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Not content with just riding horses, Lukas Klouda has been involved in the sport of Vaulting since the age of 9. A Czech that now lives in Cologne, he has excelled at the sport and is now the FEI's Athlete's Representative for the sport.
We went along with him to a training session with the Cologne vaulting team to see him, and these talented, and annoyingly fit young athletes, in action.
Tell us a bit about your equestrian journey. How did you first get involved in horses and vaulting?
Growing up, my father and sister were involved with horses. My father was a hunt rider and also a veterinarian and my sister rode before I did. One day, it was just an easy option for my parents to send me along with her to the stable. I wasn’t very good at sports when I was younger and it took me a long time to improve, but these days, I am happy for these challenges.
Can you walk us through a typical day in your life?
When I first wake up, I need some time before I get started. I drive to my company and get there before 8am, sit at my computer, and work. Around 6pm, I head to the stable to ride. This is usually to train—vaulting, gymnastics, or fitness. Some days I’ll have to travel a lot—deliver the horse-trucks or visit potential customers. On the weekends, I’m typically at a competition.
In a sport like vaulting that requires reliance on a team and lunger, what are some of the challenges?
Simply, you must always find some balance so that everyone in your team is happy.
First of all, I have to find the right way to communicate with the athletes. The Committee should be used for all the equestrian athletes to communicate with the FEI and the members of the federation.
NOTE: The FEI Athletes Committee was created in 2014 and is made up of one Athlete Representative per discipline – they work together on their common issues and also sit on their respective discipline committees to ensure the athletes have a voice within the global decision making process.
The Athlete Representatives are all top level sportspeople having competed at recent Olympic and/or World Championship level and they are elected by their peers – athletes that have also recently competed at Olympic and/or World Championship level.
As the term is for four years and non-re-eligible, the process is back in swing in 2018 with an initial nominations phase where athletes can submit their candidacies followed by an online voting phase. For more information, go to Inside.FEI.
What do you love about Vaulting?
It is hard to explain if you have never vaulted before. After the FEI Vaulting World Cup, skeptics about the sport are becoming more positive and changing their opinions. I have heard many riders saying that they wish to have vaulting at every World Cup as the atmosphere and the audience changes during our shows.
I love all the friendships and the people I have met around the world because of the sport. I also love the whole show—the horses, the lunger, the whole spectacle.
Besides training and competing, what do you like to do in your free time?
Besides my horses, there is not much free time! I do like skiing sometimes. I also like nice, fast cars, but unfortunately I spend all my extra money on my horses! I do enjoy traveling and this is one of the things that the sport has allowed me to do.
Coffee or tea?
Besides horses, what's one thing you can't live without?
My family and friends.
Favorite place you've traveled?
Almost any place I have been, but Sydney impressed me a lot! Also, Lausanne, the city of sport and FEI headquarters. I could imagine living there.
What’s a saying or quote that you live by?
“There is no time to waste time!”
Last movie you saw?
“The Nice Guys.”
Text by Kat Neis
Photography by Daniel Kaiser