The European Champion Called ME!

I’ve sent my questions for this interview to Simone Jäiser via Facebook, like we always do at VaultingNews, a few weeks ago. But she has been working a lot, making up for the time she was out of the company she works at to attend vaulting events, & had no time to write everything down. So, the European Senior Vaulting Champion of 2015 called me to talk about her vaulting life in person! What a big step for our little blog!

We are starting to become journalists. On the other hand I just started a new job in a new city. I have a guilty conscience because I left the blog in total chaos & without new posts, although you have sent me ideas.

But back to the topic, I moved into my new flat, settled into my new job & I am here again for vaulting.

This last weekend was a special one for me as a vaulting fan because I had to say goodbye to an outstanding & very experienced vaulter: Simone Jäiser. The world cup finale was her last competition as a vaulter & she finished her career with a victory. I really loved her amazing freestyles & the nearly perfect compulsories.

So, the good news first: Simone will continue to train vaulters at her club, Harlekin in Switzerland. They have a long waiting list of children who want to start the sport in their club but can’t affiliate all of them. The youngsters from Harlekin wo made it into the club gave incredibly fascinating performances last year, so,  I am looking forward to see the next Harlekingeneration on the international stage.

Check out a few talents like Sarah Linder, Marina Mohar (who finished on rank 16 at the Senior Europeans) & the Harlekin Junior team:


The last weeks before the the world cup final were full of packing & moving for Simone Jäiser & her mother. Not to prepare the journey to Dortmund where the WP final was held, but to move with the whole club to a new home: all the stuff that you need for more than 100 vaulters & 9 horses had to be packed so they could go to their new stables. Many years long of carefully collected vaulting apparel. The old site had to yield for the building of new flats. It took them some time to find a new home, but they were very thankful to have been able to stay a few months longer in the old stables. They finally found a new home in Bietenholz.

What a mammoth of a project! I wish all of them good luck & hope that they will find their stuff in all the boxes again.

My first question to Simone was, if she could walk us through a typical training week for her & the horse Luk.

They train together 3 times a week for 1 hour. Apart from vaulting, Luk practices dressage or  is ridden in the fields the other days of the week. Before the horse training Simone practices on the barrel for an hour. At this point my biggest question was already answered: How is it possible that her freestyles are always that accurate to the music? She trains them with the music since the very first training of the season. And then, every single time when she trained the freestyles she did it to her music. She doesn’t cut the process into a technical good routine on the horse for the first months & starts with music interpretation after that. No, Simone chooses her music right after one season ends so it’s already set for the following year. With everything together she can train the combinations in the final speed & all arm movements right from the beginning.

So last year, for an example, when she presented her 2015 freestyle to us for the first time she had been in contact with her music for a long time.

Watch as Simone takes us on a trip to her homeland, Switzerland:

The decisions about music & exercises are made by herself. Simone looks for a music that reflects her character best. She also feels more comportable with instrumental music and that is important so she is able to interpret it on the horse and bring out her feelings. I guess that’s why her shows always looked so authentic.

When creating new routines, she likes to focus on the music itself and work it out from there. I learned that she had the support of a dancer from the theater in Basel, Switzerland. He brings in ideas from his art & Simone tries to do it on the little space on the horse. Of course this doesn’t work all the time, she says, but it gives her impulses for new ideas. Simone mentions that this cooperation was very important to her and her career.

When she was explaining this creative process to me I was very surprised to learn that she wasn’t a dancer to begin with.  I always thought she had been dancing for years because that’s a very important aspect of her vaulting, but in our phone call she told me the opposite. Wow!

Apart from dancing the club offers acrobatic & conditioning training once a week to every vaulter. The individuals also take part in this, and Simone mentions this time in the gym as an important source of learning that helped her grow not only on the ground, but it helped her to become more confident on the horse.

So who was part of the Jäiser team and how did it all start? I asked her.

Her close team consisted of the dancer from Basel,  the acrobatics trainer, a friend who helped always with the horses at home & at competitions, her boyfriend, who supported her all the way through her career, & last but not least: Her mother as coach & lunger.

Rita Blieske was a single parent and worked at the club so, since Simone was very little, she went to vaulting classes with her mom.

This meant that it was very normal for them to work together and being mother and daughter at the same time: They have been doing this for a long time now. Mrs Jäiser says that they had a very good relationship & working atmosphere during training which is an important part of her success as a vaulter.

Simone and Rita weren’t the first case of vaulting becoming a successful family business. John Eccles has been lunging for his daughters, Joanne and Hannah, for years now and the ruling European Champion, Jannis Drewell, is also coached by his mother, Simone Drewell. Simone’s success brought the spotlight to vaulting. Swiss horse magazines wrote about her several times but she wouldn’t say, that there was a big step forward for vaulting in her country because of her golden medal.

The new season with a young generation is coming soon, now. But nonetheless I guess we will have many throw backs to shows by Simone Jäiser also in 2016.

We will miss her very much this season, but she is leaving ground for new vaulters and has certainly marked a whole generation of young athletes who look up to her in admiration.

Thank you Simone for talking to us and we hope to see more of you and your club in the upcoming seasons.


Adele Feuerstein

I am Adele Feuerstein the founder of the blog. I used to vault & train teams in Germany. Now I am only an observer & love to share my knowledge about international vaulting with you.