Katharina Offel has been representing Ukraine for ten years but from 2016 on she will be riding for her homeland Germany again. This is what she had to say on her website:
‘After representing Ukraine for the last ten years, as well as riding horses for Mr. Alexander Onischenko, I have decided to stop the co-operation for good and will no longer be at the team’s disposal. Mr. Onischenko’s horses Air Chin Z, Zipper and Quebracho Semilly all returned to his stable Gut Einhaus, Germany on the 11th of September. The current plan for Charlie – who I have had since he was a 6-year-old – is that he stays with me until he has been sold.
As a natural development I will return to represent Germany from 1st of January 2016. This is a choice I feel very happy and relieved to finally have taken. I have already spoken with the German Federation and Bundestrainer Otto Becker about my decision.
Now that I run my own stable and manage my own career, I have a much larger freedom to choose what kind of approach I would like to take towards the sport. I believe my decision to leave the Ukrainian team will allow me to focus on what I love doing; developing young and talented horses for the top level of the sport – working with a long term perspective for each horse and owner in the stable. Also, it will allow me to spend more time on training talented younger riders.
My decision will of course affect my sports career. A temporary step down from the highest level of the sport is a natural consequence of the situation I find myself in. I still believe I will be able to return even stronger than before with a more diverse group of supporters and owners.
I do have a small group of very talented horses that I keep on aiming for the higher level of the sport; Umeunig Z, Sky FIy SB and Vita 24. I am also lucky to have some promising youngsters in the stable, with the 7-year-old Con Air Z as my big hope for the future.
Last but not least, I would like to point out that I consider myself lucky who could get to ride some truly fantastic horses during my time on the Ukrainian team – they will all hold a special place in my heart.’