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Rolf-Göran Bengtsson : "I am a calm person and horses can feel it"

Interview by Laetitia Bataille.

N°26 Novembre 2011
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European Champion and number 2 in the Rolex Rankings, Swedish rider Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, who will soon turn 50, adds up many victories with a beautiful and mature way of riding, which has lost nothing of its skillful and dramatic audacity.
Cheval Savoir has had great pleasure to speak with him for an interview after his victory in Paris.

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson is a rising star. Last year, he already had greatly impressed french spectators when winning the Gucci by Gucci Challenge, with a calm yet brilliant way of riding, in a very short time that his high technical level allowed him.
This year, he repeats the exploit, and wins the Gucci by Gucci again, with almost one second less than Christian Ahlman -also a very famous rider among the greatest ones...

Since he won the olympic Silver Medal in Beijing (the Gold Medal was for Eric Lamaze) Rolf-Göran Bengtsson keeps showing us the high value of his way of riding and the progress in his career.
In 2011 he wins first places in Hamburg, Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Lyon... and also wins the individual Golg Medal in the European Championships in Madrid, in september.

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson Rolf-Göran Bengtsson Rolf-Göran Bengtsson
Rolf-Göran Bengtsson during an exclusive interview with Cheval Savoir. © Cheval Savoir

Cheval Savoir : Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, what has amazed me most, is the calmness of your horse after he achieved his victory in the Gucci by Gucci Challenge. After having galloped at full speed during the lap of honour, you have stayed there alone for a while and walked by in the arena, very close from the spectators, with very little contact on the reins.
Your horse has passed from a hyper-demanding and exciting work to a beautiful and slow walk, the king of walk that you can hardly see in dressage competitions ! The horse was putting his feet on the ground most delicately, almost as if he was doing "pas d'école" !

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson : (laugh) Yes, yes, absolutely ! The horse was extraordinarily calm, whereas yesterday he was very nervous, difficult to hold...

C.S. Later on, les journalists gathered aroud you for questions, and the horse remained complety quiet for nearly ten minutes, without even moving one of his feet, with the reins on his neck. It is really amazing to see that with a warm blood horse with high spirits...

R.-G. B. Yes, indeed, it was amazing, wasnt'it ? I could hardly believe myself how quiet the horse was. I was surprised too. I think the horse understood he had done everything well, and was feeling released and peaceful, a kind of feeling he had acomplished his duty...

C.S. I could see his eye on the huge screen, and I noticed it was a very sweet, serene eye...

R.-G. B. I could'nt see his eye, but I could feel the horse was completely relaxed...

C.S. You looked happy yourself, sort of peaceful !

R.-G. B. Yes, I was. And you know, horses can feel that very weel !

C.S. You always seem to be a very calm person. Is it natural, or do keep control of yourself ?

R.-G. B. No, its natural, I'm just like that !

C.S. You dont' work with a mental trainer or somethnig of that kind ?

R.-G. B. (laugh) Oh no ! no ! Not at all !

C.S. Let's speak about Quintero, who showed alltogether the greatest energy and the most impressive calmness...

R.-G. B. I've got a tremendous complicity with him. Quintero is a Hosteiner by Quantum an Chamonix, bred in the La Silla Stud in Monterrey, in Mexico. It's a thirteen year old stallion, and he's been in my stables since 2005. It is a very good horse for the speed challenges against the clock... when I can allow him to use his full potential, he can go very fast, as he did this evening.

C.S. You only ride horses from the La Silla stud for the time beeing ?

R.-G. B. Yes, I've been riding La Silla horses for several years now. To speak only about those who are still in the running at present, I also have Casall La Silla, another Holsteiner, who won the Wold Cup in 's-Hertogenbosch last year, and the Grand Prix in the Rotterdam CSIO.
I also ride Ninja la Silla, she's a KWPN mare, very talented. I won the individual Silver Medal in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 with her.

C.S. So we're really looking forward to see you in the 2012 Olympics...!

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