‘Spoilt’ showjumpers: top trainer speaks out about money and angry riders

  • There is a worldwide problem with modern showjumpers wanting results too quickly with minimal effort, according to a top trainer.

    Dutch Olympic showjumper Albert Voorn told H&H that he “has to speak out” about the situation, despite a lack of recognition of the problem within the sport.

    “Riders want it all now, they want it quicker and they are more and more spoilt,” he said.

    “Why do they ride? They want results, but they won’t put the time in.

    “I teach so many horses in a week and I travel a lot and everybody says they love the horse – he needs to go into the paddock every day for example because it’s better for the horse. The moment the rider gets his foot in the stirrup the love for the horse has gone.”

    Albert recently appeared in a video interview with Horse TV where he spoke out about these issues. The clip has been viewed 452,000 times and shared by 4,600 people.

    “What I’ve seen, especially with the young girls, is a lot of anger,” he told the reporter. “They get so angry with their horses. Is the horse their partner or their friend?

    “I can understand being very ambitious but it’s a shame that when we make mistakes it all goes back on the horses and that is where we have to control that anger.

    “At the end of the day we are using and abusing an animal for our own pleasure. People don’t have self-control.”

    He told H&H that he is also shocked by the “zero” respect some young riders show their trainers and parents.

    “It doesn’t matter who the trainer is, they just don’t care,” he said. “Even if the parents have done a good job the kids are not listening.

    “Then you have the parents who are fanatic and they drive the kids crazy. How many of those children stay in the sport when they are adults?”

    Albert said the problem is worldwide and affects riders at all levels, from unaffiliated competitors to those at the highest level.

    “I don’t see a solution when everything revolves around money,” he said. “When you have money you can buy yourself a horse, get yourself a trainer and buy yourself into the Global Champions Tour.

    “We have to please the client. They tell us what to do and that’s what’s totally wrong about this sport.

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    “People who can hardly sit on a horse but want to jump a fence should be forbidden.

    “Nobody talks about it, everybdy wants to keep everybody happy, but the time is now, I have to speak out.

    “It’s a beautiful sport and so many people get enjoyment from it, but we need to do it well and we need to make sure the suffering the horses go through is as little as possible. That should be the goal.”

    Do you agree with Albert? We’d like to hear your thoughts about today’s showjumpers. Please email hhletters@timeinc.com

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