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On October 31st 2021, the first Belgian Championships Hobbyhorse riding were organised in Geraardsbergen. 

For Géraldine and I, this was a completely new challenge. We are trained as endurance athletes (cf. Pyrenees crossing in 2020), while this championship needed a combination of explosivity, agility, elegancy and humor.  When it comes to the latter, we were very confident, but not so for the former 3. 

On top of this, there were some extremely talented competitors lined up; the artist trio Sophie, Camille and Micha, local hero Lukas and last but not least, the big YouTube-star Average Rob. 

4 golden medals were to be divided in 4 disciplines: dressage, jumping, sprint and all-round (for the best over-all in the 3 disciplines).

Our preparation wasn't that great. Since Géraldine got married to a horse in Belgium after our Pyrenees crossing, and I continued living in the France, we had little time to prepare for the championship with the two of us. In fact, it's only the day before that we trained for the jumping-and sprint-competition, by jumping over the railway barriers in Flanders, and then fastly sprinting before the train would hit us....  Hobbyhorse riding, it's a risk sport! 

On top of this, Géraldine had hemorroïds on competition day... this made her very stressed, so we did some heavy deep belly breathing before the start.

The first discipline on the Belgian Championships was dressage. Riders were scored on their style, creativity and connection with the horse.  Although Géraldine and I had not practiced at all, the chemistry between us was still great so we did a pretty solid run. Unfortunately, not good enough for the podium.  AverageRob claimed the golden medal, silver was for Sophie and Bronze for Micha. 

Next was jumping, our favourite discipline. And we crushed it! Although some other riders had a faster time than Géraldine and I, we had the most beautiful jumps! This way we became Belgian Champion Hobbyhorse Jumping!  AverageRob was second, Lukas third. 

When it came to the last discipline, we perished in the qualification round. I'm pretty convinced my competitor did a false start, but the jury didn't agree.  For the medals, it was a close call between AverageRob and Lukas, but in the end it was Rob who obtained his second golden medal. Of course, with 2x gold and 1x bronze, he also became the All-Round champion. 

In the end, Géraldine and I were verry happy to become Belgian Champion Jumping.  Next year, we'll train more in advance and try to do even better! 

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