Claire de Ridder is one of the candidates for this year’s election as Vaulting Athletes Representative. She’s been an internationally active and successful vaulter for 20 years. We have spoken to her about her trainings, plans for this competition season and vision as candidate for the FEI Athletes Election.

About Claire

Age: 31 years

Occupation/Education: Social psychologist, social skill trainer, dressage and vaulting coach

Nationality: Dutch

Horses: Tjekko and Pasca

Lunger: Lasse Kristensen and Christina Tetteroo

Achievements in Vaulting:

Few times Dutch champion with the team

9th place with team at WEG 2006

3rd place CVI Ermelo 2015

3th at the Europeans in Aachen 2015

Started vaulting at the age of: 6 years

I couldn’t live without: Horses, vaulting, music and popcorn

I could perfectly live without: Mice ?

Motto: Treat people and animals the way you would like to be treated. And be positive, try to see the good things even when things are difficult.

Photo: Julia Schwartz Photography

1. With which 3 words would you describe yourself?

Funny, empathic, driven

2. What was your funniest vaulting moment?

I have had so many really funny vaulting moments with the team 😉 I always have a great time with Christina, my lunger. We can laugh about nearly anything. But you need to be there to understand the humor.

3. How are you doing at the moment with your trainings?

At the moment it is going the right way. It was difficult during winter. I have been struggling with a shoulder injury. But it is kind of under control now. So I can really push myself physically in the trainings. And my programs which are both new, are getting more and more “routine”.

4. What are your goals for this season?

My goal for the season is to qualify for WEG. I am currently on the long list and I need to perform well this season to be selected. My first competition in Saumur, France, went quite well so I hope I can continue on this path.

5. What is ALWAYS in your training bag?

My shoes, and handles to practice handstand. I also try to have some tape and a bottle of water.

6. Who makes your competition catsuits?

Anita makes my catsuits. She is such an artist. I would recommend her to everybody!!

7. Some vaulters use different surcingles for compulsories and freestyle, do you? If yes, why?

This winter I changed from S handles to the Meinecke surcingle from Lasse. These are a little bit straighter and I think that it is nicer for handstand. So I just use one type of handles now. But I did try out different handles.

8. What model of shoes do you prefer and why?

I normally use Bleyer Pro Vaulting Shoes. But currently, as I did not unpack my bag with my vaulting shoes after Saumur because I hate unpacking ? I re-started to use the Nadia model. And actually I relit my love for these shoes. So now I do not know what I am going to use in Ermelo.

Apparently, Claire finally unpacked and chose the Bleyer Pro Shoes in Ermelo:

Photo: Arjen van der Spek

9. Can you list the main products you compete with?

– Surcingle: Meinecke Kristensen

– Pad: Felt Pro Pad (no Carbon for me)

– Shoes: Nadia and Pro model from Bleyer ??

10. Do you have sponsors? What is your relationship with them?

Bleyer sponsors shoes for me every year which is really really nice!! It is nice to always have good shoes with enough grip on the sole.

And what is also really cool is that this year I have a sponsor for my music. The music for my technical test was made especially for me by Nathan and Christiana from Jam-it! Studios. They composed the music to my technical test. It is great to vault with music specially made for me. It makes it just a little bit more special and I get an even better connection with the music.

11. If you had to invent a new product for the vaulting community, what would you create?

I would like to create a device that can measure the pressure of the surcingle and the pad. So that we can monitor the impact of our exercises. I know that this also exist for saddles. It would be interesting to do the same for vaulting.

12. What would you improve in the Vaulting World?

It would be great to get more sponsors into our sport and make our sport bigger. A bigger World Cup circuit could maybe help with more competitions and more competitors. To get vaulting more out there in the world. And maybe not just the equestrian world but also “regular” people. Often people agree to pay quite a bit of money to see a show. I think vaulting is a very attractive sport also for people. So maybe we could market it differently and reach more people.
Another thing is that maybe something could be changed with the judging system. So that big differences between the judges as we can still see nowadays in competition are less frequent. Maybe a system where there are more judges as in figure skating or dressage.

13. Any surprise or announcement for us?

If anybody needs good music they should contact Jam-it Studios!!
For Tryon 2018 I need to find sponsors as I would like to fly my horse there ? so I can compete on him. So finding sponsors is my new mission. ?

Something very exciting is that I announced my candidacy for the elections as FEI Athletes Representative. The growth of our sport has always been very important to me. To evolve vaulting into something bigger, more serious and more professional. I have been the spokes person for the vaulters for the Dutch federation for many years. And it would be an honour to continue this work on a broader level. I know how the sport works being active internationally since 1999. I am not afraid to speak my mind and can communicate easily. And I want to be here for and listen to my vaulting colleges and friends so that I can act as their voice. If chosen by my vaulting peers, I will do all I can to improve the well-being of our athletes, lungers and horse and will help to let our magnificent sport grow even bigger.