Unfortunately, the Russian team wasn’t very lucky at last year’s FEI European Championships in Austria. They had problems getting visas to enter the EU and finally decided to compete with 5 instead of 6 vaulters. And if that wasn’t enough, they had troubles with their horse and couldn’t perform their freestyle rounds. However, the past is gone and now they are looking forward to the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018!

We have talked to Yulia Polyutova, manager and athlete of the Russian national team, about the development of vaulting in Russia and their plans for this year.

Vaulting is steadily getting more popular in Russia. Every year the number of participants in national competitions is booming, but unfortunately it’s not so developed in some regions. Russian vaulters try to involve other horse lovers into the sport through seminars and competitions. All in all there are about 15 vaulting clubs and 100 competing vaulters.

*The numbers for 2018 might not be updated yet.*

(Source: FEI)

The main national competitions are the Cup of Russia and the Russian Championship. Besides, every region has its own competition during the season. The past event in May was the CVI in Moscow. Last year there were about 100 vaulters competing, including individuals, teams and Pas-de-Deux. All vaulters are divided into groups according to their age. All those who are in the National Team also compete on the international level.

The National Team consists out of 16 athletes and it is formed according to the Russian rules after the National Vaulting Championship. The trainer of the Russian National Team is Elena Zhelanova, who use to be the lunger of the team when competing in Europe with their horses Desperado, Rimlyanin, Azimut, Oskar and Privilégia.

Photo: Bernd Thierolf

In order to progress and know trends they always go somewhere in Europe to train and compete during summer. Sometimes they train with other European trainers to gain some new experience and proficiency. Russian trainers often go to international FEI seminars to be clear on changes. They also organized several camps with international judges. Sometimes an athlete can go for a training session where he/she wants. Yulia, for example, gained a huge experience in musical and artistic interpretation with Nicolas Andreani during a coach session in Holland:

“You know the feeling of music is so important in vaulting, but in Russia there are not many vaulters who are at ease with this, I’m not an exception. I like French vaulters and their choreography, light movements, easiness, tandem with the horse. If we look closer to Russian ballet, gymnastics we will see a huge, enormous tradition of movement. I think we need to integrate this into vaulting, to teach a new generation keeping in mind this art of motion.”

Yulia also states that the problem in Russian lies in the training process for vaulters as well as for horses. There are not so many good vaulting horses and that’s the problem for many clubs. And there are not many investments into the sport. Of course, a lot of vaulters throughout the world face this problem, but nevertheless resources are badly needed for vaulting in Russia. This begins with buying vaulting material, which is imported from Europe.

However, the main goal of the Russian vaulting team for the season is to participate in the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon 2018 and to be well prepared. Before that they will compete at several competitions during summertime.

“Hope, the season will be fruitful. Wish every vaulter to be healthy!”

Yulia Polyutova is the manager and an athlete of the Russian national team that competed at the FEI European Championships 2017 in Ebreichsdorf and ended up on the 10th place. Unfortunately, after having troubles with European visas they entered the arena with 5 instead of 6 vaulters, a tough and applaudable decision! We wish you all the best for the WEG this year!