After their outstanding performances at the Tokyo Olympic Games, team Sweden arrives at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship 2021 at Riesenbeck International (GER) looking stronger than ever – and the 2017 European Champion Peder Fredricson seems like an obvious favourite for the individual medals. However, the 49-year-old Swede does not consider himself as one.
“I don’t think I can bring anything from Tokyo to Riesenbeck – it is a completely different event, with another format, different footing, different horse… Everything is new,” he explains. “I am really looking forward to it, but I would not consider myself a favourite!”
Leading up to the Europeans, Fredricson has taken some time off. “Straight after Tokyo, I went to the Longines Global Champions Tour in London to compete, and after that I have had two weekends off, so I have been able to relax and spend some time with my family. We checked out the young horses at home and got organised before it was time to leave again.”
Currently ranked 17th on the Longines world ranking, Fredricson and All In brought home an individual silver and a team gold from the Tokyo Olympic Games just a few weeks ago. However, for the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship 2021, the Swede has opted for the gelding Catch Me Not S (Cardento 933 x Ramiro’s Son).
“He is a really nice horse. I have had him for a few years now, and he has been going well for a long time,” Fredricson tells. “The last couple of months he has really peaked in his career. I just hope he will keep this shape over the Europeans. He is quite a big horse, he is not the fastest, but he has a lot of blood. Sometimes this is not so easy to see, because he is a slow mover. He needs to be fresh, but not too fresh. He jumps better when he is relaxed.”
The 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood has already proved his Championship abilities: With Catch Me Not S, Fredricson was part of the winning Swedish team at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Final 2018 in Barcelona, and in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Final 2019 in Gothenburg (SWE) the pair placed third.
“To the very end, it was a choice between him and All In for the Tokyo Olympics,” Fredricson says. “He was with us in the quarantine and I did not make up my mind until the very last week. All In is really fresh, but he jumped quite a lot of rounds in Tokyo, so he will get some time off now before he needs to compete again.”
Fredricson has been riding Catch Me Not S since 2018, and the pair has shown consistent form from the very beginning: Their very first CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix in Knokke (BEL) in June 2018 ended with a victory, followed by a CSIO5* Derby win in Falsterbo (SWE). The pair has recorded top results at the biggest events in the world, picking up wins at venues like Mannheim, St Tropez and Stockholm. And they seem to have found the right momentum. In his last outing ahead of the Europeans, Catch Me Not S won the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London.
“He is in good shape,” Fredrcison confirms. “I have not worked him so much, he is a naturally fit horse. However, I will only know afterwards if we were in the right shape or not!”
With H&M All In, Fredricson was crowned the 2017 European Champion on home turf in Gothenburg, and took a silver medal with the team. From the 2019 Europeans in Rotterdam the Swedes returned home without a medal and are eager to return to the podium at Riesenbeck International.
“I think it is always interesting to ride a Championship and to compete for your country,” Fredricson explains his feelings ahead of the weekend. “I really enjoy riding in a team atmosphere. However, it is really hard to know how it all will unfold: Even though my horse has felt great prior to this, it is impossible to tell. It was the same in Rotterdam. The whole team had a very good season leading up to the event, but when we arrived in Rotterdam, it just wasn’t our week. We will know more when we are up and running at the venue, If our horses are in good shape and if they like the venue.”
Fredricson plans to take each day as it comes and his plans evolve around his horse’s strengths. “I don’t think I will be in the lead after the first day,” he laughs, referring to the fact that the first competition is a speed class. “I will ride in a way that is best for my horse, as fast as possible, but still relaxed, that is essential with him. In the end, the first day is important, you should not be too far behind. However, I do believe that the clear rounds that are hopefully coming after that count more. My goal is to jump as many clear rounds as possible and in the end we see how far that brings us.”