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Show Trunk Secrets – with Malin Henlöv

Thursday, 09 November 2017
Show Trunk Secrets

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Peder Fredricson's show groom Malin Henlöv with super-star H&M All In. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson

Sweden’s Peder Fredricson got a fairy tale ending to his amazing summer season when winning the individual gold medal at the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, after claiming the team silver two days earlier. Here, Fredricson’s long-term show groom Malin Henlöv shares some of her secrets to the team’s success. 

Feeding and keeping fit

“We feed the horses four times every day,” Malin tells. “In the morning, we feed hay first and let the horses eat for about half an hour then we feed the grain. We use products from Saracen. We started to use their products when All In had a problem with tying up. We needed to find feed that was low on starch and sugar, and back then Saracen was the only producer that offered an option like that for competing horses. At lunch time we feed grain again, in the afternoon we give hay and grain and around nine in the evening they get hay once more.”

“Normally our horses go out three times a day at home,” Malin continues. “They go either in the paddock or in the walker in the mornings, depending on how many horses Peder is riding and when. All the horses get ridden or lounged – and then in the afternoon they get out to the paddock or for a hack in the woods.”

“I normally use boots from Kentucky,” Malin tells about the protection she uses for exercise. “I like to use the turnout boots in front, and some protection behind if they really need it. I have a few horses that go in bandages, but I only bandage if I really need to.”

Ring refinement and tack

“At home we normally never wash the horses. I only wash them with shampoo for the shows. We like to properly brush them the old fashion way,” Malin tells about their grooming routines.

“For grooming I use products from K9: I like their Hydra-line. For hoofs, I use cream inside and outside every day after cleaning them.”

Getting ring ready is pretty simple. “I don’t plait so many horses, but if I do, then I start with that. While I plait, they can have a Bemer or a massage blanket on. All In just doesn’t look good in plaits, so that is why I don’t plait him – he has no neck. I think some horses actually look better with a loose mane,” Malin says.

“After jumping at shows I use ice, if the horses have jumped more. For some horses, I only ice the front feet - this depends on the horse. I use Uptyte for some horses, or Tendonil and Arnica and I bandage the older horses’ legs for the night after jumping. Again, this too depends on the horse – some horses don’t like to have bandages behind, like Christian K.”

“My ring bag is filled with loads of things! I have extra reins, a water bottle, a hoof pick, a shine for his boots, a video camera, a whip, some extra studs… It is really heavy! The typical thing is, if you clean something out because you haven’t used it for three years, the day you take it out, is the day your rider will ask for just that single thing,” she laughs. “We have a really strict routine for the warm-up, even now after seven years. Normally Peder gets on the horse between 15-20 riders before, and we start to jump eight to ten riders before. At the end, we re-do the saddle and the nose band and he visualizes the course. Even if we do a 1.20 class with the young horses, we stick to the routine.”

“As to our tack, we use Bruno Delgrange saddles, and bridles from a few different brands; some are from Bruno and some are from Dyon and some are just really old –  I just picked up a nose band that Peder used in the 1992 Olympics,” Malin laughs.

“We use Kentucky boots and our saddle pads are from Mias – they are really nice because they are thin! I use a fly hat with thicker ears from Kentucky, but only if they really need help with the noise –otherwise we don’t use a fly hat,” Malin explains.

“Our blankets are mostly from Horsewear. If I am not sure about the temperature, I like to leave the horses with less blankets – I don’t want them to freeze, but I rather have them a little bit on the cold side than sweating under too many blankets!”


“Our horses travel in bandages and I put on bell boots if they are needed. When I travel from Sweden with the boat, I always give them hay on the boat to keep them quiet. I don’t like to have hay hanging in front of the horses when I drive. Instead, when I anyway need to do my 45 minute breaks while driving I then feed the horses hay so they can eat loose on the truck while we stand still,” Malin explains.

“I like to find out how each horse travels best – if they want to travel wide or narrow. I have eight places on the truck now, so normally with only two to three horses with me, I have a lot of space for them. I try to leave empty spaces in between the horses, so that I don’t need to use the head boards. The most important thing for me, is to try and learn how each horse is as an individual, and how they travel the best.” 

Top tip

If Malin could only give a new groom one advice, what would it be? “I would say, try to learn as much as you can by watching other people – don’t think that you know everything! I still learn something nearly every day, you are never fully learned with horses.”

“With traveling, I would say the truck needs to be good, the horses must have the right temperature, and the driver must be careful so that the horses can stand nicely on the truck. I believe the horses have to feel comfortable with the driver. I always try to have someone with me for the long trips – it is too much to do everything on my own. My trick has always been not to rush things – to not stress. If I am tired, I stay the night and sleep. I rather stop once more, it is not worth it to rush,” Malin says.

Not rushing things seems to be the overall philosophy in team Fredricson. “Peder wants to know everything, he really cares about his horses and always wants to keep them as happy as possible – and we apply that to everything. We try to keep the horses happy – in different ways with different horses. If you are stressed and tired, you can easily take it out on horses – you have no patience then, and we try to avoid that by taking our time,” Malin concludes. 


Text © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen // Pictures © Jenny Abrahamsson and Nanna Nieminen 

No reproduction without permission

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