Belgian-american rider Alexa Fairchild decided last month to start training with Anky Van Grunsven after twelve years with Virginie Deltour. Equnews talked with the U25-rider about the change.
You left your previous trainer, Virginie Deltour, for the Netherlands. More precisely, for Anky Van Grunsven. How difficult was it to take that step?
It was a very difficult step to take, as I had been with Virginie for 12 years and she brought me to my 9 consecutive European Championships. I have a lot of respect for her still and I am happy that it ended on very good terms. We both know that we made the right decision and that this was the natural progression for me to grow as a rider.
Training with Anky and Sjef must bring along some differences. Which differences do you notice yourself?
It is a different approach but I am enjoying learning the new techniques. Right now, we are working on a lot of the basic work as I still have a lot to learn. We focus on a lot of small details that can have a big impact on a each movement.
The horses are now in a total different area; do you notice something about this? How do they experience the new training methods?
As my horses are used to traveling, I don’t think it perturbed them too much to move. They are very happy at Anky’s and have all the necessary facilities for their needs. It is like being in a 5 star facility which is very pleasant for the horses and for me! I think that they are adapting very fast to the new training methods and improving.
The Belgian Championships are coming closer now, is this one of your goals this year? And the European Championships?
I don’t have a set plan down yet for my competitions as my horses and I are still learning and it will take a bit of time to adapt. I would love to go to the European Championships, but only if I am 100% ready. We have not yet discussed the Belgian Championships, so that is still to be seen if we will go.
The outdoor season just started. Which shows do you really want to do? And how is the
consultation with your new coach about your agenda?
My horses and Anky have to get used to the new situation and then we will make a plan for the competitions.