Flying High with Rio Olympic Fever Raging

Thu, 02/11/2016 - 13:07
2016 CDI Wellington

Globalising the dressage world as riders attempt to earn precious points for their Rio rider ranking, equine transport company Guido Klatte has shipped numerous European based riders as well as South Americans  to the U.S.A. as they are heading down to Wellington in droves. The company has seen a huge boost in flights between Europe and America.

One of the riders making the trek from Europe to America last month was Portuguese Ricardo Wallenstein, who chose to fly with Guido Klatte from his German training base at Christoph Koschel's yard in Hagen, Germany. He says the main purpose for his trip was to take up the Wellington season opportunity to compete every weekend.

“My trainer Christoph was here for the last two Wellington seasons and thought that it would be good for our horses, because they are both very young for the level that they are competing,” Ricardo told Eurodressage. “Besides this both horses belong to the Lusitano Academy, which is owned by Portuguese Fernando Sardinha, who has lived in Boston for a long time. It is therefore a great pleasure for him to see his horses competing in the USA.”

Due to the strict quarantine restrictions, Ricardo is forced to stay based at the showgrounds where his stallions have to stay in special quarantine stables.

“I’m very lucky to be trained by Koschel because he really is a super coach.He has a lot of experience riding in the ring, and training horses, and he really knows how to communicate and motivate his students.  I've been training with him for the last two years and everyday I learn something new, it's unbelievable!”

Set to remain in Wellington for the next three months, Ricardo says it is really giving him a great chance to expose his horses to show life, and as the horses feel at home at the show grounds the competition days just mean that you dress fancy.

“Like any professional rider it would be a dream come true to compete at the Rio Olympic Games, but I know that my Grand Prix Lusitano stallion, 10 year old Bem-me-Quer, is still young and green, and although we are trying our best to climb up the world rankings, we just have to wait and see," said Walenstein.

Ricardo confirmed that flying with Klatte was a very nice experience. His horses did not need long to recover from the flight as they stayed in quarantine for three days.

"The whole team was very helpful, and happy. It was my first time with this company, but they were very professional and all the horses will fly back to Europe with them," he explained. "The horses were lunged on the fourth day, and I was back in the saddle by day five. They arrived very "fresh" and I didn't fell a big difference in their attitude so I did my first competition after just one week. However, to be honest I think we rushed it a little because I realise now that our horses only felt the jet lag seven days after their arrival.”

In addition to strict quarantine rules, transport companies have to be on top of the health requirements of importing horses into other nations. Klatte stated that there had already been a few handicaps regarding the Brasilian import regulations and disease issues in Brasil.

“There should be no extra vaccinations though, other than the vaccination programs on which the international show horses have to carry out anyway. Any preparations for flights should be coordinated by the federations once they have done their nominations,” Klatte told Eurodressage. “We take care of several flights which are related to overseas riders (for instance from Australia) who still aim for a qualification for the Olympics. But these flights are not directly referred to flights for Rio.”

by Sarah Warne - Photos © Private - Quaca Franco

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