Natalie Oldfors and Mickey M Strike Gold at 2018 CDI-W Tallinn

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 08:42
2018 CDI-W Tallinn
Natalie Oldforst and Mickey M win the 2018 CDI-W Tallinn World Cup qualifier :: Photo © Aldi Aleva

In the pair's debut season at Grand Prix level, Natalie Oldfors and Mickey M won both the Grand Prix and Central European League World Cup Kur at the 2018 CDI-W Tallinn in 5 - 6 October 2018. As breeder, owner and rider of Mickey M, Oldforst was particularly proud of the two personal best scores of 70,348% and 74,585% they achieved.

“The CDI was just amazing,” said the 32-year old Natalie. “It was our first World Cup and also a first time for this horse in a big arena like this.”

Natalie feels particularly proud of her 12-year old Swedish warmblood Mickey M (by Metall x Bonaparte) not just because she bred him but also because he was not such a talented youngster at the start. Many thought he wouldn’t get to Grand Prix.

“I remember one old trainer asked me the first time he saw him when he was 3 years old. he said, 'what are you going to do with that pony' and laughed," Natalie reminisced. “He was just small and he had no real rhythm in his trot. He always had a good walk and a good canter, but he was a bit difficult in the mind as well."

Many years of training later and despite the fact that he sometimes gave his rider grey hairs for being so difficult, Natalie persevered.

“I had no money to buy something else so I had to make something good out the horses I had," she said. "His thing was just to run through everythinf, but after many years training together I really got to know how he works in all situations and we are now a super team.”

Gradually earning the horse's trust, Natalie has learnt that it can take years to build that connection, and some horses take longer than others.

Training in Gothenburg, Sweden, Natalie and Mickey M travelled from Gothenburg to Stockholm on the first day and then caught the ferry from Stockholm to Paldiski to get to Tallinn in Estonia. 

“It was nine hours on the ferry and after that just a one hour drive to the show," she explained. "I liked the show a lot: a super nice arena and a big audience that were sitting quite close the arena. The organization was also really good. They were so helpful and friendly."

What impressed Natalie the most during the CDI was how relaxed Mickey was and how positive the comments were from the judges.

Oldfors and Mickey M in Tallinn
“When you feel the horse is so focused and relaxed and without pressure then it is also easy to add a bit more power to it without them getting tense," she said. "It was an amazing feeling. We got many nice comments from the judges, but a particularly nice example was 'it was a nice test with a lot of feeling.' That is always really nice to hear and that makes me so happy!”

Oldforst is currently training once a month with Paul Fielder who comes to her family's farm in Sweden. She also spends two days a month training with Kyra Kyrklund as part of the "Knytkalaset," a Swedish training group sponsored by Saab and Gina Tricot in. 

“Knytkalaset takes us to Jan Brink's place who is one of the founders of the program and we get to train with Kyra and also watch all the other professional riders during the two days. It’s super! You learn so much just looking at other riders," she said.

Mickey M is the second horse that Natalie has trained up to Grand Prix level. She works professionally with horses and as a side project has started her own interior product company with a friend called "Dequestrian by Oldfors".

With Tallinn world cup victory under her belt, Natalie will aim the coming months at getting her horse gradually stronger and more confident in the exercises. She wants to do one more international show before Christmas. 

“Next year could be an interesting year I think. I’m so excited. I want to go to more international shows and I’m looking for sponsors that will help me to reach my goals," she stated. "It’s an expensive sport and difficult to make it all work at home when you also need to be out competing internationally.”

by Sarah Warne  - Photos © Aldi Aleva / Tallin International Horse Show

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