14 Apr 2015

With Kyra

Text Jilla Lappalainen
Photos Sonja Holma

Kyra Kyrklund had her sold out clinic in Ypäjä Equine College in Finland in the end of March, and the media had a chance to meet her there.


A year ago she got the diagnosis of breast cancer and has been waiting for the 1st of April.
"A year ago my doctor said that this will take a year. On the1st of April it is one year from the diagnosis. The treatments are over and step by step I can continue doing things I had to dropp off a year ago. At the moment I ride two horses per day at home. We have now only 12 horses, my husband (Richard White) and I travel a lot because of the work. We have two trainees from Ypäjä Equine College and two permanent employees, but still it is easier with less horses. Some of the horses are our own, some of them are customers´ horses."

The media was also interested in Max. How is Max doing? 
"Max is fine! He´s already 20 years old but still the king of the stables. He works three or four times a week and we do GP level movements. Some things he is doing even better than during those years we competed."

What is the secret of his condition?
"Probably because I finished competing with him early enough, before he got broken. I try to keep Max in a good condition, both physically and mentally. We still have to be a little careful with him - we don´t leave the stable with a long rein - he is still very quick in his actions."

Talking about young horses, which are the main things you pay attention in the future dressage horses?
"If we are talking about the yearlings which I go to see on a pasture, I pay my attention to their balance. I also try to find out if a horse easily changes the gallop - which is good - or if it has to take many short, balancing steps between different gaits. Of course a build of a body is important and the family. In the end I trust the breeders a lot."

What kind of a training program you would recommend with a young horse?
"When working with young horses you have to follow their terms. You work with them 2-3 times a week and then they should rest and spend time in a corral. Working with them has to be many-sided and interesting."

Do your young horses jump?
"Yes, they do. Once a week we had a show jumper who worked with all the young ones and they really enjoyed it. A happy horse has the energy to work and it is coopeartive. If there is no cooperation, there are no results either..."

What do you think about the age classes?
"If the training is correct and the horse horse is on the right level, age classes are good. It´s always important to have goals and targets. But if a young horse is not at it's best, you should not compete with it. That might even give the horse a bad experience. Working should not be too hard or difficult. A young horse should not be confronted with too difficult challenges. You can stretch bounderies but if it does not work, you have to take a few steps back. Someone has said that a lazy trainer is the best for a young horse. Young horses don't necessarely get better when riding them a lot."


Do you think the dressage has changed during the years?
 ”Within the last twenty years we have got a lot of new information about horses and their behaviour, riding has changed into more horse orientated. Earlier we might have thought that a horse denying to work was stupid or stubborn, now we do e.g. act of bending to make sure a horse is not hurting. The perspective has changed.”

Has this have any influence on the working of the dressage judges?
”Yes, I think so. Nowadays they put more attention in the big picture. Earlier, if you entered infront the judges with a gallop but a horse took one step back after stopping, you got four. Nowadays they observe the same situation with a larger scale: How was a gallop, how well a horse was prepared for a transition etc. Still one judge can give four and another one eight. Judging is changing continiously, sometimes more motion, sometimes relaxedness or stronger collecting is more wanted. Charlotte Dujardin's Valegro for example has changed judgind to a softer direction.”

Then, in the end, what is demanded from a good dressage rider?
”Passion”, says Kyra smiling. ”Passion and persistence. You need to know your own body and there are good tools for it, e.g. pilates. You must work a lot. For some riding is easier, but then there is a danger not to do certain necessary things. And then someone not so talented but hardworking rider gets better results."

"The way to rise the level of the dressage is wanting to ride better.” Kyra K.

If you wish to learn more about Ypäjä Equine College in Finland, please visit their web site:
Ypäjän Hevosopisto (in English)

The original interview in Finnish 

Jilla´s own blog (some texts also in English)

Thank you, Jilla, for letting us to publish this interview in English!

All the best for Kyra, too. With respect.

"If you do what you have done before, you get what you have got before. If you want to get something else, you have to do something differently." Kyra K.


www.nannasalmi.com




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