All riders on the top level have to plan several trips for both themselves and their horses. But some riders have longer ways to travel than others. WoSJ sat down with Peder Fredricson from Sweden to talk about getting the horses from A to B.
Peder’s horses H&M Arctic Aurora Borealis, Holliday Klg and H&M Cash In just got back to Sweden after more than six weeks on the road together with their groom Malin Henlöv.
The journey started with the show in Hachenburg in Germany in the middle of August. “When we went to Hachenburg we didn´t know if we would go straight on to Spain after the show, so we had everything packed but knew that we might have to go straight back to Sweden after the show. We always have a plan A, B and C,” Peder explains. This time plan A worked so the horses went to the stable of the Swedish trainer Hans Horn in Holland for a while before the trip continued on to the last leg of the Promotional League in Gijon in Spain.
“On the way to Gijon the horses stopped one time at a stable in Paris and then one more time in Bordeaux. It is always difficult to find a stable on the way. I mean, there are several stables but we always want to drive as straight forward to the end destination as possible and we try to avoid driving extra miles to find a stable. And to find a stable on the way that is in a good driving distance for both horses and drivers isn´t that easy,” Peder explains and continues “ When we are at different shows I talk to the people that are traveling in the same direction and ask where they are going to stop.”
After Gijon Peder’s horses went on to Madrid, but not compete at the Europeans. The horses got accommodation in a stable close to the big arena and stayed there until it was time to travel on to the Promotional League final in Barcelona. “It is a lot of planning to do and the horse’s welfare has to be the most important thing at any time!”
Because of the horses a lot of the travelling is done at nighttime, when there is less traffic. “When it is hot weather it is much nicer for the horses to travel over night. And when we have a two day trip to a show, we make sure to be at the show one day before it starts so the horses will have time to relax after the trip.”
How do you choose whether to stay in Europe or to go back to Sweden in between the shows? “If it just one week free in between the shows we stay in Europe instead of driving back home. It is not worth it if the horses just get home and then need to go on a new the trip two or three days later.”
It is just the horses and the groom that stays away from home between the shows. Peder always flies back to Sweden after every show. “I need someone else to drive so that I can keep the stable and the business going at home. It would be too many days on the road for me if I would drive myself. So when I am not there Malin rides and lounge the horses and there are often walkers and paddocks at the stables in Europe that we also use.”
What kind of stables do you go to? “We often stop by friends and colleagues. And many times on track courses – as in Bordeaux and in Munich. When we are driving to the south of Germany we normally stop in Ankum, bei Stall Schockemöhle.”
“The most important thing about traveling is that the horses get to their end destination in a good shape. That they are travelling in a good temperature, stand next to a horse that they like and that they are tied up correctly so they can move their head properly. It takes experience to get the horses to travel well and feel good. Some horses wants to stand narrow, some wide and some next to the door. Some horses doesn´t like to have protection on their legs so you have to try your way out and you can´t do it the same way with all the horses. If you are having a horse that is stressed make sure that you have soft walls so they don´t hurt themselves, and if you have a horse that is kicking a lot you can hang a mattress behind it. Luckily most of the horses travel well, but you can´t put all the horses on the lorry and think it will be the same with everyone.”
Is it worth it? “Absolutely! I have to go to the bigger shows to be able to be at the level I want to be at. But it is only worth it if you have horses that you can compete with at that level and take some prizes and be part of the Nations Cup teams. When we are competing on the team we get travel money from the federation. And if it goes well on a normal show and you are placed high up in the Grand Prix the trip normally pays off. But you really need to jump in some prize money. So if you don´t have horses that are good enough it is better to stay home, it is not worth it to travel around in Europe with horses that aren’t ready for it.”
Would you have chosen your shows differently if you would lived more south in Europe? “If I would have lived in for example Belgium I probably would have competed a lot more on international shows. Then you don´t have to go to national shows because you have so many international shows close by. Of course that is an advantage. It is no convenience that three out of the four riders that took part on the European team for Sweden live in Germany”.
Any plans of moving? “I love Sweden and I love my place, so no. So I have to keep on making the A, B and C plan. Actually I never book my flight in advance, because things always change. But all the driving is a really hard work for the grooms, it is not just to get to the show – when they are there they have a lot of packing out to do and sometimes they have to carry the things a long way to the stable. They also need to take care of the horses before they can go and sleep. They often don’t get the credit they deserve, but they are really doing an incredibly hard job!”
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