DENMARK (by Agata Grosicka) One of the most successful riders in the world (2006 WEG vice-champion in Aachen, bronze medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Hong Kong), Andreas Helgstrand has also become an extremely successful dressage horse breeder. What are the keys to his success? Good bloodlines and the knowledge that determines how to turn each horse into a great dressage prospect are just some of the lessons he shares.
Just recently, having seen all 26 young stallions Andreas himself and Helgstrand Dressage Center riders presented during the stallion show at his premises there is no doubt he knows just what to look for in a horse.
Forty-year-old Helgstrand, began riding competitively ata very young age – seven or eight years old – initially as a showjumper. Horses were definitely in his blood as his father, Ulf, later became president of the Danish Equestrian Federation. Andreas began training as a riding master at 17 before passing his final exams in 2000. Since then he has ridden for a number of well-known stables, including Blue Hors, and has ridden at the highest level for many years. Controversy has also visited his doorstep when he was under scrutiny for harsh, illegal and cruel training methods – accusations for which he was completely acquitted in court in 2014. A happy outcome for Helgstrand and his family.
Q As an international dressage rider, how does this en- able you to assess new horses for their future potential? And what do you look for specifically in a three-year-old not yet under saddle, and as- sess what you’re seeing?
I look at all three of a horse’s gaits. I am looking for a horse which I can train to grow in the future. I want to see how I can make this horse better. It is all about a horse’s qualities and prospects for the future.
Q What specifically do you expect to see in the three gaits that makes a horse a good future prospect?
What I’m looking for is a clear walk, a good trot and a canter which is not too flat. A horse should move for ward in ever y way, showing good prospects for collection in the future...
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