The Horse Rider's Journal

A Life With Horses


The surroundings are typically Swedish, but the furniture is from Buenos Aires and it’s a long way from Stockholm: the beautiful home of professional show jumpers Peder and Lisen Fredricson.

Photography ANNE MIE DREVES Text MARIA GRAAE / The Horse Rider’s Journal No.2

In the rural paradise of southeastern Sweden, hundreds of thousands of fruit trees are planted across the hills, and green fields dotted with grazing sheep, cows and horses roll down to meet the sea by mile-wide beaches. This undulating landscape has attracted artists from all over Sweden for centuries. Here, at the end of a long, steep dirt track, sits Peder and Lisen Fredricson’s farmhouse, Grevlundagården, high above the sea, surrounded by trees and large wood-fenced fields where their many horses graze on the lush grass.

YW8M5978I’d describe our style as very efficient and practical,” says Peder, the 39-year-old Swedish, proffessional show jumper, Olympic medallist, graphic designer and artist. “Quite a lot of our furniture is from Buenos Aires. I won a car in a competition there, but couldn’t bring it home. So I was suggested that we go to an auction to choose what we wanted in exchange for the car. Which we did. But once we came back home, I tried to contact them a couple of times by phone afterwards, to no avail. But suddenly after six months, a container with all the furniture arrived – and some of it which had had minor defects had been repaired, so we where very pleasantly surprised.”

YW8M5690Peder is a third-generation equestrian, married to professional rider Lisen, 35; together they have two sons, Carsten, who at seven has just started school, and Hjalmar, aged four. The family also includes two terrier crosses, a couple of chickens, and quite a lot of horses.
The family moved into the 18th-century farmhouse ten years ago. The property had previously been left abandoned and windowless for 50 years, but was restored by the previous owner. Now the house is bursting with life and the Fredricsons have transformed it into a state-of-the-art equestrian home.
“We want it practical – we don’t want a lot of brass and gold to polish – and we build things to last,” says Peder. “In the stable, good clean air is a high priority. The tack room and grooming area are heated for saddling and washing the horses, but the rest of the stable remains cool and fresh. The indoor arena we positioned further down the land – not so practical in the winter with all the snow, but we put it there out of respect for the house and landscape.”

YW8M5807YW8M5855Both Peder and Lisen are originally from Stockholm, a seven-hour drive from Grevlunda. They were house-hunting for quite a while, originally looking for a more central location in southern Sweden.
“The location isn’t very practical, but we really appreciate the landscape. None of us knew the area before we moved here: you don’t pass this way by chance as this is the end of the road, so you have to have a reason to end up here. But we fell in love with the soul of the place, the open view and having the sea so close by.”

YW8M5685And it’s truly a horse rider’s home. An enormous horse painting fills an entire wall in the office, discovered in the barn where it had been left by the previous owner. All over the house the walls are covered with different works of art, some painted by friends and up-and-coming artists, and some by Peder himself. “We often buy art,” he says. “Not to invest, just things we like. I only paint horses: the inspiration for my paintings comes to me off the top of my head, and my brain is full of horses. I know exactly what a horse looks like in every detail.”

YW8M5676The heart of the house is the large kitchen with its enormous open fireplace and beautiful Portuguese floor tiles. A long table by the Danish architect Hans J. Wegner with matching chairs regularly plays host to big meals with family and friends. Wooden candlesticks decorate the table, waiting to light up the dark evenings of the Scandinavian winter months, while coloured glass in dark green and blue sits next to a bright orange coffee set. “We bought that at a flea market,” Peder says, explaining that their choices are determined by feeling and gut instinct rather than preference for a particular brand.
“The fireplace in the kitchen is the thing I’m most fond of in the house. It used to be an enormous baking oven. Every year the fruit trees are trimmed and we use the branches for heating: it’s hard wood and burns well. We spend most of our time in the kitchen and in the office, which is next to it. But of course we’re not really indoors that much – most of our time is spent outside, riding and working. I like the nature. I love planting trees and watching things grow. I recently planted 75 rhododendrons in all kinds of colours.

YW8M5998_colI love this place. The sea keeps the air cool in the spring and warm in the autumn, making the climate perfect for fruit trees. We grow plums, pears and apples. Quite often I skip breakfast, and after a couple of rides I’ll pick fruit straight from the tree. To me this is true luxury, our lifestyle, this life – our home with the kids combined with the competitions and the travelling. Knowing you have a base to return to, gives me meaning in life.” •