A text by Thea Hildebrandt, photographer from Germany.
This photo was taken at the German championship 2014, during my utter beginnings as a vaulting photographer. Photographically, I am still very happy with the photo because it shows one of these scenes which you can’t plan. Actually, the moment I pressed the button, I did not realize what an intimate moment I just captured on camera. I only saw it afterwards on the computer. The picture is one of these fortunate chance hits.
But as longtime fan of this sport and active vaulter myself, I know that there is more behind it. The art alone which the vaulters create on the horses and the pure athletic aspects I will admire forever. But what always made vaulting special for me is the feeling of a family.
The strong friendships between humans of different ages and gender as well as the connection between human and horse. The cohesion within the group and the seemingly unlimited willingness to help between individual squads, nationally and internationally. At competitions and around them I see how much love this sport carries and how many people strive together, invest so much time, money, blood, sweat and tears, that makes me feel warm all over every time – because no one of us is driven by greed for profit but from pure passion; and because, despite ever-improving athletic performances and professionality, every vaulting event feels like “home with the family”.
This picture reminds me of all this, what this sport means to me because it shows one of the most marvellous moments of vaulting: because it shows the great joy after a successful round and the moment when you are not a bunch of individuals anymore who meet for sport, but a family.