Vaulting in Denmark has been facing a slight decline in the last years, but they seem to be back on track again and the numbers of both vaulting clubs and international competitors have increased.
There are around 15 clubs with 500 vaulters in the whole country. The focus of the development of vaulting lies in getting hidden and upcoming talents to big competitions by motivating them.
Therefore, the Barrel Cup was introduced. The challenge in Denmark is that it is too cold for competitions between September and April, so earlier there was no vaulting activity during those months. This made many lose their motivation as they did not have any competitions to prepare for, while they were freezing in the cold riding halls.
So many clubs lost a lot of members during winter. With the Barrel Cup they introduced a new type of competitions in heated gymnasiums on barrels, with multiple competitions during the winter where the vaulters collected points to qualify for the big final in the famous amusement park Tivoli-garden in central Copenhagen. The barrel Cup made it a lot easier for the vaulters to keep the motivation as they had multiple competitions to prepare for, and the young vaulters who normally didn’t have any chance to participate in competitions on the horse now had something to train for.
There were around 200 vaulters competing at the Barrel Cup Final last Sunday and the entire event has been streamed live. You can watch a video here.
This is the final of the barrel-season composed out of 5 national competitions, plus this big final.
Regarding competitions on the horse, Denmark is currently on a low stride with only 3 national competitions. They hope to see an increase in the next months in order to end up with 5. In the past there were some international competitions, but there haven’t been any since 2014.
However, Denmark aims to be represented by Sheena Bendixen at the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018, who has already qualified. They would love to send one of their teams as well, but as vaulting is a small sport in Denmark, there is no money to send more than one vaulter.
Apart from the financial problems, one of their biggest challenges is to get enough hands to volunteer. People in the federation and clubs have a lot of good ideas, but they need people to realise them.
A few years ago, Rikke Laumann, who was in the international vaulting elite and won the gold medal at the European Championships 2013 and many other international titles, has been doing an impressive job training a lot of Danish vaulters and supporting the sport. Additionally, some clubs often invite trainers from Germany and Austria to come to Denmark.
“In Denmark there is a very good cooperation between the clubs, so when one club gets a session with a good trainer, they use to offer teams from other clubs to join the session. This also applies to competitions where horses, trainers and lungers are shared, if one club is in need for a little help.”
Unlike other countries, they don’t have problems getting adequate vaulting material in Denmark thanks to Lasse Kristensen and his vaulting shop and Thomas Lindqvist who also owns a vaulting shop delivering to Nordic countries: “Lindqvist Voltige”.