Fredrik Jönsson, an all-round Swedish rider
The last part of our interview with Fredrik Jönsson. The Swede tells us about his plans, but also about Sweden's strengths.
Two years ago, I hadn't done any indoor competitions. I did a few last year. I’d like to do a bit more this year. I want to do the right thing. I’ll probably go to Spain in the spring, but the plans haven’t been finalized. I’d also like to participate in the World Cup stage in Gothenburg, because it something I’ve never done before. But most of all, I’ll be thinking about how best to plan for the Olympics.
Especially since in Tokyo, it’ll be the new three rider format…
It'll be hard. But there’s nothing I can do to change it, that's the way it is. We have to deal with this new regulation. The fact of competing in the individual before the team event will also be something new. Sweden has good riders, so I think it will have a good chance. I hope to be part of it.
Sweden had an exceptional 2019 season. What do you think makes it so strong?
I think that when Rolf-Göran Bengtsson became World No.1, he proved that we could succeed. We have a good national level, a good training system, and coaches especially. This gives riders a solid foundation. Then there are Peder Fredricson and Henrik von Eckermann, who have shown that you can come from Sweden and be among the best in the world. Rolf-Göran gave the Swedes faith to believe in it. In addition, we also have some good horses in Sweden, especially because we have good breeding facilities.
Steve Guerdat’s mare, Albführen’s Bianca is from Sweden…
Yes, she was acquired at a sale a few miles from here.
Tell us about the team spirit of the Swedish team...
We have a great team spirit. Obviously, for me personally, it's great to be able to ride with Peder who’s a childhood friend, but I get along well with all the riders. We all have a lot of respect for each other, and we all have the same goal in our sights. If you want to get a good result, you have to feel good and that's what you try to do for each other.
Are you a good teammate?
I hope I am. I try to help when I can. Our Chef d’équipe, Henrik Ancarkrona, is really brilliant. He gives everyone a chance. It’s an honor to be part of this team. In Sweden, when you are selected, you go to the competition with your best horse. I know that this is not always the case in other countries. We can really thank Henrik and the Federation for motivating the Swedish team in this way.
Does riding for your country mean a lot to you?
Yes, it's very important and it makes me very proud. As part of the team, I have my best chance of winning a medal, as was the case during the World Games.
Is it pressure to be with Peder Fredricson or Henrick von Eckermann, both of whom are in the top 15 in the world?
No, I don't feel that way. I do my best and try my best to be part of the team... And if I'm not good enough, I'm not on the team. For me, they’re more like a source of inspiration and that's the only way you have to see things. If you let yourself think you're not good enough, you have to learn to change your mindset. That said, there’s always a little pressure...
We often see your son watching from the sidelines. Is your family's support important?
Yes, absolutely! It’s essential for me. We have two children, a 12-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. My son competed in the Swedish Children's Championship this year. The owners of Cold Play are very important to me. When money’s involved relationships can sometimes become difficult, but it’s not the case with them. They're fantastic. They always say what's on their minds. We really have a great relationship.
What’s your view of the coming seasons?
Cold Play will be 12 next year. The time’s coming when the 8-year-olds will be taking over. I hope it will continue that way, but I take one season at a time. At the moment I'm focusing on Tokyo. I like the high level, of course, but you have to be realistic, it's only possible if you have a horse that can allow you to do that.
Text: Oriane Grandjean. Photos: Clément Grandjean