Christilot Boylen's Consistent Training System
Written by Betsy LaBelle - In Dressage - Monday, April 17, 2017
A highly skilled athlete who routinely wins at top worldwide competitions including her three Pan American Games Individual Gold Medals and six Olympic Games and a myriad of international CDI victories including Aachen and the Hamburg Derby, Christilot Boylen is one of the all-time greatest athletes in the sport. Not only does she train her horses to the highest levels, she and her partner Udo Lange have coached some of the greatest riders consistently to extraordinary victories in FEI Grand Prix levels and in Olympic Games.
“A horse’s training really should be in the classical system. It’s important to understand that horses have been developing in the same manner for centuries. As the rider, you have to create balance, suppleness and throughness and always train through the six steps of the training scale until you get to where you want to go. There is no leaving anything out. Some horses are quicker, some are slower. It has to be done in this way.” She maintains, “If a horse understands, they will try to do it. It’s the goal to always nurture that try in the horse.” She continued, “We have to go back to the masters. I’m looking through a book now written by Major Stecken. One of the themes is that you do not have to be a superstar. Good riding, correct riding is sufficient. And the second statement is that horses try. One of the most important things as trainers and riders is that we must maintain that quality of try.”
Christilot competed two horses throughout the 2017 Wellington CDI circuit in preparation for future championship team qualifications. Allowing the horses time in electric atmosphere of the CDI ring, she shared, “Everything is a learning experience. Some of it is positive and some of it negative. And we probably learn more from the negative than from the positive. We’ve had some very good ups and downs this winter season.” The horses she competed at the 2017 AGDF are Drentano a 2003 Hanoverian gelding (De Niro x Brenda Lee x Brentano II) in the FEI Grand Prix and her own Rocky Lane a 2007 Westphalian mare (Rock Forever x Rica (Rombach) in the small tour.
Always striving Christilot is honing in on the upcoming challenges facing them in qualifying for Canada at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tyron, North Carolina next September, “There are a lot of things we’ve been working on to get back into ‘team form.’ She shared, “Rocky Lane is a horse I started in the middle of March a year ago. She is my long-term project and probably the best horse I’ve ever had to work with. She does everything for the Grand Prix now, even though I can’t yet show it in the ring. Nothing is too difficult for her. We have to work on a few small issues. At the moment she needs experience with the large atmosphere and she’s trying to figure it out. At home, though, she does everything with ease.” She added, “She’s a case because it’s her first winter season in the big arena. I got her March 21st a year ago. She’s 10 not 11 because she was born in December of that year. She has a lot on her plate. At home, she is picture perfect. There is nothing to correct. We get out here in the big stadium and she is a different horse. Now, she and I have to figure that out. Slowly, I have to get her to where she relaxes.”
Two top riders Christilot coaches include Olympians Megan Lane and Belinda Trussell. Christilot said, “My one big goal in life is to impart my knowledge. The training really has to be in the classical system.”
Megan will have three top horses in the 2018 FEI Grand Prix CDI arena for next year in preparation for the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC. Megan has taken over the #1 position in Canada this year so far from Belinda who last year retired her superstar horse, Anton from the Grand Prix international level and recently, at the April 10th, 2017 Equestrian Canada Awards Reception, Belinda was honored as the 2016 Dressage Athlete of the Year and Robyn Eames & Mark Trussell the 2016 Dressage Horse Owners of the year.
About the two, Christilot shared, "Megan has gathered more experience and more polish this winter season and her great luck is that her mare is wonderfully sound. And Belinda is bringing along her horse Tattoo with great success in the national Grand Prix ring this year in preparation for future successes.”
Training with Christilot the past three years at the Deer Ridge Equestrian Center in Loretto, Ontario and in Wellington, Megan has another two top horses she is also grooming for the 2018 Grand Prix CDI arena in preparation for the 2018 World Equestrian Games. One is San D’or, a 2006 Westfalian gelding (Sandro Hit X Cocktail); the pair scored well at the 2017 AGDF CDI competitions in the Grand Prix. Her third horse, 2005 KWPN gelding Zodiac MW she calls “Ziggy” (Rousseau x Amethist) who is competing in the national classes in Intermediare II and scored a 72%.
There is a Cinderella story about Megan Lane and her 2001 KWPN Caravella (Contango x P. Riviera x Riverman) growing up together from the lowest level through the Young Riders to the world stage. Lane and Caravella represented Canada at the 2009 FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) and again in 2010. Both years they were among the top three in every class. After a short while in the U25 Young Rider Grand Prix, they went onto the world stage as part of Canada’s 2014 World Equestrian Games team for Normandy, France. In 2015, the pair checked a Pan American Games medal off their bucket list and then the 2016 Olympics and 2017 Nations Cup win.
Belinda Trussell has been training with Christilot since just before the mid-1990s when Belinda moved to Germany to train with Christilot and Udo’s system of training. Now, Christilot trains and coaches Belinda with only an hour’s drive to Oakcrest Farms in Stouffville, Canada, the state-of-the-art facility for world-class riding and training owned by Belinda and her husband Mark. A team member for Canada at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, 2010 World Equestrian Games, a Silver Medal team member at the 2015 PanAm Games, and riding for Team Canada in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Belinda has garnered countless other successes and victories.
Belinda and the upcoming 2003 Westphalian gelding Tattoo (Tuareg x Renaissance x Ramiro’s Son) bred by the Theodorescu family in Germany and owned by Belinda and her husband, received a 72.9% in Tattoo’s third ever Grand Prix in the national classes during the 2017 Florida winter season and Belinda plans on debuting him in next year’s FEI Grand Prix CDI arena.
This group will prove a force in the future.