Written by: Pamela Young
Europe’s newly-crowned show jumping champion is a devoted family man.
For Peder Fredricson, Europe’s newly-crowned show jumping champion and H&M pinup, family is everything. The trained graphic illustrator grew up with horses and is married to fellow Olympian and businesswoman Lisen Bratt, an IOC Role Model, show organizer, and founder of the Swedish Select Sales. They married in 2001 after meeting in Stockholm while Peder was working in the Queen’s Royal Stables. Today, they are raising their three sons in southern Sweden on a sprawling farm overlooking the Baltic Sea. All In resides just 30 metres from Peder and Lisen’s bedroom.
After a stint training with Mark Todd, Peder began his career as an eventer and competed, aged 20, on the Swedish team at the Barcelona Olympics. He swapped to show jumping when Swedish fashion house H&M approached him with a generous sponsorship opportunity, their only stipulation being that they wanted a show jumper. Converting wasn’t a hardship for the studious Peder, who was already immersed in the discipline thanks to his wife and brother Jens.
Like Mark Todd’s Charisma, Eric Lamaze’s Hickstead, or Charlotte Dujardin’s Valegro, All In is Peder’s career-defining mount. Spotted in Belgium at the World Breeding Championships, ‘Allan’ came to Grevlunda as a seven-year-old. He was the only horse in Rio to keep a clean slate over all six rounds. “It’s an incredible feeling when you know you’ve found THE one,” says Peder. “You just never want to get off.”
Can you give us an idea of what it’s like to be you?
There are so many things to do! It’s all very time-consuming, but my priorities are my horses and my family. When I am at home I try to be a father. I leave Wednesday or Thursday for the weekend’s show. I ride two to five horses a day when I am at home and I teach those who work for me. We have 10 staff and 30 horses at Grevlunda. There are also media requests and photo shoots, but most are very respectful of our busy schedule.
How did you get involved with horses?
We grew up on a farm and I’ve been playing around on ponies since I was five years old. It was a great way to start riding – by learning how to fall off. It was the best way to learn, it was natural; no saddles, sometimes no bridles. Things you’d never do now, but we learned how to figure things out and how to communicate with the horses in a really natural way. We looked after the horses, we did everything: mucking out, grooming, everything. We learned to be around them and respect them. My father, Ingvar, is a vet and was the boss at Flyinge (Sweden’s national equestrian centre) from when I was ten to 20. Both my brother and I worked there and were exposed to some really inspirational horse people.
Can you identify a turning point in your career?
I can honestly say that my sponsorship with H&M changed everything. I went from riding as a hobby to becoming a professional. They expected results and made me determined to make an effort to improve. Without H&M I would not have become European champion.
It seems that you have it all – happy family, successful career – but were sacrifices made along the way?
Not really. I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do with my life. I suppose there are more priorities than there are sacrifices. I realize I can’t do all that I want because there is not enough time.
Are you ultra-competitive by nature, or is there another ingredient that gives you an edge?
I’m not very competitive, actually not competitive at all. I do what I do because I like horses and enjoy learning more about them and wanting to improve; that’s what drives me. Winning or losing is not that important. I want to improve and move forward; that’s what’s important to me.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
I really like coming home to my farm.
How would you describe yourself? Is your glass half-full or half-empty?
I’m a family man and I really care for them and I look after my horses really well. I don’t get upset or angry. I’m a realist. It would be great to be an optimist all the time, but we all have our ups and downs.
If life hadn’t taken you where it has, what profession would you be following?
I went to graphic design school for two years and I have been ‘practicing’ ever since (Ed. note: Peder designed the FEI pictograms), but when I got All In I decided to give him everything I’ve got and concentrate totally on him.
If you had a life lesson to share, what would it be?
Follow your gut feeling and make a living doing something you really like to do.
If a genie were to grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?
My family to stay healthy and live forever; no more conflict in the world; and All In to stay as good as he is now for a long, long time. Keeping a competition horse sound is like keeping ice cream in the sun.
Where would you most like to go that you haven’t been?
I’d like to go on safari in Africa.
When and where did you last go on vacation?
We are taking the family to Mauritius in January.
Do you have a health and fitness regimen?
I do a half-hour yoga workout first thing every morning, six times a week, to keep my back stretched and supple.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Carlsberg, probably the best beer in the world! I’m not saying that because they are a sponsor, but maybe they will be after this article…
What’s Allan like?
He is absolutely the best in the ring when it matters. He doesn’t feel that special at home and I am sad to say he’s not a great personality. He is turned out at 6:30 a.m. and lives out most of the day because he likes that best.
If you were having a dinner party and could choose any guests, living or dead, who would you invite and why?
My children when they are 25 years old, or even older, so they could bring their children.
Do you have any burning ambitions?
I want to keep on improving. I am curious how to become better. In the short term, if we can manage Allan well, I would like to take him to the WEG and then to Tokyo.
Money or medals, which is more important to you?
Medals, but I’d like both! Money comes and goes, but medals you can treasure forever.
DOB: January 30 1972
Home: Grevlunda, Kivik, Osterlen, Sweden
Family: Married to Lisen; three sons: Carestn (13), Hjalmar (10), and Bill (3)
World Ranking: 7
Top String: All In, 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood, stable name Allan
Social Media: 5.8m Twitter followers; 100k Instagram fans
Achievements: Team silver and 4th individual 2004 Athens Olympics (Magic Bengtsson); individual silver 2016 Rio Olympics (All In); individual gold 2017 European Championships (All In). Named Best Swedish Male Athlete of 2016