A Kind
of Magic

21 December 2016

Being in the middle of the FEI World Cup Driving™ series,  we took some time out with one of the icons of the sport and FEI Athletes' Representative, Bartlomiej Kwiatek at his home in Poland. 

Hi Bartlomiej, thanks for taking the time to meet with us. 

So how did your passion for horses begin?

 

I’ve always loved animals. At home, we always had some dogs and cats and my mum would take me and my sister, Weronika, to the zoo every week.

 

One year, Weronika asked for our dad for a horse. 

 

He told her he would only buy her a pony if she received a red strap on her school diploma. She took his words to heart and worked very hard for the whole school year and at the end she received a diploma with a red strap on it.

 

So, our dad bought her a pony—and it was the first time I fell in love with horses. Our first pony, Misiu, is still with us today.

 

 

 

  
Bartlomiej-BIGLETTERS

For those not into Driving, can you tell us what's so special about it?

Driving is for everyone. There are no limitations. I love that I can sit on a carriage and make horse or horses do things that amaze other people. You can speak with a horse or horses with language only you know—and it's a kind of magic. I continue to pursue this sport from two reasons—I love it and I think it has huge potential.

 

Your sister, Weronika, is also a competitive driver. Do you enjoy being in the same profession?

 

I really enjoy it! It is a pleasure when you can go in the same direction and do what you love together. We enjoy training, competing, and managing the next goals in our lives together. Being in the same profession lets us spend much more time together.

 

 

Can you walk us through a typical day in your life?

 

My days vary dynamically. Usually, I start work at 7 in the morning with training. I train in the dressage arena, in the marathon obstacles, or I just go to the forest for a little work.  I put some horses in pairs or in a four in-hand. It helps the horses learn lots of things. 

 

Driving doesn’t always get the same media attention that some of the other disciplines do.

What's your take on this?

 

Driving is not as popular as football, volleyball, or even Jumping. Of course, it is not an Olympic sport and that tends to be a problem with the media as well as sponsors. I do think driving should have a larger presence - it’s a great show. 

What is most important is that the Driving is for everyone - ladies and men, young and old, able-bodied and physically challenged. 

I do think driving should have a larger presence - it’s a great show
“You can speak to a horse with a language only you know, and it's a kind of magic!”
My goal is to make Driving better and bring it to the next level

What are some of your goals as a member of the Athletes’ Committee? 

My goal is to be a voice for the athletes. They are the most important people in this system and I am excited to represent them on the Committee. My goal is to make Driving better and bring it to the next level.

 

Besides training and competing, what do you like to do in your free time? 

 

I love to sleep! I don't have usually have enough time to sleep, so when I have some free time, I sleep as much as I need to. I also like to ski and play PS3 FIFA game. I also love to listen to music.

 

What’s something that fans may not know about you?

 

They may not know that I fell off a horse when I was a young guy. From then on, I didn’t want to ride! I am still just a tiny bit scared of riding.

 

Rapid speed round:

 

Besides horses, what’s one thing you can’t live without?  Dogs.

What’s your greatest source of inspiration? Nature.

Last song you listened to? Dansa Kuduro

Pre-competition routine? Listen to music and have a cigarette. 

 

 

Keep up to date with the FEI World Cup™ Driving right here on www.fei.org and watch the events LIVE at www.feitv.org.

 

 

Text by Kat Neis

Images by Jacek Rajkowski and Christophe Tanière