Ask a question about preparation, and Emelie Brolin gets a sparkle in her eye.
– I start preparing for a competition at least a month in advance, says the experienced elite rider in dressage.
Never leaves anything to chance
For Emelie Brolin, there are not seven, but eight sins of death. The eighth reads: To leave something to chance, not to strive for total control over what you can control. And when it comes to competing, Emelie Brolin has the power over everything.
– Everyone is good at different things. One of the things I'm good at is preparing for a competition. I have been competing since I was six years old, and I rode my first championship as a 12- year-old. When you have been competing for as long as I have, you work out different strategies for what makes you perform the best, and then do you what works best for you.
This weekend she'll take on another big arena
The upcoming main event this week is the Gothenburg Horse Show. There, Emelie Brolin will compete with her young mare Tesla, one of Emelie's latest acquisitions. As it is one of Tesla's first major competitions, Emelie believes it is more important that her horse adapts to the surroundings. This means less focus on results and more focus on giving Tesla a comfortable first experience GHS.
– It is about setting the goals for the individual. I want to go to Gothenburg and give the horse a good experience for the future. That means I will not stretch the bow as much as I do when I want to get the best results possible. Therefore, the training in the past month has been about focusing entirely on safety and confidence.
For competing, Scandinavium is also a very special arena, right?
– Yes, it is both a fantastic and tough arena because the crowd is so close, which is stressful for many horses. I want my horses to ride many times in those types of venues in the future so it is up to me they feel comfortable.
A competition is planned in every detail
You say you start preparing for a competition at least a month in advance. How does the preparation begin?
– Things like knowing where my jacket and helmets are being placed are important to me. I usually plan very well with lists and schedules. My packing list is very long, and I try to pack the same things every time. The same mascots, the same kind of unique white riding pants, specific protection for the horse when I warm up. You could talk about lucky mascots and lucky equipment and maybe call me superstitious, but for me, it is about something else. The fact that I always use the same things when packing makes me comfortable and get me the feeling of a competition that went very well to the next. I also write down in detail what the horse and I should do until the start, and since I am such a planner, I also start to mentally prepare myself.
Have you ever failed in your preparation?
– No, but it is interesting when the routines disrupt. It happened last fall when I was competing in Jönköping and felt it was hard not to sleep in the horse truck. I wouldn't say I like staying in hotels when competing. I met a mental coach and brought it up with him. He said: "Emelie, you train for the Olympics because, at the Olympics, you never live where the horse is." Now maybe I will never ride the Olympics, but it was still a funny parable, how he turned something I thought was a pain into something positive. It is essential to train yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable because one day you will come to a competition where you do not know things.
Five quick questions
Your best training tip?
– Continuity. Regular training.
Your goals for 2020?
– I will invest a lot on my younger horses and try to compete them at some of the big competitions.
You can frame one single memory from 2019 and make a painting of it. Which one do you choose?
– There are a lot of fun things, but I think that's when I made it to the final in Flyinge with our Ramble On, who finished nine. It felt huge as a rider to show excellent performance in that type of arena during competition.
The world's best TV series?
Your favorite item from Uhip?
– Hybrid Jacket Iontex Edition. I use it all the time. I always wear it and never take it off.