Tales from Rio: A million reasons to love this rider

  • He’s a graphic designer. He competed at two Olympics, one of those as an eventer. He has three kids. And he’s gorgeous. There are a million reasons to love H&H’s new Games crush, Swedish Rio showjumper Peder Fredricson.

    “I did my first Olympics in 1992 in Barcelona in three-day-eventing,” he coos.

    Why did you change disciplines, we want to know.

    “Well, it happened because I got a sponsorship with H&M, but they wanted a showjumper.”

    So they liked Peder, but not his sport.

    They wanted another jumper and it wasn’t difficult to persuade me. It was the other way round really — I was wondering why they wanted me, why I got the call.

    “My brother and my wife [Lisen, also an Olympian] were doing showjumping and it was also something I thought was interesting to get into and I could travel around with them, doing the same thing.”

    Peder adapted easily to his new discipline, playing down the sheer talent required to do both (and either!) at top level.

    “It’s not so different really,” he shrugs. “You do showjumping in three-day eventing. It’s just that I don’t have to do that dressage and I’m really happy about that. But I do miss the cross-country sometimes.”

    Was he sad about missing out watching the cross-country in Rio?

    “Not really,” he laughs. “You have to have a very good horse and be trained for it.”

    As if riding at two different disciplines at different Olympics is not enough of a skill, Peder is also a graphic designer.

    He created the memorable FEI pictograms, depicting the various horse sports in one easy-to-digest bite.

    “I didn’t do the Olympic rings,” he jokes. “But I did do some logos for Stockholm international horse show. I’ve taken a break from that for the last three months though.”

    That’s allowed in the run-up to an Olympics, we tell him. So with all this going on in his life, how does he look so remarkably fresh-faced for a 44-year-old?

    He smiles at us through his gold Olympics sunglasses and explains: “I’ve got three kids and the youngest one just turned three two days ago. But he’s at home, so being here is like a holiday for me!”

    This time round he’s jumping a gelding called All In, a 10-year-old by Kashmir Van Schuttershof. They bought the horse from Ludo Philippaerts as a seven-year-old and at home he’s called — somewhat uninspiringly — Alan.

    Continued below…

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    “We looked at many horses,” continues Peder. “I saw this one, but he’s really small, and I thought he was too small, about 165m. But when I took the first jump, I just knew it was the horse for me.”

    The little horse’s talent belies his name.

    “I don’t think I’ll ever go the Olympics with a horse that good ever again, so I’m very happy,” he reasons. “But we’ll take one round at a time ands see how far we can go.”

    Full report from the Olympic showjumping in Rio in the issue of H&H published Thursday, 25 August, including full analysis of every round and expert comment from Geoff Billington and William Funnell.

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