In her quest to become a more consistent rider on the competitive Longines Global Champions Tour circuit, Sweden’s Mathilda Karlsson has partnered with the 13-year-old Danish Warmblood mare Apollonia 23 (Bøgegaardens Apollo x Bøgegårdens Capello).
Apollonia, sold to Karlsson by Copernicus Stables LLC, was formerly ridden at the CSI5* level by USA’s Audrey Coulter. Harrie Smolders of The Netherlands and Belgium’s Jos Verlooy also competed Apollonia prior to her sale. The mare made her World Equestrian Games debut with Austria’s Stefani Bistan in 2014.
We caught up with Karlsson, who is currently competing at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour in Olivia Nova, Spain, to discuss the hopes she has for the latest addition to her string.
Noelle Floyd: How many horses are currently in your string?
Mathilda Karlsson: I have 12 right now, including a couple young ones. Apollonia 23 and Cerano 19 (Cesano II x Acrod II) are new, and I hope to get them going for next year’s Global circuit. They are experienced horses that I can learn from and do the bigger classes with.
Lancetti is 16 going on 17, so I don’t think he will jump any Globals next year; maybe a few CSI2*-CSI3* shows. I’m not ready to retire him yet but he isn’t far from it.
I have Catharina VA and a very good eight-year-old, Chopin VA, who I hope will be my next good one. He still needs a little bit of time. I don’t want to push him too hard to do the big classes too early, which is why we decided to look for more experienced horses. They can give me enough experience so that when [Chopin VA] is ready, I’m more able than before to support him.
NF: When did the opportunity to partner with Apollonia and Cerano present itself?
MK: I actually bought Cerano in May after coming back from the Mexico and Miami LGCT events. I tried him before I left, and when I came back [to Hamburg] I knew I needed a horse like him who had the scope, bravery, and could jump the really big classes.
We bought him but he got injured very fast. I have him now in Olivia Nova [MET] and this is the first time I can start showing him again. Because he was injured, I spoke to Axel Verlooy about needing a horse that could quickly take me to the bigger shows, and the opportunity opened up for me to pursue Apollonia.
NF: How do you manage your program in Hamburg?
MK: I don’t jump that much at home. I do with the younger ones, but with the older horses I just try to keep them sound and happy. Of course they need to have a lot of good dressage work. I’m not very big and I sit on large horses, so it’s important to have them very rideable and responsive to me.
I have my stable and business with my partner Manfred von Allwörden, and I occasionally train with Antonis Petris. He’s quite busy so when the time is there he comes to help me out a bit. At home, I have a very good team of riders who will take my horses to shows. I have very good grooms around me, and my sponsors [Jörn Reinecke, Magna Immobilien, and Engel und Völkers Capital] really try to do everything they can for me to succeed. My mentor, Rolf- Göran Bengtsson, will walk the course with me and motivate me whenever we are at the same shows.
NF: What do you hope will be the benefit of your new partnerships?
MK: I have been doing the Global circuit now for one year, and there have been some ups and downs, some good rounds and some really bad ones.
I hope to become more consistent, perform a little better, and become more confident in the way I’m riding. I want to be able to have a [solid] string of horses so that I can put them in the best positions and have a little bit more flexibility in choosing the shows they go to.