After a long time of absence we saw a Finnish junior squad at the FEI World Championships this year. There are only a few junior teams competing in canter in Finland (AG Team Calitos, AG Junior Team and Team Equillence for example). AG Junior Team Finland was finally chosen to represent Finland at the end of last year.

The team members are Jessica Laxen, Sofia Wrede, Maija Tissarinen, Vilma Männistö, Roosa Halla and Roosa Männistö. The coach and lunger is Anni Järvelä and they are also training some new horses for next year. In Ebreichdorf they competed with Vigaro, lunged by Stefanie Nussmüller from Austria.

In Finland there are approximately about 10 to 15 clubs where you can practice vaulting as a leisure sport. If you want to compete internationally it will get more complicated to find a suitable vaulting club. However, vaulting is slowly but steadily getting more popular and more professional in Finland as you can see in the graph below. The number of registered athletes, horses and events has steadily grown since 2013.

(Source: FEI)

One reason for that growth might be that many international vaulters, coaches and judges use to visit the national team training camps and that Gero Meyer was the national coach of Finland from 2013 to 2016. At that time many Finnish vaulters went to his summer camps in Sweden, as well. This is how trainers and vaulters in Finland try to gather knowledge and experience.

The lack of knowledge and the lack of people supporting the sport are the most severe problems Finnish vaulters are facing.

“We are kind of joking about that as a vaulter in Finland you either have a coach for your level or a horse to train with. Or in some cases, you can also be a coach with a horse – but without vaulters… But I think those can be world wide problems.”

Heta Vihro

Additionally, there’s a lot of work to be done regarding the education of the horses and the physical training of the vaulters.

The participation of the junior team in an international competition and the CVI in Järvenpää are a great start to get a foot into international competitions again. The CVI will be held from 22 to 24 of September together with the Nordic Baltic Championship.

Since there’s still a long way to go for vaulters in Finland it’s unlikely that we will see someone competing at the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 representing Finland. Most vaulters are already focusing on their qualifications for the European Championships 2019.

Thanks to Heta Vihro for giving us some insights into vaulting in Finland!

About Heta:
Heta is 20 years old and has started vaulting at the age of 13. When she was younger she used to do gymnastics and riding, so equestrian vaulting seemed to be the perfect combination. This season she focused on her professional career and didn’t compete, but she’s already training hard and planning her comeback to international competitions. She has represented Finland at various CVIs, European and World Championships from 2012 to 2016 and will compete at CVI Finland at the end of September with one of her new horses.

Find some basic information about Finland in our infographic: