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Inspiring the youth

The young rider is aspired to put Slovenia on the map.

Author: Viktoriia Vinokurova

„I wanna go riding, I wanna go riding!” – were the words of young Nina Vršec, when deciding on the plans for the family weekend 12 years ago. And now, the 23 years old rider is here, on the World Championship 2019. Her goal? “The competition is a way to see what you’ve achieved and how you can become better”, Nina Vršec says.

Is it a lot of pressure to be the one representing the whole country?

In Slovenia we don’t have infrastructure, and trainers who have sufficient knowledge about Icelandic horses and what this breed can do. So I am amazed being here, in fact, I receive more support here, than in my own country, which is both funny and sad.

If you had resources, what would you plan for bringing the icelandic horse on track in Slovenia?

I would buy a huge place and bring trainers who are able to educate young riders about Icelandic horses. I have started my project by setting up the website: isislovenia.com. It’s an educational blog, as well as an instrument to help those, who want to compete, but experience various difficulties like getting a horse, registration, etc. They can simply text or call me and I will try to do my best to provide them with what they need.

Did you bring your own horse?

No, I borrowed one and rode her for the first time last Tuesday. She is a diamond: so responsive, and so calm. Sometimes horses jump around, and she just stands there like: “Can I have a treat?”. (laughing)

You say there is a lack of trainers in Slovenia. How did you overcome this obstacle?

I went to Austria a lot to train there. And when at some point I could not travel that often anymore because of school, I started riding on my own and I realized: if you want to learn, you absolutely have to ride on your own. You have to learn to trust yourself.

But how do you learn about what you do wrong?

I've participated in around 40 competitions – just for the sake of training. And after the test I went to see what judges wrote to find out what I have to work on.

What do you think about competitors?

I have met my idols here. But I feel like now everybody expects them to win, and maybe if a small country like Slovenia, Italy or Australia won, it would shake things up a little. Miracles can happen, you know.

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