After five years living in England, respected Finnish Olympic dressage rider and international trainer Kyra Kyrklund is returning to Sweden, lured back by “the opportunity of a lifetime”.
She is going to build a training centre in Hässleholme, 1hour north of Flyinge, the home of the Swedish national stud, where she was based as chief trainer for the seven years before she moved to England.
Hässleholme council offered Kyra a base for the centre, after her Swedish pupil Jan Brink won the individual silver medal at this year’s European Championships at Hickstead.
“Sweden is very excited about the medal, which resulted in the offer to me. And unlike Britain, where rules and regulations make it so difficult to build and develop any riding establishment, the place in Sweden has been designated as a training yard and I can build what I want – this sort of offer is not going to come up again,” she says.
However, the relocation is not just about bricks and mortar, as Kyra has also been attracted by the positive approach of the Swedes.
“After Falsterbo [the big Swedish show held in July], it became clear to me that the Swedes are going somewhere — the whole equestrian industry is working towards the
“It is going to take very strong leadership in Britain to do the same here. But it is not easy in Britain, as there is no state participation and horse sports are still perceived as upper class.
“The government, for example, is doing the best it can to kill off riding schools here, whereas in Sweden every little village has a state-owned riding school and encourages everyone into the system.
“And you can really see the results — not only in Sweden but in Denmark and Finland as well.”
Fortunately for Kyra’s British pupils she will be back for training clinics, and the plans include extra stabling space for those wishing to travel over for concentrated training.
“I do like England and I will miss the climate, the countryside, the garden, Cheddar cheese and all the good friends we have made here, but I won’t miss the traffic,” she says.