Dennis Fisker to Step Down as Danish Youth Team Trainer Due to New Clause in Contract

Mon, 10/23/2023 - 12:01
Danish youth team trainer Dennis Fisker :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Danish Grand Prix rider, trainer and horse dealer Dennis Fisker is stepping down as Danish youth team trainer as he refuses to sign a clause, which has been added to his contract for renewal of his position by the Danish Equestrian Federation.

Ridehesten reported the news first that Fisker can not renew his contract because of the clause. 

Danish Youth Team Trainer

Fisker began his professional career as a rider and trainer working at the Frederikskavn and Hjallerup riding club. Then he became the resident, head rider at Agnete Kirk Thinggaard's Julianelyst stable for 2.5 years.  In January 2018 he made the move to independence and relocated is training and sales business to  Hanne Bruun Ejlersgaard's Kristineholm stable in Højbjerg, Denmark.

On 1 December 2017 Fisker was appointed Danish Youth Team trainer succeeding Ulrik Sorensen who took on the job of sport director at Blue Hors. He first coached the juniors and young riders and as of 2020 also got the pony riders added to his plate and then the Under 25 were added as well. That was too much to handle and in March 2021 the Danish equestrian federation hired Lisbet Seierskilde as co-pony team trainer, but she is now the only pony team trainer, while Fisker focused on the junior/young riders and U25.

Danish Federation Cleaning House

Fisker celebrating 2022 European Kur Gold
medal that Sophia Obel won in Hartpury
The Danish equestrian federation has been severely under fire for "conflicts of interest" with Ulf Helgstrand as chair of the federation while his son Andreas is a team rider and major sponsor and event organizer of dressage competitions. Stakeholders further questioned the federation's decision to take Andreas on the team for the 2023 European Championships following his disqualification at the team selection trial (Danish Championships) due to a breach in procedure for medicating his horse. 

Dennis Fisker runs his own training and sales business, and trains several squad listed riders. He also has a business partnership with the Obel family, which co-invests in horses and then sells them. Danish youth rider Sophia Obel has been a consistent member of the Danish youth teams for the past four years. Stakeholders have hinted that this might look like a conflict of interest. 

Team Denmark has been highly successful in the youth divisions at the European Championships in recent years. There was team gold (YR) and team silver (JR, U25) in 2023; team silver (YR) in 2022, team bronze (JR, YR) in 2021.

As the Danish federation is sweeping through its offices and making changes (Ulf Helgstrand is on leave and contracts have been updated), Fisker feels forced to resign due to a new clause. 

Renewal Contract With Clause

Dennis told Ridehesten that "in the most recently submitted contract from the Danish Equestrian Federation, I have received a dismissal, as a new clause prevents me from running the business I have next to the job as national coach. In the new contract, it is not possible to have any kind of working relationship with riders in the squads or their families"

Fisker continues, "this really means that as a national coach you cannot train talented riders in the squad or towards squad submission, alongside the job as national coach. In more detail, you cannot run a professional business with a riding school or selling horses if you are a national trainer. I don't know what the NF wants. Which rider doesn't have a business which they run as a side job alongside the position of national coach?"

He further stated, "only after other team trainers signed their new contract was this new clause presented in my contract. When I asked if there were complaints of my work as national trainer, the director of the NF and the newly appointed chairman pointed no fingers. I understood from it that I could hypothetically end up in a situation where I act in favour of one of my own riders or business partners. However, the past six years have shown that you are not selected for the squad, simply because you are a rider with me."

Read Fisker's full statement on Ridehesten (in Danish)

Photos © Astrid Appels

Related Links
Nielsen, Sorensen, Fisker Resign from Danish Warmblood Dressage Breeding Department
Lisbet Seierskilde To Assist Dennis Fisker in Danish Pony Team Trainer Role
Dennis Fisker's Job Expanded, Now Also Danish Pony Team Trainer
Dennis Fisker Resigns as Head Rider at Julianelyst