Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2024

Fantastic Freestyles: Jan Brink

While Jan Brink is looking forward to riding in Las Vegas for a third time, the Rolex FEI World Cup Final will be bittersweet, as it will be Briar’s final competition.

“After that he will be retired,” said Brink. “He had an absolutely amazing career.”

PUBLISHED

ADVERTISEMENT

While Jan Brink is looking forward to riding in Las Vegas for a third time, the Rolex FEI World Cup Final will be bittersweet, as it will be Briar’s final competition.

“After that he will be retired,” said Brink. “He had an absolutely amazing career.”

The 18-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion has represented Sweden in three Olympics (Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004, and Hong Kong in 2008), seven World Cup Finals (2001-2003 and 2005-2008), and two World Equestrian Games (2002 and 2006). Brink and Briar have also won six Swedish Championships, an individual silver medal at the 2003 European Championships, a bronze team medal at the 2005 European Championships, and more than 30 international Grand Prix classes.

Brink has been riding his current freestyle, called “My Number One” since 2006 and has only made minor changes since he first choreographed the piece.

“My idea was that I should do something totally opposite from before,” he said. “Not something very well known. Something brand new but on the really main stream, hit list music of that time.”

ADVERTISEMENT

When designing a new freestyle, Brink starts with the choreography first. When he is happy with the way the ride flows on paper, he will begin to ride it.

“When you feel that everything is fine, the choreography is fine and it feels good when you ride it, then you start to think about the theme and the music,” he said. “I always try to have one theme, not a lot of different styles.”

All of the artists Brink uses were living in Sweden when they created their songs. The title piece is the winning song from the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest called, “My Number One” by Helena Paparizou from Greece. Brink’s walk music is “I Would Die For You” by Antique, and his canter music is “Temptation” by Arash.

“The music was brand new in that time,” said Brink. “This kind of music fits Briar very well, because he’s very much a guy. He’s got a lot of knee action and is very powerful. He’s not a ballet dancer; he’s a very powerful stallion. If you listen to the rhythms [of the music] you can really feel the power.”

Brink believes that the highlights of the test are the trot sequences, where he showcases Briar’s powerful passage and piaffe by combining the passage with half-passes and small circles with piaffe in the middle.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s something not a lot of horses can do in the same rhythm and keep the rhythm all the time,” said Brink. “It’s a highlight of Briar. He’s really strong in the passage; it’s very natural for him.

“The end is fantastic,” added Brink. “When the canter music starts, it’s really powerful music into the tempi changes. You get inspiration when the canter music starts.”

Briar’s final halt in Las Vegas will not mean the end of his career as a riding horse, for Brink plans to keep using him for his Tullstorp stallion showcases, as well as teaching students how to ride upper level movements. Briar has been ranked as the No. 1 dressage breeding stallion for more than six years, and his offspring, the oldest of which are 11 this year, have already found success in the show ring.

He currently has 11 approved sons, and 10 of his foals are being shown at the Grand Prix level. Briar also has several talented offspring that show in the jumpers.

After Briar’s electrifying performance at Gothenburg, Sweden, on Feb. 19, where he scored a 77.20 percent and 11,000 fans saluted Brink and Briar with a standing ovation, they look to be on track toward a fantastic performance in Las Vegas.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Brink said. “I feel really good about stopping with the horse when he’s on top and fresh and sound. It’s a good feeling to retire him that way. Las Vegas is a perfect end.”  

Coree Reuter

Categories:

ADVERTISEMENT

EXPLORE MORE

No Articles Found

Follow us on

Sections

Copyright © 2024 The Chronicle of the Horse