Introducing Milena Sulzer: A Passionate Dressage Rider

Milena Sulzer discovered her love for horses at an early age, starting riding at six and soon venturing into competitions. Progressing from lower to higher competition classes, she gained experience with multiple horses and achieved significant successes. Noteworthy milestones included participating in international competitions and winning Swiss championships. We’re intrigued and asked Milena 5 questions:

1. Career & Passion

What inspired you to start dressage riding, and how has your passion evolved over time? Since I was 6 years old, I started vaulting and developed my passion for horses. I spent almost every day at the stable, although initially, I also regularly attended climbing training. However, I chose horses and gave up climbing. Until I was 13, I participated in youth dressage competitions but also enjoyed jumping. However, I decided on dressage when I received my first dressage pony in 2015. Since then, dressage has been my great passion, although I still enjoy taking jumping lessons; a bit of action is necessary. However, many great horses and rider pairs convinced me of dressage, seeing them dance through the arena in harmony and relaxation, making it look simple and effortless. That’s the great art I still strive for today.

2. Challenges & Achievements

Could you tell us about a particular challenge you had to overcome in your dressage career, and how did you manage it? One of my biggest challenges so far was/is my first horse, Heavenly. Heavenly is a Hanoverian mare, now 18 years old. I got her when I was 14, and she was supposed to introduce me to the junior tour and make it easier. Easier said than done… Heavenly has always been a very “hot” mare, whether in training or at competitions. In hindsight, we had to realize that she was actually too difficult for me at the time we bought her. We had to invest an incredible amount of time in training and schooling, so that after a few years, I could show very nice M-level movements in training. However, at competitions, she was like a different horse and became so hot in the test that I could hardly ride. I think this is something that gnawed at me for a long time, that I could ride flawless tests up to St. Georg at home, but at competitions, I sometimes barely reached 60% in a simple M test. We retired Heavenly in 2022, but she is still in top condition in our stable and enjoys light work. By then, I had collected several S-classifications, but she hasn’t become easier until today. This was a time when I had to persevere incredibly and didn’t give up. Yes, one could say that the “great” success in competitions was lacking, yet I am sure that without Heavenly, I wouldn’t be where I am now, because this mare taught me more than any other horse, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

3. Training & Preparation

What does your typical training day look like, and how do you prepare for competitions? My training day always looks different, depending on what my horses need. However, I always try to make the training very varied, which includes 2-3 times dressage training per week, pole work, 2x riding out, and aqua training. My training routine doesn’t change too much before competitions. However, I always make sure to keep the horses very motivated before competitions, which means riding out, and on the day before departure to the competition, I like to do pole work, as my horses loosen up very well through that.

4. Vision & Goals

What are your dreams in your dressage career, and what role does our brand play in achieving your goals? Sportingly, like many others, I dream of the Olympics! But what I dream of even more are not the successes measured by rankings and percentages but by the type of dressage riding as a whole. I dream of a change in dressage back to harmony, relaxation, and natural gaits, and away from “front leg kicking” and pushed-down backs and unnatural elevations. I work towards this with my horses, and it would be my dream that all judges, trainers, and riders also see this as a goal. Simply put: I dream of honest, fair, and sustainable equestrian sport and am delighted that Equinetree accompanies me on this path and supports me with their sustainable and vegan products!

5. Brand & Partnership

Why did you decide to become an ambassador for our brand, and what aspects of our products do you find particularly useful for your discipline? I chose Equinetree because I am excited about the concept of sustainable and vegan leather. I was immediately convinced by the products and knew that I wanted to support such a company. Due to the love for animals that we all riders share, I believe that there is also a responsibility towards all animals, not just our horses. This also includes leather for me. I hope to support Equinetree in existing and new products so that equestrian sport can be supported as much as possible with vegan leather!

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