Dressage rider Stella Hagelstam is working against the clock to reach WC shape with her new horse. Experienced Hagelstam is already doing her second WC, but this time with a horse she has only had time to work with since May.
The WC competitions begin at the end of the week in Herning in Denmark, and Finland will field four riders in the dressage competition: Emma Kanerva, Mikaela Soratie, Stella Hagelstam and Anna Tallberg. Of these, Hagelstam is satisfied with the situation right now, even though the time to get to know the horse Mount St John Kom Fairy Tale was far too short.
– It feels great and it’s exciting with big competitions. The collaboration with the new horse feels good, although we haven’t lasted that long yet, but we become a little more of a couple with each training session. Hagelstam tells Yle Sporten.
Extremely tight timetable
Becoming a nice cooperative couple with a horse usually takes clearly longer than what Hagelstam has at his disposal before the WC starts. The 16-year-old horse MSJ Kom Fairy Tale arrived from England as recently as last spring.
Nevertheless, after only a few joint trainings, the team managed to win an international competition in Pärnu, among other things.
– We have participated in three international competitions after I got the horse in May. The timetable has been extremely tight. I am satisfied with the result, but at the same time you wish that you would have had a little more time together. But it is a nice opportunity to get the horse for this season.
– The process is still at the very beginning. It takes a good while before you speak the same language with the horse and the cooperation becomes smooth. Fortunately, the horse was ridden the same way I ride, so the problems aren’t that big.
– In order to use the horse’s full capacity, I would need a little more time. Then I could bring a bit of my own riding to the horse, while now I ride a bit more as the horse is trained. But it still looks like a good combination.
The dream of an Olympic place was crushed even before the WC
Hagelstam has in previous years participated in both the WC and EC. Dressage is an Olympic discipline and the Olympics in Paris have also been on Hagelstam’s mind. Even though the situation for the Finnish team looked good even at the beginning of the season, the Olympics still feel like a slightly more difficult goal to achieve right now.
– My expectations were for a good team result. We had a top team at the start of the season, and we were hoping for a team spot at the Olympics which goes to the top six countries.
That Henri Ruoste’s Olympic horse Kontestro Db fell ill just before the WC was a very big setback for the Finnish dressage team, who now have to find themselves without the team’s biggest star.
– When our perhaps strongest rider Henri Ruoste dropped out of the team, we have to rethink our team goal. If we had succeeded perfectly, we could have fought for a top-6 position and taken an Olympic place to Paris, but now my goal is just to perform well at my own level, let’s see how far it goes.
Future cooperation still unclear
MST Kom Fairy Tale arrived from England last spring, but was born and raised in Finland. It is still possible that the horse will move back to England because it is still unclear if the collaboration will continue after the WC competitions.
– The horse is with me now provisionally only this year. After the WC, we will think about the next step with the owner, whether the horse will go back to England or if I will continue with it.
Yle broadcasts from the WC competitions in Herning August 6-14 at the Yle Arena and on TV2.