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Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 18/04/2019.
Aaron Hadlow at the FEI World Cup Final

Aaron Hadlow More Determined than Ever Following FEI World Cup Final Experience

Australian League World Cup Jumping Champion Aaron Hadlow is back on home soil following his trip to the FEI World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden, and what he has brought back with him is a greater determination to succeed.

As winner of the 2018/2019 Australian FEI World Cup Jumping League Aaron and his horse Vahlinvader earned themselves an invitation to compete at the Finals in April. After careful consideration Aaron decided not to take Vahlinvader overseas, but rather to go himself un-mounted. Aaron was awarded the opportunity to obtain partial funding to attend the Final as a spectator in an initiative to assist Australian based riders who win the league to learn from, and be a part of, the FEI World Cup Final experience.

Aaron embarked on the journey with fellow competitor Clint Beresford and touched down in Gothenburg earlier this month. It was the first time Aaron had attended an indoor event of this magnitude and what he was met with on arrival was a spectacular celebration of equestrian sport.

Aaron described the entire event as “amazing” and was blown away by the atmosphere surrounding the complete operation. “The atmosphere was breath-taking, out of this world, words can’t describe it. Even if you are not horsey you should go and watch.

The crowd get behind every rider in the arena whether it is someone riding on home turf or an international, the crowd are right there behind them all” recalls Aaron, “if you think you have experienced it by watching on live stream or TV you haven’t, it is an entire different perception when you see it live and are immersed in it. How daring, accurate, switched on and focused you have to be at that level is incredible.”

It wasn’t only the venue and atmosphere that was impressive; it was also the intensity of the competition environment. “There is just such a different culture and atmosphere, all 30 of the riders competing were at the very top of the tree, not just one or two of them, but all of them. The level is just phenomenal.

Over there the really high profile riders you wouldn’t really see out partying, they are all very professional. If someone is not performing then it is clear there are other riders that would be there to take over the ride, so they are very serious and focused” recounts Aaron.

“To see the best of the best that qualified for the competition made me see where Australian standards are in comparison. It has motivated me to come home and work on so much to be at that standard, I want to be at that standard.

I think that our five, six and seven year old horses are just as nice as the horses overseas, we aren’t that far behind, but we are still a bit off the top of the Grand Prix horses at the moment”

When asked to describe his overall experience of the event Aaron said, “beyond this world, words don’t describe. After this I don’t want to miss another one, even if not qualified I want to go every year!”

Along with determination, passion and excitement Aaron has also come home with many ideas for initiatives, which he will share with EA, on how the sport can be improved in Australia and which he believes may assist riders in the future to develop a path to the top level of the sport.

With his clear dedication, drive, and talent it would not be surprising to anyone, if in the future a new string of upcoming riders travelled to the World Cup Final to learn from the best in the world only to hear the commentator announce, the next rider in the arena is Aaron Hadlow, from Australia.

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