He’s Sweden’s biggest star of horseback riding, with tons of credentials behind him. He says he is good at living in the moment – and that he is living his dream. But what is it really like to be Peder Fredricson?
Spring is in the air at Grevlundagården and the Fredricson family’s home is nestled between apple trees, pastures and magnificent views. It has been a long night and a hectic morning for Peder Fredricson, who, when this interview took place, rode in a major competition in Paris over the weekend. As he greets me in the family kitchen, exhaustion blankets the room.
“My job is incredible. I have a really good team and I’m grateful for that, but I work harder today than ever before. There’s more pressure, but pressure can also be a privilege. Then you know there’s hope that everything will go well.”
In recent years, Peder Fredricson has gone from strength to strength. Not just athletically speaking, but also when it comes to the dimension of his popularity. Rarely has Sweden seen a riding star who is likable, just the right amount of bohemian, good at interviews and successful. What drives this person the Swedish public just can’t get enough of?
“Growth drives me; I think it’s exciting to see how far you can take things. To be on my way, to feel inspired and motivated. For me, growth is more important than success. My success is like a test to see whether what I’m doing is good and worth something.”
Two Olympic medals, one European Championship gold and several other major international wins and placements later, one might say Peder Fredricson is at the top of his career. With an excellent team that has strong sponsors, great horse owners and a skilled staff, he says he is living his dream. A dream in which the team has shaped his situation. Not to belittle the horses, who motivate and teach him.
“I couldn’t wish for anything more, and that is amazing. I have a huge focus on what I’m doing today. I can’t miss anything. I focus on my investment and my family. I’m at my best when I’ve found a balance between challenging myself and then coming home and doing things that don’t require me to perform at all. That’s when I get to recover. The most important thing in my life is family, but to be good for your family you have to be healthy.”
When Peder Fredricson needs to think or make important decisions, sleep is essential to him. To be creative and find good solutions, he needs time to recover. Setbacks give him perspective. If you can manage to work through them, then you can choose to consider setbacks the best path to a better solution.
The other side of the professional
Ask Peder Fredricson about his role and he names a lot of them. He’s a father, a husband, a rider, responsible for the farm (with his wife Lisen Bratt Fredricson) and a friend of many. But professionally, he is also a graphic designer. Over the years, he has designed many logos for companies and his artwork can be bought on the site Get The Gallop. “Ultimately, I could imagine working with graphic design more and more. Being creative in this way offers another kind of reward. I really would have liked to do both, but to be at the level in riding that I am today, there just isn’t time. If I paint or design too much, I lose focus on my other practice.”
Peder Fredricson mentions a few phrases several times throughout the interview: development, being on the way, the moment. In many ways, he seems like a dreamer and a visionary with a strong connection to reality. He feels that having long-term plans is good, but that at the same time, it’s best not to focus on what will come after your career, because that means you’ve started to think about a way out.
“I’m good at living in the moment. Career and age have a lot to do with attitude, more than age really. If you have the right approach, attitude and energy to continue as a rider, then age isn’t going to stop you.”
Four quick questions:
What do you rebel against?
“Nothing. Or, well, I don’t like it when debates get too black or white. It has a negative effect on people along the way.”
Who do you call when something bad has happened?
“The vet! Or Lisen.”
What TV show would you never appear on?
What’s the greatest misconception about you?
“That I am structured.”
Photo: Peter Carlsson