We have talked to Justin van Gerven, winner of the Europeans 2017 with Team Norka and winter of the FEI World Cup Final Pas-de-Deux 2015 together with Gera Marie Grün.

About Justin

Age: 22

Occupation/Education: Student

Nationality: German

Horse: Picardo 13

Lunger: Patric Looser

Achievements in Vaulting:

European Champion 2017

Winner World Cup Final Pas de Deux 2015

Started vaulting at the age of: 13

I couldn’t live without: Sport

I could perfectly live without: Diseases

Motto: Let’s go!

1. With which 3 words would you describe yourself?

Teamplayer, fun, fighting spirit

2. What was your funniest vaulting moment?

I guess it was during training. I was a little bit late and my trainer wanted to start with the training. The others were already warmed-up and ready to start. So I went on the horse in underwear because there was no time left. It was just a fun training after the main season. But I guess it was a quite funny one for everyone…

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

We’re working a lot on our fitness and our new freestyle programs. It’s always fun to work on these things but you have to be patient. The cold weather is also a factor that influences our training. But all in all, everything is working well! I guess we are having a lot of fun and preparing for the coming season.

4. What are your goals for this season?

My goal for the season is to qualify for WEG in Tryon with our team (Team Norka). There are a lot of really good teams in Germany who all could go to Tryon. So it will be tough, but I think we can do it!

5. What is ALWAYS in your training bag?

Besides the usual stuff that I need for my training there is always an American football in my training bag. I love that sport and sometimes we throw a few balls before the training. It’s a lot of fun!

6. Who makes your competition catsuits?

For many years we have been going to a dressmaker in Cologne (Germany). Her name is Bettina von Wild. She does a great job and always has an open mind to our special wishes. 

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

Yeah I do. I do this just because of the different exercises. But I guess normally you can vault with any surcingle. You just have to be comfortable with it, so it gives you a good feeling during the competition.

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

I prefer the “Nadia” shoes of the company Bleyer. I guess similar to the surcingles, it’s just a habit and I feel most comfortable with them. They have a good sole and give me a good feeling when I am on the horse.

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

– Main Surcingle: ES-Vario (S model)

– Pad: Felt Pro Pad

– Shoes: “Nadia”, Bleyer

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

Since last year the company NORKA has been our sponsor. It’s a great partnership and we meet with them a few times a year. They support us however they can!

Besides them there is a local therapy center called RPP Oberberg. They supported me during my rehabilitation in 2016 and I can always go there and work with them on my fitness.

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

I don’t know. I think the vaulting sport is on the right track to have the best materials for the horses and the athletes. So, I’m very happy with the products available at the moment.

12. What would you improve in the Vaulting World?

Maybe I would improve the judging system. Similar to ice-skating I would prefer if we would have more results and the best and the worst result would be discarded. I think it’s hard for the judges to judge everybody fairly because everyone has a different taste in music and the style of the different athletes performing. So, maybe this would make the judging system a little bit fairer for everyone.

13. Any surprise or announcement for us?

I don’t think I have any surprises. I just keep on working and we will see what the season brings.