There is a new club in town… in Weiglsdorf, Austria. Founded by Isabel Fiala & Tina Stieglitz, they already had their first international appearances in just one year. Reason enough for us to ask, what’s happening there.
For those who don’t remember her, Isabel Fiala was part of the senior team from Wildegg for over ten years. She was at the bronze medal team in the WEGs of 2006, and also won the silver in the European Championships in Kaposvar, in 2007. They were the fourth best team in 2014.
“Officially we exist since March 1st, 2015. During this first year we found 45 vaulters. Or they found us. In total, we have 10 horses & 5 coaches. 2 horses are owned by ourselves. Merlin, the pony belongs to me & he goes for the A squad (former level D). Goodwin, bought January 1st, 2016, will go in the individual class for me & is owned by Tina Stieglitz. This season we will drive with our 2 competition squads to our 6 national contests. Internationally we will take part on the following competitions: CVI Magna Racino, CVI Bern, CVI Pezinok & of course the big goal is the world championship in Le Mans.” Isabel Fiala
What is special about your club?
What makes us special? I think Tina & I build the perfect team. She is an organizational talent. Tina adds up our bills, plans the training camps, keeps an eye on everything & is also the rational person in the pair. I’m responsible for all the creative performances, choreography, design of the outfits, musics & I am a little bit the brave of us two.
Our training is hard, but at the same time we try to include some funny parts. As is well known, vaulting is no sport to make money with, that’s why we think, that the fun should rank first. We integrate games, explain the mistakes so, that the children can visualize them.
When did you decide it was time to start a new club?
In principle I wanted to quit vaulting in the autumn of 2014. At this point I already trained a small group of 5 children between 4 & 6 years in an other stable (editor’s note: Isabel was in Wildegg before). One evening, my best friend Tina & I were sitting together & joked how it would be if we two created our own club… So, one thing got to the other, we found a nice stable, arranged everything together with the big support of the owner Clemens Heimhilcher, advertised & suddenly it was there, the own club.
Why didn’t you stop vaulting?
I was invited by a friend to attend one of her trainings where we just played with the horse because I really missed vaulting at that time already. These occasions beame more often. That is how I found the fun in the sport again & stayed with it. This break was very good for me. I realized that I became better after I took out the preassure & after I had fun again. For me it was time to become independent.
What are your goals? What are you hoping to achieve with the club?
Our goal is definitely to make it big with the club. Not big in terms of many vaulters but big like successful & renowned.
Was it difficult to find the right stable?
Afterwards it was easier than we thought. We wrote to 5 – 6 stables to see if they wanted to take in vaulters & provide school horses at the same time. At the next day we got a call from Clemens, inviting us to take a look at his stable. From this day on it was clear, that we wanted to stay there. 🙂
Where did you get the horses? How is the horse training going? What are your goals concerning the horses? Do you have horses for different levels?
Clemen’s horses were the start for us. During 3 months we trained 3 horses so that we were able to drive to our first youngster competition. 3 months later, my alternative horse from another club fell out & we stood there without a horse 3 weeks before the first selection trial in Magna Racino. Clemens provided a S show jumping horse. We trained very hard for 2 weeks, 6 people were able to take part in the selection trial. 2 weeks later we headed out with the same horse, Catman, to the CVI Pezinok & brought home a victory.
Bit by bit we were allowed to train more private horses & have now all in all 10 horses. 3 horses for the youngsters, 4 for competition teams & 3 horses for my individual training.
What pieces of advice do you have for small club owners out there? What do you think the challenges are of starting your own club?
The start of the whole thing was definitely the most difficult part. It is not easy to collect all the equipment, dedicates coaches & especially a stable which not only tolerates vaulters but also supports them with their full heart. But I think exactly this is the foundation which it takes for a successful club.
Individually it’s an important step for your career. What are your personal goals as an individual vaulter?
Definitely my biggest goal is to keep the fun. If one doesn’t wants to give everything for the sport from its own conviction, one won’t go places. We train with fun, take on every challenge & would be so glad, if we could make it as a very young team to the world championships in Le Mans. At the same time we have the opinion, that you shouldn’t plan this. That’s why we take things as they come. Because plans seldomly prove to be as successful as you hope for.
How do you see the vaulting scene in Austria and how do you expect to fit in and make your dreams happen?
I think that we have many very good individual females this year. It will be a challenge for everyone to prove themselves & to be among the best 3 to be allowed to take part in the championships. We will all fight for it!
What happened after your 3rd place at the world cup final?
Unfortunately we had to experience that there are begrudgers also in vaulting. After our success at the world cup final in Dortmund, where we brought home the bronze medal, our stable was broken into 3 days later, Tuesday night. 3 rooms were forced open but only our room got stolen. All the equipment was stolen. From the surcingle, over white bandages until bridles, everything. According to the police the suspicion is big that it was an act of revenge into our direction. I feel really bad for the person who was that hurt from our success that he had to comit such a crime. But the situation isn’t funny. We won’t give up & will keep on fighting for our dream