Interview Audrey Coulter – “I always enjoyed the adrenaline of jumping large fences”

10. Dec 13 | 7:39 | By | Category: INTERNATIONAL NEWS, interviews

10.Dec.2013

In fall 2013 Acorte, horse of German Rolf Moormann, was sold to US-youngster Audrey Coulter. The mare won several Grand Prix with Moormann and was highly successful at the German championships. Coulter (21) is the younger sister of Saer Coulter (22) and has been training with Markus Beerbaum for more than a year along with her sister.

At the beginning of November she had her first major success with Acorte being in second place in the Grand Prix of Munich. How she experienced this day and the daily training at the Beerbaum farm, how she combines riding and studies and what she loves about show jumping she told me for horseweb.de.

 

It was one of your greatest successes – 2nd place in the Grand Prix of Munich at the beginning of November. How did you experience this day?

This was the first major Grand Prix I did on my new horse Acorte. I went into it simply aiming for a solid round to get to know the horse better. I wasn’t necessarily expecting to go clean because it was our first round at the height, but something clicked with us that day.

In the second round I figured that I had nothing to lose so I decided to test Acorte’s speed and to go for it in the jump off. She is small but very fast across the ground. After we crossed the last oxer, I could tell from the crowd reaction we had the lead, which was very exciting. However, with three riders to go, including John Whitaker I knew it would be tough for it to hold.

Second was a great result for Acorte and me in our first Grand Prix and the hospitality of Munich and the crowd made it a special day.

You had this success with your new horse Acorte which was ridden by Rolf Moormann before. How did you get this very talented mare?

We had been looking for a new horse for a while. My father was following results online and saw Acorte consistently putting down clean or 4 fault rounds. I typically like mares that are a bit hot. He saw a few videos and noticed that she was my type. Rolf is a great horseman so we knew she would have been brought along well.  We were pleased when Rolf let us know she was available.

What talents did Acorte bring with her? What is making her such a special horse?

Acotre is a horse with a lot of heart. She is careful, and every time she goes into the ring she tries very hard. Although she is a small horse, her stride is long, which made it possible to put in a fast jump off round. She is very brave and trustworthy, so even though it was my first big Grand Prix on her, I felt comfortable trying to lay down a fast round.

You are trained by Markus Beerbaum like your older sister Saer. What do you especially like about training with him? What is making him such a good trainer?

Markus has been a fantastic trainer for my sister and me. He made us more active riders by working on our seat. He is supportive and gives great guidance but does not over train. He goes through the course with us and asks for our opinions of what went wrong or which strides are best for our horses. He also is a great horseman who knows exactly how to prepare the horses perfectly for competition. Lastly, he has a great sense of humor and if fun to spend time with outside the horse ring.

You are a student of Dartmouth College at the moment. What do you study there? Is it difficult to combine studies with riding?

At Dartmouth I am an Economics major and Chemistry minor.  It has been challenging to balance riding as I carry a demanding course load and work in a professor’s biochemistry lab doing protein receptor investigations.  For example, this summer I followed a Dartmouth tradition of taking classes on campus sophomore summer, which kept me off the show circuit.  Since I was planning to come to Europe and compete this fall, I kept two horses at a nearby barn and trained myself daily.  I have been glad to see all those hours have paid off this fall.

While maintaining the balance of high level riding and academics have meant more than a few very busy weeks, I would not trade the experience for anything.

You are commuting between the USA and Germany. Is this sometimes difficult for you? How long will you stay here in Europe this time?

I am doing an exchange program at Bocconi University in Milan until December so I only commute through Europe for the competitions. I find it in many ways easier to travel to the shows here than in the US, and each is so interesting and different.

Is Thedinghausen sort of a home here in Germany for you? Do you alsways like being there? What is special about this place for you?

When I am competing in Europe, I spend most of my time traveling to the shows and only the occasional week in Thedinghausen.  However, I enjoy it there as it is a beautiful to ride and stay.  Markus, Meredith and Brianne have made their farm a beautiful home as well as a top-notch competition barn.

Is Meredith sort of a role model for you? Here in Germany so many young riders want to be like her…

Meredith definitely is a role model.  She has managed to successfully combine the American and German styles.  She is unquestionably a tough competitor, which one has to be to flourish at the top levels.  And, whether she is playing with her daughter Brianne or going out to celebrate after the Grand Prix, she is fun!

Which horses along with Acorte are your hopes for the future?

Acorte right now is my youngest horse, so she is my main hope for the future. I will be competing most weekends on the Wellington circuit in Florida this winter, where I will also be riding Victory DA and Lancero.

Did you always look up to your older sister and wanted to be like her as a young rider? How is your relationship today? Do you always support each other?

My sister and I are 18 months apart in age but have always had a great relationship through riding.  Our passion for horses brought us closer together.  The long weekends and travel of riding can be lonely so it has been great to have a built in “team”.  While we are naturally competitive to a point we always cheer each other on and support each other.

When you are not riding – what do you like to do? Is there time left at all?

When I am not riding I am usually at school.  Quite frankly pursuing both pretty much fills the week!  However, when I do get time I enjoy spending time with my friends, and traveling with my family.

What are your plans when you´ll finish your studies – being a professional rider?

As of now I am unsure of what I will do when I finish my studies. I see myself working in business, but riding will always be a special part of my life.  I hope I can continue to balance it with my other interests.

Do you have a favorite horse show? Or a show where you absolutely want to ride one day?

In Europe, Chantilly is special for its incomparable setting.  But now Munich may have to be one of my favorites! One day I would love to ride in the London Show.

When did your love for horses start and how?

I have always had a connection with animals. I grew up in a house with dogs and loved having them around. When I was very young, my family lived in the suburbs of San Francisco and our next-door neighbors had horses. My sister and I would go over in the afternoon and spend time with the horses and ride. From then on we started taking lessons and started to compete more seriously and never stopped. I quite frankly didn’t think it would take me as far as it has.

What is making horses so special in your opinion?

Many things make horses special!  First, they are very smart and caring animals. Each has its own personality, and that personality can come out at unexpected and interesting moments.  However, what may make them most special is their combination of independence and connection to humans.  While they can work with us in partnership, they are who they are.  I think we see that best in the Show ring.  At the end of the day it is the teamwork which really shines.

Why show jumping? Did you ever try dressage or eventing or something else?

Show jumping was really the only thing I was exposed to growing up. I always enjoyed the adrenaline of jumping large fences and going fast and was hooked on the sport immediately. 

Interview: Alexandra Koch

 


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