A conversation with Alexandra Korelova
On August 30, during the exhibition Equiros-2013, we were able to talk with the famous Russian rider, Alexandra Korelova. We discussed the situation in domestic sports, veterinary, horse riding and, of course, Baikal and Balagur.
horsetimes.ru: Alexander, do you think that the requirements to a sporting event have changed? The Olympics-2012 took place, you probably watched it and followed the news. Do judges raise the new requirements?
Alexandra Korelova: No. The requirements haven't changed because the classic equestrian sports have not changed. But the quality of horses is different now, the total mass has increased. Judges now are stricter about lots of things. The quality of riding has increased together with the quality of horses. Judges have to single out the best horses from the mass of good horses and because of this, the evaluation has changed. Half of the marks were added compared to what it was before.
horsetimes.ru: The level of training in Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain is very high at the moment. Would the Russian athletes be ever able to achieve the same level? Could we show good results at the forthcoming Olympic Games?
Alexandra Korelova: Are you talking about the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro?
Alexandra Korelova: The British had not known for 4 years prior to the Olympic Games in London that they would be such a good team. Of course, I want to see our national team perform not worse than them. But when it comes to the current situation, I don’t think it is likely to happen. We have young promising riders and good horses. The can be trained to achieve that level.
horsetimes.ru: Whom are you talking about?
Alexandra Korelova: I cannot say. Not because I don't know them but because I may name someone and forget the others. They’d be offended. In fact, we already have good established pairs but they are looking good, I mean, in the future. The United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands - these countries have well-developed horse industry. There's no need to run around and search for good hay and oats or a good available vet. We have no options as far as clinics are concerned. There is no such thing that we need here and now. The veterinary technologies of the appropriate level are used at just 2-3 clinics which are only available in Moscow. There are no such clinics at all in other regions. However, even the Moscow clinics do not work using the European technologies. For example, we treat horses and they provide preventive care.
horsetimes.ru: What's the difference?
Alexandra Korelova: We treat horses after they've become sick and they provide preventive care to prevent diseases. There are some techniques you can use and it's not considered doping. If your horse is not healthy it can be “supported” between competitions and it will not be considered as using doping. But in Russia, what is commonly used are either the drugs that do not allow you participating in competitions or, if you don’t use any drugs at all but apply all sorts of”childish“ methods, no results can be achieved. The European and American horses, of course, stay physically healthy longer.
horsetimes.ru: Do you think enough attention is generally given to equestrian sports in Russia?
Alexandra Korelova: Absolutely not. This is very understandable. It's a vicious circle. Horse racing does not bring medals. Plus equestrian sports are very expensive. Therefore, the regional administrations, the government… it is much easier and more useful for them to build a fitness center rather than buy one horse for a member of the national team. And the money, it comes from the budget. There is not enough of it for everything. It's simple: no medals, no money. No money, no horses, no results. The entire Russian equestrian sports have passed into private hands. We still have public schools but they cannot afford to buy horses at that level and keep educating athletes on what’s available. If they have good sponsors, that’s great. Then they can go ahead. And if there are no sponsors, this means no results.
horsetimes.ru: Please describe your partners - the famous Balagur and Baikal.
Alexandra Korelova: Balagur is more of an extrovert, it likes to perform, it is very fond of the audience. And Boba (Baikal) is quite peculiar in this respect: it all depends on its mood. Balagur is different. It has performed under all kinds of conditions. Always. It is a soldier of sorts. Boba is not like this. It is as clever as Balagur but it happens that Boba is not in the mood to work and performs carelessly.
horsetimes.ru: But Baikal loves viewers?
Alexandra Korelova: I didn't noticed it. Balagur loves to perform when there is music, the more people, the better. If there are viewers, it enjoys performing, if there is a big a stadium it is even better. Nervous, of course, there have been setbacks. Baikal does not respond to this so much. It responds to what’s within itself, such a "thing-in-itself". It would be good to find a second Balagur. But I haven’t found one yet. The Orlov trotters are all different, with different characters. Representatives of other breeds also have hard workers like Balagur. Anyone who comes across such a horse is a happy person, and those who do not, they have to work with what they have.
Alexandra Korelova is a Russian horsewoman, master of sports of the international class, the absolute champion of Russia, participant of the Olympic Games in Athens and Beijing. Specializes in dressage. The Russian national team member since 1997. In 2007, was the sixth at the European Championship. In 2008, repeated this result at the Olympic Games in Beijing. In 2009, took the third place at the CHIO in Aachen.