knights. How do you deal with that? If you see an ugly comment under a post with a fellow rider or coach; Are you trying to refute them or are you afraid to attack you? There is open discussion about how attendees will deal with this and what they believe they need from the KNHS to better perform the ambassadorial role.

Success starts with the basics
The second part of the meeting consists of training in Amaliala, where national jump coach Jos Lansink will work with 4 young guest riders. Trainers break into groups to consult with each other and start the conversation within the whole group from there: What is good basic training for a jockey and a horse, what is important in this and do we all do it this way? Emma Buken and Tejman Voss, both novice show jumpers, are the first to appear in the ring. It soon becomes clear what Gus Lansink believes are important basic principles: “In principle, a horse should be able to walk on its feet, be able to draw straight lines and, as a rider, you shouldn’t want too much. Good leg posture and rider posture are critical, so that the passenger seat, hand and mouth of the horse can interact.” There is a discussion within the group about obedience. What is correct about this and how should a horse restrain during a loose ride? Do jumping coaches view this differently than dressage coaches? After a few critical questions from President Marion Schroeder, the differences appear to be minimal.

When Gus allows show jumpers to run for a relatively long time on beamed lines for more cadence control, he can count on critical questions from the stands: Does it make sense to continue with that if the horse is running smoothly? Gus is very clear about this: “Yeah, I want to get that perfect first, because that’s the key to riding a good track. With firmness you have a chance to get it right in a good way, because a horse isn’t so easily caught off guard. If you only do it during the course, you often run into problems”. When Emma jumps around the track after this groundwork, it’s really clear that the beams have contributed to more speed control and confidence in the distances to cover.

Then came the dressage riders and KNHS team members Talent Marten Luiten and Febe van Zwambagt. Right from the start of the training, these two riders clearly had the right basics. There is a great deal of control over the pace of the horses. Gus will also work with dressage groups on the same line of packs. It’s amazing how easily both horses and riders can turn this action and precisely control the number of trot jumps between bars. The horses clearly enjoy it and it is good to see that the looseness of the horses improves during this work. National dressage trainers note that it is sometimes a good idea for dressage riders, for their balance and independent sitting, to have shorter stirrups and to adopt a lighted seat. Instructors conclude: A good foundation is essential for every discipline. Combined with good management, this plays a role in animal welfare and benefits athletic performance. To keep the horses alert and alert, changing the work on display is a good idea: with a number of dressage coaches, jump bars will definitely appear again on the track!

About the KNHS Training Platform
The KNHS Trainers platform was created with the aim of ensuring a good transfer of knowledge between coaches and coaches, so that top coaches also continue to evolve. During meetings, dialogue is sought and coaches put each other on edge. Trainers are invited to the KNHS Trainers Platform if they are a KNHS National Trainer, if they are Seniors in the Olympic Framework themselves, if they are Trainers of the KNHS Talent Plan (and have a Trainer 5 Diploma), if they are Trainer 5 (and have a Trainer 5 Diploma) they Either a Senior Olympic Member coach or Member A in Young Riders.

Click here for more information on the KNHS Trainers platform

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