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In Brief: Wojciech Heliasz (38) From Poland

Name: Wojciech Heliasz
Age: 38
From: Poland

Notable achievements

Today I have the pleasure to be a national champion in endurance. So far I won several National Championships of Young Horses. I have had successes internationally: beside CEI in Poland I’ve competed in Babolna (Hungary) and Fontainebleau (France).
Besides being a rider I train junior riders in endurance. They are already winning their first tournaments so I’m very proud of them. When training juniors you need to make sure it’s fun. I’ve understood that, for kids, horses are not the most important thing when riding. That changes when kids change into real junior riders, though it doesn’t reflect in an exact age.

Endurance World Wojciech Heliasz. In the forest.When did Wojciech Heliasz start riding?

When I was 20, by complete coincidence, I took part in a long horseback trip. I remember well that it was 320 km in 5 days. At that time my riding skills were horrible. Nevertheless that ended up as my life changing experience. It was an amazing trip. With just a few horses, bags tied to saddles and riding for days, I was so happy that I managed to complete it, although my legs were hurting and I had scars for several years afterwards. From that trip I knew – being a cowboy, that’s my destiny. Basically I’ve ridden horses since then.
During that event I also met my horse riding mentor Jerzy Sawka, current director of flat horse racing in Partynice in Poland. I really enjoy having that support. I don’t mean merely from a sport perspective: I mean the positive approach for riding horses and enjoying it every time. That’s a huge support I do appreciate. I’m the only one riding in my family.

Why endurance?

It prolongs the thing that I find the biggest fun in the world. Riding horses through forest and countryside, looking after their health and training them to the border of their individual predispositions for durability, hardness, performance, and simply for their endurance skills. Going beyond and gaining the best possible locations during sport competitions. That is my goal and that’s my life.

Endurance World Wojciech Heliasz. Winner.Own horses or ride for somebody else?

I ride my own horses and my friend’s ones. No money involved. I do it for fun. So far I’ve resisted taking horses in commercial training.

How do you set your goals?

I look at what is reachable for me and the horses that I have, as well as what I can afford in financial or logistic resources. Goals must be real.

What else does Wojciech Heliasz enjoy?

I’m a hunter. I run marathons and some triathlons. I do it simply to stay in fit shape as an athlete. So far it works well 😉

What do you do for everyday work?

I’m a director in a large engineering company in Poland. When riding on horseback I can really get a break from work. Another advantage of endurance!

What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?

Well, the National Championship, that was one of them. I still dream of 160 km done in a very professional style. Starting here in Europe, there are still a few continents to visit for racing on horseback and experiencing a completely different type of endurance. I think I’m ready to face those differences and to manage what challenges me.

Endurance World Wojciech Heliasz. Leisure.How many years is Wojciech Heliasz in endurance?

As sport rider I ride over ten years. I still have a lot of sport dreams in front of me.

Do you understand that there were no guarantees for success, or for winning?

When you sit on horseback, from then on everything depends on you. How did you train the horse in the last months? What were you feeding the horse? What team did you manage to secure for yourself? How experienced they are in supporting you when racing? What tactical choices will you make? Those decisions will be crucial. No one can influence you when you’re on the loop. Today the world has developed. The average speed of races has risen significantly. There are more factors to win. One aspect is constant – there are no guarantees. That’s sport.

Photo Credit: Karolina Tul, Wiesława Balut and Dominika Cienkowska

In Brief: Wojciech Heliasz (38) From Poland

Name: Wojciech Heliasz
Age: 38
From: Poland

Notable achievements

Today I have the pleasure to be a national champion in endurance. So far I won several National Championships of Young Horses. I have had successes internationally: beside CEI in Poland I’ve competed in Babolna (Hungary) and Fontainebleau (France).
Besides being a rider I train junior riders in endurance. They are already winning their first tournaments so I’m very proud of them. When training juniors you need to make sure it’s fun. I’ve understood that, for kids, horses are not the most important thing when riding. That changes when kids change into real junior riders, though it doesn’t reflect in an exact age.

Endurance World Wojciech Heliasz. In the forest.When did Wojciech Heliasz start riding?

When I was 20, by complete coincidence, I took part in a long horseback trip. I remember well that it was 320 km in 5 days. At that time my riding skills were horrible. Nevertheless that ended up as my life changing experience. It was an amazing trip. With just a few horses, bags tied to saddles and riding for days, I was so happy that I managed to complete it, although my legs were hurting and I had scars for several years afterwards. From that trip I knew – being a cowboy, that’s my destiny. Basically I’ve ridden horses since then.
During that event I also met my horse riding mentor Jerzy Sawka, current director of flat horse racing in Partynice in Poland. I really enjoy having that support. I don’t mean merely from a sport perspective: I mean the positive approach for riding horses and enjoying it every time. That’s a huge support I do appreciate. I’m the only one riding in my family.

Why endurance?

It prolongs the thing that I find the biggest fun in the world. Riding horses through forest and countryside, looking after their health and training them to the border of their individual predispositions for durability, hardness, performance, and simply for their endurance skills. Going beyond and gaining the best possible locations during sport competitions. That is my goal and that’s my life.

Endurance World Wojciech Heliasz. Winner.Own horses or ride for somebody else?

I ride my own horses and my friend’s ones. No money involved. I do it for fun. So far I’ve resisted taking horses in commercial training.

How do you set your goals?

I look at what is reachable for me and the horses that I have, as well as what I can afford in financial or logistic resources. Goals must be real.

What else does Wojciech Heliasz enjoy?

I’m a hunter. I run marathons and some triathlons. I do it simply to stay in fit shape as an athlete. So far it works well 😉

What do you do for everyday work?

I’m a director in a large engineering company in Poland. When riding on horseback I can really get a break from work. Another advantage of endurance!

What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?

Well, the National Championship, that was one of them. I still dream of 160 km done in a very professional style. Starting here in Europe, there are still a few continents to visit for racing on horseback and experiencing a completely different type of endurance. I think I’m ready to face those differences and to manage what challenges me.

Endurance World Wojciech Heliasz. Leisure.How many years is Wojciech Heliasz in endurance?

As sport rider I ride over ten years. I still have a lot of sport dreams in front of me.

Do you understand that there were no guarantees for success, or for winning?

When you sit on horseback, from then on everything depends on you. How did you train the horse in the last months? What were you feeding the horse? What team did you manage to secure for yourself? How experienced they are in supporting you when racing? What tactical choices will you make? Those decisions will be crucial. No one can influence you when you’re on the loop. Today the world has developed. The average speed of races has risen significantly. There are more factors to win. One aspect is constant – there are no guarantees. That’s sport.

Photo Credit: Karolina Tul, Wiesława Balut and Dominika Cienkowska

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