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San Patrignon

San Patrignano CSI-A (ITA)

Equestrian sport against drugs and social outcasting

Olaf Petersen: Building a course is like a Hamlet performance.

Olaf Petersen, the international course designer who has been building fences here since the beginning, always enjoys coming to this Italian show. Not only because of the international atmosphere, but also because of the people. The German national builds courses all around the world but this one has a particular human aspect to it:
" Years ago a program was created here to help people. That spirit is to be felt all around this arena when I come here to build the courses. If I leave here, I always feel content about my work and the people. Usually I only need one hour to change an arena into a perfect course, here we have the time to take 6! There is not too much pressure during the day, giving us the opportunity to talk to each other and get to know each other better."

Positive words from the man who has once compared building fences by directing a theatre play: " Let me take Hamlet as an example. Shakespeare wrote the play, but it is up to the director to make Hamlet either a really interesting or a boring person. The same thing happens with building fences. We always have a starting line and a finish line, it is what is between the two that makes a difference. In the case of Hamlet, we can use decor and images to make the play. Here I can use fences, combinations, colors and distances to make a class interesting or boring. So you need the director to make things happen. Hamlet always has the same words, but the director gives it its interpretation. Basically that is what we do."

Making showjumping more popular has been on the agenda for some time now. What does Olaf feel is the most important change that has been made to improve showjumping's popularity?
" Let me give one example of such a change. The Nations Cup. The FEI has called a new League into being, the Superleague where the best 8 nations compete against each other in selected events, such as Rome, Aachen and Rotterdam. We could compare this League with the Champions League in football. If a team is not good enough, they move off to the second league. We have a professional sport and we would like to measure up to other big sports such as golf for example. So we also have to look at the money as well. We have 30 nations cups every year. Now we get a selection of the best nations in the world."


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