Author: Kseniya Goncharova
05 Apr. 2020

Radion Redko: "Equestrian sport means full interaction between a human and a horse"

Horse riding competitions took place as early as in the ancient times, representing an exciting and beautiful show. Every year prestigious tournaments bring together millions of people, and in many countries horse racing runs a close second to football. A talented Ukrainian sportsman Radion Rudko will help us to take a closer look at this high-class and extremely beautiful kind of sport. Radion took horse at the age of three for the first time, and since then it have meant the world to him. By the age of 24 Redko has become a multiple showjumping winner of Ukraine, a candidate for Master of Sports and a member of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, took part in the European Championship and showed good results at many significant Ukrainian and European competitions.


Please tell us about the main equestrian classification.

Equestrianism made its Summer Olympics debut in 1900. Starting from the Fifth Olympics Games in Stockholm, equestrian has been a part of the Summer Olympic Games. Currently, the international classification of equestrian includes the following disciplines: dressage that involves training and riding performed in exhibition; show jumping that comprises jumping over a series of obstacles within a specified time limit, at a particular speed and height; eventing is a three-day event of different trials; driving is a competition of harnesses; vaulting is described as one or a group of acrobats does gymnastics exercises on horseback, when a horse goes round the circle or breaks into a gallop.


What are the achievements of equestrian in Ukraine for the last years?

Unfortunately, in Ukraine equestrian has experienced hard times. The political and economic situation of the country, poor state support and the lack of prestigious competitions with big prize money are limiting the development of horse business. But even in these conditions a new generation of promising sportsmen is growing up, fairly good horse clubs and stud farms are staying afloat (at their own expenses or with charitable support). For example, the Boguslavskyi Pedigree Breeding Unit "Avtoritet" that I manage and a set of other Ukrainian stud farms brought together hundred of experts who are engaged in breeding the Ukrainian riding horse. It means years and years of selection, training, demonstration of horses at local and international competitions, constant expensive care... The Ukrainian riding horse is characterized with good physical qualities, easy disposition and stable psychology that are ideal for horse training and preparation for serious sports competition.



Is it expensive to keep a horse participating in tournaments?

The costs of caring for a sporting horse are almost three times higher than an ordinary horse. The horses being trained for competitions employ services of orthopedic specialists, stablemen, farriers, riding masters (a horse trainer who works with a horse on a daily basis and teach it all basic sports skills and train to interact with a rider). Horses are fed with special cereals made in Europe and vitamin supplements. As a horse must be in a good shape. Sporting horses need more veterinary services. The monthly costs of caring for the horse may be from 4 000 to 20000 $, while domestic horse livery is equal to 1500-3000$. Surely, the cost of top sporting horse that won sport prizes may reach one million euro abroad. In Ukraine, pricing policy is more flexible. A trained horse will cost from 40 000 to 150 000$.



When is it time to train a future champion?

The training of a promising horse will begin when it is 4-5 years old (on average, horses live for 25 years). It is an international standard. Of course, it depends. Each horse has own abilities, character, style and reaction to training. So, specialists do not recommend to train horses everything at once. Horses need patience, understanding and professional approach. Excessive exercises may harm a horse, its psychological and physical conditions. You need to wait when the horse gets ready, and only this approach will bring results for a rider and the horse. However, a sportsman at any age can take on the role of a good rider, if he/she has a strong desire and huge capacity for work. Of course, as usual professionals go in for riding since childhood (7-10 years) and start their career at children's and junior competitions. But sometimes it happens that beginners start to train when they are adults, and manage to achieve good results at competitions. The period of competitive career is not limited either. If your physical conditions allow you to keep the saddle and jump over obstacles, you may take part in competitions until you are old. Such a democratic approach is good news.



What do you regard as the main purpose and the nature of equestrian?

In general, equestrian is a peculiar illustration of harmony, understanding and trust between a man and a clever animal. In equestrian sport, 70% of the result depends on the horse, and only 30% – on the rider. Recently, new technologies have been used in equestrian. It includes care, nutrition, horse training approach and the complexity of competition. In XXI century harness and gear are designed for maximum comfort of a horse and a sportsman. The physical pressure on a horse becomes minimal. But the development of equestrian sport is a non-stop process. If we take showjumping, we will see that obstacles become higher, the program is more sophisticated, different types of grounds. In light of this more thorough preparation of a horse and a rider are required. As a result, we can see only the mastery and full understanding between two sportsmen. The horse and the rider. A real art.



Is there big difference between the competitions in Ukraine and in Europe?

Racing is a very spectator sport. It attracts millions of fans around the world. Sponsors and advertisers invest heavily in the promotion of racing. The prize funds at five-star shows (the highest level of racing) may grow up to several millions euro. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for our organizers to compete with European colleagues. In Europe, horse racing events take place more often; there are a lot of sponsors, the organization is at a high level, they attract a bigger audience. It is not so popular in Ukraine. I think it is caused by poor sponsorship in equestrian. The prize funds are miserable. The state and advertisers provide no support. Nothing is done to promote the sport among Ukrainians. But enthusiasts and sportsmen are trying to change the situation.



Which horse competitions are most spectacular and noteworthy?

In the recent five to six years, horse competitions have become even more spectacular and at the same time more accessible to viewers of completely different population groups. Thus, it is not for the first time when showjumping competitions take place near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and believe me this is absolutely unforgettable spectacle and unrepeatable photos. Racing shows are hosted by truly attractive and picturesque tourist locations: Prague, Monaco, Paris, Windsor, London, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Dubai, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Cannes... The list of the most beautiful cities goes on. It will just suffice to mention horse racing at the seashore in the sunny Miami! At such competitions admission is often free, which makes them more accessible for public. But the price for top four or five star competitions start from 40-60 euro and may grow to several thousands. Tickets for significant championships need to be booked for several months (sometimes six months) in advance.

What does mean success for you, in relation to your career? What are your secrets to success?

I regard my achievements in national and international competitions as my success. They speak for themselves. A secret is simple. Patience and hard work bring results whatever you do.

Photo: Oleksandr Serbinov

Filming & editing: Vlad Pustovit​

Location: Butenko Stable

Translation: Global Translation Services 1+1

Production: MilliON


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