Victoria Max-Theurer Finds New Balance and Inspiration in 2012

Thu, 12/13/2012 - 12:36
Victoria Max-Theurer and Blind Date
Photo © Barbara Schnell
2012 CDI Salzburg

Taking to the arena four times at the 2012 CDI Salzburg and finishing with an equal number of wins, Austrian Victoria Max-Theurer is extremely happy with her recent results and her journey on new partner, the 10-year old Hanoverian mare Blind Date (by Breitling x Donnerhall).

"It was a great weekend for us, winning all four 5* competitions within the one show, we could not have asked for more," said the 26-year old. "It was also the highest score ever received by Blind Date in a Grand Prix  and I was very glad to be awarded no score below 73%."

A christmas themed competition with good conditions and a friendly atmosphere, the CDI Salzburg was an ideal setting from which Victoria couldn't have asked much more. However the ample Christmas spirit was a little distracting at times.

"It was really a beautiful show, right before Christmas, and while I was happy with all of my tests, some moments were particularly interesting for my horses. Every day the organizer increased the Christmas decorations around the ring, rather heavily," she laughed.

Despite a few mistakes in the Special, Victoria feels her horses did a great job and is especially excited about the progress on Blind Date, which her family acquired this year.

"We bought Blind Date earlier in the year and I feel our partnership is coming along well. We are having a lot of fun," said Victoria. "It is still not such a long time that we have been together, but we have already got to know each other and I feel we are improving and gaining experience with every test."

Having competed in just four international shows as a pair, Vici and Blind Date have already achieved four victories and four runner-up positions, though Victoria admits it does take time to find the right buttons.

"It always takes some time to get to know a new horse, as everybody “gives their aids” a bit differently," she explained. "Happily, I can ask and rely on Wolfram Wittig and his wife Brigitte, who trained the horse right up until April of this year.  Nevertheless, it’s a lot of work to get into it, but "Beate" (Blind Date) is fun to ride, and we really enjoy each other."

With a new horse and a new trainer moving in, Victoria's 2012 has been full of successful introductions, connecting just as well with her new trainer Wittig as with her new stable mate.

"It works so well," she said. "We had a great year by achieving some of the best placings and results I have had so far."

Victoria was deeply grateful for the support of her parents Hans Max and Sissy Max-Theurer. She knows they will still be with her on her dressage journey.

"Until January 2012 my dad was the only one who was training me and it was from him that I learnt everything I knew about riding," she explained. "In the beginning of February we started to work with Wolfram and all of us are very happy with this new partnership. My dad still has an eye on my training at home, but nevertheless I try to do my work as independently as possible."

Turning 70 this year, Victoria's father is an international trainer for nearly 40 years and both he and his daughter felt it was time for Max to enjoy more of his other pleasures.

"He wanted to focus a bit more on his beloved hobbies of collecting antiques, among many others," said Vici. "So we, as a team, decided to ask Wolfram if he would be interested in supporting us and taking over my training."

With his "huge amount of experience on many different types of horses", Victoria and her father believed Wolfram had the vision and the sense of fun that they were after.

"The way he works the horses with so much fun and enjoyment it makes everybody who is participating also enjoy their work, both the horses and the people. Plus, he is very precise and consequent. That pays off in so many moments of training and competition."

Victoria had some mental adjusting to do as well with all those years of her riding career with her dad as the sole trainer.

"My dad was with me at shows, in all the warm-ups and really for every moment. It took some time to recognize that there was somebody new with the same amount of dedication and commitment, that I could trust in and rely on! Before the co-operation with Wolfram started I couldn’t imagine that it might be possible, to train with somebody other than my parents. But I was convinced 200% and I think the move to work with Wolfram was the best thing that could have happened to me and my horses. I’m so grateful and happy that he agreed to work with us."

While the training now is a little different, Victoria found that being trained by an outsider did alter the dynamics somewhat.

"There are much less discussions with an outside trainer because you never mix private and professional matters, as you would inside the family. And there is much less to argue about," she admitted. "It's fun being a team and it’s great to be a family that can again talk about things other than just horses and training!"

With the qualification and preparation for the Olympics in London being the greatest challenge for 2012, Victoria says her highlights include being part of the finals of the Olympic Games and her results at the CHIO in Aachen.

"Being named the most successful dressage rider of the Aachen show. I still cannot believe that happened. Also a highlight for me was riding lots of personal bests scores, for example with my new Michael Erdmann-freestyle for Augustin, with a score of over 83%!"

Victoria has set the 2013 European Championships in Herning as goal for next year. She  is really looking forward to working on a long-term basis with the Wittig family, and has no plans to introduce new horses in the near future. She currently has her three big stars -- Augustin, Eichendorff and Blind Date -- and has many youngsters lined up who are looking very promising for the future. Amongst her future stars are Della Cavalleria, San Francisco, Benaglio (a 4-year old Breitling x Partout), and the S-level competed Rosandro (by Rosario  x Sandro Hit).

Max-Theurer splits her time between riding and working part-time in the family business, which Vici describes as "something totally different" as the company builds railway maintenance machines. Though Vici welcomes the change between horses and real life corporate work, she is very grateful for all the support she gets.

"I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everybody who supports me in such a great way," she stated. "My parents Sissy & Hans, my grandparents, my brother, my trainer Wolfram, my stable team, and all of my friends!  I wouldn’t be where I am today, without all of you!"

by Sarah Warne for Eurodressage
Photos © Barbara Schnell - Astrid Appels

Related Links
Photo Report: Grand Prix Day at the 2012 CDI Oldenburg
Lorenz, Valenta, Zach, Max-Theurer Win 2012 Austrian Dressage Championships
Victoria Max-Theurer Shines with New Freestyle at 2012 CDI Achleiten
Max-Theurer Invests in Wittig's Blind Date

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