byJennifer Donald| Feb 13, 2018
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 the reigning European champion and Olympic silver medalist (and Noelle Floyd magazine cover figure) Peder Fredricson.
Sweden’s rising star Stephanie Holmen, 27, 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.
Last month, Holmen notched up her first World Cup victory at just her second attempt, and the next goal is to make her debut as part of Sweden’s Nations Cup squad. It looks like 2018 is set to be a groundbreaking year for her.
So what gives her that winning edge? Holmen shares eight 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 currently have around 15 horses at home, ranging from five-year-olds to 13, but I really appreciate that Peder and Lisen have given me the chance to ride [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. He’s turning seven this year and one of Peder’s owners has bought him so Peder started riding him a few weeks ago.”
8. You couldn’t ask for a better place to train.
“I’ve been with Peder for four and a half years and my aim is to keep on developing at this international level and I think the best way for me to do that is to stay here with Lisen and Peder — they have everything I need, with the horses, the knowledge and great management. It’s a bit too soon to say if the World Games could be a target this year — I want to start the outdoor season first and see how it goes — but so far I’m very happy with how it’s going. It’s very exciting.”
– Photography by Thomas Reiner