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|oliver tristan kohl||
Posted: Jun 22 2014, 07:28 AM
PLAYED BY minstrel
thirty-one. fei/usef judge. trainer. jamie dornan.
"hey there, thank you for coming today. please, sit down and get comfortable, this hopefully shouldn't take too long. when you're ready... let's just start off with your name or whatever names you may go by."
Oliver Tristan Kohl, I know, it’s a mouthful.
"awesome! thank you so much, we love your name by the way. now to move on, just let us know how old you are and when your birthday is."
Forward aren’t we? I’m 31, my star sign is… just kidding haha. Well I am 31 and my birthday is on the 7th of August. I'm not expecting any presents.
"wow, you're getting old aren't you? i'm kidding, i'm kidding. anyway, how about you go on and tell us about some of your interests."
Show Days. As a dual-licensed FEI/USEF show jumping judge, I would have to be mad not to like show days. I must admit, though, I get far more excited when I'm in the saddle!
Teaching. I know I wouldn't have gotten anywhere without the great tuition I've had over the years. I was exceptionally lucky to have been born into a family who's business was horses, so riding was just something that came naturally. But good teaching and support can help make a successful rider or horse out of anyone, and it's my goal to give my students the best advice I can give whilst pushing their abilities at the same time.
Coffee. I swear I'm an Englishman! I just don't like tea. This is why I love you Americans, no incessant invites for tea and bickies. Coffee is one of my main forms of sustenance, especially when I have a busy schedule. I don't even need that much to keep me going.
Training. I think it's pretty obvious I like horses. I thoroughly enjoy working with young, inexperienced, or difficult horses and seeing them flourish. As much as I like working with people it can get quite tiring with all the talking, working with horses and listening through body language is infinitely more relaxing. Especially after a weekend of prepping students for a competition.
Cleaning. Is that weird? It's not an ocd thing, I just enjoy cleaning. Well looked after, clean equipment can last you years if not a lifetime; it's a practice my mother instilled in me and it's a habit I don't want to break.
"good, good we will keep that in mind for secret santa! now, why not go ahead and let us know of some of the things you don't like."
People who don’t practice. It’s an extremely important component of being a good rider; practice really does make perfect. What you do with your horse in between training sessions is just as important. I mean it’s bleeding obvious to a trainer when a student hasn’t been practising on their own between classes, your dodgy lead changes aren’t going to improve themselves overnight. When I first started offering training services I was really surprised to find a number of students who were unwilling to take this advice on board, and really I have a zero tolerance policy for that kind of behaviour in my students. You don’t have to make leaps and bounds when you’re working on your own, I know how hard that can be, but you and your horse will be better off by it.
Tardiness. If you show up fifteen minutes before a session to warm-up your horse, you’ll be my absolute favourite student in the world. If you show up fifteen minutes late, I’ll probably have already gone! Time is a commodity and I can’t afford to hang around for people who show up late and expect me to make up for the time they’ve lost.
Excuses. I hate hearing excuses for things, like the good old "dog ate my homework", just tell the truth and get over it. The outcome never going to be that bad.
Jealousy. It's such an awful thing. It's one of the main propellants of barn drama and no one likes that. Some of the stories I have of show day sabotage are just... it really ruins the atmosphere of something which should be competitive but also fun and educational.
Wastefulness. People really need to open their eyes and realise how easy the whole reduce-reuse-recycle campaign is. I mean buying a reusable water bottle is so simple and keeps you from not only spending money on store-bought water, but chucking those plastic bottles out after you're done.
"now that we've got some of that personal stuff out of the way, it's going to get- well- more personal. if you don't mind can you tell us about your background, any family or important people in your life, where you are from, feel free to share as much as you want.
I'll try to keep this succinct, since I get asked this sort of question pretty much all the time. Or an even more popular one, "why did you decide to become an fei/usef judge?"
I was born to a German father and an English mother. They're both still around, though their lives as professional equestrians have slowed down a bit. They met on the European circuit, both of them were successful show-jumpers back in the day and they still run a great training operation out of the family farm, Rosevean, in the UK. Both of my sisters are still there. One of them, Anna, took a bad fall from a youngster not too long ago so she's taken a bit of a back seat. They have a few horses starting out in competition at the moment and they're hoping to sell them soon. I learned most of what I know about breaking and schooling young horses from my father. My current horse, Mars, is one I've recently been bringing on myself.
I started learning to ride at an incredibly young age. It was sort of a requirement in our family; everyone was put on a horse at some point during their childhood. Don't get me wrong, my parents never forced us to do anything, that was just how it was. One thing they never failed to remind us of was how lucky we were. I knew kids at pony club who always sort of looked at me sideways, because they knew I came from a family who had the means to provide me with the ponies, the facilities, the training. I never talked about that. What was always at the forefront of my mind was to have fun, and show jumping turned out to be the best outlet.
Amongst my duties as an fei/usef judge I've also been qualified as a course designer. I've always been interested in learning and helping others learn, getting into course designing was a natural step for me and something I've enjoyed doing alongside my professional riding career. Becoming an fei judge seemed a logical choice and I spent a number of years taking the necessary route to achieve the qualification. Before the London 2012 Olympics I was invited to the US to consult with some course designers, and pretty much since then I've based myself out here, with an arm and a leg back in the UK. The US show jumping prospects for the 2012 Olympics were really exciting, and the US is definitely an up and coming contender in the world of show jumping for the Europeans, who are normally all competing against themselves. It's been great to get my foot in the door and I've really been enjoying what I've been doing so far.
"okay, that is out of the way, now that you've told us about your past, can you tell us about your future? your hopes, dreams, goals, fears for the future, any plans you might have."
Is it a cop-out to say I haven't really thought about my future? I sort of gravitate around that whole carpe diem, seize the day, sort of outlook - so I'm living in the moment rather than thinking too much about the future. Plans change you know? If I really had to think about it I think I would like to be pretty much in the same position I'm in now - stable job and loving it. Oh don't give me that look. No, I don't have any sort of romantic relationship in mind for my future self. If something happens I wouldn't be complaining though.
"don't worry we are almost done, i promise. next i'm just going to need you to tell me some of your personal strengths and weaknesses."
I find it really easy to approach people and strike up a conversation. I wouldn't call myself an extrovert but it's really helped me out over the years by making contacts with people in the industry. So I'd say that's definitely a strength. Another thing is I'm a really hard worker, honestly I try to give my job my all especially when it comes to offering help and advice. I'm also great at being objective. I have to be as a judge and I think that sort of attitude somewhat balances the stress!
When it comes to weaknesses I guess I could say I'm a bit moody? I know, you didn't expect me to say that did you. There are certain things that just set me off, something simple like if someone's late for a meeting, I'll either have left or I'll just not say anything and be pretty indifferent. I don't like conflict, so my way of dealing with it I guess is through silent brooding. I guess I'm short-sighted too. I don't like thinking about the future so I make decisions a lot on a whim and I don't really think about how it may affect certain things. So far it hasn't really affected anyone close to me but I can see how it might in future. Sometimes I'm a bit too empathetic. I try to help other people solve their problems but on occasion I can get really invested in them and those problems almost become too personal, it's weird and it's something I'm trying to change about myself.
"final two questions, i promise. how would your friends describe you?"
I've always been told I'm a really happy guy. You know, sort of glass-half-full, enthusiastic, easy-going? I also sometimes get people say that I talk a lot, not that it's a bad thing right? Haha.
"last question. now that we know what your friends would describe you, what do you think you like, what are you really like?"
I think my friends are pretty accurate. I do have a positive outlook, even if I'm having a shitty day. I tried this thing called 'extreme positivity' when I was particularly down and out, it makes you force yourself to see things in a better light, like instead of saying "shit this place is so crowded how the fuck am I gonna get out of here" you say "wow isn't it amazing how many people are here". I don't practice it still, even I can admit it got annoying, but it's still there at the back of my mind.
"alrighty. thank you for putting up with all our questions today and we hope you have a great rest of your day."
You're welcome. I'm surprised you didn't fall asleep listening to my motor-mouth.
minstrel. twenty. gmt+1. they're off.
Posted: Jun 23 2014, 03:46 PM
PLAYED BY nevaeh
welcome to hc! remember to make all your claims and most of all have fun!