INTERVIEW

Canadian Grand Prix Dressage Rider Belinda Trussell

D-C : Among many others, your successes include: a 1st position at the Canadian World Cup finale of Toronto, in 2003, several excellent classifications on the European ground and of course, your participation at the 2004 Olympic Games of Athens. You hold your trainer level 3 and you manage Oakcrest Farms, located at Souffville, in the north of Toronto. Would you tell us how you would define a successful day of training?

BT : For me, every day is a successful day. As a coach, I feel accomplished when my students learn or feel something new. I think I always learn something when I ride, even from tough ride, and that’s the most important and positive thing for me.

D-C: What are your most important criteria when you buy a new dressage prospect or dressage horse?

BT: The most important thing for me is temperament. A horse must be willing to work and to want to work. I want to enjoy the training process and become a partner with him or her. I also must feel like I do not want to get off when I try a new prospect. If I have any doubts at all, I usually will pass. I trust my gut instinct…amazingly it is usually correct. If it is possible I like to know the person I am buying the horse from, I like to know some history on the horse. Movement and conformation are also important.

D-C : All your horses are light and easy to ride. How do you manage to maintain this lightness up to the most advanced levels?

BT : You must be very consistent in your work. Everything must be black or white and you should not allow your horse to get heavy. Your aids should be light and you must always get the response you wanted from these aids. The more the horse carries weight behind, the more he gets lighter and lighter and that’s my goal in every ride.

D-C : Your implication with the juniors riders and the young riders is obvious. Several of your students such as Tara Dougans, Stephanie Chalaturnyk, Breanne Willoughby-Brown, Kristin Evans have obtained numerous distinctions. How do you see the future of the younger Canadian generation on the international scene?

BT: I’m very proud of my young riders and I think they are really doing a great job. I believe the skills they need to go to the top are a good work ethic, discipline, and they must look opportunities to find the right horse. We have some very good working student program in Canada and I think a dedicated rider can reach Grand Prix level. The only thing our riders here won’t benefit is the level of competition present in Germany. If they want to become top rider, they must gain more shows experience and competed against very accomplished and strong riders.

D-C : Recently, you welcomed Lars Peterson, the Grand Prix rider, from Denmark, at your stable Oakcrest Farms. Do you believe that Canadian trainers should organize more clinics with international riders, as it appears to be the case in the United States?

BT: I was very honored to welcome Lars Peterson at my barn and I definitely think that we should have more clinics organized with top trainers from Germany, the United States and also with our top riders. We should not only wait for the Federation to organize clinics, but we, as trainer, should organize such clinics across the country.

D-C : In addition to being a full-time athlete, you are now mother of two splendid children. What are your sporting objectives for the next coming years?

BT: I just bought a very promising 6 years old. If everything goes well, I wish to be back in the Canadian team around 2010-2012. This summer I would like to bring my new horse out at third level. I do have another horse who I hope will be competing Prix St. George and Intermediare 1. He is a 10 year old that I have owned and trained for 7 years.

For more information about Belinda Trussell, please visit: www.oakcrestfarms.ca

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