Fredrik Jönsson, an all-round Swedish rider
The third part of our interview with Fredrik Jönsson. The Swede tells us Cold Play’s story and their difficult beginnings.
Tell us the story of Cold Play…
Cold Play comes from the Ingvarsson family. We’ve been working with them since 1989 or 1990. I was already riding one of their horses at the European Junior Championships in Vittel. Yvonne breeds dressage horses while her husband Lars buys jumping foals. Cold Play came to my house when he was 4 years old. At the age of 3, he took part in a free jumping competition, where he showed his true colors.
It was difficult to get him to work with us to begin with. He was afraid and didn’t show much willing. We had to find the right system for him. So, at the age of 4 years, we didn't compete him, we just worked. He did some competitions when he was 5, but we had some problems with the water jumps. He either jumped too high or stopped. He started going a bit better at 6, but still had issues with water.
There was one competition where he stopped at a stream. So, I waited until the end of the competition to go and train on the track. Then I bought different types of water trays so that I could continue training at home. By the age of 7, he was going well, but only indoors. We kept practicing with the water trays, over and over again. All manner of different types of water jumps, in different places. I must say that I really had a very good feeling during the indoor competitions. He jumped a few Grand Prix courses, but as soon as there was a big river, he would always say no and go the other way. I started thinking that maybe we should give up and sell him. I confided in my father, who asked me to let him handle the problem because he thought he was doing really well. Every day over a period of 3 months, he would lead him by hand to all the places where there was water. Every day, for three months! Sometimes he would stand quietly, sometimes he would jump. In the end, we could leave him there with long reins, and he wasn’t afraid of the water anymore. I placed water trays everywhere, it was almost impossible to train because there were trays just everywhere and no room for anything else. Then, for a month, I did nothing but water jumps every day. Water, water, water everywhere! The following spring, I went to Arezzo. There was no big river in the qualifier, but there was in the Grand Prix. I said to myself, "Now we'll see if our work’s paid off. " He pricked up his ears forward, and I put on a little leg... and he jumped! Best of all, we finished in the Grand Prix. That was the moment, when I realized that we really needed to keep him and try to get higher. That was 2017. The following season was excellent, and Cold Play has never had a problem with water since.
After the exceptional seasons you’ve experienced, have you had offers for Cold Play?
Yes. I own half of him, and Yvonne and Lars Ingvarsson own the other half. They decided to keep him and that makes me happy, but had they decided to sell him, I wouldn’t have stood in their way. We’ve been working together for so long. We really want to go to the Olympic Games, which is why we have decided to keep him.
What are your best memories? The victory in Falsterbo this season at the Nations Cup at home? The medal at the Tryon World Championships?
Falsterbo was fantastic, but Tryon is definitely my best memory. It was amazing.
After your medal in Tryon, has your daily life changed?
There have been more interviews, more support from partners, the Federation, the Olympic Committee, but generally speaking, no, my daily life hasn't really changed.