Vaulting Exchange: The Adventures of Bamdad Memarian

A few week ago we’ve launched a series about vaulters who travel around the world on what we have called a Vaulting Exchange. The vaulter helps out at a small club and receives food and lodging in return. We’ve talked to Bamdad Memarian about his experience as an exchange vaulter, but haven’t really heard much of his travelling yet.

Until now. Bamdad sat down and told us all about his trip to South Africa, Zambia, Swaziland, Mauritius and Australia and how he brought all these nations together for the first ever World Championships for Jrs, that happened in Ermelo, in August.

South Africa

Check it out:

“My trip started September last year (2014) in South Africa. Hendrik Brühl from Hamburg gives clinics there every year, he put me in contact with Barbara Gertenbach from RIBA stables in Johannesburg, where I stayed for two months teaching vaulting. Barbara then organized for me to give clinics in Durban, Cape Town as well as in Swaziland, where most of the kids were underprivileged. There, I also coached Viki Dlamini who took part in the junior world championships in Ermelo.

In February Barbara sent her daughter Chelsey Gertenbach and I to Zambia to develop vaulting. We travelled to riding clubs in Lusaka and Kitwe. In Kitwe they had never done vaulting before, we started with 10 kids and I know they are still continuing with vaulting today. In Lusaka we trained vaulters who were eligible to compete at The FEI Africa Cup that was held in Mauritius in April this year.

Chelsey was in contact with Kim Gueho the president of the Mauritian equestrian federation, she offered us the opportunity to come to Mauritius for 2 months and train all the Mauritian vaulters leading up to the FEI Africa Cup as well as assisting with the organization and preparation for the competition in April.

The FEI Africa Cup is a competition that was created to support and promote the development of vaulting in African countries.

We also judged the last qualifying competition for the Mauritian vaulters. Our first 2 weeks in Mauritius stayed with the family of Lambert Leclezio and I trained him in his school holidays and on weekends, then travelled each week to 4 different clubs across the island, training horses in the mornings and coaching vaulting in the afternoons. We stayed with different families of vaulting kids who were always excited to show us different parts of the island. But we also had the opportunity to discover the island on our own by car or scooter which were made available for us to use.

We were also responsible for the management of all the foreign competitors from South Africa, Swaziland and Reunion arriving the week before Africa Cup. They were all competing on Mauritian horses, so we organized suitable horses for everyone and managed the trainings at the different clubs for all Vaulters before the competition.

The cherry on the top of our Mauritian adventure was a fantastic and memorable competition with great results for all of our vaulters that we had grown so fond of over the last 2 months, it was sad to leave Mauritius as this was really the highlight of my journey.

After flying back to Riba stables in South Africa I carried on to Australia. I went there to coach Team Zelos together with Alicen Divita from USA. She had the idea to put a national team together for the junior world championships in Ermelo and had been coaching them since the beginning of the year.

Something special about this team is that the members came from all over Australia so sometimes we had to fly to trainings or competitions and we could only train them on weekends. I stayed in Australia for more than two months and also had the opportunity to travel most of the east coast, discovering its beautiful scenery.

I then returned to South Africa for 3 weeks to continue coaching the junior squad, Pas de Deux and Jasmin Lauber from RIBA Stables who I had been coaching since October the previous year every time I was in South Africa.

I then travelled with them to my club in Cologne to prepare on our horses for the junior world championships where the squad from Australia and Viki Dlamini joined us shortly after.”


Coming up next on “Vaulting Exchange”: Meet the american vaulter who is studying in Germany and vaulting at a small club. Only on VaultingNews.


I am a 27 years old psychologist from Brazil, although I have graduated in psychology I work with media and communications, with a focus on data analysis. I am currently heading towards a master's degree at the London School of Economics (LSE). I am not vaulting anymore, but I did for over 10 years. As it very often happens in our sport, I never really left, I taught at a social project for a few years and have been working on VN since 2014.