HSJ’s interview with Edwin Hoogenraat

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Intervista di HSJ allo Chef d'Equipe Olandese Edwin Hoogenraat

The Dutch chef d’Equipe for Children and Juniors

During the first official competition day here at the European Championships of Gorla Minore 2023 we met the Dutch chef d’equipe for Children and Juniors, Edwin Hoogenraat. He took us through the process of the preparation that it took for the teams to come this far. The preparation already started in September, just like every year , where several pony, children and junior riders are selected for an intensive program in which they get a tailored training schedule once a month with Hoogenraat himself and a dressage trainer. These training sessions happen throughout the whole winter season up until march.

During these training session Edwin Hoogenraat can have a closer look at the riders and their horses and can work on improving them as both riders and horseman. His top priority as a trainer and chef d’equipe is the riders mindset and their attitude as individuals but most of all how good they are as team players throughout the whole training process and competition season.

I take a lot of care in looking how coachable the kids are and how their minset works. How they act ina group and if they work well in the team. I don’t want people that only care to be individuals they have to really work as a team that is very important and at the nd of the day that makes a big difference I think.”

He stated that for him another important matter that is often underestimated is that there is a good basic knowledge on how to properly work on the flat, that is why he decided that when he travels with three teams to the shows he also brings the dressage trainer with him so that all riders are well monitored during the work they do at all times. Training three teams can get very difficult and inorder for everyone to get the proper attention and traing they need he always takes a second person with him to work closely with the kids and the horses.

I think us Dutch can say that this is a very strong point that we have, the knowledge and capability to work on the flat. We sometimes might not have the best horses but we really try to aim on having the best ride, by having that that brings us up a level in Europe.

At the beginning of the year 5 to 6 nation cup events are put on schedule in which different rider and horse combinations are tested, in fact Hoogenraat accurately looks out for the consistency of both horses and riders and how well they can keep their positive mindset throughout the whole season, it is a long term process that is carefully monitored at 360 degrees.

Having come as far as getting good teams together for the European championship, what are your hopes throughout the weekend for your teams?

The aims and goals if I am honest are two win a medal.. or even two medals. I think my kids deserve it and all parents and coaches think the same way. So what we are going to try and do is ride really good and hope for the best

What other goals did you set yourself as a chef d’equipe?

In two weeks we have another European Championship coming up, this time for the ponies. After that we will all have a short break and then work on our next goal which is the Youth Final in Opglabeek. I am still not sure if the riders participating at the European championships will also be all of the ones going to the Youth Final. There are many riders that are at a good enough level to ride here, so I would like to give everyone a bit of a chance to make it on the team

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