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Saturday, 1 July 2017

An Olympic Q&A with Ludwig Svennerstal

Ludwig Svennerstal & Louie at Bramham CCI3* in 2017

A few years ago now, I watch a beautifully modest dressage test at Bramham Horse Trials. I didn't recognise the rider, nor the horse. It was a very harmonious test, showing a very real & working partnership. I thoroughly enjoyed the test & it has stuck in my mind ever since...

Glancing at my programme, I discovered it was a Swedish young rider, called Ludwig Svennerstal & a horse called King Bob. That was back in 2011...

A couple of years later, I saw another test of Ludwig's at Bramham, equally as harmonious & it became clear that he & his horses always had a great bond & togetherness. As I'm active on Twitter at events like this, I tweeted about the test, and was thrilled to receive a retweet and a response from Ludwig!

Since then, I've enjoyed watching him & his horses at various events, and was quite jealous to see that the first season of the Blue Chip Academy offer sessions with Ludwig as part of their modules!!

This year at Bramham, once again, I enjoyed watching the test that Ludwig did on his beautiful grey horse, which is also called Louie... as well as timing walking the cross country to see them come through the tricky hollow & making it look like a piece of cake!

I managed to capture it on video, along with some photos in the dressage arena. I popped them onto my Twitter, and was once again thrilled to see a few retweets from Ludwig. But I was totally taken by surprise to see a private message asking for the video so that he too could publish it on his own social media...& as he asked for it to be sent via What's App, he is now my top, star contact save to my contacts!!

While talking to Ludwig, I asked about the possibility of a brief Q&A & much to my surprise, he agreed! I don't know why I was so surprised - he's always come across as very down to earth, very real, and has enjoyed engaging with his followers.

So, a few days later, everything was ready to go... I really hope you'll all enjoy the read. There's some great top tips included, as well as insight into where Ludwig takes his motivation and influence from.

Here it goes...

Tell me a little about everyday yard life - what's it like running a competition business & working with different horses, owners...

My philosophy is to educate every horse in a way that is best for the horse to gain long term success. It doesn't matter for me if the horses are bought to be sold or have an owner with goals in the near or far away future. For me, a "quick fix" is not interesting as I want to ride, and sell, well educated horses that do well with me or the horse's new future rider. 

The horses get ridden six days a week - I do all the schooling and jumping while my grooms do the hacking. The yard starts at 7am and I normally start riding between 8-9am depending on what else I've got planned for the day. Most of the days, the yard is finished at 5pm. Some horses live out during the day and some goes out during the night.

What is your great achievement to date? You've done a lot and are still so young - what would you like to achieve in the future?

I'm very happy to have done two Olympics but the achievement I rate the highest is to win the CICO*** in Strzegom with King Bob as it was his last show before retirement. It was a very special moment with a horse that has done so much for me.

I've got a young horse. He is 6 now, but acts like a 4 year old a lot of the time. I hope to event him one day. What words of wisdom would you give to me when it feels like motivation is low? 

There are no tricks or shortcuts, sometimes some horses can just take more time. It's very important to have patience with horses and not get frustrated, as then it tends to go backwards rather then forward. For me it's very important with young horses that the horse accept the basic aids.

What has been one of you biggest learning curves? & how has that gone on to inspire you?

My biggest learning curve was when I moved to Yorkshire three years before the london Olympics and Chris Bartle there. It was a very important time as it took out all the distractions in my life and I dedicated all of my time to think about horses and how to be a better rider.

You work with some amazing people - who is your inspiration? Who gets the best from you & really motivates you? & who is/are the best friend(s) you have made along the way?

My inspiration is visualising me holding an Olympic gold medal and that's what really motivates me. I always feel motivated to win and to improve. However, I use what I can see in other riders and learn to take those things I see to improve my own riding technique.


I would like to say a big thank you to Ludwig Svennerstal to allowing me the opportunity to ask these questions, and for dedicating time in his busy mid-season calendar to take time out to provide thorough answers. I've really digested the responses that were sent back to me, and can take learnign myself to drive more motivation and understanding of how to continually improve my own skills, and best educate my own Louie!

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  1. Wow great opportunity and so interesting to learn about him. He is an amazing rider and I do agree with him that patience is so important.

    1. It's one of my biggest learning of having a young horse, and that you have to go at their pace, not yours...

  2. Replies
    1. I'm very lucky to have had the opportunity!! :)


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