Last weekend the Polish endurance season began. The entry to the 2007 season was quite poor. Total number of 27 couples took part in 3 categories: L – 30 km and P – 48 km (as regional rank) and 1* – 68 km (all-Polish rank).
Beata Szlezyngier-Jagielska riding Biznes 1996 (Penthagonn – Bazylika, br. SK Kurozwęki) was fastest on the longest distance. Biznes won also the Best Condition next day. Dorota Krzywicka on the mare Lozanna was second and third – Piotr Komosa on Gaj.
P-class winners were: Jerzy Nidecki on Gandalf (senior) and Krzysztof Nidecki on Mentor (junior & youth riders). Second in senior group of riders P-class Maciej Kacprzyk on the mare Pisarka 2002 (Pesal – Pytia, br. A. Wójtowicz) ended and after him was Kamila Kart riding the stallion Ferid 2002 (Borysław – Formuła, br. M. Nowakowska). Second place in junior & youth group was Maja Kijewska on Koral, and Ewa Jasińska on Meron – third.
L-class was won by Emilia Kozioł on Enchajran, before Agnieszka Zieńko on Mocarz and Joanna Wójtecka on the mare Per Aspera 2002 (Emigrant – Pescara, br. A. Arefiew) placed second and third. Though, that concourse has been considered rather as an endurance parody.
Wojciech Piekałkiewicz, Head of the Vet Commission summed up:
– Unfortunately I have to say that this event was a proof for endurance agony in Poland. Only 27 couples to compete is not a good situation for Polish endurance sport. Though the event organization in Koczek was very good as always. Unfortunately such low number of participants and the distances make it hard to estimate the sport level. The new formula of the L-class failed and hopefully, after the discussions in Koczek it will be changed.
Maciej Kacprzyk, the silver trophy winner in P-class said: – This event was the mixture of positive and negative points. The organizers have done their best as always, the weather was very good as well. Koczek is an excellent place for endurance events – also international ones. But the sport results can not be judged at all as the longest distance – 68 kilometers, its still “endurance primary school” or a longer warming up for experienced riders. Sad is that some of the beginners (still it is good they appear at all) they just laugh at the experienced competitors for their colorful halters and other “strange equipment” – instead of taking a page of their book. Good times of entering the gates, the steady tempo, good equipment and at last but not least – the proper horse grooming, are the things worth of copying not to laugh at. The new L-class formula was a total fail. It took the heat by everyone – from the judges to vets and riders. It was considered to make the changes proposed by me – regarding the tempo, time of entering the gate and movement judging. The changes will take place for the first time in June at regional event in Tuławki near Olsztyn.
Beata Dzikowska, owner of Champion Riding Club being represented by Kamila Kart in Koczek event, confirms these notices. – I have been to Babolna internationals recently. It was not so long ago when this event wasn’t perfect too. Now it’s completely different. The teams that compete are really professional ones that could never overwork their horses – especially the young ones. In France where endurance is a very well developed discipline, horses 10-12 years old are considered as being in full disposition for long distances. In Poland horses of that age usually end up their sport career! When I was buying some horses in France recently I asked for the average results on shorter distances. And it has never been stated! Distances are no shorter than 90, 120 km. 48 or 68 km are training distances that can only give a grasp of horses abilities for the discipline. But the further career depends on proper treatment. It’s very easy to ruin a horse within 2 or 3 seasons, much more hard is to train horses the way they could take part in endurance competitions on long distances for years successfully.
Mateusz Jaworski, the photographer on the event adds: – The area of Koczek is excellent for endurance events. The landscapes are very good for taking pictures of horses and riders. But I also noticed a lot of screw-up’s and simple organization faults. There was no information about particular classes, riders and – mostly – about horses. Some rules are the proof of their author’s lack of fecundity.
L-class showed it undoubtly. The riders waiting several minutes before the finish line, horses gathered on vet gates, unsureness of the judges, “race” of the grooms to the show office with the competitors’ cards – as “the faster is better”. Endurance Society members came to a right conclusion that it was “an absurd situation, parody that shouldn’t take place there”.
I think the time for changes comes – the time to take endurance sport seriously. Its worthy to take a page from the book of the countries that have good results in endurance. It was a pity that the Polish Equestrian Federation representative left the event so quickly and hasn’t seen the L-class with the new system. Besides of it all the atmosphere at the event was very nice, the experienced riders were satisfied with the routes, distance, signage, the organization of boxes, technical services and vet checking’s. Let’s hope that the discussion about the shortages of Polish endurance rules will end up with some improvement quickly. How long could we learn by our faults?