Everyone in the equestrian world knows or has at least heard of the phenomenon that is Peder Fredricson. The Swedish showjumper has attained numerous successes during the past couple of years including individual silver at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, as well as team silver and individual gold at the 2017 European Championships in front of a home crowd in Göteborg, amongst many other winnings and placings at 5* level. Hippomundo caught up with Peder shortly after his third place in the 5* Grand Prix of St Tropez, which was one of the first competitions after the mandatory break.
Congratulations on your third place in the Grand Prix of St Tropez a few weeks ago, it is a very good start after quarantine. What was it like at the first show back in St Tropez, was anything different?
It was nice to be back and to see everyone on the circuit again. We are so used to seeing each other every week during the season, but these past couple of week we haven’t. Everyone was just so happy to be back. Of course the usual measures were taken with masks, gloves and disinfectant gel, but I think everyone was just so pleased to be competing again, that it was no issue at all.
Let’s go back to the beginning of your career, which started off in eventing. You competed at Junior Europeans, Senior Europeans and even the 1992 Olympic Games in eventing. Do you miss it? Do you sometimes incorporate eventing training into your horse’s training?
I do miss it sometimes. Not as much that I would swap it for showjumping, but I do miss going cross country schooling or going to a big three day event. There really is something special about walking the cross country course for a big event. Showjumping is quite similar every week, but with eventing you don’t really know what the course designer has put up for you.
I do a little bit of training with the showjumping horses, I have a few ditches in the forest at home and we have a big grass field. I make sure the horses get a lot of time out there to clear their head, away from the sand arena.
Is it solely because of your cooperation with H&M that you decided to focus more on showjumping or were there other factors?
I started doing showjumping alongside eventing when I met my wife who was a showjumper and my brother was also doing showjumping, so I thought it was a good opportunity to develop that part of my career. When I got approached by H&M for a sponsorship they wanted me to focus solely on showjumping, which facilitated the choice.
My brother and I grew up together. He is 5 years older than me but we always rode together and played with our ponies. I saw some pictures of the ponies we had back then and I have to say they looked really well, so we must have worked them a lot. They looked incredibly fit, almost like polo ponies. In our minds we were just playing around, putting up fences in the field and jumping them without competitions in mind, apart from racing against each other. Those ponies must have built up great stamina.
My brother and I have always been great friends. Riding wise we are quite equal, at times in our careers he was more successful, then other times it was reversed, but it always depended on who had the best horses at that moment.
My wife, too, rode at a high level, jumping two Olympic games but she gave up riding a few years ago to focus on other endeavours which she equally excels at.
You have three children, are they interested in the sport? Do you think they will take over the reins when you are done?
I’m not sure. I have three children but my hopes are on the youngest one, the other two are not really interested. My middle son is into football a lot. We’ll see. As long as they enjoy what they do, I’m not really bothered.
Your father’s project, the Brösarp project is incredibly interesting. Do you have any horses in training now that were brought up that way?
The project started three years ago, so it is still difficult to tell, especially in showjumping, where so many other factors come into play such as natural talent, rider ability, management etc. But I strongly believe it will improve the way we raise showjumpers. From the day horses are born until the day they are broke and even past that, they are kept in far too small, contained spaces, and in my opinion, they should move more to get stronger. If they don’t move as much until they are three and then suddenly we start putting a rider on them and change their whole pattern, that creates a lot of stress on the horse’s body.
So I think this way we can prepare them to be more ready for that. Previously horses were brought up as cattle and they didn’t have to work as much, but now we buy embryo transfers or foals for €10.000 or more and then you have to start thinking which way to raise and produce these horses in the best way possible.
Tell us about your team at home, how many horses do you have in training, for how many members of staff?
We have around 30 horses and 12 members of staff. There are two different sections of the yard. One section houses my Grand Prix horses and other competition horses from owners and sponsors. The second section has young, talented horses we have found. We buy 95% of our own horses in Sweden and we train them, then when the time is right, we hope to sell them well. We have a couple of good riders, especially Stephanie Holmén, who’s been with us for a few years now, she is a lovely rider and equally nice person.
What does your horses’ day look like?
All my horses go in the field daily. I prefer to have them in a grass field, there’s something about them having their head down, chewing, it’s what they are made to do. However that is dependent on their weight, we have to make sure they don’t get too fat, because they are athletes and I don’t want them to be overweight. But we have a good system to manage that and the fields here in Sweden are of great quality.
Tell us a little bit about H&M All In, the horse that has helped you achieve great things. Does he get any special treatment?
All In is an exceptional horse, he has everything to be a good competition horse. He has a lot of blood, he is careful, brave and scopey as well as the incredible ability to lengthen and shorten his stride. His body control and natural balance are just amazing. Now he has his own field with his own house, where he lives from 6.30am until 5pm. He gets his meals there and spends the day hanging out, but he can go in and out of his house as he pleases. However he spends the night in the box. You could say he is a little spoilt, but he definitely deserves it!
To read more about Peder, click here.