FEI ?I? judge Bo Jen?? has been chef d?equipe of the Swedish team since November 2008. That's when he began to plan to build a strong Swedish dressage team?first for the 2009 European Dressage Championships (where they placed fourth) and then for the 2010 WEG. At this point, according to Jen??, there are three top contenders who are able to score over 70 percent:
Tinne Wilhelmson-Silfven with Favourit. The 10-year-old gelding by Fidermark scored 72.34 percent at the European Championships and won the Grand Prix Special with a 75 percent against top competition in Hagen, Germany.
Patrick Kittel with Scandic, a 10-year-old gelding by Solos Carex, scored 72.25 percent at the Europeans. His showing at the 2010 World Cup was even better, and he scored close to 80 percent in the Freestyle at G??thenburg.
Minna Telde on Don Charly, a 12-year-old by Don Gregory, scored 69.95 percent at the Europeans.
?Beyond these riders,? says Jen??, ?we have a handful of less-experienced competitors, any of whom could end up taking the fourth spot on the Swedish team.?
From the beginning, Jen?? had his eye on Hubertus Schmidt, of Paderborn, Germany, to be the coach of his team. At first, Schmidt declined because of a lack of time. Later in 2009, Schmidt accepted the position with enthusiasm and has made quarterly trips to Flyinge in Sweden to supervise training. He works with each rider?s daily trainer and attends shows, where he gives feedback. Louise Nathorst is the trainer for Wilhelmson-Silfven, Sjef Janssen trains Kittel and Jan Brink trains Telde.
Any discussion of training the Swedish team would be incomplete without mention of Johnny Hilberath of Germany, who has worked with the FEI riders of southern Sweden for more than 10 years, visiting Flyinge for several days eight times per year.
Jen?? has also arranged for his team to have assistance with test riding. Dieter Sch??le of Germany has served as judge for the schooling of tests, providing scores and comments to prepare the riders for actual competitions. The plan was for the team to do two outdoor shows in the spring and then attend three shows in which they will compete as a team, including Rotterdam in mid-June and Falsterbo, the global five-star, in mid-July. Four different Swedish riders will compete as a team at Aachen in July.
The Swedish National Championships will be held outside Str??msholm in mid-August and will serve as a selection trial for the WEG. A team of four plans to leave Sweden Sept. 18 and to fly to Kentucky for the chance to make its best showing yet at a WEG.
Beth Baumert has been Dressage Today?s technical editor for 16 years.
This feature story appeared in the July 2010 Dressage Today.