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Five minutes with…Olympic rider Ludwig Svennerstal

We catch up with Swedish Olympic rider and European team silver medalist Ludwig Svennerstal about the highs, the lows and why he used to be scared of horses!

1. Tell us a little about your equestrian background.

I started riding at a riding school in the centre of Stockholm despite being absolutely frightened of horses. My parents tried to persuade me to do another sport but I refused, even though I spent most of my time in the middle of the arena too frighten to move during my years at the riding school. My passion really started at the age of 12 as I was allowed to ride my mother's horse, Wirginia and I got to start competing. My first show was a disaster and I was adamant about showing everyone that I could do better, and from that point on it has all been about horses. In 2009 I took the decision to move to the UK to completely focus on horses and from there my equestrian career has sky rocketed all the way to the Olympic Games in London 2012 and a European Team Championship silver medal in 2013.

2. What horses do you have currently?

King Bob, a 16-year-old gelding, who’s been 8th at Burghley among other top placings

Franzipan, an 11-year-old mare, who has only been at our stable for just under a year but I’m expecting great things to come from her next year to add to our previous performances which include13th at Chatsworth CIC*** and Bramham CCI***

Aspe is a 7-year-old mare, who I believe will be my next superstar and will win me my first big title at the international circuit.

Balham Mist, an 8-year-old gelding who only been with us under a month but who I think will be really good.

3. How did it feel to have to withdraw Franzipan from the European Championships recently?

I always believe in putting the horses first and there was never any possibility of doing anything else, but of course it is tough. It’s always difficult dealing with disappointment, specially when there’s so much at stake, it’s a championship after all, and we also had the Olympic Qualifier to get, but lucky the team managed this without me which is a relief. All you can do is to put your horse first, and then move onwards and upwards.

4. What's next for the future?

Its all about Rio Olympics and I literally can't wait!

5. What are your top tips for success?

Make your dream your reality, and be prepared to work really really hard with an incredible amount of determination.