If you have big ambitions in the sport of showjumping, you may as well learn from the best — and they certainly don’t come much better than European champion and Olympic medalist Peder Fredricson.
Sweden’s rising star Stephanie Holmen, 28, joined the talented team at the stunning coastal home of Peder and his wife, Lisen, in 2013. With team silver and team bronze medals in the FEI European Championships for Young Riders already under her belt, Stephanie continued to grow and carved out a path to international success under the couple’s guidance.
So what gives her that winning edge? Holmen shares seven invaluable lessons she’s learned from Peder Fredricson — and reveals one very exciting horse we all need to look out for:
1. Ride outside of your comfort zone.
“Before the jump-off for the World Cup in Zurich, Peder said to me: ‘Today you need to be brave, you need to go outside of your comfort zone, your turns need to be tighter than you’re used to and you need to go faster than you’ve ever gone before.’ That’s not easy in a World Cup but we did it!”
2. Good flatwork is key to success.
“Peder has helped me a lot with my flatwork, but in particular he has taught me to work my horses more from my leg so I can get them moving more from behind. That’s really helped so now when I collect my horses, they don’t get too slow — they keep the speed in their legs when they work.”
3. It’s all about the turns in a jump-off.
“We’ve worked together to help me get my horses’ strides longer, especially in the turns, in order to maintain the speed, which is really important for riding against the clock.”
4. Everything can be improved.
“One of the best things about Peder is that he always wants everything to be better and better and better. He’s very much into the feeding and the management of the horses, so he’s always changing things — he’s one of those people who is never really satisfied. He’s always wanting to develop things and improve them.”
5. Practice, practice, practice.
“At home, we do a lot of jumping training on a bend. It’s all about teaching the horse to go with you before the jump, over the jump and then after the jump, too.”
6. Don’t fiddle about with tack.
“One thing he doesn’t like to change so much is the horse’s bits or tack — Peder always tells me that the most important thing is just to use whatever you are comfortable with. You need to feel good about what you’re riding with.”
7. Riding horses like Flip’s Little Sparrow and Fibonacci is a dream come true.
“I really appreciate that Peder and Lisen have given me the chance to ride [horses like Peder’s former top horse] Flip’s Little Sparrow. It’s a dream come true to ride a horse like that. I had Fibonacci before Meredith [Michaels-Beerbaum] bought him and he was also the horse of my dreams – I was heartbroken when he left. But then I got Fibonacci’s younger brother, Crusader Ice [out of the same mare, Tarusa (by Corland), by Cabachon] and I really, really liked him so much.”
Photos by Thomas Reiner, words by Jennifer Donald