Ingemar Hammarström

European Champion from Sweden

“Ingemar’s mother called me one day from Sweden and said, ‘We need your help. We’ve got a good pony and we think our 13 year old son has real talent - but he's lost interest. It’s such a shame.’ Holger grins as he recalls that conversation with Ingemar’s mother. He and his team achieved what other trainers had failed to do. They inspired Ingemar to get back on the road to success. “Young people need more than jumping lessons,” emphasised Holger. “You have to keep them motivated and they need goals so that they have something to work towards. And, as a trainer, you have to coach and support them at many different levels.”

The first thing on the agenda when a new rider arrives at Holger’s place is an assessment. How well does he or she ride? How talented is the horse? What’s the goal? What has to be done to achieve it? In Ingemar’s case it was soon obvious that, theoretically, the sky was the limit. “When Ingemar arrived for his first lesson with his pony he’d been riding him in small classes at local shows," Holger recalled. “But he was a good rider, and he had an experienced pony with plenty of scope. All the two of them lacked was a systematic training plan, a sensible show schedule, a long-term strategy and good coaching.” First of all Ingemar’s  pony Ocean des As, or ‘Ole’, was stabled at Holger’s place and worked by Laura Hetzel, Helena Konst and Christine Dorenkamp. Christine also looked after Ingemar on his regular visits from Sweden for training. After just four months with Holger the 13 year old had successfully ridden his first international pony class and caught the eye of Swedish national trainer, who invited him to be part of the European Championship team. A silver medal in 2016 was the reward for all the hard work, and motivation to continue.

Ingemar continued on his success run, with wins and placings in all the big national and international pony classes. And during term time, when Ingemar had to attend school – only arriving in Goch for training during the holidays and on show-free weekends – the Hetzel team looked after Ole’s training and well-being and drove him to shows, supported by the farrier, vet and physiotherapist. “Ingemar’s individual gold medal at the 2018 Pony European Championships and his contribution to the Swedish team silver proves that my system works,” said Holger. Ingemar was the only rider at the Europeans to go clear in all five rounds. That’s a pretty amazing achievement in itself."