‘It’s not about luck, I should have ridden better’: European Championship leader reflects on agony of missing out on a medal

  • Swedish showjumper Jens Fredricson had come through to the individual final at the European Showjumping Championships at the San Siro racecourse in Milan, Italy (30 August-3 September) in the gold medal position, having not touched a pole all week.

    But, like fourth-placed British rider Ben Maher, Jens and Markan Cosmopolit fell out of medal contention after picking up four faults in round one of the two-round medal decider.

    The brilliant duo, who had helped Sweden to a historic gold medal in Friday’s team final, picked up a further four faults in round two to finish fifth on a score of eight behind the newly crowned European champion Steve Guerdat on a score of 0.43.

    But according to Jens it feels like an amazing time to be a part of the all-conquering Swedish squad.

    “We took a gold medal here and we had three Swedes in the final 12,” said Jens of his team-mates Henrik von Eckermann with Iliana in sixth, and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson 11th on Zuccero. “We also have Peder [Fredricson, Jens’ brother] and Malin Baryard-Johnsson at home. It feels amazing to be in the Swedish team for the moment.”

    European Showjumping Championships: “You get close to your horses, he’s the best friend you can have”

    Reflecting on what might have been for his individual chances, Jens blamed himself: “I was overriding the water in the first round and came in too unbalanced to that double combination.

    “That’s not the way to ride my horse and I knocked the second fence, the plank. So I could have done that better, but it’s not so much about luck – I should have been riding better there.”

    Despite powering round five hefty tracks in as many days, the 12-year-old Markan Cosmopolit, a former delux riding school horse, was showing no signs of tiredness.

    “He could go again one more time!” said Jens. “He jumped fantastic to the last fence and he was sharp – he’s still in fantastic form.”

    Jens, who was also part of Sweden’s gold medal-winning squad at the world championships in Herning describes “Cosmo” as his horse of a lifetime.

    “But when I had Lunatic, I said this is my once in a lifetime horse, and then suddenly you get another horse – so you can’t compare them,” he explained.

    “Cosmo is very athletic, very clever and a beautiful jumper,” added Jens of the horse he rides with his reins in a western style  (with the rein coming out of the top of his hand between the thumb and first finger, instead of out of the bottom of the hand between the ring and little finger) due to his soft mouth. “He is a genuinely nice horse – my kids can feed him and he has a really lovely personality. That means everything.

    “You get very close to your horses and he’s the best friend you can have.”

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