Brazilian vaulting has seen some ups and downs. Last month we talked to Nicolas Martinez, a longtime member of our national squad, and he shared the plans for Brazil’s jr and sr teams up until the World Equestrian Games, in 2018. But if, internationaly, we continue to be able to send full squads and train with a few of the best vaulting experts in the world, locally the reality is not as bright. As the country struggles through a big economic crisis, some clubs have been reporting a decrease in the popularity of equestrian sports, and local leaders have been having problems organizing regional competitions and national regulations to govern the sport, which is a problem mostly for new athletes, since advanced vaulters already have FEI to look up to.
But coaches and managers aren’t letting this go down so easily. Recently we hosted a discussion on VaultingNews about strategies small club managers can use to attract new vaulters to their schools. Well, in face of adversities, a few managers from São Paulo had an amazing idea:
The situation in question happened at Clube de Campo de São Paulo – CCSP (São Paulo’s Country Club), a country club with a traditional vaulting school in the city of São Paulo.
Local leaders had saved a sunday to host a local competition. But, when time came, they had trouble fitting their schedule with the federation and the competition would have to be canceled, if it wasn’t for their initiative: Three coaches gathered to organize an open vaulting festival that brought together vaulters and teachers from every vaulting club in the region. The idea is credited to Stephanie Burgi and Sabrina Moreira, from Clube de Campo, and to Fabiana Goes, from Clube Hípico de Santo Amaro. They had the help of Mineiro, the club’s horse handler, and of the whole team from CCSP.
From circus classes and games, to barrel activities and lessons on the horse, the event had it all. I couldn’t really count the amount of children present, but I am sure there were over 30 kids.
All in all, what got me more amazed was that everyone was there. Every single coach from around the state was helping on a different activity for the kids; I saw Carla Massenzi, who is the current coach from the national squad, I saw Priscila Botton, former national coach, Thais Tavares Paes, who is well known for her viral video “Surfing Waves on Horses“, was also there together with her mother, Eva. There were also members of the current national team and our Chief D’Equipe, Maria Luiza Giugni, and, although the purpose of the event was to focus on the little ones, most of them was having a great time helping out with the kids.
Yes, being able to host a competition would be pretty cool for Sabrina and Stephanie from Clube de Campo, but bringing everyone together and hosting this amazing event by putting competition aside and focusing on the kids might have been an even greater idea!
Stephanie and Sabrina have only been ahead of the vaulting school for the past year, and giving these first steps ahead of the project is probably very challenging for them, but certainly very rewarding as well, they should be very proud of this event.
The day was closed with a technical meeting to give teachers an opportunity to share and bond. To add up, the CBH (the Brazilian Equestrian Federation) organized a course for judges and coaches, taught by none other than Erich Breiter, which happened only one week after the event: Everyone around here is highly motivated to bring our sport forward!
Managing a small vaulting club is in no way an easy task, but this is a pretty good example of ways vaulting clubs can reach out to new kids: Stay active, stay united.
I am not the best photographer around, but here are a few pictures: