The first educational session just came to an end with the 2020 team. The National Swedish Equestrian centre, with its history of 500 years and the presence of horses and riders, hosted the all group as happened in the past.
It was indeed a challenge to get our riders and speakers to Sweden for the program, due to this very odd covid-19 year, but also so rewarding to see new members of YRA family reaching out for knowledge.
Lectures covered several topics: from working a horse on long reins, physical education and mental coaching for riders, to economics and legal aspects between riders and horse owners.
The Swedish University of Uppsala – department of Veterinary, contributed as usual through involvement of professors Marie Rhodin and Lars Roepstorff on considerations related to horses’ anatomy and physiology.
Prof. Roepstorff also commented on the current situation “We need to see pros and cons of this condition; indeed, cancellation of competitions is a big issue, but the obligation to take a stop force all riders to review their routine for the better. I believe that in the medium term it will be beneficial for both horses and the professionals themselves”.
An important part of this session was dedicated to athletic training and well-being, qualities that are fundamental today to become successful professionals. Classes were taught by Emma O'Dwyer, a member of the YRA family and now "in house" physiotherapist. She is extremely knowledgeable about physical education closely related to this sport. Emma, as a professional rider, also spent words on the pandemic. She is convinced that the routine needs to be revised and rebuilt by giving physical fitness - for both riders and horses - a more important role, so when it returns to normal the riders will be stronger, healthier and less prone to injuries.
Jenny Johansson, a former 160 rider, had been the legal partner and she explained key aspects related to contracts and agreements useful for starting a professional career.
Ultimately, Poppy Blandford, who lectured on mental coach, gave “one – to – one” support to whoever felt the need.
A big “thank you” to the staff of Swedish riding centre who gave a great help with young horses and long reins work.
When and where we can have the next session is currently an open question, we just need to stay calm and follow the development in Europe for the next months to come.
Stay safe and stay healthy
Sven Holmberg and YRA team