At the World Championships 2015 in Ermelo, Netherlands, we have seen an Ecuadorian Junior Team, which consisted of Marielisa Diez, Soledad Hidalgo, Raphaela Garcés, Alegría Cruz, Isabella Cobo, María Judith Salvador, Manuela Martínez and María Luz Carrillo. The girls have worked hard with their lunger Ararat Martín in Madrid before travelling to Ermelo and show their freestyle.
We have talked to Carla Martinez, their trainer at that time, to know how vaulting in Ecuador developed and what the goals are for the future of the discipline in Ecuador.
Vaulting in Ecuador started more than 25 years ago when Björn Ahsbahs visited Latin America and built up some riding and vaulting clubs.
There are 4 vaulting clubs in Ecuador, all of them in Quito, the capital of the country. In total there are around 60 vaulters.
The relation with the National Federation is quite good and even though there are few people doing vaulting, they get more and more support from the National Federation. It also supports them with clinics given by foreign coaches and judges and with international competitions to help more vaulters getting on the international stage.
Every year there are 5 national competitions held in Ecuador and at the end of the year the championships, all of them organized by the National Federation.
In addition to the clinics and competitions, they organize shows and open days to make the sport more popular and make people interested in starting with the discipline.
Carla has participated in some courses for trainers and vaulters in Germany and the USA in order to bring knowledge to the country and to be up to date regarding training techniques. Additionally, international trainers and vaulters visit the country for clinics and foreign judges to train national judges. In the last years, they have had a good relationship with Eva Trautmann, trainer at VV Ingelsberg, and with the Argentinian judge Georgina Fernandez.
The main problem for vaulting in Ecuador is the lack of horses. Ecuadorian horses use to be pretty small and to import horses is very expensive. Therefore, they train with very small horses, but it is difficult for teams to train on them. As a consequence most competitors are individuals or Pas-de-Deuxs.
The vaulting equipment is often an issue in countries where vaulting is developing. The material used in Ecuador mainly comes from Germany, however, they started to develop some basics like surcingles for barrels.
The Latin American community is quite strong and they organize competitions inviting neighboring countries. Furthermore, they have successfully organized 5 CVIs in Latin America in cooperation with many countries.
The goal of all these efforts is to help the sport growing and open more vaulting clubs in more cities throughout the country. Regarding international competitions, the aim is to compete at the CVIs in Latin America to get more experience before heading to a World Championship. Personally, Carla aims to keep active as a trainer and to obtain further achievements with her vaulters on a national as well as on an international level.