In 2013 the EEN created the Students Competition and the first edition took place in Flyinge/Sweden, in June on the same year. Since then, the competition takes place every year, during Spring time.
To this Competition, each school (from each country) takes two students and two teachers.
Before the competition, a meeting takes place:
Where the student’s teams are chosen by chance - each team will be composed by three students of different countries.
Two trainers per each team are chosen by chance among the teaches from the schools - these trainers can not have the same nationality of the students in their own team.
The Theoretical Subject will be chosen, by chance, for each team
There will be two different scores: individual score and team score.
The beginning - Brefing Saumur, France
Preparing the Theoretical Presentation - Saumur, France
Judges Team - Starum, Norway
Dressage Test - Golegã, Portugal
Jumping Test - guided course walk - Golegã, Portugal
All the students do a dressage and a jumping test. From this Phase, the best student of each team is selected for Phase 2.
All students selected from Phase 1 will do a dressage test, a jumping test and will give a lesson on the dressage subject.
The three best students from Phase 2 are selected for Phase 3. On this Phase each student has to do a Dressage Test, a Jumping Test and a lesson on the jumping subject.
Last but not the least, each team presents the Theoretical Subject to all teachers and students.
All Phases are judged by a group of five judges from different countries (one of them from the country that organizes the Competition and another outside judge invited by the EEN).
The Students Competition has taken place in:
Flyinge/Sweden – June, 2013
Saumur/France – April, 2014
Ypaja/Finland – May, 2015
Warendorf/Germany – May, 2016
Starum/Norway – February, 2017
Golegã/Portugal – May, 2018
Stromsholm/Sweden – May, 2019
Pedagogic Test - Saumur, France
Theoretical Presentation - Golegã, Portugal
Prize Giving Ceremony - Ypäjä, Finland
Prize Giving Ceremony - Ypäjä, Finland
The testimony of a student:
One of the most memorable weeks of my life!
It was 2017 I was doing the internship when I was invited to participate in the Students Competition in Norway.
I’ll explain a little bit what is this Students Competition, there’s a Equestrian Educational Network (EEN) that works with schools from around Europe to bring the equestrian education closer and to try to unify the education in these schools.
Every year they do a Students Competition with students from each school member of the EEN. Each school selects their two best students and two teachers/trainers, one school always hosts the event and borrows the horses.
Well I was selected and the school hosting that year was the Norsk Hestsenter in Starum, Norway. I packed my warmest clothes and off we go (it was -12ºC so pretty cold there). When we arrived they showed us around the riding center, it had a lot of arenas and it was really interesting to see how they take care of the horses in that cold and with the snow. The stalls were heated, but some horses lived in the snow, with no rug!! That was really impressive to see and the truth is they can live in that cold, they have a natural coat.
Second day was the day we met our team, each team had 3 students and 2 coaches, all from different nationalities. In my team there was a norwegian and a swedish girl and the coaches were from Finland and England. It was assigned a theme for our presentation, we got “ Horse care and health”, big one we thought, we had to do a small presentation on the last day about the a topic from the theme and that was going to count for the final score of the team. We saw the horses that were selected for our team, one dressage horse and a show jumping horse.
The third day was when the competition started. First, Dressage test, all 3 riders from each team had to do the same dressage test with the same horse (all horses had time between each ride to rest). The horses were already warmed up and we had 20 min to get to know the horse and prepare the test. I was the first to go from my team, I was a little bit nervous and the horse was sensitive, if you put too much contact he would lift his head and show you he didn’t like it. I did my test without putting too much pressure on the horse (now I know I could have done a little bit more…) and got a 7 out of 10. The comments of my performance were positive and I was quite happy.
Next, was the Jumping test, the same scheme, one horse for the 3 riders and the same course. I was the last one to go, my horse was quite forward and you just had to wait for him on the last steps and you were safe. We got 7.3 out of 10. I was happy with that, jumping was not my speciality and I got a better mark.
I did not pass the first round, only the person with the best marks on each team goes to the second round of competition (it’s a dressage test, a jumping test and they have to give a dressage lesson) and only the 3 best marks of the second round go to the final (also a dressage and jumping test and a jumping lesson). I was not sad, I was happy with my performance, I had really low expectations for my marks as I was competing with the best students from excellent schools like Saumur (biggest French Equitation School were the Cadre Noir is based), German students that were already Grand Prix riders, so I knew it was a long shot to have super marks, but I did have some good ones and for that I was happy!
The next days were round two and three, we were working on our presentation and assisting our team member that passed to round two and did a really great job! About the presentation, we did about preventing colics for new horse owners, we kept it simple but with all the information needed. We had the best mark of all teams, we got an 8!! We were really happy and with our marks and the team mark we still got 3rd place on the overall! It was a fantastic feeling!
Mafalda Carmo Costa - Portugal