Dirk Demeersman is without a doubt one of Belgium's most legendary riders. Today, he focuses more and more on his job as a trainer. One of his trainees is jumper Jeroen De Winter. "The beauty of our sport is that we will never be able to do it 100%, we learn every day," Demeersman says. The Belgian explains what the road to the top entails.
"Even if you have years of experience with a lot of different types of horses, you will never be able to completely master our sport," Demeersman explained. "I still learn every day. Whether it's from owners, from other riders or even from my students. If you are open to it, you can get even better every day as a rider. In my opinion, that's really the best thing about our sport."
The road to the top
If you want to make it in this sport, several factors come into play according to Demeersman. "It is important that in our sport we always have our feet on the ground, figuratively speaking," laughs Demeersman. "Our lifestyle is tempting to start dreaming, but you have to stay realistic and work hard day after day. Furthermore, it's important to be professional. Everyone likes to party, but the next day you have to take responsibility for dealing with your horses and putting in as much effort as your horse."
The job of a coach
"Personally, I believe that a coach's job is mainly to be constructive. So you won't soon see me on the sidelines exuberantly cheering when things are going well. Rather, you'll see me step up to my students when it was less of a good ride. Then I like to take a moment to calmly go over where it went wrong and how we can solve it."