Tales from Bicton: the Swedish vet striving to improve her dressage – ‘We are on the way, but there’s a lot to do’

  • Swedish rider Malin Josefsson has been “struggling” with her dressage for two years, but she was pleased with her test at Chedington Bicton Horse Trials yesterday, aside from the final two flying changes.

    “I was quite happy with him except from that,” said Malin, after scoring 35.4 for 26th after this phase with Golden Midnight, a seven-mark improvement on her mark at Badminton Horse Trials 2019. “He’s a really long horse and it’s difficult for him to keep himself collected for a long time.

    “We actually wanted to go to the Olympics, but we never got it right in the dressage. I think we are on the way now, but there’s still a lot to do.”

    Last year, Malin focused on the dressage and only had one international eventing start, putting her five-star ambitions on hold while she focused on the Olympics. But having not been selected for the Tokyo Games or for the European Eventing Championships, Malin decided she wanted to come to Bicton.

    “The bigger a course is, the better it is for him because then he works more with the fences, otherwise he just loves to run,” she said. “Here, I’m a bit afraid of the downhill things because he can get too strong. But normally, he’s always brilliant and very clever. He thinks fast, so even if a fence is coming up fast, he normally reacts the right way.”

    Malin Josefsson said there weren’t too many Covid-19 complications in entering Britain.

    “It’s a little bit more trouble to get out, but I hope I will get home again!” she said.

    Malin and Golden Midnight jumped a double clear at Badminton in 2019, finishing 22nd. The rider has been trained by Piia Pantsu, the Finnish eventer who was second at Badminton in 2003, for 15 years. Malin is based around two hours from Malmö – the city which hosted the 2013 Europeans – and works part-time as a vet.

    “I would say it’s half-time vet, half-time horses or full-time horses and half-time vet, however you look at it,” she said.

    Malin works with both small animals and horses in her role as a vet and is from an “animal family” rather than a horsey one – her grandparents breed dogs and her family previously had sheep, but now breed horses.

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