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Makes Superior Horses

Ilkka Korpi

I have been coaching at Ypäjä Equine College for about 10 years. We train the horses quite normally, so that the students can learn how to work with them professionally. The Equine Colleges own horses have won a few major races as well. I’ve also ran my own Blue White Brothers stable with my brothers Pekka and Heikki for almost 40 years, since 1983. Blue White Brothers was the biggest stable in Finland during the 80’s.

I have coaching experience from different countries, for example from Italy at the Ucci Riccitelli stable in Rome, and most recently from the Journey Stable in Sweden. I coached in Sweden for about a year until I injured my arm. I had to take a break for more than a year, but I started working again at my brother Pekka's stable in 2020.

Rim Bay Fleur and Ilkka Korpi. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen.
Rim Bay Fleur and Ilkka Korpi. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen.

One of my biggest personal achievements has been the prestigious Ravikuninkuus victory in Finland in 1986. A few big victories have also come from Norway and Italy. Also, the 4-year-old warm-blooded Derby race victories has felt like great achievements as well.

My father Aku always said: ”You have to respect both people and horses. When a horse walks by, you take your hat off.” I’ve learned a lot from Aku and my brother Pekka. And just to give praise to someone others than my own family, Jorma Kontio has given a huge amount to the industry.

Stomach problems are unfortunately very common in horses, especially in stressful situations

All horses have to feel healthy! The nutritional needs for working- and hobbyhorses are often slightly underestimated. You can tell by the horse’s general appearance, coat and stool quality when something’s wrong. If necessary, we take a blood test or stool sample when we suspect a nutrient deficiency or other ailment.

The stomach is the horse’s engine ‒ without it, nothing works. The stomach and intestines need to stay healthy even after racing or sports performance for continuity. One of our horses used to have a bad stomach and his feces smelled awful. I fed Hoof’s Vizyme supplement for two weeks, and the horse’s stool quality improved significantly. For a horse that is usually so calm, it got a lot more energy afterwards. It was nice to notice, the horse’s whole being became much happier. Great product!

The foals feeding needs even more investment. You need to take care of that they get all the necessary nutrition from an early age. Especially in late autumn you can see foals turning melancholic when the fields are in poor condition. I’ve fed the foals with Hoofs Calphovit supplement, and I could clearly see a difference in their health, they got a lot more energized. One of our 2-year-old stallion is normally very picky when it comes to new things, but even he ate it happily.

We’ve also fed Hoof’s vitamin E, which also contains selenium. One of our horses needed to get used to it at first, but started to like it after a few days. Hoof’s electrolytes have also been popular and seems to be very effective, since the horses started sweating quickly.

After a race vitamin B is very important for the recovery process. Out of Hoof’s amino acid and multivitamin products, we use Vimix Plus, Vimepros, Equi-Force and Equi-Haemolyn in liquid form. They seem to be highly effective, since it has made the horses noticeably more vital.

Jiisee and Ilkka Korpi. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen.
Jiisee and Ilkka Korpi. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen.

I do like Hoof’s products because the effects can be seen so soon. We have used Hoof's supplements since 2020 and multiple horses seem to like them. The products last for a long time because the portion sizes are smaller than usual.

Horses have improved a lot and breeding has advanced over the years

A well-built horse from a good family will take you far. The horse needs a lot of training, but most importantly ‒ you need to keep it healthy. A good horse also makes coaching much easier. Staying calm and persistent are important qualities when you start training a foal. You also need to make sure not to overtrain a young foal. The competition is just so fierce these days, that you have to train a lot before race starts.

The training methods are relatively same among many horses. A couple of days we jog a bit slower, followed by a couple of days of brisk pace running. The training methods has changed over the years. We used to do a lot of jogging, but nowadays we do more increasingly interval training. In Sweden we do about two interval trainings per week. Today we don’t push as hard as we used to, but concentrate more on competition focused practice. The horses are also kept outside a lot more these days.

There are more training centres and different forms of training available in Sweden and in Italy, than there is in Finland. In many centres you can drive on either hard or soft surface as well as in water. The pace is slower when you train on soft sand. The resistance increases and the horse has to work a lot harder.

Ilkka Korpi, Finnish trotting instructor and coach

Helmin Hermanni and Ilkka Korpi. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen.
Helmin Hermanni and Ilkka Korpi. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen

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